[by Phyllis Shaikun]
In her capacity as director of youth services at the Jewish Community Center for the past three years, Julie Hollander wears many hats, including the cap she dons each summer as director of the Center’s summer camp program for youngsters from preschool age through grade 10. Her unique ability to multi-task, get everything done in a timely fashion – and always with a smile – made Hollander a natural to receive the JCL’s Arthur S. Kling Award for 2012.
Over the years, the Kling Award has recognized both staff and volunteers who have made significant contributions to the organization. Staff recipients also have the chance to take part in professional development opportunities.
The Columbia, MD, native brings many talents to her position. An honors graduate of the University of Delaware, she received a graduate scholarship from the JCCs of North America and earned a master’s degree in public administration from C.W. Post University. Prior to coming to Louisville, she was the teen travel counselor at the Bernard and Ruth Siegel JCC in Wilmington, DE, and worked as assistant director of youth services and director of teen services at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center on Long Island.
“I was ready for a change and new challenges when I first came here,” said Hollander, “and this position did not disappoint. I love working with youth and families on programming and Jewish education – my fields of expertise.” Her decision to come to Louisville turned out to be a win-win for her and our Jewish community.
Her accomplishments over her time here have been significant. Summer camp has grown in numbers with a 25 percent increase this year over last, which amounts to an increase of 10-15 campers per week. Winter and spring camp enrollments are up as well.
Jewish enrichment has been high on Hollander’s agenda, and she was pleased that her department was able arrange a joint program with the Speed Museum during their recent Chagall exhibit. She also added two new Jewish cooking classes – Desserts for Passover and Food for Chanukah – for children in grades K-five. She recalls it was particularly fun to cook up donuts and latkes and eat them with home-made apple sauce during the holiday.
Her efforts to introduce diversity in camp have resulted in a pilot program that is allowing three children with special needs to attend camp with the help of advocates. So far the program is going well.
She is particularly proud of the Center’s growing teen program. Many more participants have attended regional conventions this year and a large group of eighth graders have been recruited as well. She supervises the middle school program, led by David Siskin, and will be welcoming a new staff person to direct BBYO programs and assume the role of assistant camp director.
“I am very excited to be receiving the Kling Award,” said Hollander, “and I am really looking forward to its professional development component. My work at the JCC has provided me with a great opportunity to learn and grow and develop new programs. If I have an idea for something I’d like to do, I know I will have the support I need to implement it. The award will offer me more ways to learn and grow my skills so I can contribute even more to the JCL.”
Her future wish list includes expanding the camp program, especially for children with disabilities, and implementing it in the winter and spring camp programs. She also would love to have a low ropes course for team building; develop more structured covered spaces on the grounds and maybe even find a way to create a water slide.
Clearly Hollander will have to stay in Louisville for a long time to have all of her wishes granted, and since she enjoys the city and really likes her co-workers, that is a distinct possibility.