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Contact Us: 716-688-4033
campcenterland@jccbuffalo.org

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Meet Our Staff

Betsy Abramson


betsy_abramson.JPGDirector of Camping Services
(716) 688-4114 x333

Education:

BS Child Development and Family Studies, Minor Early Childhood Education, SUNY College at Oneonta and MS in Student Personnel Administration, Buffalo State College. NYS Teaching Certification Prek-6th grade.

Started at JCC:

June 1988, and again February 2016 

Relevant Background Experiences:

I started working as a staff member at Camp Lakeland (the JCC’s residential camp) in 1988. Worked there until 1991 and started working at Camp Centerland in 1991, stayed at Centerland until 1994 when I moved to NYC.  I worked at the JCC in Scarsdale NY from 1994-1998 when I moved back and returned to the JCC in Buffalo.  Returning to Buffalo allowed me the opportunity to become the Assistant Director of Camp Lakeland, City Director for BBYO and the Youth Services Coordinator where I remained until 2001. I am so happy to have come back "home"; I love my job as the Director of Camp Centerland.

Hometown and Current Residence:

Born in Amherst NY and currently residing in Amherst.

Interesting Tidbit About You:

I started going to Camp Centerland in 1975 and have a daughter who loves camp as much as I always have. I also have a Bichon Frise that we rescued from a puppy mill named Wendel.

Basic Philosophy or Outlook on Life:

Work hard, be honest and kind. The rest will all fall into place.

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Christine Dusher

1004161115a_resized.jpgAssistant Director of Camp Centerland
(716) 886-3172  x420
cdusher@jccbuffalo.org

Education:

BS Elementary Education, SUNY College at Oneonta and MS Literacy Education (birth-grade 6), Medaille College

Started at JCC:

September 2009

Relevant Background Experiences:

Worked for 7 years as a counselor and then assistant director with the Amherst Youth Board Summer Camp program. Moved to Rochester in 2007 and then Pittsburgh in 2008, and worked a number of day care settings with children from infants through school age during that time. Returned to Buffalo in 2009 and began working part time with the JCC at Kids Place, and soon took over role of Afterschool Director. Assistant Director of Camp Centerland from summer 2010-present.

Hometown and Current Residence:

Born in Tonawanda, NY, raised in Amherst, NY, and currently live in Kenmore, NY.

Interesting Tidbit About You:

My husband and I have one son, Gavin, born in April 2013, and one daughter, Victoria, born in July 2014. My (Scottish) family holds a big reunion every August (complete with bagpipes!), which is a tradition started by my grandmother almost 50 years ago. I am a big fan of stand-up comedy, mostly because I love to laugh!

Basic Philosophy or Outlook on Life:

I believe in the power of positive thinking. People can bring all good things into their life by living and thinking positively.


Shea Akers

Shea.jpgProgram Director
(716) 688-4114 x303
sakers@jccbuffalo.org

Education:

Studied Religion at the University of Vermont, Certifications in TCI through Cornell University and PMCS through Buffalo Psychiatric Hospital through OMH. 

Started at JCC:

September of 2010

Relevant Background Experiences:

Worked as a After School Counselor at Elmwood Franklin Schools; Lead Teacher of the Junior Room at the JCC Holland Family Building; and Team Leader, Program and Staff Development at Child & Family Services.

Hometown and Current Residence:

Williamsville, NY, Currently resides in Buffalo, NY

Interesting Tidbit About You:

I live in a housing cooperative (with 14 people). I am also a thrill seeker and once went down an Olympic bobsled run on an official Olympic Bobsled in Salt Lake City, UT. 

Basic Philosophy or Outlook on Life:

Try something new every day.


Kim O'Connor

Kim.jpg

Children's and Day Camping Administrative Assistant
(716) 688-4114 x346
koconnor@jccbuffalo.org

Education:

Associates Degree in Human Services from Niagara County Community College

Started at JCC:

2016

Relevant Background Experiences:

I worked at a day care center in 1994 where I was fortunate enough to teach pre school age children. In the summertime, I worked with the school age children for their summer camp program. After doing that for 10 years I worked at Community Charter School for 2 years, South Buffalo Charter School for 8 years and Elmwood Charter School for 2 years. Working in a school setting made me realize that I enjoyed working in that type of positive setting. Having 3 of my own, I realize that working in a school/camp setting is such a rewarding job. My oldest daughter Mathea is 16 years old, my son Nehemiah is 14 and my youngest is 4 and her name is Tahvia and very excited to come to Camp Centerland this year!

Hometown and Current Residence:

Born in Depew, grew up in North Tonawanda. I currently reside in Derby, NY.

Interesting Tidbit About You:

I was adopted at 8 months old to a wonderful, loving family. After posting some information about myself on Facebook, I was able to locate birth family. I drove down to Virginia in 2013 to meet my brother and sister. My sister’s name is also Kim!

Basic Philosophy or Outlook on Life:

 “Don't bite off more than you can chew because nobody looks attractive spitting it back out.” 


Jason Palevsky

Jason_Palevsky.jpgSpecial Events Coordinator
(716) 688-4114 x313
jpalevsky@jccbuffalo.org

Education:

BA in Computer Science from The College of Wooster

Started at JCC:

2015

Relevant Background Experiences:

I grew up going to residential summer camp at Emma Kaufmann Camp (the Pittsburgh JCC’s sleep away camp) since I was 8 years old. After going through their CIT program I worked there throughout college as a general staff member for three summers and as part of the leadership team for another four summers. After college I headed out to Southern California to work at a residential outdoor science school as an instructor for a year. I returned for a second year as the Assistant Director and Medic. Next, I moved on to the Hill Country of Texas for a year where I was a Director in Training at The Outdoor School and Champions Retreat at Camp Champions.

Hometown and Current Residence:

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up in a little town between Moon and Mars. I currently live in Buffalo.

Interesting Tidbit About You:

I have spent over 48 hours underwater.

Basic Philosophy or Outlook on Life:

Life is 10/90. Ten percent is what happens, ninety percent is how we handle it.