Melissa Algranati – Camp Director
Melissa spent the last decade building, growing, and nurturing camp programs centered around the concept of children crafting a schedule that best caters to their interests. “Allowing kids to make choices empowers them, it makes them feel valued and like their decisions have an impact, which leads to ownership of the camp.” As the director of Explorer Day Camp from 2009-2019, Melissa grew a program from the ground up, engaging children and families year-round to be a part of a greater camp community. Melissa’s camp background began in her youth, as she attended programs at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, and in her teenage/early adult years she worked with several camps as an Aquatics Director. Melissa has also organized leadership institutes as a national consultant with Girl Scouts of the USA, which inspired her to become the camp director she is today.
Stephanie Abrams – Assistant Camp Director – Program & Operations
After spending the last two summers as the Director of Camping Services at the Friedberg JCC, we’re excited to have Stephanie on board at Island Quest Day Camp! In addition to her leadership with Camp Friedberg, Stephanie’s strong camp background also includes directing Camp Ga’avah (PRIDE) at the Friedberg JCC for the last three summers, as well as spending five years at SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education) which started as a program of the American Camp Association. Stephanie’s love for camp also began at HKC, where she was a camper and then later a counselor with Mid-Island Day Camp. Stephanie enjoys spending her spare time with her family at the beach!
Nicole Helfman – Assistant Camp Director – Family Engagement
Camp is as much a part of Nicole as Nicole is a part of camp! She has been an integral member of the Suffolk Y JCC camp family since she was 5 years old, loving camp so much that she became a counselor as soon as she was eligible for hire at the age of 16. Her role with both the SYJCC and their camp took off from there, as she soon became a Specialist and then a Unit head, and eventually took on the role of Camp Director. Additionally, Nicole has a dual Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, and has been working with children for over 20 years, including as a Special Education teacher for eight years. Nicole enjoys spending time with her family and dogs.
Andy Gavora – Assistant Camp Director – Camper & Staff Experiences
A Sam Field/Commonpoint Queens community member since nursery school, Andy has been crafting her leadership skills in our communities in every capacity imaginable! Andy grew up in camp and after school programs as a participant into her teenage years, and became an incredible leader in teen advocacy programs (which she would later become the director for) as well as in her role as an up-and-coming counselor. In 2011 Andy became the Director of Sam Field’s Day Camp and Afterschool Program, specializing in innovative programming and staff engagement. Andy is also a program coordinator for Commonpoint Queens’ High School programs, and she loves to travel.