The Tamarack Team
Steve has enjoyed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Tamarack Camps for almost a decade. Prior to Tamarack Camps, in St. Louis, Steve served as president of the National Kidney Foundation and as Associate Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center. Steve also was the Resident Camp Director of Camp Sabra, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, and the Ranch Camp, Elbert, Colorado.
Andy is happy to be a part of the team at Tamarack Camps as the Chief Financial Officer. He joins us with over 20 years of senior financial leadership experience in the toy industry (including Shrinky Dinks and Slinky), candy industry (Wonka), and outdoor sporting goods. Andy is not a stranger to the Tamarack Camps family, as he had the privilege of watching his daughters, Rachel and Lizzy, grow up at “The Greatest Place On Earth!” As a lifetime Detroiter, Andy is deeply committed to and an active participant in our Jewish community. Andy remains eager and excited to speak with anyone who may have questions about the process of sending your child to Tamarack Camps!
Jeannette Levene is a Staff Accountant working with our Finance Department since January 2017. She handles registration and scholarship processes and may be one of the first to contact your family. Her wide-ranging background in accounting and finance makes her a unique fit for the Camp Maas team whether in the city or camp office.
Since 2011 Melanie has enjoyed the privilege of serving Tamarack Camps under the auspices of Steve Engel, Tamarack Camps CEO. She thoroughly enjoys assisting our “commander in chief” accomplish his extraordinarily good work. She thrives in the challenge of making the impossible possible! Melanie is truly grateful to have been weaved into such a close-knit, vibrant community!
Lee has been with Camp Maas since 2009 and through the years, having grown up as a camper and staff member at a summer camp in northern Michigan, he has played an active role in the Detroit Jewish community assuming many leadership roles on the New Leaders Project, the YAD Executive Board, Israel Missions and the Temple Israel Board of Directors. Lee brings an extensive background to Tamarack Camps as he holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Case Western Reserve University School of Law, as well as experience in real estate, law, and the restaurant industry. Lee is thrilled to pursue his life-long dream and true passion for summer camp, children, and Jewish fulfillment.
Carly is no stranger to summers at Tamarack Camps, as she began her camp journey at 7 years old and has been a committed camper and staff ever since! Her previous titles include Development Associate, Program Director, Assistant Director and now, Carly assumes the role as Associate Director. In this capacity, she oversees the hiring and management of the seasonal staff, camp’s program areas, operations including our dining services, and support to the camper care team. Carly holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Western Michigan University. When not in the camp office, you can find Carly on the lake waterskiing or swimming with our campers. During the off-season, Carly lives in Huntington Woods with her husband Michael, and two children, Joshua (current Tamarack camper) and Marlee (camper 2022).
Growing up, Jackie spent fourteen consecutive summers at Tamarack Camps. She started as a camper, then a counselor and supervisor at Camp Maas and on the Western and Alaska trips. After graduating with a degree in social work and Jewish studies at Michigan State University (go green!), she started her professional career at the Holocaust Memorial Center. Jackie dreamed of coming back to camp and officially joined the Tamarack team in 2015.
Helayne started on her Tamarack adventure as a camper in Dorm 2 (2nd grade) at our former Brighton site. She spent 8 years as a camper and has over 30 years as a staff member, including a counselor, supervisor, program director and currently as the Director of Family Camping. She has worked in a professional capacity for our agency, as the Director of Family Camping for 14 years. Helayne also has been involved in our community’s Jewish Family Education Project and is an educator at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit.
Becca began her journey at Tamarack Camps as a camper in 1999. She continued on as a counselor and supervisor, and decided she wasn’t ready to leave camp just yet. She is thrilled to be working for an organization that had such a wonderful impact in her life, as the Program Coordinator. She currently coordinates the Teen Mission and the Joy and Allan Nachman Teen Leadership Trip to Israel, as well as overseeing our TLV program.
Lindsey is ecstatic to join the Camp Maas family as an Administrative Assistant or as we like to call her, our “Chief Success Officer!” She grew up attending local musical theatre day camps where she developed a passion for performing. Lindsey graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theatre. Previously, Lindsey worked in the mental health field as a Psychometrician and as the Executive Director of a music school. She is looking forward to spending her summers at “The Great Place On Earth!”
Alexandra (Alex) Rosenberg was born and raised in Michigan and is honored to work the land of her home state. Food, farming and positive environmental participation are the front and center of Alex’s life and she is thrilled to bring these passions to Tamarack Camps as the Farber Farm Manager. She received her field management training from The Organic Farm School in Washington state and her Permaculture Design Certificates from the Sonoran Permaculture Guild of Tucson, Arizona and the Midwest Permaculture Guild of Stelle, Illinois.
Prior to joining Tamarack Camps, Kristen was a Law Enforcement Officer and College Criminal Justice Instructor. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University and her Master’s Degree in The Science of Management from Hodges University. Kristen began working with Tamarack in 2013 as a Security Coordinator and now Manages the full Security Program.
Randy has been the Senior Managing Director of the JCC Day Camps since January 2018. We are thrilled that the collaboration between the JCC of Metropolitan Detroit and Tamarack Camps brought Randy to our community. Prior to arriving in Detroit, he was the Director of Children and Camping Services of the Houston JCC. Randy has over 25 years of resident and day camping experience. As the Director of Camp Sabra (St. Louis JCC), Camp Lakeland (Buffalo JCC) and the Houston JCC Day Camps.
Rabbi Benjamin Shalva is proud to be Tamarack’s Rabbi, Director of Jewish Life & Learning, and Supervisor of Soul. When not running around camp with his guitar and blue kippah, he works as a writer and freelance rabbi, specializing in Jewish meditation, mindfulness, and music. He lives in Baltimore with his wife Sara and their two children – proud Tamarack campers – Lev and Avital.
Lori’s love for camp began when she spent her first summer in Brighton and it grew from there. Today, Lori enjoys her position at Tamarack Camps as the Director of Annual Giving. Before this, Lori spent 14 years in residential new construction sales and 10 years working for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Lori is passionate about raising funds to ensure that every child can spend a summer at Camp! She lives in Huntington Woods with her husband Steve and happy camper, Sophie.
After practicing real estate law for 20 years, Robin is thrilled to follow her passion for Jewish camping as the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships. Robin works with camper families, alumni and supporters to further enhance our “community’s gem” while exploring opportunities for engagement and involvement. During camps’ “off-season,” Robin lives in Huntington Woods with husband and camp director extraordinaire, Lee, and her wonderful kids that have grown up at Tamarack Camps, Jamie and Andy.
Rachel spent her childhood at Tamarack and is a self-proclaimed “outpost girl” with a total of 14 summers predominately at Agree and Kennedy. After getting her degree at Kalamazoo College, she spent four and a half years with Repair the World running their teen program, PeerCorps. She is thrilled to be back and part of the team that makes Tamarack the “GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH.”
Lori Semel became a ‘camper’ 5 years ago when she joined the Tamarack team as a Development Analyst. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and went on to obtain her MBA from Wayne State University. Formerly, Lori worked in the healthcare field but took time off to raise her own Tamarack campers, her daughter, Lilli and son, Jacob. Lori has a passion for spreadsheets!
Jen has been attending camp since she was 8 years old from being a camper to staff to supervisor to clinic nurse and now Director of Health, Camp Maas. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in political science and then went back to school to pursue her passion of becoming a nurse at Oakland University where she obtained her BSN. She started her training at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. Currently, she is a pediatric travel nurse taking on assignments all over the US with her most recent location in Arizona at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Gail has been a part of Tamarack Camps for many years. She lives in Farmington Hills with her husband Gary, 4 kids and their dog Lucy. Their 4 children are 3rd generation Tamarack campers!
Gail obtained her BSN from Wayne State University. She has many years of experience working as a Registered Nurse, including experience in Intensive Care, Urgent Care/ER, Tamarack Camps and JCC Day Camps. During the school year, Gail is the School Nurse at Hillel Day School. She is very excited to be in charge of the health and wellness of teen campers!
Hallie has been at camp since she was 8 years old. During the summer, she sensitively works with our youngest campers and their staff members as one of the Heads of Brighton Side. She graduated from Michigan State with a BA in Special Education and got her Master of Education from Oakland University. As a special education teacher in Walled Lake and a mom to Noa, Drew and Griffin, Hallie’s caring demeanor and dynamic personality are a comfortable and natural fit to our Brighton Side.
Helayne started on her Tamarack adventure as a camper in Dorm 2 (2nd grade) at our former Brighton site. She spent 8 years as a camper and has over 30 years of experience as a staff member, including a counselor, supervisor, program director, and currently as the Director of Family Camping and a Head of Brighton Side! She has worked in a professional capacity for our agency for 14 years. Helayne also has been involved in our community’s Jewish Family Education Project and is an educator at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit.
Rick Barinbaum, LMSW, is a Director of Happiness and Social Worker for the Brighton Side. When Rick isn’t at camp, he is a social worker, lecturer, and field instructor at the University of Michigan, where he teaches and supervises social work students in a variety of interprofessional settings including child welfare, immigration advocacy, and medicine. Rick grew up in Arizona and attended Camp Charles Perlstein (now Camp Stein) and was a Unit Head at a JCC summer camp. In 2002, Rick was part of Avodah, a Jewish volunteer service corps, which led him to the east coast where he earned an MSW at Hunter College and taught at a social justice focused bar-bat mitzvah program. Rick worked for ten years in New York City focusing on child welfare and interdisciplinary social work/legal advocacy and taught as an adjunct professor at Hunter before moving to Michigan with his spouse and two kids. In his free time Rick likes spending time with his family, riding his bike, playing music, hiking, cooking, eating, and eating.
Lauren started at Tamarack as a Fishman camper and hasn’t stopped since! She worked as a counselor at Maas, several Travel Trips, and is now entering her fourth summer as part of the Camper Care Team. During the off-season, Lauren works as a School Social Worker for Dearborn Schools. She attended the University of Michigan where she got a bachelor’s in communications and Spanish, and later a Master of Social Work. At camp, Lauren loves a good walk around the lake, eating cucumbers from the Farber Farm, and making friendship bracelets in Omanut.
Laura has been working at camp for 17 years. During the school year, she teaches 5th grade at Yeshivas Darchei Torah and Religious School at Temple Israel. When Laura is not at camp or school, she enjoys being an Uber driver for her girls, listening to audiobooks, and crafting and baking.
Craig Charnas is a middle school math teacher in Walled Lake. He has been teaching in the same school for 19 years. The summer of 2020 will be Craig’s 27th. He began camp as a TSS and this will be his 5th summer as Head of Senior Side. He loves working at camp with his wife and seeing his daughters love camp as much as he does.
Rachel is a Licensed Master Social Worker and has experience working with children, teens, and their families in a variety of different clinical and educational settings. Currently, Rachel provides individual and family therapy through her private practice. She is excited to be returning to Tamarack Campers for her third year on the Camper Care team as the Senior Side Social Worker!
Danielle enthusiastically returned to Tamarack in the summer of 2019 after being a camper through Kennedy Outpost Experience and a young Teen Service Staff in 1997. Danielle holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and during the off-season works as a full-time School Social Worker. Her previous experience includes working with students preschool through post-secondary age 26, youth detention, and mental health. As the Director of Special Needs, Danielle supports staff, campers, and families in accessing and accommodating camp, so all campers are able to access the best camp ever! Danielle lives in Commerce Township with her husband Jason and is a mom to three energetic boys Brady, Jonah, and Jayse.
Stacey started summer experiences at Tamarack Camps when she was 6-years-old. She is now entering her fourth summer as a member of the Camper Care Team. She has worked in various support positions and this summer will be the social worker for the Outpost Camps and Travel Trips, as well as, a social work consultant for Camp Maas. Stacey has worked over twenty years in the field of social work. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications and later a master’s degree in social work. She also is a certified Trauma and Loss Specialist. In the off-season, Stacey works as a School Social Worker for the West Bloomfield School district. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking and spending time with her husband, daughters, and pets.