Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Sara Rennert, new JCC youth director


Sara Rennert

The Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando welcomes Sara Rennert, the new Youth & Camp director, who began overseeing the JCC's 43-year-old Camp J, J University, and youth programs on Nov. 9.

A New York City native, Rennert oversaw all twelve summer camp programs at the Friedberg JCC on Long Island. Rennert has been a mainstay of their JCC, having worked there since she was a camp counselor in high school. She's also a product of the JCC world, having started attending JCC camps and after school programs beginning at the Kings Bay JCC in New York at the age of 5.

Rennert's academic credentials are impressive. She holds a bachelor's degree in Childhood Education from Long Island University, as well as double master's degrees in Special Education and Literacy. In addition, she holds a graduate certification in Applied Behavior Analysis from Touro University.

Rennert is the result of a year-long search helmed by Robby Etzkin, The Roth Family JCC's assistant executive director, after the center's previous youth & camp director, Abby Paulson, was appointed as the after school director for the Marcus JCC in Atlanta in November 2014.

In the absence of a director, Etzkin oversaw the youth programs for the last year, including a successful summer of Camp J, a position he previously held at the JCCs in Austin and Richmond.

"I am thrilled that we have found another superstar for our JCC in Sara," Etzkin said. "She's viewed within the JCC movement and the camping field as an expert among her peers."

In Etzkin's role as assistant executive director, he will continue overseeing camp as the supervisor of Rennert, as well as the JCC's other program and operational staff.

Rennert shared that she has been looking to relocate out of New York for some time, but never found the right combination of lifestyle and career opportunity. "Once I came down to Orlando for my interview, I instantly fell in love with the staff, the job, and the city."

She's very much looking forward to connecting with the JCC's families and growing the programs.

"I want the parents to be happy, the staff to be happy, and most of all-the children to be safe, happy and growing socially, emotionally and building resiliency."

Rennert considers her mentors to be Michael Brandwein and Bob Ditter, two highly respected and renowned experts in the camping field. She's an active member of the American Camping Association, with which she is credentialed to visit any camp nationwide to assess their accreditation compliance.  Last year, she served on the program committee for ACA's Tristate Camping Conference-the largest camping conference in the nation-and helped secure Hillary Clinton as their keynote speaker.

She can't imagine her life today without the JCC.

"Being at the JCC my whole life molded me as a person," said Rennert. "It made me stronger, gave me a Jewish foundation and a valued group of friends, peers, coworkers and families whom I truly adore."

She is encouraging of parents to reach out to her for anything.

"I am a people person and love to help and get to know new people. I really feel that JCC programs help children immensely, and anyone that isn't already a part of the JCC, should definitely call me to try a program."

Rennert can be reached at SaraR@orlandojcc.org or 407-621-4038. For more information about The Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando, visit orlandojcc.org.


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