Home

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

Hear the "Good Morning" song

Meet Our Staff

Michael GarciaGarcia.jpg

Director of Camping Services
(716) 688-4114 x333

Education:

Bachelor Degree in Humans Services from Springfield College (MA) 

Started at JCC:

November 2017

Relevant Background Experiences:

Working in camping in the YMCA for the past 28 years.  I have run small city camps all the way up to large outdoor day camps.  I volunteer with the American Camp Association (ACA) as a visitor and will be completing a training in December 2017 to become an instructor for the ACA.  I have a consulting business that focuses on youth development with an expertise in camping and before/ after school programs. 

Hometown and Current Residence:

I am from New Milford, CT and live in Williamsville, NY since July 2016.

Interesting Tidbit About You:

I am not sure I have a tidbit Smile My wife and I have been married for 20 years and we have a 16 year old son.  We love to go on hikes and enjoy being outside.  I am high energy and I am passionate about working with children.

Basic Philosophy or Outlook on Life:

I am a camp guy through & through.  I have been working with children my entire life.  I believe it is important when working with children that you have a focus.  I have three areas I like to focus on when working with children.  1. Belonging: I believe that children need to create a sense of belonging in their community.  Every child this summer should say “this is MY CAMP”.  This will allow them to own their actions and be committed to creating a better world around them. 2. Achievement – Children need to have a sense of real achievement in their lives.  Not the everybody gets a trophy philosophy but a true sense of being a success.  We need to redefine success for them.  Allowing them to set their own goals and helping them to achieve them.  3. Relationships – I believe that children need to work on building relationships. Not just with other campers but with the staff.  If we can put a positive role model in the life of every child we will be better off.

.


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.


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.