Staff Spotlight: Stef Gillman

 

Hometown: Merrick, NY 

Favorite Band: Sting and the Police, James Taylor

Hobbies: Yoga, hiking, kayaking, and my cat Nugget.

Favorite Summer Themed Movie: Now and Then 

Favorite Food: All cake, especially cake with coconut in it 

 

Tell us a little about yourself: Born and raised on Long Island, summer camp became one of the threads of my childhood. My younger brother and I grew up attending day camp and then transitioned to sleepaway camp when I was in 3rd grade. My mom worked Arts and Crafts and my dad would come up on the weekends to do rocketry and play on the staff softball team. Camp became our home away from home. I always felt most at ease at camp– it was my place to shine, take risks, and grow in every possible way. 

As I got older, I began playing competitive soccer and had to choose between soccer or camp. I chose soccer– one of the biggest regrets of my life. It paid off, though, and I ended up earning a scholarship to play at American University in Washington D.C. There I studied Public Communication with a minor in Education Studies. At the time, I knew I wanted to work with kids but not as a teacher. So, I went on for my Masters in School Counseling at George Washington University and later, earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. I’ve worked as a school counselor (teaching Life 101), since 2007 in private and public schools in Virginia and in south Florida. 

I have always been committed to working with young people so woven in between my studies and the school year, were summers at day camp and working teen tours. I enjoyed these summers so much that I soon developed  this dream that “in my next lifetime, I’d work at camp year ‘round.” This year while in pursuit of a summer job at camp, I stumbled upon the Assistant Director position at Blue Ridge. The stars were aligned and well, here I am! I cannot express how excited I am to return “home” to camp. 

What are you most excited about: Connecting with like minded camp fanatics and becoming immersed in the rich traditions of Blue Ridge. 

What was your favorite “Evening Lineup” segment: Richie’s Friday night stories. I love a good story that tugs on your heart strings and makes you want to be a better person. 

What is your favorite camp quote: “That’s OK… let’s try again!” It really speaks to how camp is a safe place to make mistakes and use them as learning opportunities. 

What is your favorite camp meal: Though I don’t eat meat anymore, I have fond memories of camp cookouts. And I always loved “bug juice.” 

What is your favorite camp activity: Color War!

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