Lisa Handelman, Camp Director
Lisa joined the Capital Camps team as summer staff in 2004 and as camp director in 2020. Lisa believes in the strong connection between Jewish camping and fostering strong, committed, Jewish identities for both campers and staff. It worked for her, having grown up as a Jewish camper. It is why her husband, Ken and she decided that their four children, Josh, Elana, Aaron and Dalia would be Capital Camps campers. Collectively the Handelman family has limitless memories of fun, meaningful, camp moments – there is nothing quite like the magic of a Capital Camps summer!
Lisa has served in many leadership positions, including Disability Inclusion Specialist at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Founder and Director of Capital Camps’ inclusion program, 5th/6th Grade Director at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Adjunct Professor at George Washington University, Program Coordinator at Sulam, among others.
In addition a BA degree in psychology from Clark University and a MA degree in special education from NYU, Lisa has earned numerous certifications and awards, recognizing the accomplishments and success she has achieved throughout the various stages of her life. She has also published a number of articles related to Jewish camping, inclusion, and the Jewish community as a whole.email Lisa
Melissa Grossman, Assistant Camp Director
Melissa joined Capital Camps’ team following 13 successful years in recruiting and professional development at a global law firm. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Melissa attended overnight camp for 11 summers. Once her daughter made Capital Camps her summer home, she knew she had to get back to camp. After a brief time on the CCRC Board of Directors, she joined the agency as a year-round staff member. As Assistant Director, Melissa focuses on programming, recruiting and other initiatives. She graduated from the University of Delaware with degrees in Communications, Jewish Studies and Theater Arts, and received her Master’s degree in Organizational Development from The George Washington University. Melissa, with her husband, Matt, and their two children live in Arlington, VA.email Melissa
Austin Theis, Assistant Camp Director
Austin joined the Capital Camps community in 2011 as a Counselor and Archery Specialist. Over the past nine years, he’s been a part of the Capitals Camps summer staff team in a variety of roles, including Sports Coordinator, Staff Engagement Coordinator, and Retreat Staff. Austin’s love for summer camp developed when he attended summer camp in central Pennsylvania for eight summers. Austin holds a B.S.Ed in Secondary Education and Social Studies from Lock Haven University in central Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Capital Camps year-round team, Austin was a high school History and Special Education teacher near Richmond, VA, which allowed him to return to Capital Camps summer after summer. Austin’s combined experience as a teacher and Capital Camps staff have perfectly prepared him for his role as Assistant Director. Outside of work, Austin enjoys staying active in a variety of ways and cheering on the Washington Capitals. GO CAPS!email Austin
Ron Siegel, Chief Operating Officer
Ron Siegel has worked in the Jewish Non-Profit field for more than 20 years and has been with Capital Camps and Retreat Center since 2015 serving as the COO. In this capacity, Ron oversees the retreat business as well as supervising operations and vendor partnerships for both camp and the retreat center. Prior to working at CCRC, Ron was the Vice President of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore. His portfolio at the Baltimore JCC included Camping Services, Fitness, Aquatics, Recreation and Security.
Ron began his career at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, Missouri. He worked at the JCC in St. Louis in several capacities for more than 10 years prior to becoming the Continental Assistant Director of the JCC Maccabi Games in 2003. Ron moved with his family to the Baltimore area in 2006. He and his wife Sharon have two daughters, Rebecca and Jennifer.email Ron
Havi Goldscher, Interim Chief Executive Officer
Havi joined in 2018, to oversee the agency’s development and engagement efforts, including the Annual Campaign, Legacy giving, Capital Campaign, Endowment funds, as well as alumni and Board engagement. In October 2020, Havi took on the role of Interim CEO for CCRC.
Prior to her time at Capital Camps, Havi spent 14 years at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). During her final four years at AIPAC, Havi was responsible for building and executing a national lay leadership program, ensuring the goals of the organization were met in partnership with key leaders. Prior to that role, Havi served as the Deputy Director of Development, tasked with retaining relationships with the organization’s key stateholders, as well as supporting foundations. Havi began her professional career at Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee.
Originally from Philadelphia, Havi earned a degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, after participating in Young Judaea Year Course. Her love of camping was solidified after spending seven summers as a camper and counselor at Camp Wingate * Kirkland. Havi, her husband Eric, and their three children, Ezra, Jonah and Orli, live in Silver Spring, MD.email Havi
Jim Duff, Chief Financial Officer
Jim joined Capital Camps in 2016 and is CPA with over 40 years of business experience serving a variety of clients and not for profit organizations. Prior to coming to Capital Camps, Jim served as the Treasurer of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Jim resides in Mclean VA.email Jim
Ruth Burka, Director, Finance and Administration
Ruth has been a member of our year-round team for 21 years. Ruth’s work focuses on all things relating to Finance and Administration, including Human Resources, and management of our Financial Aid Program. Ruth lives in Olney, MD with her husband, Ben. She is the proud parent of three former campers and counselors – her son Lawrence and his wife, Allee, who met at camp in 10th grade, and her daughter Randi.email Ruth
Penny Hartzman, Office Administrator
Penny has been a part of our year-round team for 17 years. Prior to becoming the Agency Office Administrator, she was the Camp Registrar. Penny now handles the Agency and Camp Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable. She lives in Gaithersburg, MD with her dog, Lucy, and is the proud mother of two former campers, David and Deanna.email Penny
Our staff team is comprised of approximately 175 individuals with incredibly diverse backgrounds. Our Leadership Team members bring them a wealth of experience as teachers, social workers, childcare professionals, and managers. Some of our bunk-based staff are former campers or former counselors while others are looking for a new experience as a camp counselor. Staff members hail from the United States, Israel, Great Britain, and other countries as well. Each staff member has skills necessary to complete his/her job at camp. Our sports specialists are trained coaches, our lifeguards are certified through the American Red Cross, and our art specialists have extensive work in the arts. The diversity of experiences on our staff provide us a beautiful blend of individuals who help us preserve our past, while enriching our future.
Interested in joining our team?