Our Team

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.

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.

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!

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.

Havi Goldscher, Chief Development 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sam Brown, Special Projects Manager

Sam is the Special Projects Manager, overseeing events such as the 30th anniversary celebration, creating print and digital materials for the camp and development teams, and assisting our staff in many ways. For more than 20 years, Sam has worked in the Jewish community in various roles to further connectivity between families and organizations. Prior to joining Capital Camps, Sam worked for the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia in community engagement. Sam’s love of camp runs very deep, as she was a third generation camper at Camp Che-na-wah in the Adirondacks, where her parents met. Living in Rockville, MD with her husband,  Michael, they chose Capital Camps for their three daughters because of the menschlichkeit values Capital Camps camp promotes.