Today we have a very special guest! Randy Comensky has been the Children and Camping Director for the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston (ERJCC) for five years now. The ERJCC has been a safe place where families and individuals come together for friendship and socialization for over 70 years. The mission of the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston is to develop and strengthen Jewish identity, foster Jewish values and enrich the Jewish community and the greater community. Randy spoke with me about his motivation behind taking this position, why he thinks the ERJCC is so successful with children and adults, and his vision for the future. Check out our Q&A interview below!
What is your position, what does it entail and what do you like most about it?
My position is Director of Children, Teen and Camping Services, which entails programming at the ERJCC from Kindergarten through High School. I enjoy building the relationships with families and creating programs that allow children to meet new friends.
What do you think was the most successful summer camp program, and why?
Our specialty camps were very successful, especially Cooking Camp. With Cooking Camp, the ERJCC partners with Rice Epicurean Markets to offer campers the opportunity to learn techniques, create meals and enjoy eating their creations.
What are some of your after-school and year-round programs that you are excited about?
The ERJCC offers an after school program called KidZone where campers can take advantage of what the ERJCC has to offer. We have the children participate in gymnastics, sports, tennis, swimming, creative movement and a supervised homework room.
There are many things to consider in choosing the right camp for children. What are the top 3 things you think are most important for parents to keep in mind?
The ERJCC offers swimming lessons for children entering grade 2 and under and there is no additional charge for it. This is a huge bonus that many other camps in Houston do not offer. Our staff is also where we really shine. All of our staff goes through a training and background checks prior to the campers arriving to camp. They are energetic, fun and the campers really enjoy looking up to these role models.
What is your philosophy for working with kids?
My philosophy for working with children is pretty simple; children need to feel safe and be safe, in a fun and enriching environment.
How do you think the ERJCC’s approach to kids is different and more effective?
We just like to do things right. At the ERJCC, it is important to be evaluated by parents and campers alike and change things if they are not being done correctly. We always ask: how are we doing? This feedback is very valuable and we use it with our committees to enhance our programming for the future.
How do you see camps and year-round programs growing in the future? What is your vision for the ERJCC?
My vision for the ERJCC’s future programs includes technology-driven programs and facilities where children and teens can feel comfortable and build relationships. We have to be a place where children and teens want to come and be with their friends.
The ERJCC summer camps for kids include gymnastics, art, hip hop, sports, and more. Throughout the rest of the year, they have after-school programs and day camps. If you live in Houston, be sure to check out the ERJCC!