Staff Committed to Working with Kids
The spirit and energy you feel at Camp Chi comes from our staff. We personally screen and select our team from hundreds of applicants from across the country and the world. Our staff have diverse backgrounds and interests, but have one thing in common – a never-ending dedication to working with kids.
Our low 1 to 3 staff-to-camper ratio exceeds the recommendation by the American Camp Association (1 to 6) and assures that each camper and cabin group receives individualized attention.
To achieve our goal of providing the highest quality camp experience, we hire two different groups of exceptional staff: specialists with expertise to provide instruction in activities and nurturing counselors who are solely focused on leading cabin groups and providing camper care. Social workers, qualified health staff, professional food service and countless staff behind-the-scenes provide additional support.
Experienced Camp Leadership
Jon Levin, Director
After many years at camps around the Country, Jon returned to Camp Chi in 2018, becoming Director in 2020. He has been working in Jewish camping for over 30 years, with over 20 of those years as a camp director. Jon and his wife Martha along with their dogs reside year-round at Chi. They have 4 grandchildren from Martha’s 3 boys, one each living in St. Louis, Miami and Pittsburgh. Jon is a graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation. In addition to his years as a Camp Director, Jon has worked in JCC management, Home based Tech Sales and owned his own Camp food service business for several years before returning to camp management and the Camp Chi family. The Levin family has been involved in Camp Chi leadership since the 1970’s and the 3rd generation of the Levin family are now campers. Jon’s role is to oversee all of Camp Chi, with direct supervision of Health Services, Food Service, Perlstein Retreat Center and all of Camp Chi Facilities. Email Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle Kolling, Associate Director
Kyle Kolling has spent every summer at Camp Chi since 2001. Beginning as a young two-week camper he worked his way up to a full time role at the beginning of 2016 and now serves as the Associate Director of Camp Chi. Kyle is a licensed educator, holding a bachelor’s degree in education from Illinois State University. In 2019 Kyle was selected as a Merrin Teen Professional Fellow in 2019 with members of the Jewish professional community from around the country to develop new and innovative opportunities for Jewish Teens. In 2021 Kyle received the Samuel A Goldsmith Young Professionals award from JUF of Chicago. Growing up at Camp Chi, Kyle understands how truly impactful it can be and strives to keep the Chi Flame burning bright year after year. As associate director oversees the programmatic aspects of Camp Chi, including both village life and area programming. You can reach Kyle at email@example.com.
Sam Isenstein, Assistant Director
Sam has spent many of her summers at Camp Chi as a camper, SIT and held various positions at Chi including counselor, PNW trip leader and village supervisor. Sam received her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in International Studies, and her master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Davidson School of Education in New York. Prior to working at Camp Chi, Sam has worked in the Chicago Jewish community for over a decade as a Jewish educator. Sam and her husband Brian, met at Camp Chi and even held their wedding at camp! Sam and Brian are excited for their two kids to become 3rd generation Camp Chi campers. At camp, Sam supervises Chalutzim (7th Grade) and the mini sessions Garinim (3rd Grade), Yeladim (4/5 Grades), Kadima (6/7 Grades), as well as our Cornerstone Fellows, Israeli Shlichim and some other areas at camp. You can reach Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Natalie Kolling, New Family Outreach & Operations Manager
Natalie Kolling has always had a passion for working at camp. In fact, she spent 6 years working at a Day Camp before she joined the Chi team in 2017. Natalie received her degree in Education at Illinois State University and has a license in teaching. In 2021 Natalie became a part of a JCulture cohort training staff on how to implementing safe, respectful, diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces. She believes this mindset is very important in a camp setting since the values learned at Chi can shape who you become. As the business manager, Natalie works on a lot of the behind the scenes processes of camp and is also a certified lifeguard instructor training the Camp Chi aquatics staff each year. Natalie recently became a mom and is excited for her little one to join the Camp Chi family soon. You can reach Natalie at email@example.com.
Jennifer McCarrel, Administration Manager
Jennifer is our Administration Manager at Camp Chi and joined the camp Chi team in 2023. She will be working with Natalie and overseeing the year-round registration process, and with our camp technology needs. She has been sending her daughter to residential camps for the last 6 years, who herself is now a counsellor at another location. You can find Jennifer and her dog Madden exploring camp or sourcing the best snacks on campus. Jennifer brings the Camp Chi family a long history of administrative and technology support in the financial industry. She is very passionate about “The Great Outdoors” and its impact on youth development. Jennifers role at camp is working in the camp office on registration, communication, and technology, in addition to administrating the camp security mechanisms. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jared London, Program Coordinator
Jared, more commonly known as J-Lo around camp, has spent almost two decades at Chi as a camper, SIT of 14, counselor and village leader. J-Lo’s biggest passion is camp and the surrounding culture. He hopes to spend many more years at the greatest place on earth… Camp Chi! As Program Coordinator, J-Lo is responsible for the planning and implementation of camp-wide programs and retreats, both in season and offseason, Chi Town Connection- our youth group for teens, and the hiring process for our domestic staff. Over the summer J-Lo supervises Habo and Noar, our 8th, 9th, and 10th grade units. Email J-Lo at email@example.com.
Ely London, Community Care Coordinator
Camp Chi has been Ely London’s home for 12 summers as camper, SIT of 2016, and a staff member. At camp she loves stargazing, song sessions, grilled cheese Sundays and spending her summers with her best friends. As the Community Care Coordinator, she’ll be supervising our younger villages by working closely with the village leaders. She will also be working with the Community Care team to make sure that every member of our community is set up for success before, during and after camp! Ely Graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in dance. Ely supervises Shoreshim (4th-5th grade) and Tsofim (6th grade) at camp. You can email Ely at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonno Appel, Outdoor Adventure Coordinator
Jonno has spent his career developing and facilitating experiences that help folks grow by stepping out of their comfort zones in safe and supported ways. He’s guided, planned, and managed logistics for over 75 multi-day group adventure tours in 8 different countries. Jonno also has years of experience in program development, designing and implementing nature-oriented volunteer programs in Costa Rica and the United States. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, is a certified Wilderness First Responder, and is a certified AcroYoga instructor. At camp Jonno will be directly supervising the Outpost Village, managing the logistics and training for the PNW trip, and running Camp’s overnights and outdoor adventures. You can email Jonno at email@example.com.
Jessie Lankford, Logistics Manager
Jessie has spent the last 15 years at Camp Chi in a variety of roles including camper, counselor, village leader, and most recently programming director. Jessie manages the programmatic sides and behind the scenes of camp as well as works with the American Camping Association to help maintain our accreditation. She received both a Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago. Jessie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who also treats adolescents, teens, and young adults outside of her time at camp. Over the summer Jessie will continue to supervise all of Camp Chi’s programmatic needs from the daily schedule to field trips and more. Contact Jessie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joelle Kelenson, Keshet Director of Recreation & Camp Chi Inclusion Coordinator
Joelle was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. From a young age, she was passionate about giving back and making a difference in the world. Her career has been spent working in the Jewish community starting at the JCC in Northern Virginia as the School Age Services Director. Joelle then spent six years at Camp Chi, most recently as the Associate Director. In this role, she worked alongside Keshet to develop Camp Chi’s approach to camper care. Most recently, Joelle moved to a full-time position with Keshet, as the Director of Recreation. Her role is to help build inclusive programs and ensure campers needs are met in the world of after school, Sunday school and of course summer camp! Joelle holds a Master of Social work from Columbia University and Master of Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.