Camp is Amee Cookler’s Happy Place


Camp is Amee Cookler’s Happy Place. Plain and simple. Looking back at her childhood in Baltimore, Amee remembers loving two things the most — summers and camp.

“I grew up going to Jewish day camps in this area as well as two sleepover camps,” recalls Amee. “Camp was my happy place.”

Every day brought a new adventure for Amee, whether it was playing Gaga, snagging an extra popsicle or flying down the zip line. But one memory sticks out to Amee in particular.

“Holding the counselor’s hand, walking from activity to activity, it just stuck out to me,” she recalls. “It’s meaningless to so many but it was that counselor who made you feel like you were part of a group. I ultimately got to be that counselor when I was older and making every kid in my bunk fit in and have fun and laugh all day was amazing to me.”

“Another memory that sticks out to me is color war and having so much camp spirit. I remember the excitement I felt dressing head-to-toe in my color and losing my voice from screaming.”

After Amee married, she moved to Rockville where she and her husband started a family. Their connections, and their temple in Rockville, was so special and nurturing and played a significant role in their lives.

“Jewish summer camp became our main connection to Jewish peers and a happy place for our kids.”

Fast forward ten years when the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. After ten years Amee, her husband and her three kids packed the car and returned to Baltimore.

Connecting Communities with Camp

With a return to Baltimore came a return to Amee’s roots. She recently took on the role as The Macks Center for Jewish Connection’s new Camp Connector. As Camp Connector, Amee is tasked with being a liaison between families and camp directors in the camp selection process.

“Everybody is completely different. Whether it’s finances or your child’s interests. If somebody comes to me with questions or needs guidance, I try to connect with them with the right people or steer them towards the right camp for their child.”

Amee has hit the ground running in her new role, developing relationships with various directors, and learning the ins and outs of each camp. From swimming programs to Shabbat services, to theater productions to Jewish engagement, Amee matches a child with a camp that will help them grow and give them unforgettable experiences.

“If your kid is into sports, I might recommend a camp with a robust sports program. if your kid would shine in a theater production then I would help parents explore camps with an active creative arts and theatre program.”

Looking to the future, Amee is of course excited about her new role.

“I’m ready to connect with people on something that I’m passionate about but I’m also looking forward to meeting new people — it’s the best of both worlds.”

Amee is happy to be back home with family as well.

“My family is here. It’s where my parents and my three siblings are – and all of them have kids around the same age as my kids. I’m a huge family person.”

Since their return to Baltimore, Amee’s family has enjoyed going out for dinner on weekend evenings and lounging by the pool. Now that it’s colder, they’ve been enjoying play dates and family gatherings.

“We always let the kids get a Shirley Temple and we cheers to a good week,” she says.

And with the new year approaching, Amee is starting to look for camp for her own children as well!


Ready for Camp but don’t know where to start? The first step is to visit livecamp.org for useful information and tips to help parents get started. You can also see a list of The Associated’s partner day and overnight Jewish camps.

Amee is also ready to help as well! You can reach her by email at camping@jewishconnect.org.





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