Get To Know Alli Muser, Your New Camp Connector


Alli Muser is excited to be getting back into the workforce – and in her dream job at that. This mother of two, who originally hails from Rockland County, NY, has taken on the role of the Macks CJE (Center for Jewish Education) Camp Connector, helping families find the best camp for their children.

It’s the perfect position for this former teacher, and long-time camper, who grew up attending Tranquility Camp in upstate New York. Camp had a major impact on Alli’s life, and she wants to share that with others in the community.

A graduate of Towson University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, Alli sat down with us to talk about her new role, what camp means to her and how she hopes to help her adopted Baltimore Jewish community, a place she now affectionately calls home.

How has Camp impacted your life?

I started going to sleepaway camp very young. It gave me such a sense of independence and an opportunity to really figure out who I was. You get to choose your activities and you get to make your own friends. At home, your parents sighed you up for whatever sport you were going to play. But at camp, you get to choose. This may be cliché, but it was very life changing. I think parents are far more intimidated by overnight camp, and I can leverage my experiences to help the parents in that process.

What is a Camp Connector?

I’m a liaison between camps and directors and campers and families. I’ve been developing relationships with the directors of the camps that are part of our network and work with parents to help connect them to the right people. I help people figure out which is the best for them while providing them all the information I possibly can.

In addition to helping parents and campers choose which camp best suits them, I’m also an advocate for the idea of Jewish camping in the community. My hope is to encourage more families to choose Jewish camping opportunities for their children.

What is a common obstacle you address with parents?

There are so many different options and a wealth of information about each camp. Sometimes I don’t think families know where to start. Parents previously had to go to each camp’s website and collect all that information themselves. I think that was an overwhelming process. My hope is that I make it less overwhelming by being able to have all that information and provide it in a way they are better able to navigate through the decision-making process.

Why do you think the Jewish camp experience is so important?

I would say for my generation of parents that the experience of Judaism has changed for a lot of people. There are more interfaith marriages, more people are choosing public school versus private school. Camp is this fun, almost non-threatening environment for families regardless of how much they observe or not. Camp has this ability to weave Judaism and the cultural aspects and all those things into a fun environment. I think it’s such a great way outside of a synagogue or school, which is very structured and formal, to provide an alternative Jewish experience for kids.

When choosing a camp, what is one thing you think parents focus too much on and something they should research more?

The biggest thing I try to work on with parents is to focus more on your own child than anything else. That’s not to say they don’t have their child’s best interests at heart. But a lot of parents get caught up with ‘My best friend sent her kids to this camp’ and ‘I went to that camp growing up.’ I think it’s important to look at your child’s personality and their needs and see which camp is the right fit, not which camp is the most popular. I have two boys who are very close in age, but they are still very individual and have different likes, dislikes and needs. And I think there are different camps that would suit one of my boys better than another. Take a closer look at who your child is and where they will fit in best. That will support their growth as humans and as Jews.

What advice would you give a parent whose child is about to start overnight camp?

It’s going to be much harder for you than it is for them <laughs>. They will be fine. Those firsts for parents are really hard. But you’ve done the research, you’ve chosen a place that is safe and warm and loving. They’re going to take care of your children like they were one of their own.

What is your favorite camp memory?

My favorite memory would probably be Shabbat. Camp Shabbat is very different than Shabbat in the outside world. You get to be with your friends, and it doesn’t feel obligatory. It feels fun. After a long week of exciting camp activities, you get this day to truly relax and unwind and prepare for the next week. It’s more immersive because you’re living there, and you get this full day experience.

Then, of course, there’s the obvious stuff like color wars and all those fun campy things <laughs>.

What is your favorite thing to do in Baltimore?

Even when they’re not great <laughs>, I very much enjoy going to Orioles games with my husband. I like the atmosphere at Camden Yards. We did start bringing our kids to the games but obviously COVID has changed things.

What about activities with your kids or as a family?

We have very much found our place in the Jewish community here. We enjoy Tot Shabbat and participating in all the fun, especially outdoor opportunities for families in the area.

My kids are at that age when they’re starting to play sports so our schedules are getting busy. We’ve got Hebrew school on Sundays and games on Saturdays and practices during the week. And my kids love being outside.

How can people get in touch if they want to take next steps?

The best, first step is to visit livecamp.org. There’s a lot of useful information to help get parents started. There are videos and guides as well as a list of The Associated’s partner day and overnight Jewish camps.

I’m also available by phone or email, which can be found on the page but are camping@cjebaltimore.org or 201-417-0294. I’d be happy to help you find the right camp!

The Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education is a constituent agency of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore


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