Meet the Camp Director: Jonathan Daniel

Friday, May 4, 2018

As Summer Camp approaches, we're introducing you to our Durham YMCA Camp Directors. Before your kids spend their summer with our directors, learn more about them!

What camps do you oversee?

I am the camp director for our camps at the Hope Valley Farms YMCA: Camp Frontier and Kindercamp.

How long have you worked for the Y?

Going on 7 years. I started as a counselor at Camp Sea Gull, then became the Assistant Operations Director there. I became a Track Out Counselor at the Kerr Family YMCA, then an After School Director there. I worked for the Y in Tampa, at the Bob Sierra YMCA in Youth. Then I came back here to work in Durham and had a great time with our Camp Bull Run programs at the Lakewood YMCA in 2017!

What is your first memory of camp?

My first camp memory is from Camp Sea Gull. I was 10, in Cabin 27 with Bill Duff. I cried when I first got there, but Bill gave me special attention. He took the time to introduce me to sailing, and I fell in love with it. If not for Bill, I probably would not have stayed at camp.

What made you decide to make a career out of being a part of YMCA youth programs?

I was working at Camp Sea Gull on a weekend around college graduation time. Henry DeHart approached me and said I should think of the Y as a career. I’d never actually ever considered it. I reached out to Walt Reynolds, who connected me to the right folks and helped me get my first job with the Y. 
Camp had made a transformational impact in my life, and I looked up to Henry. So for him to say I should consider it really impacted me and meant a lot.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to any parents of first-time campers?

Your child will get as much out of camp as he or she feels they’re allowed to get. Giving your child permission to try new things and take part in things will lead to a richer, more memorable experience for them!
The YMCA offers camps for a wide variety of ages and interests. To learn more about Durham YMCA Summer Day Camps, visit our Day Camp Page.