Brian Mitchell became the Director of Camp Daisy and Harry Stein in February 2013. Brian is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up as a camper and counselor growing up at Camp Sabra in the Lake of the Ozarks. A graduate of the University of Indiana at Bloomington, Brian has spent the majority of his adult life as a Jewish professional.
Prior to becoming our Camp Director, Brian was the Director of the University of Missouri Hillel at Columbia. More particular to the skill set necessary to lead our camp, Brian spent five years (2006-2011) as the full time Senior Assistant Director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Crane Lake Camp in West Stockbridge, MA. Brian served as one of two senior professionals and was responsible for recruiting over 700 campers and supervising 200 staff members (making Crane Lake roughly twice the size of Camp Stein). He was directly responsible for planning and organizing the summer session, including overnight planning, daily and weekly schedules, staff supervision and camper support. According to his glowing recommendations, Brian was beloved by campers, parents and staff for his professionalism, warmth, humor and menschlikite.
In addition to his years as a professional leader in the setting of a Jewish summer camp, there were several other experiences and skills which impressed our committee. In his third year as Senior Assistant Director, Brian oversaw the transition from the long time, beloved Camp Director of Crane Lake to their current Director. This experience gave him an acute awareness of the personal and professional sensitivities involved in transitioning from one director to another. From that transition, he recognized the nuances of maintaining institutional continuity and history while, at the same time, envisioning the importance of moving forward and creating a safe and healthy Jewish summer camp environment for campers and staff. Brian has also been a member and standards visitor of the American Camping Association which gives him a strong commitment to health and safety issues along with an eye toward strict adherence to the ACA standards for operating a top notch camp site. Furthermore, included in Brian’s credentials in informal Jewish education are participation as a “Yitro Fellow” through the Foundation for Jewish Camp from 2009-2012 and his leadership of seven Birthright Israel trips through the URJ’s Kesher program.
Brian resides in Scottsdale, and his parents live in St. Louis. He has one sister, a brother-in-law, a niece and nephew who live in Kansas City, Missouri.
Taylor was born and raised in Overland Park, KS, and grew up attending Congregation Beth Torah. She has worked in the Jewish world since the age of 13 as a Madricha (teacher’s aide) in Hebrew and Sunday School. She went on to become the Religious and Culture Vice President (RCVP) of her own BTTY (Beth Torah Temple Youth), and is so excited to continue working with our youth, CBI’s BITY. Taylor attended a variety of Jewish summer camps growing up including Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), in Indiana, and The Union for Reform Judaism’s summer home, KUTZ Camp. She went on to staff at GUCI the summer before she entered college. The following summer, she participated in the Brandeis Collegiate Institute summer program. In addition, she took an internship with the Jewish Federation of Kansas City in the summer of 2011 while also working part-time at her home congregation. The summer after she graduated, Taylor worked as a staff member and Cornerstone Fellow at Camp Mountain Chai in Big Bear, CA. She is dedicated to working with Jewish youth to develop their Jewish selves both within the Jewish world, and within the larger, secular world.
In academics, for her outstanding academic excellence and commitment to pursue a profession in the religious world, Taylor was an H.I. Hester Scholar from 2010-2013 at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. She was also awarded the W.D. Johnson Religion Award for academic excellence in the religion department. Taylor graduated from William Jewell College with a Bachelor’s degree in Religion, and was hired at Congregation Beth Israel in the fall of 2013.
Taylor is currently in charge of the social programming for k-12 at CBI, a teacher in CBI’s High School program, Ma’ayan, and was the Judaics Director at Camp Daisy and Harry Stein this summer. She is also pursuing a Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults.
Taylor curently lives in Scottsdale, while her parents, older brother and sister-in-law live in Overland Park, KS.