If you’re a camper or a parent of a camper who’s been to Camp Matollionequay, you’ve surely met Marlana. She’s an amazing, hard-working, versatile leader, who’s been here practically forever so she knows our organization through and through. And she knows how to get things done!
“Marlana is awesome,” says Camp Matollionequay Director Gab Ostroski. “We’re so fortunate to have her here at camp for another summer season. She’s done just about every job there is to do here – and she has a good understanding of the different age groups and how to work with our campers. This summer, she’ll be our parent liaison at Matolly. She’s excited to partner with the parents so that we, as an organization, can set their children up for success and collaborate as a team. “
“The parent liaison position is just another level of support for parents – they’ll have someone they can reach out to while their children are at camp,” Gab added.
So read the following Q&A interview to learn a little bit more about Marlana:
How long have you worked at Camp Matollionequay – and in what capacity?
- My first summer working at Matolly was in 2003; this coming summer will be my 17th summer on staff and my 23rd summer being at camp.
- From 1997–2000, I attended Lake Stockwell Day Camp as a camper and LIT (Leader-in-Training), and from 1999-2002 – I was a Matolly camper. I also did the Rangers (Now BOLD & GOLD) program 4 times, and was a CIT (Counselor-in-Training). Fun fact Gab was my CIT Director!
Here are some of my other roles over the years:
2003- Assistant Counselor – Cherokee Village
2004- General Counselor – Cherokee Village
2005- CIT Director (I was supposed to be the boating director but we had no lake due to the 1,000-year storm that took out two of our dams)
2006- Seneca Village Chief
2007-08 – CIT/LIT Director
2009-11 – Waterfront Director/Program Director
2012-13 – Program Director
2014 – Health Care Provider
2015-18 – Assistant Camp Director and I ran the Matolly Trading Post
What other roles have you taken on at the organization?
- From September 2009 – November 2010 – I was the Assistant Schools Out Director.
- From April 2017-June 2017 – I filled in while the Schools Out director was on maternity leave and also wrote some curriculum for that program.
- From 2011 – Present, I have been a Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor, and have certified over 160 lifeguards at camp to date. (This makes me proud and happy!)
What will you be doing this summer at Matolly?
My role this summer will be the parent liaison and mental health specialist. In this position, I will be one of the primary points of contact between campers and parents. I hope to help ease the transition for new campers – to help them feel welcome and to keep parents in the loop about what’s happening while their child is at camp. I hope to help relieve any concerns they may have. I also plan to meet with both new and returning campers each session to check in and to receive feedback on their camp experience and how or if there is anything we can improve upon while they are at camp. My role as a mental health specialist will be to provide support for anyone in our care who may be having social or emotional difficulties as well as mental health issues or crisis that may pop up while at camp.
Is this a new role for you?
This is a new role although some of the responsibilities I held under my role as assistant director will be the same.
What’s your educational background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree from Cabrini College in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Counseling in Educational Settings from Rowan University. I hold certifications in teaching K-6, and as a certified school counselor in K-12, and have also received certification in Mental Health First Aid.
What is your job during the non-camp season?
Presently, I am working in a self-contained pre-school classroom in the Shamong School District, where I have worked for several years in different capacities. I have previously taught Pre-K, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades, and have done some long-term substitute positions at the high school level as a school counselor and student assistance counselor. My dream job would be a full-time position as a high school guidance counselor.
How do you think your non-camp work and educational background will benefit you in this new this summer?
I’ve worked in a lot of different settings with children ages 3 to 18, so I believe all my experience and training will set my new role up for success. My main goal is to help campers have a fun and enjoyable experience at camp. I also hope to provide support, tools and coaching to our counselors to set them up for a great summer as well.
Do you think parents will benefit from having a parent liaison at Matolly?
Absolutely! The needs of campers and parents are changing in this “digital age” and I hope to help bring some piece of mind, while also letting them feel connected to their child’s camp experience.
What do you like the most about Camp Matollionequay?
Working at camp for me is one of my favorite times of year. While camp can be crazy with lots of things always going on, I find it to be an enjoyable and relaxing place to be. Matolly is a place where you can escape the rest of the world and just have fun. Over the years, I have loved getting to see campers grow up at camp to become CITs, staff members and then members of the leadership team. I also love working with Gab; we have spent so many summers together and are not only great co-workers but close friends.
Are you excited about Summer 2019?
I am very excited! I am excited to be in a new role that has more of a focus on camper and staff well-being at camp. I love the change of pace camp brings and to be surrounded by wonderful people who constantly build each other up. I also can’t wait to go swimming in the lake, hopefully much more this summer than in previous years!
Reach out to Marlana this summer at 609-654-1440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.