Stefan Teodosic is the Executive Director of B’nai B’rith Beber Camp and the Perlman Conference Center in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.
Teodosic doesn’t sound like a Jewish last name and that is because of the simple fact that it isn’t. My mother is Jewish (Rubin is her family name), my father is not and I grew up in a secular, intermarried home. My parents got divorced when I was almost 9 and that is the summer that I went to Jewish summer camp for the first time. I went to Camp Tamarack in Michigan and for a young child of a recent divorced intermarried couple, it was a perfect fit. I began to connect to my Jewish identity, I had positive male role models, I gained self-esteem and I even picked up some new camp skills along the way. Camp Tamarack made an indelible impression on me and it gave me an incredibly strong Jewish identity. My friends at home were Jewish, I joined BBYO and NFTY, I went on an Israel trip and I felt completely connected. I stayed at camp for 15 summers as a camper, CIT, counselor and leadership staff member. It was my life, it was my support system, it was where I felt safe and it was my second home.
I knew that I wanted to be a camp director when I was a 17 years old TSS (counselor in training) at Camp Tamarack. When I was at camp, working with kids or in a specialty area, everything made sense. I felt like Neo in The Matrix, where everything moved in slow motion and I could clearly see every event, while being able to contextualize it into the big picture goals of camp. I went to the University of Michigan, where in my majority Jewish fraternity, I became friends with several kids from the East Coast who were quick to let me know that camp director was not a real job. This notion crept into my head and even though I worked at camp throughout college, I started looking towards a future where camp was about wistful memories and sending my children to camp someday. After college, I worked as a consultant and earned an MBA. I moved to New York to begin my journey to become a Master of the Business Universe. I took a job doing international strategy with American Express and camp became a wonderful part of the past that helped get me to where I was in life.