Jonathan "J.C." Cohen
Jonathan “J.C.” Cohen has served as the Director of the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp since 2000.
J.C. grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, and spent his first summer at Jacobs in 1977, starting a 12 year stretch during which he went from camper to counselor to unit head. (He also spent his high school and college years involved with Camp Dream Street, including four summers as Program Director).
J.C. received a bachelor’s degree in Religion from Colgate University, a Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. In 2007 he graduated as part of the inaugural cohort from the Foundation for Jewish Camp's Executive Leadership Institute.
For four-and-a-half years, he served as Assistant Director of the URJ Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, Texas, and as Director of NFTY’s Texas-Oklahoma Region. He then served for four years on the URJ’s national youth staff in a range of capacities, including Director of Junior & Senior High School Programs and NFTY.
In addition to his regular responsibilities as a camp director, J.C. serves on a range of national planning teams and task forces. In 2005, he spearheaded the URJ’s Jacobs’ Ladder Hurricane Katrina Relief Project. And he currrently serves as President of the Mississippi Camping Association.
Jonathan is married to Valerie Cohen, who serves as Senior Rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson, Mississippi. They have a son, Gabriel, a daughter, Marisa, a cat, Xena Warrior Kitty, and two dogs: Bridges and Temple.
Senior Assistant Director
Send Gary an email
Gary Brandt is no stranger to Jacobs Camp. He has been coming since 1983 (as a staff brat), and started as a Olimer in 1990. After going on the NFTY in Israel trip in 1999, he came back to spend numerous summers on staff serving as Machon work coordinator and director, counselor, adventure director and ropes course specialist, and as facilities manager.
Gary, a native of Baton Rouge, graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson in 2006, and has studied at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, Israel. After spending time all over the world, Gary is excited to be back at Jacobs Camp!
Ellen C. Alexander
Send Ellen an email
Ellen is a native Mississippian, but grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a graduate of Auburn University. Ellen joins the Jacobs family after a number of years working in the non-profit world. Ellen realized how special Jacobs was in the summer of 2004 while attending a Dan Nichols concert. After watching the campers sing and jump with exhilaration that night, she immediately downloaded his songs to her iPod! She is so excited to connect her love of Judaism and fund development to benefit Jacobs Camp. And, Ellen just might be able to meet Dan Nichols again . . .
Ellen has been happily married to her husband, Shawn, for 11 years. The couple enjoys traveling, laughing and watching 80’s movies.
Send Sandy an e-mail
Sandy Doucet, originally from Louisiana, came to Jacobs in September 2005. She loves the people at HSJ, especially the staff. According to Sandy, our staff are all wonderful people who genuinely care about others and go the extra mile to help those in need. She really enjoys working with the summer staff as they amaze her with their insight and zest for life. Most of all, Sandy enjoys seeing the smiling faces of campers, and hearing about their great summer camp experiences.
Sandy has been married for twenty years, and has 3 fantastic children. During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing, traveling, and shopping.
Send Ken an e-mail
Ken Schipper, a native of Los Angeles, California, came to Jacobs in January 2008. Ken really enjoys the daily "hands on" work that it takes to keep HSJ running. Before coming to HSJ, Ken served as the Facility Manager at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps in Malibu, the General Manager of Mountasia Family Fun Center in Santa Clarita, and the Recreation Coordinator for the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks.
When Ken is not at Camp, he enjoys spending time with his wife Michele (Feldman) Schipper (former Assistant Director) and thier three children: Alana, Jacob and Eric.
Plant Operations Manager
Send Johnny an e-mail
Johnny Johnson, a Utica native, has been at Jacobs for 26 years. Johnny loves all of the new people that he meets each summer and watching the campers grow and turn into staff members.
When Johnny is not at HSJ or the Oakland Training Facility where he works with juveniles, he enjoys playing basketball and spending time with his wife, Hope, and two kids, Julius and Jayla.
Food Service & Hospitality Manager
Send Emma an e-mail
Emma Young has been working at HSJ for the past 25 years. Emma attributes the love of her job to the friendly environment. She loves that she gets the opportunity to meet lots of new friends and see all of her old friends.
When Emma is not at work, she is spending time with her lovely husband, John. She is proud mother of 4, and the even prouder grandmother of 4. She enjoys listening to Gospel music and watching sports on television.
Send Floyd an e-mail
Floyd Wilson has been working at HSJ for the past 15 years. He feels that working at Jacobs Camp has truly been a learning experience. It has given him the opportunity to meet some of the most loving and interesting people. He especially loves the summer months when he gets the opportunity to see young boys and girls develop into inspiring young men and women. It is the love of the kids that motivates Floyd.
Floyd is married to the former Gloria Harper, and is the proud father of a son, Floyd, Jr. He enjoys fishing and just having fun with family and friends.
Send Gloria an e-mail
Gloria Wilson has been with Jacobs Camp for the 35 years. She loves working at camp and working with the staff, and most importantly loves working with the campers. Gloria feels that being here at camp is one of the greastest times a person can have.
She is also the mother of 11 children, and 26 grandchildren.
Send Bridges an e-mail
Bridges was adopted at seven months by J.C. and his family in September 2003. He first arrived at Jacobs during a weekend retreat sponsored by Women of Reform Judaism, and lived for a year with the Cohens on the grounds of the Camp. These months provided Bridges with ample opportunity to learn and explore the Camp, and chase a lot of animals – with J.C. always just a leash tug away! (J.C. has a favorite story about how Bridges ALMOST chased a skunk; luckily, the story has a happy ending!)
Bridges’ first summer was 2004, and he has been a beloved member of the Camp community ever since. During the summer, Bridges divides his time between the Office and the Director’s House, with plenty of walks in between; his favorite time of day is Chofesh, when he is usually surrounded by campers who love petting him. During the off-season, Bridges commutes with J.C. from Jackson almost every day; he gets plenty of walks (helping J.C. keep tabs on ongoing projects), and sleeps by the front door of the office – ready to affectionately greet all visitors.
Bridges doesn’t like to discuss the earliest months of his life: Abandoned in Jackson’s Parham Bridges Park (how he got his name), he was rescued by Community Animal Rescue & Adoption as a puppy, and remained in there shelter until joining the Cohen family.