Director of Jockey Hollow Camp
It’s hard to imagine Jockey Hollow Day Camp without Rachel Jaffe. Rachel has spent every summer at Jockey Hollow since she was in the second grade. Now as a camp director, she loves passing on her experiences as a camper to the girls coming to Jockey Hollow.
“My favorite parts of day camp when I was a camper were definitely swimming and singing on the bus ride home,” Rachel said, noting that she and the other girls sang every single day on the entire bus ride home. Her favorite songs now include “the Bean Song” and “Once a Girl Scout Went to Camp.”
Over the years, Jockey Hollow has been updated. A new pool, a troop house, several cabins, and a pool house have been built. New elements were added to the challenge course and a zip line was installed. Rachel was the first archery instructor when archery was introduced several years ago, and has since added a Gaga Pit and 9 Square in the Air. Old favorites like hiking and stream exploration remain.
Although the camp has been upgraded over the years, she is proud that the traditions she enjoyed as a girl continue to live on. Girls still play field games, like “Spud,” do activities in the lean-tos, enjoy team-building activities on the challenge course, and making lanyards and friendship bracelets. Of course, we still go on hikes, go swimming, and offer stream exploration. Every summer, girls love looking for crayfish and bugs under the rocks.
Her favorite camp activity was swimming in the old pools at Jockey Hollow, one of which was filled with a hose and was always “freezing cold.” After enjoying Jockey Hollow as a camper, she then became a counselor in training, junior counselor, counselor, unit leader, and program director. This summer will be her fifth summer as camp director.
As camp director, she looks forward to camp every year and offering girls the chance to try something new.
“There’s nothing like the look on a girl’s face who is trying something new, like archery. I love seeing girls who have never picked up a bow and arrow and see the look on their face when they hit the target for the first time,” Rachel said. “It’s amazing.”
Outside of her time at camp, Rachel loves being outdoors, spending time with her dog, and traveling. She especially loves cruises. This past summer, she traveled to Peru and was quarantined there for a few weeks due to the coronavirus. She made the best of the quarantine by visiting as many sites as possible. She has also visited many states in the U.S. as well Australia and Israel.
Rachel graduated from Ramapo College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in women and gender studies. Prior to being the camp director, she worked as a teacher for a Montessori preschool.
This summer, she said she is looking forward to being outside and back at camp. “I can’t wait to see all the campers and staff back at camp again,” she said.