Dana Brittan and her go-getter family have been attending the JCC since 2014.
Together, Dana and her husband Mark have two fantastic children: Rena Ellie Brittan (11 years old) and Saul Isaac Brittan (8 years old). In the past four years, the Brittans have taken the JCC by storm with their empowering and positive attitude toward all things summer camp!
Are you and your husband originally from Denver?
Dana Brittan: No––I am originally from St. Louis. I completed an MBA at the University of Miami in Florida and was recruited by a company here in Denver in 2001. I’ve been the Executive Director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine since 2007. Mark is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa and moved to Denver with his parents and sister when he was 13 years old. Mark went to high school in Denver but then moved around to complete his medical training. Mark completed his pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland and moved back to Denver in 2003 to work as a Pediatric Hospitalist at Children’s Hospital. Mark and I met here in Denver through JDate.
How long have you and your family attended JCC Denver programming?
DB: We began sending both our children to Camp Shai the summer of 2016. Rena began going to Ranch Camp the summer of 2014.
Which J programs do you and your family partake in?
DB: Camp Shai and Ranch Camp.
What makes your family want to return to the J each year? What, in particular, does Camp Shai offer that other camps don’t?
DB: Saul had a tough transition to kindergarten. The summer before he entered first grade he spent the entire summer in the care of Camp Shai staff. They built him back up through love and friendship and play. He was a different kid by the end of the summer. I love the Camp Shai staff and the open, transparent, honest relationship that I have with the staff––from the top leadership to the counselors. We love that Camp Shai and Ranch Camp employ so many counselors from Israel. We have hosted three different Israeli counselors over the years and we still stay in touch with them. They have become a part of our extended family. Rena and Saul do not go to Jewish Day School during the year. The Jewish community over the summer months is something that we value very much.
What’s your family’s favorite winter activity to do together?
DB: We like to leave the winter weather and go somewhere warm! While we are in Denver if the kids are out of school, they both attend the Camp Shai School’s Out programs.
Would you recommend the J to other families? If so, why?
DB: Yes. The JCC has THE best ratio of campers to counselors. I believe each child gets very individualized and customized care. Both of my children have developed strong relationships with staff as well as making amazing friends. My husband and I have also been included in the camp community which brings back many of my own happy memories. I believe there is evidence to support that Jewish camping is the best way to build Jewish identity in children. I am very grateful for all that the JCC has done for my family. We love the Denver Jewish Film Festival, as well. Mark and I had our very first date at the Denver Jewish Film Festival and make it a habit of seeing at least one film together every year.