Our Mission

Our mission is to develop thinking, caring and contributing individuals through joyful, nurturing, and exciting experiences. At Island Quest, everyone in our community is guided by these values:

Our Values

Live Courageously
(Ometz Lev   אֹמֶץ לֵב)

The ability to do something that is frightening; strength in the face of pain or challenge.

With the ample opportunities to get outside of our comfort zone and test our courage at camp, we get to stretch our ometz lev muscles! At Island Quest as individuals and together we seek out opportunities to use Ometz Lev and live courageously.

Seek Solutions
(Netzach נֵצַח)

The ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and overcome obstacles.

Perseverance & Grit, or Netzach, is an important part of being a member of the Island Quest community! In order to be on a quest we need to use netzach, in order to learn what helps us try hard and achieve our goals.

Stay True
(Tocho K’Varo   תּוֹכוֹ כְּבָרוֹ)

Being your Authentic self – the quality of ensuring your outward expression reflects your inner values. 

Having your insides match your outsides or Tocho v’kvaro is part of our ongoing quest at camp.  Over the summer our friends and community really get to know us, if we aren’t staying true – practicing tocho v’kavaro – we won’t make true friends.

Treasure Heritage
(L’dor V’dor לְדֹר וָדֹ֗ר)

The phrase meaning Jewish continuity, passing from generation to generation.

When we understand that we are part of a community that was built before us and know that we will help that community grow afterwards we take our place in tradition.  Knowing camp isn’t just about us, being on a quest to discover the past that helps shape us, makes our whole community better.

Contribute Uniquely
(Achrayut  אַחֲרָיוּת)

A moral belief where we as individuals, have a responsibility toward the others in our community.

Social Responsibility, or Achrayut, reminds us that we are a community who are ready to help others! At Island Quest we know each person here has the chance to contribute in their own special way to our greater community.

Our Leadership Team

Melissa Algranati

Camp Director

Melissa spent the last decade building, growing, and nurturing camp programs centered around the revolutionary concept of enabling campers to craft a schedule that best caters to their interests. “Allowing kids to make choices empowers them, makes them feel valued, and actually gives them a stake in the ownership of the camp experience.” As the director of Explorer Day Camp from 2009-2019, Melissa grew a program from the ground up, engaging children and families to become a part of a greater year-round camp community. Melissa’s passion for camp began as a youngster while attending programs at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds. In her teenage/early adult years she worked with several camps as an Aquatics Director. Melissa has also organized leadership institutes as a national consultant with Girl Scouts of the USA, experiences that inspire her to become the energized, creative and experienced camp director she is today.

Mike Donnelly

Associate Camp Director

Born and raised in Huntington, Mike has spent over 21 years working with children, and he has a genuine passion for creating memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. Mike leads with the belief that all educators/counselors are the gatekeepers to doorways and pathways to opportunities that many children may never get to experience without our help. A Veteran of the United States Army, Mike received his Masters in School Counseling and has spent the last two decades looking for ways to really understand the true nature of each child in his care. A former employee of the “Big Cheese”(Mickey Mouse), he also spent 7 months driving the monorail at Disney World during his Disney College Program days. Michael is the definition of a Dance Dad, as his true competitive spirit comes forth in full force when his daughters are in the midst of their competition dance season. Abby Lee eat your heart out. Michael is also the grand champion of the game “Mike says”(sorry Simon).

Nicole Helfman

Assistant Camp Director – Family Engagement

Camp is as much a part of Nicole as Nicole is a part of camp! She has been an integral member of the Suffolk Y JCC camp family since she was 5 years old, loving camp so much that she became a counselor as soon as she was eligible for hire at the age of 16. Her role with both the SYJCC and their camp took off from there, as she soon became a Specialist and then a Unit head, and eventually took on the role of Camp Director. Additionally, Nicole has a dual Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, and has been working with children for over 20 years, including as a Special Education teacher for eight years. Nicole enjoys spending time with her family and dogs.

Michael Block

Senior Manager of Operations & Facilities

Raised in Merrick, Michael has spent his entire life at camp. A former Suffolk Y JCC camper, counselor, and specialist, Michael has grown into his current role as Senior Manager of Operations & Facilities. Outside of the camp world, Michael received his undergraduate degree from Farmingdale State College’s School of Business, going on to get his Masters in Public Administration from Binghamton University. At camp Michael spends lots of time behind the scenes with his team overseeing all of our day to day operations, ensuring that not only are our amazing activities made possible for our campers everyday, but that our grounds are well stocked with the tools that everyone needs to do their best work. He also takes extreme pride in our campgrounds, making sure that everything is maintained and ready to go come day 1 (You’ll often find him up on a roof or covered in paint). Michael is an avid football fan, loves a good laugh, and is also of the opinion that Spongebob Squarepants is top tier quality television.

Shaina Fischer

Program Director

Shaina truly lives 10 for 2! She began her lifelong love of camp as a child at the Suffolk Y JCC and continued her camp journey to become a counselor, Sports Specialist and eventually ran the Sports Camp Program. Shaina went on to join the Island Quest team as the Innovate Quest Director during our inaugural summer, and went on to become the Program Director to help bring our wonderful activities to life. She loves inspiring others to think outside of the box and to try new things. Additionally, Shaina has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood, Childhood and Special Education. She is currently a Teacher and Coach on Long Island. Shaina enjoys crafting, kickboxing and spending time with family and friends during her free time.

Gelena Yosha

Office Manager and Enrollment

Gelena truly loves camp and is committed to making sure every camper - and family - has the best summer. Gelena started her journey in camp in 2008 by enrolling her older daughter Ariel (who now is one of IQ’s amazing Swim instructors). Gelena has been a member of the Commonpoint Queens family since she came to America with her family 30 years ago from the Ukraine.She resides on Long Island with her husband and their three children.

Join the Quest

In our Quest to build a greater, connected camp community, Island Quest Day Camp is the home to passionate, dedicated and inspiring camp professionals! From our Counselors in Training to our Division Heads, Administrators to Specialists – all of our team members receive extensive training and participate in orientations where they learn to collaborate with supportive, like-minded professionals to give every kid a rich summer experience and a lifetime of memories.

We have ambitious expectations of you for helping campers make appropriate choices, problem solve, and navigate relationships. You’ll partner with us and our campers to build a vibrant camp community, strengthened by universally accepted Jewish values which include living courageously, seeking solutions, treasuring heritage and more!

Click here to learn more about our Full-Time and seasonal open positions. Or email [email protected] if you are interested in joining our team.

We have spirit yes we do, we have spirit how about you?

To accommodate the schedules of parents who need earlier drop offs and additional day care, and to ensure that the camp day begins as soon as a camper gets on the bus, many of our staff members begin their days at 7:30/8:00 am. We are seeking counselors who understand the camp day truly begins as soon as the first camper gets to the bus stop, and who is prepared to lead them in songs, games and conversation, engage them in the activities during the day, and maintain your enthusiasm on the ride home at 4:30 pm. You may also participate in occasional trips, overnights, and special events during the seven-week camp program.

If you have any questions about dates, rates, or busing, please feel free to email us at [email protected] or call 718-225-6750 ext. 261.