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By Sharon Chisvin

Camp Massad may be a summer residential camp but it is enjoying an unusually busy winter. In the next few weeks, Massad is hosting a milestone birthday party for its co-founder, a unique fundraiser in conjunction with two local arts groups, and its official registration day. It is also reviewing an exciting new site plan, bidding farewell to its long time administrator, and welcoming its first ever executive director


The creation of an executive director position at Massad reflects the Board of Directors determination to grow the Hebrew speaking camp and aggressively promote it both locally and across North America.
“With the departure of our capable administrator and long time camp Eemah, or mother, 
the time had come for us to look at our next step,” explains Ivy Kopstein, co-chair of the Massad Board of Directors. “With a view to the future, we broke from tradition and began the search for an executive director.”
“We are thrilled to have Regina Teplitsky join the Massad family,” Kopstein adds. “We
feel that Regina's Israeli background, experience and determination are a perfect fit for Massad and will enable her to fulfill the vision that the board has for Massad's future.” 
Much of this vision, Kopstein adds, has been incorporated into a new site plan, one that foresees the construction of new buildings, the relocation of current buildings and the extensive planting of trees, among many other refurbishments.  
In addition to serving as executive director, Regina will also be the on-site Eemah at the camp during the summer months. She will be replacing Lesley Jacob, who will be leaving Massad after nine years.
“Over the past nine summers I have had the opportunity of connecting with well over 1,000 children and young adults in our community,” says Jacob. “I have cherished working with these enthusiastic young people and it has been my privilege to be entrusted as Eemah.”
The tradition of having an Eemah on site during the summer began back in 1953, the year that Massad started. Leona Billinkoff, who co-founded Massad along with members of Winnipeg Habonim, was the camp’s first and longest serving Eemah. In the 26 years that she spent at Massad, the camp evolved into a true bastion of the community and an extended family for hundreds of Jewish youth.  
This February, Leona turns 90-years-old and, appropriately, is being honoured for that milestone by her Massad family. This birthday party, which takes place on Sunday, February 28, will feature entertainment by the Massad choir and shtick by Massad alumni. 
Shtick, a mainstay of Massad, will also play a big part in the success of Massad’s upcoming fundraiser at Rumor’s Comedy Club on March 10. For this event, Massad has joined forces with Winnipeg Studio Theatre and Stage 16, two local creative groups that share with Massad a dedication to developing and showcasing youth talent. The joint fundraiser will feature comedy, improv and excerpts from the theatre groups’ production of The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee. Massad also will be sponsoring a performance of the show at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in July.
“The collaboration seems a natural fit given that each of the three organizations is dedicated to promoting creative self-expression in young people,” explains event co-chair Pam Minuk. “The benefits of these programs are many, from fostering teamwork to strengthening self-confidence. Moreover,” she adds, “they develop the creative problem-solving abilities of young people and stimulate their community involvement.”
By the time of this event, of course, most campers already will have registered for the summer of 2010, either by attending the pre-set registration day on February 21 or by contacting the office directly. Others will have registered during the much anticipated annual camper reunion which took place at Wheelies on January 24. Details about registration and about all of Massad’s events are available on the camp website at .
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