ABOUT CAMP EMANUEL
Camp Emanuel, established in 1971 by Dr. Mel Emanuel, an audiologist, is a camp for children with and without disabilities. It is the only camp of its kind in Southwestern Ohio, designed to promote decision-making, team building skills, self-esteem, and an understanding of acceptance between all children. Camp Emanuel provides an environment of trust, love, security and acceptance.
Camp Emanuel has served over 1700 children throughout its 30-year history. It is a fully accredited day and resident camp. It provides a unique opportunity for hearing, language, and developmentally disabled children to interact with hearing children in two summer programs designed to provide stimulating educational, arts and crafts and recreational activities.
It is also unique in the services it provides and the staff who work with the children each summer. The staff include many professionals: a registered nurse, a speech and language therapist, interpreters and counselors who are certified educators in many areas of elementary and special education. There is also an administrative director who coordinates the operation of the on-site experiences and many dedicated volunteers from local high schools.
In the early years, funding for the camp was obtained through Ohio Department of Health, State Department funding, and the Easter Seal Society. Since the camp no longer receives assistance through these agencies, funding is now obtained through private donations, many service organizations, grants and fundraisers. It is with this assistance that Camp Emanuel is able to provide a quality camping experience for children.
Every kid deserves to have fun and we’re here to build their confidence, self esteem, help them communicate with others. We provide a safe environment of acceptance, security, and fun where everyone is included.
We’ll help kids with and without disabilities realize they’re not that much different from each other and help them accept friendships of all types as they bond during camp activities.
Board of Directors
Veronique (Ronni) Davidson
Title - Executive Director
Veronique has been part of Camp Emanuel for over 15 years, she began as a counselor and has now moved into the role of Executive Director in the last year. When she is not actively working with the camp she is providing ABA(applied behavior analysis) therapy to children on Autism Spectrum.
Title - Treasurer
I joined the board because of my love of wine. I had attended a number of the wine fundraisers and at one in 1996, the current board president came up to me and asked me to join the board. I said yes and have been on the board since. What keeps me on the board are the kids who come to the different camps. I volunteered to be a male counselor about 20 + years ago, had a fantastic experience and have volunteered every year since.
Dan Trunk, PhD
Title - Secretary
Dr. Dan Trunk is a licensed psychologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children with developmental, learning, and mental health disorders in school and private settings. He is also a part-time faculty member at the University of Dayton, where he teaches courses in research methods and special education. Dan has served various roles as a member of the board since 2010, where he has had the opportunity to provide advocacy and opportunity to individuals with disabilities through Camp Emanuel. He currently resides in Kettering, OH with his wife and three children, and is an avid golfer and hockey player.
Stephanie Ackner, M.D.
Title - Secretary
I first came to learn about Camp Emanuel in 2006. I was newly married and my husband and I were asked to volunteer (by Board Member and friend, Kelly) as staff for the Resident Camp. We enjoyed it so much that we have each volunteered on several more occasions and have even sent our children to Day and Resident Camps as they became old enough. I was honored when asked to join the Board. It is a privilege to serve and I am grateful for such a generous community of donors who support Camp Emanuel. Bearing witness to campers trying new things, gaining confidence, sharing their talents, enjoying new friendships, and getting to experience camp activities for the first time… it has truly brought me and my family such happiness.
Title - Board Member
I have been on the Camp Emanuel board for the last 10 years. As the father of an Autistic child, I wanted to be a part of an organization that focused on special needs children and creating opportunities that they otherwise, may never have.
Title - Board Member
I happily joined the Board after being a volunteer counselor during my son’s first summer at Camp Emanuel. Two decades later, Nathan’s confidence and skills have grown — a tribute to the opportunities that he’s found only at Camp Emanuel.
Title - Board Member
Bruce Nicholson is a retired attorney. He is a founding shareholder of Horenstein, Nicholson & Blumenthal, L.P.A. in Dayton. After graduating from Ohio State University in 1970, he served as a military intelligence case officer in the U.S. Army and is a Vietnam veteran. He graduated from the University of Dayton Law School in 1977 and practiced Ohio workers’ compensation law for forty-two years prior to his retirement in October 2019. He has served on the Camp Emanuel board since January 2019. He also previously served on the board of the Downtown Dayton YMCA. He and his wife Tina enjoy traveling, exercising, socializing with friends, and spending time with their children and five grandsons. They have been regular supporters of Camp Emanuel and the annual wine auction for many years and are honored to support the Camp’s mission.
Our Rockstar Volunteers & Staff
My name is Stacey Dennis. I am the on staff Interpreter. I have been involved with Camp Emanuel for over 15 years. Not only do I have the opportunity to be part of the staff, my children have participated in Camp Emmanuel as young campers, Counselors In Training and staff counselors. I enjoy watching the campers make new friends, enjoy new experiences and how to expand outside their comfort zones in a safe place. Participating in Camp Emmanuel gives me the opportunity to have the MOST FUN EVER during camp week and with some of the BEST Staff ever. I love having fun and making memories with Camp Emanuel!
My name is Robyn Ladson and I am the Camp Nurse. I have been the Camp Nurse since 2004. I started off as the Day Camp Nurse and would fill in for the Resident Camp Nurse when she couldn’t work it. Now I work all three camps-Day Camp, Alumni Camp, and Resident Camp. I enjoy working with the staff. We are like a family. My daughter went to the camp when she was younger and now she is 32 years old. My nieces and great niece have also attended the camps. What I like about Camp Emanuel is the great opportunities that it offers children with and without disabilities. Camp Emanuel rocks!
My name is Emily Stiffler and I am an elementary school Intervention Specialist, and have been teaching for ten years. I have taught first through eight graders over the years. I have been with Camp Emanual since I was completing graduate school in 2012. I have a lot of fun working at Camp E and watching our campers grow and mature every year. I love the games we play and watching the kids smile and laugh. I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. A fun fact about me is that a lot of my favorite movies have a redhead as the main character; redheads unite!
Hi, my name is Jillian Majzan and I started volunteering at Camp Emanuel during the summer of 2010. When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Education from Bowling Green State University, I was officially hired as a counselor! Since, I received my masters degree in Exceptional student education. Currently for my full time position, I teach English in Middletown City Schools. I love spending time with campers in the summer and truly enjoy working with them all and learning and growing together!
I have been a part of Camp E for the past 12 years. Camp Emanuel brings me so much joy, and is something I look forward to every summer. I love everything about camp, even the bugs! Our mission, the campers that we serve and the family that we build in our relationships are something that is one of a kind. Camp Emanuel is near and dear to my heart and is something that will always be a part of my life… my adventure!