Camp Leadership

Meagan Friedman
Director Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School 

Meagan FriedmanMeagan graduated from The University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology. She has spent many years working as a Day Camp Director for JCCs including the New Orleans JCC for four years and here in Houston for six years. She believes in the importance of summer camp for children and is looking forward to a great summer. She is excited to make 2020 Camp BAMI the best yet!

Erik Kiser
Director, Tennis 

Erik KiserErik has been teaching tennis for over 18 years in Corpus Christi and Houston. He played Division I collegiate tennis and earned a silver medal at the 1999 AAU Junior Olympics as a tennis player. Erik worked with past presidents of the USPTA and Hall of Fame Coaches. For the last 10 years, Erik assisted J Camps with the Tennis and Junior Tennis Camps – he was once a camper himself. With his knowledge of the game and love for the sport, Erik brings a passion to this state-of-the-art tennis facility with newly-surfaced tennis courts and is looking forward to sharing his knowledge with the campers and staff this summer.

Brennan Blankenship
Kinder Camp Director 

Brennan BlankenshipBrennan is so excited to be the new Kinder Camp Director! This will mark her second summer at J Camps, having previously served as the Dance Camp Director. Brennan is no stranger to the J, as she has been teaching in the theatre department for the last six years. Last year, she became the Youth Arts Coordinator, allowing her to create and manage children’s programming in the performing and visual arts and teach the PreK-2nd grade theatre classes. Brennan has been working with children for over 10 years at Gymboree Play and Music, Main Street Theater, The Pearl Theater, and Excel Learning Academy.

Eva De La Cruz
Director, Youth Performing Arts 

Eva De La CruzEva is the Youth Theatre Director at the J during the school year. For the Teen Theatre program, she has directed/choreographed 11 productions. She has directed 13 JCCS productions and has been the Performing Arts Camp Director for the past seven summers. Prior to working at the J, Eva was the Artistic Coordinator at HITS Theatre, an outreach instructor with Main Street Theater, and an on-camera acting instructor at the Page Parkes Center of Modeling and Acting. Eva received her BA from the University of Houston and was the Associate Producer for the Houston Shakespeare Festival for four seasons following her graduation.

Leslie Holmes
Gymnastics Camp Director 

Leslie HolmesLeslie grew up in Houston and went to Stephen F. Austin State University. She has worked at the J for 12 years with the gymnastics department. She was recently named our new Preschool Gymnastics Coordinator. Leslie has experience working with camps in other organizations and has worked with our previous gymnastics camp directors here. She is looking forward to a great summer!

Sasha Akatkin
Children, Teens and Camping Program Assistant 

Sasha AkatkinSasha has lived in Houston since she was four years old and considers herself to be the closest thing you can be to a native Houstonian. She is a graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Sasha attended J Camps as a child, worked as a Kinder Camp counselor as a teen and wants to make sure that all campers have as great of an experience at the J as she had! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and pets, traveling, and baking. Sasha is very excited to a part of the department and cannot wait to meet everyone this summer!

Asmait Gebrekristos
Camper Support Specialist 

Asmait GebrikristosAsmait has over a decade of experience working with children and families as a clinical social worker. In her current role as a school social worker, she provides mental health and social services support for students and their families. Asmait also leads school-wide social emotional learning programs centered on dynamic mindfulness and restorative justice practices. She has a Master’s in Social Work from Boston College and a B.A. in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College. Before becoming a social worker, she coordinated youth and summer programs for several non-profit organizations in Clarkston, GA. Asmait looks forward to working with the kids and staff at J Camps again this summer!