Marissa J. Becker has recently been named the new director of the Children’s Center at The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, a state-of-the-art facility that will open for the first time this summer for kids ages 2–4.
Becker has dedicated her life to working with children and in the last few years has worked with organizations nationally to oversee camp programs, providing professional development, mentoring and coaching to staff members. She is passionate about providing a space for children to reach their full potential, truly thrive and create a positive effect throughout the community for generations to come.
“I think that it’s our job as adults to create a space that’s safe and nurturing (so) kids can be at their best, they can try new things, they can ask questions,” Becker says. “They might do something they were a little hesitant about, and I think that’s the beautiful part, especially about younger kids, is that they don’t have a whole lot of fear. And if you can create that space also for them to build really deep connections, the long-term benefit and impacts are really important.”
The Hampton Synagogue was founded 32 years ago by Rabbi Marc Schneier who had the idea for developing the Children’s Center after realizing that children’s programs were much needed not only in the community, but to create a positive trickle effect for families and kids. With this goal in mind, it only made sense to bring Becker on board for her talent and personal care in overseeing the success and continued expansion of the center, from their summer camp to the developing programs for the rest of the year.
“It’s really exciting that we are building an early childhood program which is lacking in that area, building Jewish community in early childhood, and it’s a brand new state-of-the-art facility which allows us to do a lot because we have this incredible building that will provide us a space for really exceptional programming,” Becker says.
The Children’s Center summer camp, named Camp Mona will have its debut this summer, and under Becker’s directives will be a truly interactive and enriching experience with their many features, such as an athletic field, volleyball court, a basketball court, swimming pool, a playground, a STEM learning center, music studio, and art studio, as well as a library, a multi-sensory learning and activity studio and a children’s chapel. With so much space and opportunity, the summer camp is bound to be off to a great start with Becker’s passion and genuine care for what she does and how she helps others to grow.
“We’re going to give kids the space to do lots of things for the first time,” Becker says. “And it’s OK if they don’t try it right away, and it’s OK if they have to warm up to it. But that child who participates in something for the first time, those are the best moments, and that’s why I do it.”