Clergy & Administration

Saint Andrew’s Camp is a ministry resource of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, but is separately owned and operated by the Orthodox Charitable and Educational Foundation (OCEF).  The OCEF was founded in the 1950s and has been dedicated to serving the Church’s through education. Saint Andrew’s Camp is currently the only ministry of the OCEF and has been open for a summer camping season each year since 1957 (with the exception of 2007 when it celebrated its 50th year of camp with a visit from Metropolitan Herman). The OCEF is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization.

The OCEF is made up of a Board of Trustees and a Foundation, which collectively govern and support the organization in a leadership capacity, gathering and raising the funding for the annual camp program, and identifying staff and clergy to support the program each year, among other activities.

Please read about the OCEF Trustees and other Foundation members and supporters of the OCEF below.


The Most Reverend + MICHAEL
Archbishop of of New York, Diocese of New York and New Jersey
President of the OCEF

Please read the full biography of His Grace +MICHAEL, available on the diocesan webpage.

Bishop Michael is hands on and present in every way possible in all matters related to the Saint Andrew’s Camp planning and programming. As president of the board, Vladika Michael attends the annual and semi-annual meetings held in September and February, and is integral to guiding the vision of the camp program, religious education, and staffing.

Vladika was involved from the first moment of his new role as the elected Diocesan Hierarch, (attending the OCEF Board and Foundation Annual Meeting in February 2010,  three months before being consecrated to the episcopacy).

His Grace is also an integral part of the summer camp season itself. Vladika visits the campers and staff during each of the five weeks of our program and has not missed a single week.  Vladika vests and celebrates a Divine Liturgy, instructs in religious education, participates in the regular camping program, watches the skits, songs and performances of the campers, and joins the community at mealtime where he answers questions from the box in the “question corner” containing “questions for Vladika.” Bishop Michael has treated campers and teens to outings at the Sylvan Beach amusement park and at the local miniature golf facility.

Daria York
Jewell, New York
Executive Director of the OCEF

Daria has been involved with St. Andrew’s Camp as a camper, a counselor and as a director for many years. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner and has worked in practices in NY, NJ and PA. She has degrees from four New York City Schools — Barnard, Columbia, NYU and Pace — and has extensive experience with children and families.

“Having raised four children and been active in parishes in Yonkers and South River, and working in Family Practice for over 30 years, it has always been clear to me that nurturing children does require ‘a village’ and parents are indeed richly blessed if the parish community – the church community – is a strong part of the family’s life. Camp is part of that community that helps parents provide a simple solution to the complex issues of life.’

As a Board Member Daria is committed to having the summer camp program provide an Orthodox Christian boost to the lives of the campers so that they can enthusiastically return to their own families and parishes having enjoyed the life of the Church with friends, peers and mentors. She also is committed to seeing the Camp used for retreats and educational programs for parents and seniors.

Argyra Lapchuk
North Brunswick, New Jersey


Argyra  was a camper, ‘staff assistant’, and counselor at Saint Andrew’s Camp, as was her late husband, Dn. Gregory. During her time at camp as a counselor during the 1970s, she was known for taking photographs and playing stunts and practical jokes on her fellow counselors. She has been serving on the board of Saint Andrew’s Camp because of her passion and dedication to ensuring the continued camping experience for Orthodox youth for years to come.

She attends church with her daughter, Alexandra, a camp alum, at Saints Peter and Paul in Manville NJ.

Henry Dotterer
Syracuse, NY
Secretary of the OCEF 

 

Henry is a parishioner of Sts. Peter and Paul in Syracuse, New York. A graduate of CBA (in Syracuse) and MIT, he now runs a web business while coaching boys and girls ice hockey on the side. Henry attended St. Andrew's Camp as a child in the 70's, then he returned as a "camper" in 2020 for a very pleasant Family Week with his wife Anastasia (Rumi) and their three children. Henry believes that the peaceful setting of St. Andrew's Camp, and the wonderful volunteers involved in running it, make it a great place for kids and adults to make new friends and deepen their identification with Christ and His Church.

Matushka Jeanne Baktis
Princeton, New Jersey

I am former St. Andrew’s camper, now living in NJ where my husband is the Rector of Mother of God Joy of All Who Sorrow parish in Princeton. Formerly an Early Childhood Special Educator in the NYC area, I then spent 25 years as a US Army Chaplain Spouse while Fr. Peter served as an Orthodox Military Chaplain.  I credit my summers at St. Andrew’s Camp with instilling within me the desire to find a way to serve the church.

By becoming involved and active with St. Andrew’s Camp, my hope and prayer is that I can be useful in helping St. Andrew’s Camp grow into the future. I believe it is so important for our youth to have a place where they can, amongst a community of their peers, experience the daily cycle of services, build strong bonds of friendship with other Orthodox Christians, learn that Orthodox Christianity is not just a religion but a way of life and experience the wonders of God’s creation through camping.

Mark Gogots

 

My life with St. Andrews Camp began in the early 1970’s as a camper around 11 years old. Born and raised on Long Island, my home parish was Holy Trinity in East Meadow NY. My parents heard about St. Andrews and with my older sister, we experienced our first year at camp for two weeks. In that short period of time, St. Andrews camp made, what is now, a lifelong positive impact. I continued to spend my summers at St. Andrews progressing from a camper to a Staff Assistant (now CIT), and finally obtaining my “green jacket” as a camp counselor.

I have been very fortunate and met my wonderful wife Machelle in Columbus Ohio. We were married at St. Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church back in 1999. Machelle and I have three amazing children, Larissa 17 (camp CIT), Natalie 13 and Nicholas 11, of which I now experience the joy of seeing my girls attend camp each summer.

I am currently employed by EdgeConnex, a global data center co-location provider, as Regional Director of Operations spanning the eastern US and South America regions.

We currently reside in Charlestown, Maryland near the northern point of the Chesapeake Bay.

In our spare time, we enjoy time at the beach, go karting, visiting amusement parks and just enjoying our time together!

Kamelia Sirico

Kamelia first began attending St. Andrew’s Camp in the summer of 2011 as a counselor. After spending her first 6 weeks at St. Andrew’s Camp, she felt spiritually inspired to undertake complete remodeling of St. Andrew’s Chapel. Upon approval by OCEF’s Board, Kamelia with the help of her children and a few volunteers beautified the chapel’s interior and grounds.  Since then, her children have been attending as campers and Kamelia has been involved as a volunteer, counselor, camper and most recently, a secretary for the OCEF Board of Trustees.  Her testimonial has inspired many other families to discover and participate in camp life. 

Kamelia feels that St. Andrew’s Camp is a special place blessed by God’s grace, which holds a piece of her heart. She shared her reflections about the camp in the NY/NJ diocesan publication “Jacob’s Well” Winter 2012 edition, where she wrote “I feel strongly that St. Andrew’s Camp is truly a place where heaven and earth meet. It only takes one look at the horizon to confirm it…Perhaps the biggest manifestation of the meaningful and wonderful time shared at camp are the tears that pour from the children’s eyes on the last day. Tears of sadness to part from their friends in faith, from the love and acceptance they have found, and from the incredible spiritual experience”.

Kamelia is an active member at St. John The Theologian Orthodox Church in Shirley, Long Island, NY, where she is a former director of youth education, and a current choir member. She teaches high school sciences at Eastern Suffolk BOCES and is blessed with a large family that keeps her busy. 

 

Marilyn Brady

I am a member of Holy Apostles Church in Lansing NY. I have been on the OCEF board since 2023. I continue to be impressed with St. Andrew’s programs and activities, and hope to help support and expand them. 

Douglas Selby
Verona, NY
Vice Chair
Doug is a parishioner at Ss. Peter and Paul in Syracuse, New York. Doug’s involvement with Saint Andrew’s Camp began as a volunteer helping with camp maintenance and construction. His wife Susan and he live within 20 minutes of camp and enjoy contributing to camp programs and to helping maintain and make improvements that help keep Saint Andrew’s camp a special and valuable retreat for Orthodox youth, families and for special events.

Doug is a former city manager and engineer. As a Board member he is committed to supporting needed improvements to Saint Andrew’s Camp and to helping the OCEF improve its planning and administrative capabilities.


Saint Andrew’s Camp Supporters/Foundation Members with Specific Roles

Matushka Tamara Cowan

Senior Camp Director

Matushka Tamara Cowan is the wife of Fr. David Cowan, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Yonkers, NY, OCA. They are celebrating their 30th Wedding Anniversary this year!  She is the proud mother of teenager, Gabriel, whom she home schools, and daughter of Fr. Nicholas & Mat. Anastasia Molodyko-Harris (retired).  She grew up at St. Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska, the parish her father founded, and met Fr. David at an Alaskan summer music camp!  They have been active in many OCA Dioceses having lived in California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and for the last 10 years in New York.

 She received her music degree in vocal performance from the University of Southern California (USC) and elementary teacher training from California State University, Northridge (CSUN).  She was involved in many notable broadway and opera productions and many community and Orthodox choirs and fundraising concerts.  She has 25 years of elementary teaching experience, voice instruction and directing children's choirs.  Matushka along with Fr. David have co-taught Music Week at St. Andrew’s Camp in New York for the past 7 years.

 Both Father and Matushka have worked with Archbishop Michael since Fr. David’s days as a seminarian since 2004.  Currently, she is Lay Chair of the Department of Christian Education for the Diocese of New York & New Jersey and has been working at Saint Andrew’s Camp for over 8 years.  She became Assistant Camp Director in 2017 and has been a  Camp Director since 2018.

 

Matushka is adamant about this wise saying of Archbishop Michael’s,

“It takes a village to raise a child … and it takes the Church to form a Christian.

If we do not form our youth, then we give them to the world to be formed.”

Make Saint Andrew’s Camp part of your child’s village!   

 

 

 

 

Kristy Zaitseva

 Camp Co-Director

I grew up in Central NY, in a Protestant household. When I went to college, I majored in Biology for a while, but eventually changed schools and majors. I ended up graduating with a degree in Theology, from Canada Christian College and was ordained as a minister. I worked in ministry as a missionary, youth pastor and associate pastor of my small non-denominational Christian church. I also began working at a Baptist camp, as the Program Director, and was later promoted to Associate Camp Director.  I loved my time at camp and greatly value all that I learned there, and the lasting friendships I made. It was truly life changing.

However, during that time, I began questioning the churches I was involved in. I kept wondering, “If ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8), then why do all of these churches teach such different things about Him? Why are there such huge discrepancies in these churches and denominations?” That questioning, praying, and seeking lead to a series of events and answers that eventually lead me to the One True Faith, and I converted to Orthodoxy in March of 2007.

Now, years later, I am married with four wonderful children. I am the choir director of Saint Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, in Herkimer, NY, and try to be as involved as possible with the vibrant parish life there. And now, I’m also happy and honored to have the opportunity to be part of the ministry of Saint Andrew’s Camp.

Jerome Tarris - facilities overseer

Dennis Holovach - website administrator webmaster@saintandrewscamp.org

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1280 State Route 49
Jewell, NY 13042
Office: (315) 675-9771
Fax: (315) 675-8005
saintandrewscamp@aol.com

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