At the helm of Emerald Cove Day Camp (ECDC) are Sara Kuljis, Steve Kuljis, Ron Eckert and Melanie Hong. They bring a combined 75 years of camping and child development experience to ECDC. Working year-round, they plan, guide and enrich the summer day camp program, which is then unveiled in 3 two-week sessions each summer. But, to the campers and the staff, they are simply known as Salsa, Cujo, Skeeter and Toaster– the ones responsible for magically transforming JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano into Emerald Cove Day Camp where, for two fun-filled weeks each session, 5-10 year old campers come to grow in character, skills, relationships and faith.
In addition to being the co-director of ECDC, Sara Kuljis is the second-generation director of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp, a program founded in 1973 by her parents Jim and Manya Slevcove. Sara’s leadership is shaped by her career experience in youth and staff development, and she believes summer camp is the happiest place on earth! She has served on the board of the American Camp Association, Southern California/Hawaii Section, and is a frequent speaker and trainer for the Association.
Steve Kuljis brings extensive experience in building and facility management, business administration, and wilderness camping. Steve served as legislative chair for Western Association of Independent Camps, and as a board member of the California Coalition for Youth.
Ron Eckert is the onsite director of ECDC. A director of summer camps for over 15 years, Ron shares a deep commitment to camping traditions, program development, and highly trained staff. As a pastor and teacher, Ron has honed skills essential for effectively leading programs, equipping staff and shaping the lives of children and youth. Ron teaches frequently at schools, chapel programs and for American Camp Association, Southern California/Hawaii Section.
Melanie “Toaster” Hong joined our year round staff in January 2016 as Assistant Program Director of Emerald Cove Day Camp. Melanie graduated from Azusa Pacific University, earning a degree in mathematics with an emphasis in education. With a passion for shaping children in the camp setting, Melanie served 4 summers at Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and one at ECDC as the Assistant Program Director. In addition to supporting administration, marketing and program development during the school year, Melanie assists in program design, activity leadership and training and guidance of Day Camp staff.