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Meet the TSL Kids Crew: Where the Difference Is in the "Crew"

Employee Spotlight Showcases Why This Summer Camp Shines

"TSL has been an amazing vacation camp and summer camp for my two children. They actually beg me to send them to TSL over every other camp in the area. When I ask them why (since many of their friends go to other camps) they tell me it's because they just love the counselors and staff." This Google review is one of many that highlights the dedicated team at TSL Kids Crew, and how it's the "crew" that makes this summer day camp stand out from the competition.

kids and woman posing

Founders Tom Styles, Shameka Brown-Johnson, and Lynette Smith all come from a teaching background and bring years of experience working with kids to the table.

To learn a little bit more about these dynamic professionals, we asked each one of them five fun questions. Below, find out which one has their own children's book published, what they would be doing if they weren't at TSL, and more.

man with backpack on

Tom Styles

1) What's your favorite part about your job?

Working directly with children is my favorite part. After 12 years, and given that I manage the full business, I can opt not to work with children directly. But I continue to do site work, directing after-school and summer camps, as well as visit all the other sites we have to visit, work with our kids, and provide evaluative feedback to our other supervisors.

2) If you weren't at TSL Kids or teaching, what would you do for a career?

I would be a writer. I have had multiple articles published in regional papers and magazines prior to establishing TSL and while I was teaching. I self-published a children's book, Racing the Rope, and won an international contest for my short story 12 Angry Donuts. I've written multiple manuscripts for young adults and I've recently returned to writing after a 12-year hiatus. I'm currently 200 pages into my latest manuscript.

3) What is your favorite book or movie to recommend to kids?

Searching for Bobby Fischer would be a great movie recommendation for kids, as beneath the surface of the movie about a young chess prodigy is a subtle story about a boy who values relationships more so than the rivalry that ensues when competing against others.

Without sounding cliche, any book by Roald Dahl will always be among my favorites. He was the most brilliant writer of children's books that there ever was, and one of my favorite books by him is The Enormous Crocodile.

4) What is the best piece of advice you received as a kid and/or that you tell to kids today?

Our advice that the TSL kids most commonly hear is our daily pledge. "As a TSL friend, I pledge to do my best, to have fun every day, to be helpful to others as we share and learn together. Let's go!"

5) If you could describe the TSL Kids Crew camp experience in one word, what would it be?

Addicting.

smiling woman

Shameka Brown-Johnson

1) What's your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of the job is being able to be instrumental in securing new sites for TSL's expansion. We would love for TSL to be an integral part of EVERY community. I LOVE to tell the story of TSL and what it means to us and our communities.

2) If you weren't at TSL Kids or teaching, what would you do for a career?

If I weren't at TSL or teaching I would probably be doing something with my sister in the music industry.

3) What is your favorite book or movie to recommend to kids?

The book that I would recommend would be Maurice Sendak's Really Rosie, which is actually a children's musical. I performed in this musical when I was in the fourth grade, and to this day I still remember every word to every song! So enchanting!!

4) What is the best piece of advice you received as a kid and/or that you tell to kids today?

The best piece of advice that I received as a child was to pursue your passion. There's nothing more rewarding than waking up eager and excited to go to work while earning a salary doing something you love.

5) If you could describe the TSL Kids Crew camp experience in one word, what would it be?

Memorable.

woman holding up degree

Lynette Smith

1) What's your favorite part about your job?

Since I am a full-time teacher, the best part about being co-owner of TSL is going to visit the sites. I get to meet amazing staff and excited children who are engaged in unique activities. My heart is so full of joy and pride as I've watched TSL grow over the past 12 years!

2) If you weren't at TSL Kids or teaching, what would you do for a career?

Singing, acting, and dancing on Broadway and in movies!!!

3) What is your favorite book or movie to recommend to kids?

There is no one particular book that comes to mind as there are so many I find intriguing. However I am partial to books and movies where the characters overcome hardships and obstacles.

One book I would recommend is The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake. This book is about a dark-skinned African American middle school girl who learns to love and accept herself despite being bullied for her complexion.

4) What is the best piece of advice you received as a kid and/or that you tell to kids today?

The best piece of advice that I give to my students, my sons, and TSL friends is that life is short, seize the moment.

5) If you could describe the TSL Kids Crew camp experience in one word, what would it be?

Unique.

Meet the rest of the TSL team »

Sign Your Child Up for TSL Kids Crew Summer Camp Today

image split in three of kids

TSL Kids Crew has eight locations for summer camp throughout the Capital Region, and the season starts on June 28, 2021. This is a fun, engaging day camp that puts a high focus on interactive play and cooperative games.

Don't wait to register - secure your kid's spot today »

Find out more about the TSL camper experience »

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