About Center Day Camp
CDC Director, Chris Thurston
Chris has been the Director of Center Day Camp since 2020, and is looking forward to his 5th summer on Sebago Basin! During his tenure, Chris has worked to strengthen the CDC camper and counselor experience by implementing session based registration and focusing on facility improvement and program development. The current camper retention rate is over 80% and he is proud of the commitment from staff to continue giving the Portland community a traditional Maine camp experience!
During the pandemic Chris helped to build the youth program “J All Day” which was designed to support students and families with the virtual learning school year. The full day program offered a wide variety of enrichment options, and helped to create a community for 18 public school students. He currently oversees the afterschool and youth programming department at the JCA.
A graduate of UMaine, Chris spent the early part of his career in Massachusetts, where he worked with youth in Roxbury and Dorchester as an AmeriCorps member and teacher, and later served as Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Wakefield. Chris lives in the East End of Portland with his fiance, and dog Pemi. When he’s not working you can find him hiking, skiing, lounging on the beach, and enjoying all that Maine has to offer!
CDC Assistant Director, Marlena Lantos
Marlena grew up in the Portland area and graduated from Skidmore College in 2016 with a degree in Elementary Education and Psychology.
Before starting at the JCA, Marlena worked for several years as a classroom teacher at Ocean Avenue School in Portland. She has also spent the past 9 summers working at Center Day Camp in various roles.
As youth programming coordinator, Marlena runs the JCA’s afterschool program and works to connect families through PJ library programming through the year. She is also thrilled to get to continue spending summers at Center Day Camp as the assistant director.
Center Day Camp is accredited through the American Camp Association. We are members of Maine Summer Camps, JCC Camps, and The Jewish Day Camp Network. Our staff are trained in safety - including CPR & First Aid. Our Waterfront Director is a certified Red Cross Life Guard Instructor and trains our lifeguards on site. The Center Day Camp healthcare manager is a certified Emergency Medical Technician and a licensed Athletic Trainer.
We are proud to carry on the traditions of over 70 years of camp, and treasure the history of all the campers, counselors and families who have contributed to making CDC what it is today!
We want to connect with you!
Join our Facebook group for CDC Alumni HERE.
Stay up to date with camp happenings, alumni reunions, friends throughout the years, and sign our guest book by updating your information HERE.
CDC will celebrate its 75th reunion in 2024! Let's continue to make memories while we look forward to coming together once again.
All of my best friends are at CDC. It's just a great environment for me to learn and grow. My counselors have taught me so many lessons and I look up to them as role models.
Sarah - Camper
Center Day Camp is the most incredible and magical community, which I feel so blessed to be a part of. I met all my best friends at camp, and I have learned and grown so much from my experience here.
Megan - Staff
Center Day Camp is SO fun. We have athletics, swimming, boating and a bunch of other cool activities. The counselors here are really nice and care about everybody.
Jacoby - Camper