About the Camp > Our Staff > Bela Florentin

Bela Florentin

VACC Camp Coordinator

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and spent the first half of my life there. I graduated high school fairly young and went to the university to study Biology. I had 2 semesters left to graduate when riots and political problems in my country caused the University to close indefinitely.

I married my husband Baruh Florentin, and went to a technical institute to study computer programming. I graduated and was looking for a job when a friend offered me a partnership in a costume jewelry import and wholesale business. I worked the business for a few years until my son Leon was born and I sold the business to stay at home with my son. When my son was a year old I started a children’s party planning business and a year later my daughter Sandra was born.

My time was spent between my family and my party planning business until we moved to Miami in 1981 and I went back to school. I went to Barry University and graduated with honors with a major in Economics and Finance.

Once more, I went into business for myself. I started a costume jewelry import and wholesale business and had it for several years. When my son turned 13 he had his Bar-Mitzvah and I did all the decorations for his party myself ….. A new business came out of it. My party planning and decorating business was very successful for several years but I used to have to work during the week and also on weekends, days and evenings, and I finally decided that I needed to do something different.

I got offered and accepted a position as Asthma Grant Manager at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in December 1996, working directly with Dr. Moises Simpser. Once the Asthma Grant project came to an end, the VACC camp coordinator at the time had resigned and Dr. Simpser asked me if I would consider staying to help him with camp. Since then, I have been the VACC Camp Coordinator.

Camp is an extraordinary experience for everyone involved, the staff, the campers and their families, and all the volunteers, adults and teens. Your life perspective changes after experiencing VACC Camp for the first time.

My job involves recruiting volunteers, recruiting campers, fundraising, organizing meetings and trainings, planning activities, budgeting, ordering supplies, etc. In essence, I manage all aspects of camp except the medical.

I am blessed to count with the help of great volunteers that happily and unselfishly give their time and support to make camp possible year after year and without whom camp would not be possible. I know that through camp we all make a difference in every camper’s life and that of their families too. You just have to see the smiles on the children’s faces to understand.

Camp has been a very rewarding and emotionally fulfilling experience for me.