IENA is under the ownership and operation of seasoned individuals with backgrounds as former Summer Camp Directors and professionals in the field of Hospitality. Since our establishment in 1995, we have consistently facilitated global opportunities for individuals. Our overarching vision is to serve as a mission-driven and cost-effective international staffing partner, committed to providing top-tier, professional services.
Every member of the IENA camp team possesses extensive prior experience in both camp management and cultural exchange programs. Situated at our New Jersey office, our camp team is dedicated to assisting both camp directors and exchange visitors throughout the J-1 Visa application process.
Our Summer Work and Travel team consists of industry experts who collectively bring over 75 years of experience in the Summer Work and Travel program and the broader hospitality industry.
At IENA, we’ve been on a remarkable journey since our inception in 1995, offering a distinctly personalized approach to Cultural Exchange Programs within the realms of Summer Camps, Hospitality, and Retail industries.
What sets us apart is our direct involvement as company owners with our applicants. We go the extra mile by visiting during the summer to ensure a hands-on and immersive experience. In addition to opening doors for international students to work in diverse roles at countless hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments in culturally vibrant tourist destinations, we are proud to share that IENA has played a pivotal role in facilitating over 100,000 participants in enriching exchanges with American children at more than 1500 summer camps across the USA.
It’s essential to note that IENA holds the coveted designation of a J-1 (Bridge USA) Visa sponsor as recognized by the US Department of State. Unlike third-party agents, we take full responsibility for the program, ensuring the highest level of commitment and care for our participants
At IENA, our owners are fully dedicated as full-time salaried employees. We take an active, hands-on role in attending to our clients’ daily needs and maintain regular interactions with our participants. Our driving force is an unwavering passion for cultural exchange, the world of summer camps, and the hospitality industry. We are personally invested in the success of each of our exchange visitors and employers, making their achievements our top priority.
With over five decades of collective experience in camping and hospitality, coupled with 35 years of expertise in International Programming and J-1 Visas, our knowledge and insights are second to none. We possess a profound understanding of what Camp Directors seek in participants and take pride in our ability to create the perfect match for each individual and camp. Equally proficient and dedicated, we extend our expertise to our Work & Travel Programs and the Hospitality Industries we serve. We apply the same level of skill and attention to ensure that our participants are impeccably matched with our high-quality employers. The tangible outcomes are evident when our participants and employers share positive and mutually rewarding experiences.
As one of our participants aptly expressed
“I think this program is an amazing opportunity for inner growth and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a life-changing experience.” IENA Participant
Our owners actively engage in the day-to-day operations of the program and are readily available to meet your needs and address any inquiries you may have. Your satisfaction and success are our primary concerns.
We have carefully selected international partners from across the globe, providing us with a large, diverse applicant pool which in turn, enables us to provide you with high quality staff. In camp, this includes specialists, counselors and Support Staff; and in business, this includes International students with a range of studies in business, culinary arts and tourism. On average we reject 9 applications for every participant we accept onto the program. As ex camp directors and business executives, our motto is to only accept people onto the program that we would hire for our own camp or business.
Specifically for camp, IENA provide a rigorous pre-camp training in partnership with Expert Online Training, the front-runner in e-learning for youth leaders.
The syllabus for this internet classroom includes a variety of online video training modules, quizzes and handouts that teach new and experienced staff how to better lead, discipline and support the development of boys and girls at summer camp. The hosts of the videos include psychologists, physicians, attorneys and camp directors such as Dr. Chris Thurber, Scott Arizala, Steve Maguire and Gary Forster.
Videos will cover a variety of topics including Bully Prevention, Active Lifeguarding, Alcohol Policies, Safe Touch & Safe Talk, Behavior Management, etc.…
IENA will continue to go above and beyond when selecting staff and preparing them to have a positive impact at camps this summer.
Matt will be the first one to tell you that participating in a J-1 visa program with IENA is one of the best decisions you could ever make and will change your life forever. He’s right and he would know as Matt’s first trip to the US was a participant in the J-1 summer camp program in 1996. Matt loved everything about his experience and returned for many years to his “summer home” at Frost Valley YMCA. Matt has done it all at camp, from Counselor to Maintenance Director and Camp Director. He even had a year in Oklahoma teaching Environmental Education at YMCA Camp Classen!
Matt’s experience here in the US shaped his decision to leave his home in the UK, (where he had worked as an accountant and High School Teacher) and make a life here in the US. As a lifelong Manchester United season ticket holder, this was certainly a big decision!
Matt holds a BA (Hons) in Financial Management and Masters Degree in Education.
Matt’s professional experience in camp, education and the finance sector, along with his passion for the opportunities that the J-1 program offers to young people make him a great asset to our programs.
Matt is very active in program advocacy and is a regular visitor to Washington DC to work with lobbyists to enhance and protect our industry.
Matt works at IENA’s corporate office in New Jersey. A member of the Board of Directors at the Alliance for International Exchange, he lives nearby with his wife Paulann, their dog, Teddy and his twin girls, Molly and Lily. He loves soccer and boxing and the New York Giants!
Our resident Brewer! It’s hard to believe that Scott has been administering international J-1 visa programs since 1986 – That’s more than 30 years!
Scott has directed some of the biggest and most reputable cultural exchange programs in the country, and has a passion for cultural exchange . Scott is the designated Responsible Officer for all our J-1 programs.
Hailing from Minnesota originally, Scott now calls New York City his home where he lives with his wife, Lilik.
When he’s not brewing beer, Scott can be found sitting in a hut on an icy lake looking for Walleye!
Jeff is one of our camp lifers!
Jeff is an Owner of IENA
He has previously worked as Director of Camping Services with the Frost Valley YMCA where he had previously attended as a camper and then worked as a camp counselor. In addition, Jeff has worked with multiple YMCA’s in Director roles and served as Executive Director of the Kennett Area YMCA in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Jeff has always had a passion for international exchange, being an exchange visitor for a year in the UK working as a preschool teacher and volunteering for Global Camps Africa in South Africa.
With a passion for youth development, Jeff has interviewed, hired and trained thousands of camp staff over his career. He looks forward, everyday, to sending future camp staff on their journey into Camping.
Jeff lives with his wife, Kelly, two children, Mary and Miles in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. When he’s not focusing on cultural exchange programs, Jeff loves having the opportunity to travel, camping with friends and family, and is a complete Fanboy of anything related to Star Wars.
Ron’s claim to fame is that he once competed in a tough man competition.
He holds a BS in Business and an MBA in Human Resources.
Ron has extensive experience as an executive in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on CRM, multi-site operations, contract/vendor management, project management, team development/training and strategic business planning. In addition, he was previously an owner of the famed Cadillac Bar in New York City.
Ron had ten years’ experience in the cultural exchange industry, working as Chief Operating Officer before joining IENA.
Ron works with all our programs but runs our Work and Travel program, managing our clients and taking care of exchange visitors.
Ron resides in Massachusetts with his wife, Rachel and 2 children. Although he lives in the Boston area, he is still an avid New York Yankees fan.
Sue joined the IENA family long before she started working at our corporate office. In fact, Sue was one of our first clients and one of IENA’s biggest fans. Mention this to Sue and she will tell you that she believes hands down, that IENA is the best of the best and so much more. And she would know.
Prior to joining IENA, Sue completed a nearly 25-year career as a summer camp owner and director. She brings a unique experience of having operated day camps and resident camps in both the non-profit and for profit sectors. Basically, Sue has done it all.
Sue is known for delivering a high standard of excellence to everything she is involved with and for bringing out the best in others. You’d be hard pressed to mention Sue’s name and not hear a story about how she has helped someone with their career, found a fellow camp director that last minute staffing need or offered a solution to just about any situation you bring to her for advice. Simply stated, Sue is an expert on people and bringing people together. For these reasons and so many more, Sue was an obvious choice to join the team at IENA’s corporate office.
Sue grew up nearby in New Jersey and lives in her home town with her daughter Mollie.
Adam has been involved in camping for the past 8 years, from counselor to assistant director and into the international staffing world.
Adam, Graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BS in Outdoor Studies and Sports Science. Following his degree; he spent several years traveling and immersing himself in all types of adventure activities.
Adam is in a unique position as he has been privileged enough to see every aspect of the international staffing world. He was originally an applicant who came on a J1 program, then became an assistant director who interviewed and hired staff and has now come full circle as our placement coordinator. Assisting both applicants and camps to find the best match possible.
Adam likes to spend his down time planning for or going on adventures whether it be cross country skiing in northern Michigan, paddle boarding in California or skydiving in New Zealand, if it has some sort of adrenalin kick he will probably be there.
Originally from New Jersey, Sarah’s love of travel began at a young age. Throughout her studies, Sarah participated in exchange programs in New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Greece, and England.
After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in History, Sarah lived in Ireland for three years. While living in Dublin, Sarah earned her MSc in Management from University College Dublin, Smurfit Graduate Business School.
Sarah is a lifelong Girl Scout, and worked as a Camp Counselor for five summers at Jockey Hollow Girl Scout Camp. Sarah lives in New Jersey with her husband, Michael, and their rescue dog, Bailey!
In 1989 Alan SNOWY Perry was bitten by the summer camp bug. He then spent 5 summers at YMCA Camp Burgess/Hayward which included a trainee J1 visa for 18 months, as well as his annual
vacation leave for the next few years at YMCA Camp Hazen.
Camp changed Snowy’s life and since then he has had the incredible privilege in guiding thousands of young adults on their own journeys abroad, whether it was to summer camps, ski resorts, or beyond. Seeing the profound impact that these experiences have had on their lives has made him feel like a pseudo parent and has filled his heart with immeasurable pride.
While not out talking up overseas working opportunities, Snowy spends his time with his wife (whom he met because of camp), his 3 children and their labrador. Snowy loves any sport and is a passionate New England Patriots fan as well as a proud Aussie supporter of any Australian team ornindividual.
If you want insights as to where to go and what to see in the United States, ask Lois. She has lived or traveled in all 50 US States plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Getting to the rest of the US territories is high up on her priority list!
With over 30 years of experience in administering J-1 cultural exchange programs, she’s visited a lot of the rest of the world as well.
Lois is thrilled to bring her expertise in developing experiential learning to the IENA. family.
She has previously helped YMCA’s, conference centers, and both small and large businesses develop J-1 intern and training programs that benefit the professional growth of exchange visitors and their American hosts. In fact, in 1998, our CEO Matt Buczek was an Exchange Visitor on teh Trainee program through the YMCA, and Lois was his Responsible Officer!
With homes in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, Lois says she lives on AMTRAK
Lyndon has been in the Summer Camp world since 2004, both on this side of the Atlantic and back in the UK helping recruit international staff for camps.
Lyndon was a J-1 exchange visitor, having completed 10 summers at camp, where he has chalked up a whole host of experience in various roles including Counselor, Lifeguard, Program Director and Assistant Director.
Away from camp, Lyndon loves music and he is also a season ticket holder at his beloved soccer team, Bolton Wanderers and takes any chance he gets to head back to his second home St Louis and watch the Cardinals.
Building community and having strong relationships are at the core of all that we do here at IENA. We love hearing from all members of the IENA family so we have created a space here for all members to share their personal experiences and stories with us. Thank you in advance for sharing your story.