Stan Zynoberg could be called a ‘Reena Renaissance man’. From his start as a Tripper at Camp Reena in 1978 to his current position as Property Manager, Stan Zynoberg’s work with Reena has always been in a category all by itself. 

Stan originally joined Reena after graduating from University as an Urban Planner in the summer of 1978 when he answered an ad for Camp Reena. He enjoyed the experience so much that he expressed interest to Sandy Keshen about becoming a group home staff and asked if there were any openings in one of the two Reena homes at the time. Zynoberg was subsequently hired as a group home counselor, followed by his appointment to co-supervisor of Reena’s Orchardview home. However, in 1980 Stan went back to camp when he was promoted to the position of Director of Camp Reena.  

Zynoberg says Camp Reena, the 52-acre camp in Caledon Hills, 45 minutes northwest of Toronto, was an amazing experience offering a summer retreat for individuals, both young and old. “It was really something that didn’t exist in the country (at the time),” says Zynoberg.  He recalls working the whole year hiring, training, and doing retreats. “We would recruit all kinds of university students for staff. Anybody who worked there, it was a special experience and a memory for life because working with individuals is very different from working with other people. The love that they can express…they may not be able to verbalize things in a regular fashion, but you can see it in their eyes, in their movements and how they come and give you a hug.” It was during that time that Stan got a taste of property management. “My first construction project was when I was Camp Director, building the Irving Ungerman Sports Complex.” 

In 1983, Stan left Reena to pursue a career in construction and property management but returned some 10 years later. Armed with the unique skills of having the kind of experience he had with developmental disabilities, Stan returned to Reena in 1994 as property manager for the agency that had expanded to 30 group homes and was about to build the largest and most modern project of its time, The Toby and Henry Battle Developmental Centre. 

One important lesson Stan Zynoberg has learned along the way is that environment has a very big effect on a person and their behaviour. “For a long time, Reena programs were housed in an isolated warehouse…once we created the Battle Centre, we could see changes.” The well lit, well populated environment had a tremendous effect, according to Zynoberg. “I’m a very strange type of property manager,” he says, “Other property managers evict people, we do everything in our power to not to evict the person. We redesign the entire building so people can continue to live in the building. And then that person thrives.”  

Stan calls the work being done at Reena “phenomenal” and hopes Reena continues to grow and serve as an example in Canada and the world. “You have to give it to Sandy Keshen as a visionary to go beyond and find other visionaries who would follow that dream. And Bryan is doing the same, taking it to the next level.” 

Stan Zynoberg currently supervises new construction for Reena properties with 2 property assistants, 3 property supervisors, and a fire specialist.