West Hills Day Camp has been owned and operated by the Gersh family since its inception in 1954.
Owner / President
Kevin Gersh has dedicated his professional life to changing the lives of children.
He believes that all children, with the right environment and the right people can learn and thrive.
Mr. Gersh was raised in a time when ADHD, Dyslexia and similar disabilities were not diagnosed. These children were labeled difficult, lazy and trouble. Mr. Gersh was one of them. The challenges he faced in his childhood would set him on a life-long path to help children.
In 1991, Mr. Gersh founded West Hills Montessori School. Among the children enrolled in the program was one child with special needs. This child inspired Mr. Gersh to redirect his energy toward children with special needs. As a result, Mr. Gersh founded Gersh Academy. This very successful and much-needed program for children ages 5-21 focuses its educational efforts on students on the autism spectrum. Today there are locations in NY, Washington State, and Puerto Rico serving over 500 children on the spectrum.
Over the years, Mr. Gersh recognized the need for a similar program for emerging adults on the autism spectrum. In 2007, he opened Gersh Experience. This post-secondary residential supported living program for students on the spectrum was designed to assist emerging adults struggling with the skills needed to navigate college life and/or independent living.
In 2009, Mr. Gersh joined forces with his father in running West Hills Day Camp. Founded by Edward Gersh in 1954, West Hills has been owned and operated by the Gersh Family since its inception. During the summer of 2009, Mr. Gersh expanded Gersh Academy to include a traditional summer camp program currently located on the grounds of West Hills Day Camp. This dynamic program has grown in size every year since 2009.
Mr. Gersh prides himself on doing what hasn’t been done before, on paving new paths. For example, Gersh Academy in NY has been offering equine therapy for over 5 years and his school in Washington is attached to a zoo. He also hosted the first autism event at the largest park on the East Coast, Six Flags. Turning it, for the first time, into a sensory friendly environment for over 5,000 families to simply enjoy a day at the park without judgment.
This is just the beginning of Kevin Gersh’s story. In 2020 he will open the first school in the country for children with Autism on the same grounds as an equestrian center. Gersh ABA Services’ one-of-a-kind clinics will be opening all over the country such as on his beautiful 18-acre day camp, at a state-of-the-art equine center and a beach-based clinic.
Mr. Gersh is a philanthropist by nature and is committed to his involvement and service to the community. Each year, he participates and contributes to various charitable organizations. In 2016, the Gersh organization helped to raise funds for Sunrise Day Camp, a camp for children with cancer and their siblings. Most recently, Mr. Gersh headed up a uniform drive and mentor program for the Wyandanch High School on Long Island. His efforts and personal contributions provided uniforms for hundreds of students in need.
In addition to his humanitarian efforts, Mr. Gersh serves as an Advisor on the Board of the Custom Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money for children on the autism spectrum. Mr. Gersh is a member of professional organizations such as Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Young Presidents Organization (YPO), one of the largest executive peer leadership networks in the world.
As Founder and CEO of The Gersh Organization, Mr. Gersh has dedicated himself to making a difference in the lives of children. His experience and professional commitment continue to provide opportunities, inspiration, and guidance for every child to reach their full potential, regardless of the challenges they face.
Kevin lives in Utah with his wife Lindy Gersh and their twin boys, Ashton and Harrison.
Edward Gersh (1920 – 2014)
Edward Gersh was the Chairman of the Board and President of West Hills Day Camp and was also a founding partner and owner of The Woodland Academy and Camp Kent.
Mr. Gersh began his career as an educator serving on the faculty of New York University as an instructor in physical education and an assistant varsity football coach. He also taught physical education and served as boxing coach of the City College of New York. In 1950, he was appointed by the Board of Education to a teaching position in the New York City School System. In 1953, he became Dean of Jefferson Park Jr. High School where he directed the guidance program. In 1960, he was named “Teacher of the Year” by Youth Development Incorporated. He also taught history at the New York Institute of Technology where he was appointed to the Office of Student Affairs. In 1967, he became one of the founders and members of the original Board of Trustees of Wilmington College in Wilmington Delaware, and was appointed Executive Vice President of Wilmington College serving for two years in that position. Mr. Gersh was a former member of the Board of Trustees of Dowling College in Oakland, Long Island for over ten years, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Woodstock Day School in Woodstock, New York.
Mr. Gersh was an all scholastic tackle for Dewitt Clinton High School which enabled him to win a full scholarship to college. He was injured playing football for New York University in his sophomore year and was unable to continue to play. NYU continued his scholarship when his football career ended. He then took up boxing and boxed competitively. In 1943 while a Senior at New York University, Mr. Gersh won the New York City heavyweight Golden Gloves Championship, and went on to take the inter-city title. While doing graduate work at Columbia, he enjoyed a brief, but successful, professional boxing career. Mr. Gersh was formerly a boxing and wrestling referee for the New York State Athletic Commission. He trained, managed, and promoted professional boxing for many years. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from New York University.
Mr. Gersh established the Edward Gersh Scholarship for Steinhardt students at New York University. He and his wife also established the Edward & Holli Gersh Charitable Foundation.
Mr. Gersh received numerous awards for excellence in Education, the most prestigious of which is the NYU Steinhardt Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award received in 2006. Mr. Gersh was the commencement speaker for the Steinhardt School of Education which took place at Radio City Music Hall.