Happy Campers

Nick and Genna Schiner with their son, Madden

Nick & Genna Schiner

First Connection: Summer 2007

Wedding Date: June 23, 2013

Venue: Hyatt Regency

Residence: Pikesville

Favorite Activities: Family time, traveling, vacations at Bethany Beach

Nick and Genna Schiner met and fell in love at summer camp … but not until they were adults.

Their paths came close to intersecting for years. They attended nearby high schools — Franklin and Owings Mills. They had mutual friends, but had never met.

Nick attended Towson University, where he knew some of Genna’s friends. Genna went to York College of Pennsylvania, where Nick had some friends. Still, they never met.

At 21, Nick and Genna both spent their summers working at two different camps in the same building at the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills — and still didn’t meet.

The following summer, Genna worked as assistant director of a camp program for young teens — and Nick was assistant director of the camp where Genna’s teens volunteered.

It was then, finally, that their parallel paths crossed. And when they met, “it was love at first sight,” Nick said. “We had this playful back and forth and I remember distinctly we had both verbalized the fact that we were interested in one another. I was impatient, I guess. I sat her down in what was then the Eden Café in the Owings Mills JCC, and I said to her, ‘Can this be an actual relationship?’ Her response to me was, ‘I’ll have to think about it.’”

This would prove typical of their dynamic. “I’m not the patient type at all,” he said. “I know what I want. I know what I like. … Genna and her family like to think things through.”

Genna didn’t make him wait too long. “She let me know later that day — she said yes,” Nick laughed.

The timing, Nick says, was perfect. “We always joke that we met at the right time and if we had met any earlier we would have hated each other,” Nick said. “I wasn’t exactly an introvert, but I spent a lot of time playing video games with my friends. I didn’t really go out. Genna was very social. She likes to go out with her friends. We wouldn’t have been compatible any earlier. I think it’s beshert that we met when we did. We clicked, and we were so compatible at that point.”

Nick says he “would have gotten married the next year,” but the two worked and saved money. Nick bought the ring on a Thursday in December 2013 and hid it in an empty light bulb box, reasoning that Genna was “not one to change out light bulbs.” He’d told friends he was going to propose in a couple of weeks, but they didn’t believe he’d wait.

“My friends were like, ‘You’re not making it through the weekend.’ We were living in Federal Hill at the time,” said Nick, and as luck would have it, “that weekend one of the light bulbs goes out!”

Nick, as his friends predicted, was too worried about Genna finding the ring to wait long.

“The Four Seasons in Baltimore had just opened,” he said, “so I called over to Wit and Wisdom. I told her we were meeting friends for drinks.”

That evening, “Genna wasn’t feeling great,” Nick said. The whole drive over, “she’s asking if we can cancel.”

Nick and Genna Schiner at their wedding on June 23, 2013

They had only reached the lobby when Nick proposed.

“I couldn’t wait anymore,” he said. “The ring was burning a hole in my pocket.”

“The bellhops and valets were all screaming and clapping,” Genna remembered. Inside Wit and Wisdom, Nick said, “all of our friends and family were waiting for us, which was really nice.”

Their engagement lasted a year and a half. “I’m never in a rush to do anything,” said Genna. They married at the downtown Hyatt Regency on June 23, 2013. “My parents met working at the Hyatt Regency,” Nick said. “So it was cool to get married there.”

“We had a great band. We danced nonstop,” Genna said. “My mom said, ‘You are the calmest bride.’ We were just in the moment.”

“We were so happy the entire day,” Nick said.

A couple months after the wedding, Genna and Nick honeymooned in Aruba. Genna says they were glad they waited. “I always tell people when they’re getting married now, try to wait a couple months if you’re going on a honeymoon. Settle. Rest a little bit. Then have something to look forward to a couple months later.”

Genna and Nick are now parents to their 20-month-old son Madden, who is, according to Genna, “nonstop! He’s also a climber, so that’s fun too. He’s the best.”

All their free time now “revolves around the little guy,” Nick said. They both work from home.

“She has an office on the top floor,” Nick said, “while I have an office in the basement.” Genna laughs, “I tell people: We’re still married, so that’s a good sign!”

Genna works as a program analyst for the Defense Department while Nick recently started working for education nonprofit Digital Promise.

At the end of the day, “we typically pick Madden up from daycare together. From the time we get home to the time he goes to bed, we’re doing stuff together,” Nick said. “But then when he goes to bed we sometimes do our own thing too, which is really nice.”

They spend a lot of time in the summer at the beach visiting Nick’s parents, who moved to Bethany Beach.

Genna loves that Nick “is so brilliant, so smart, so dedicated to his profession. Watching him with Madden, watching him be a dad, he’s the best at everything he does. I think he’s undercover smart. People don’t realize how brilliant he is. Everything interests him.”

Nick says Genna “continually surprises me and that in turn makes me love her even more. I told her very early in the relationship I loved her. From that point to now, seeing her constantly take on new challenges with passion and dedication, I am continually amazed by her. That and her ability to get along well with everybody, and her ability to navigate different social situations. She’s the nicest person in the room.”

Nick is happy “just knowing there’s someone to go through this with. Life is hard. Changes in career are hard. Raising a son to be the best human he can be — that’s incredibly hard. I love that I have someone I love and respect so much to go through this with me.”

Erica Rimlinger is a local freelancer.

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