Session & Speaker Details


**2020 Conference Session & Speaker Details**

**The speakers and sessions below are from the 2020 Virtual New England Camp Conference to provide a sense of the types of topics we cover. 2022 sessions will be shared in January/February 2022.


Sessions: 1

Thursday, March 26, 9:30 am - 10:45 am

Transition Planning for Camp Owners

Speakers: Jack Erler, Maine Youth Camp Association

Many New England camps are privately owned. There comes a time in every camp owner’s life to retire. If your only goal for retirement is to maximize the return from the sale of your camp, you don’t need to attend this presentation. You only need to get rid of your buildings and sell your land for development. However, if you want your camp to continue to be one of the most important experiences in a child’s life after you are gone, you will need to do some serious planning and work. This presentation is for you. This session is designed specifically for private camp owners and potential buyers.

Branding — Establish Your Camp Brand Positioning, Language, and Voice

Speakers: Kelley Freridge, American Camp Association

Develop a better understanding of your audience and target consumer. Gain insight into progressive communication approaches and planning. Set goals for growing your audience through solid branding tactics.

Teaching About Climate Change at Camp

Speakers: Meghan Haslam, Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Camp

Climate change is affecting the world around us in a myriad of ways, and it is awfully scary. Some schools are teaching kids about it, others barely mention it, and nevertheless, young people around the globe are standing up to demand action against climate change. So how do you introduce climate change to 1st graders? What kinds of solutions can a 12 year-old come up with to combat this behemoth problem? Do you need to be an expert to teach about climate change? Come ready to learn curriculum tips and tricks, implement low-tech projects, and share your ideas about teaching and discussing climate change at camp with campers, staff, and parents too! This session will be about 45 minutes long.

Parent Communication: Balancing Empathy and Efficiency

Speakers: Elise Wulff, MGH Aspire

This workshop will focus on how to train staff to better initiate and respond to caregivers. We’ll discuss how to help staff assess for caregiver needs and some key communication tips to maximize clarity and perspective-taking all around. Emphasis will be on practical strategies to identify strengths and needs in your program’s caregiver/parent communication with recommendations for how to structure training and on-going feedback to build positive and productive working relationships with your caregiver community.

The True Colors of Leadership

Speakers: Ian Moorhouse, Dexter Southfield

To change a behavior it takes up to five weeks, but who you are at the core of your being can’t change.. you are who are you because of your personality. Your leadership is based on your personality and in turn effects your decision making process. In a fun and interactive session, find your inner personality and find effective ways to become a better leader.

Fostering Mental Health: A Simpler Brain Model That You Will Love

Speakers: Donna Volpitta, The Center for Reesilient Leadership

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with how quickly the landscape is changing around mental health? The needs of campers and their families are changing, and we need to adapt to those needs, but often camp staff and administrators feel unprepared. In this interactive presentation, Donna Volpitta, Ed.D. introduces participants to a simple model that explains the brain science of resilience and mental health, empowering them to apply the model to use any challenge as an opportunity to proactively build resilience, one of the best protective factors for mental health. Truly a user’s guide to understanding the brain, this session will leave anyone, from the first-year counselor to the veteran director, better prepared to handle any situation.

Social Emotional Learning at Camp

Speakers: Jeffrey Frigon, The Browne Center for Innovative Learning

This webinar will provide context for integrating the current research in Social and Emotional Learning in Camp. We will work to explore ways in which Camp can support and continue the work that is taking place in the academic setting during the school year using the lens of CASEL- the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning- the nation’s leading organization providing evidence based competencies and outcomes.

Cultural Mindfulness in ACTion

Speakers: Doug Sutherland, Brantwood Camp

Starting the conversation is the first part. Then comes the tools to instituting change at your camp with your goals in mind. This session will provide some tools on furthering your commitment to a diverse camp population that extends beyond photos on the website. How do you retain campers of color? How do you find staff members of color and encourage them to work at your camp? What are some possible challenges for staff and campers of color that need to be address. This session will help provide some answers or at least point you in a direction for the answers. The conversation may be the easy part, but now let’s add some action.

Sessions: 2

Thursday, March 26, 11 am - 12:15 pm

Loneliness vs Being Alone: How Camp Can Help Solve An Epidemic

Speakers: Scott Arizala, The Camp Counselor & Max Claman, Oasis Day Camp

“Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.” Wise words from Dr. Seuss about something we all experience “quite a lot” but without many ideas on how to handle it. No one is that good at it, so we’ve all experienced the slide from being alone into loneliness. Camp is the best place to learn healthy coping skills for being alone, because so many of those skills are rooted in connection. This session will provide actionable steps and strategies for training and programming that supports these skills, including ideas like validation, inclusion, making friends, and debriefing. Camp can make a difference!

Reason Behind Negative Behaviors & How to Manage Them

Speakers: Emily Chaleff, Camp Alsing

Is a camper refusing to participate? Is a staff member sure they “can’t handle it”? Is someone freaking out over the ‘smallest’ disappointment? These behaviors, in kids and staff, both neuro-typical and neuro-diverse, are a fact of life at camp. This session will teach concepts about what motivates this type of behavior, why campers and staff feel they are in a state of chaos, and as a result, how to manage the behavior once it occurs. We will learn skills and strategies to build confidence in campers and staff to know they can “push through” and be successful.

Take the Ack! Out of Feedback: Shifting from Oh No! to I Want to Grow!

Speakers: Polly Goddard, Sandbar Coaching & Consulting

Does your initial reaction to the word “feedback” bring on feelings of dread, nausea and/or cause you to ponder ways to avoid it? What if your feedback process at all levels became easier – maybe even enjoyable – for everyone involved? It is possible! We will explore ways to shift constructive feedback from being uncomfortable, ineffective, and unwelcome to focusing interactions on growth and development. We will dive into specific methods that will help you make feedback clear, actionable, and welcome which will lead to getting better results and eliminating the temptation of avoidance. You will leave this session with proven techniques to improve the relationships, communication, and productivity within your team.

Beyond Self-Care Strategies: Self-Awareness forStressed-Out Staff

Speakers: Emily Golinsky, Bright Moose Training

Did you know that only 67% of leaders think the level of stress they experience at work is manageable? (Presumably, the other 33% were too stressed out to answer the survey.) Sure, stress is a reality of the camp world. You carry a lot of responsibility that can’t simply be delegated or deep-breathed away. But there’s a fine line between “needing a break” and simply “breaking.” This session won’t teach you mindfulness techniques or meditation, but it will help you understand how stress both helps and hurts us in our quest to be amazing camp staff. And, it will help you to formulate a plan for when the stress-monster rears its ugly head.

Social-Emotional Curricula: A Walk-Thru of What's Out There and How to Pick the Right One for Your Camp

Speakers: Elise Wulff & Jennifer O'Rourke, MGH Aspire

This workshop will walk through the most common (read: effective) curricula available for supporting campers with social-emotional growth. Specifically we’ll be discussing the market-available manualized literature if your program is looking to build a structured psychoeducation block for campers. In broad strokes, we’ll help to describe how to identify which curriculum is a good match for your program based on objectives, logistical needs, as well as common strengths and challenges in implementation.

7 Months of Business School in 70 Minutes

Speakers: Anna Hopkins, Friends Camp; Karin Freed, Boston University MBA Student

Summer camp is so much more than a business; it teaches values, cooperation, and community skills. However, sharpening up our business savvy can make more time and energy available for these really important things. We are two business school students (and camp people) who connected over our love for camp. Come share some of our learnings from the first few months of business school. We look forward to diving in to the topics of marketing, accounting, pricing, and operations that are directly applicable in the camping industry. This presentation is appropriate for executive directors interested in new perspectives and take-away tips or those curious to learn more about the business of camp. We promise there won’t be a test!

Abuse Prevention: From Compliance to Culture

Speakers: Katie Johnson, The Redwoods Group

Compared to 20 years ago, camp operations have changed in many ways to help screen out potential abusers. Criminal background checks and interview techniques have been operationalized and are now common place. But is abuse prevention really part of your culture? Or is your camp checking a box? This session will break down the 5 essential elements of an abuse prevention plan and provide resources to help build abuse prevention into your camp’s every day culture.

Sessions: 3

Thursday, March 26, 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

Youth At-Risk in Camp: A Round Table Discussion

Speakers: Terri Mulks, Camp Susan Curtis

Join a vibrant conversation that centers around offering camp experiences to youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity. The topics will be driven by participants and may include staff recruitment and training, camper behavior management, trauma-informed programs and activities, and the rewards and challenges of working with at- risk youth in a camp program.

Delegation Can Be Learned

Speakers: Stephanie "Ruby" Compton, Ruby Outdoors

We all know we need to do it and yet, delegating tasks is often identified as one of the most difficult skills to master. During this session, Ruby breaks down how we are thinking about delegation all wrong, what we can do and what we can say for the best chances for the job to be done right the first time. During this session, participants also learn how to set up routine feedback loops and how to trust and verify the work being done without being a micromanager. This 60-minute workshop will earn attendees hours of time back in their summers simply by teaching them to utilize their newfound productive delegation skills.

CIT Up or CIT Down - Successes and Failures in CIT/LIT Programming

Speakers: Zach d'Arbeloff & Becky Gilles, Mass Audubon

Do you want to take your CIT/LIT program to the next level? Need ideas to refresh? Join us for a round table discussion on recent successes and failures in CIT/LIT programming! We’ll talk about different structures for

CIT/LIT programs, how they are changing as generations shift, and strategies different camps have used to get the most out of their CIT/LIT programs. Come ready to share ideas and learn from your peers! We will look at both day and residential camp programs.

Be A Behavior Superhero (Practicing Powerful Behavior Managem

Speakers: Emily Golinsky, Bright Moose Training

When best intentions aren’t enough to save your camp from the Behaviors of Doom, you need <insert impressive voiceover guy here> Powerful Behavior Management Strategies (dah-dah-DAAAHHH)! Come learn and practice several specific strategies as we role-play how to handle those camper behaviors that nightmares are made of! When you leave this session, you’ll be more confident using your behavior management skills to fight evil villains such as Bad Choice Charley, the Make Me Monster and even their boss level, the terrifying Neverending Aggressive Tantrum. (Pssst! Don’t worry! These “villainous” behaviors are really a front for other emotions, and YOU have the power to make them disappear!)

The WHY of Work; Aligning Passion and Strengths to Get the Job Done

Speakers: Lori Hoffner, Supporting SommUnity, Inc.

Camp staff usually understand what they do for work, but can everyone articulate the “why” of their work? This session will help individuals identify their own personal strengths both external and internal and how to apply those strengths to the work they do and find work meaningful. We will outline steps for retention and sustainability using the four basic leadership practices that will empower camp staff to define the WHY of the work which in turn creates buy-in and loyalty for all levels of staff.

Safer Waterfronts: Ten Hidden Accidents Waiting to Happen

Speakers: Christopher Thurber, CampSpirit, LLC & Camp Belknap

Prevent accidents and promote safe practices by implementing these ten enhancements before next summer. Using video clips for inspiration, participants will be challenged to work different angles of the safe waterfront equation, including construction, instruction, supervision, and maintenance. Refine practices for staff training and lost bather drills and discuss the merits applicable laws and standards. This session concludes by debriefing incidents and sharing your top safety improvements.

Staff to Camper Conduct - How to Train Your Staff and Volunteers

Speakers: Ian Moorhouse, Dexter Southfield

No one is ever going to say that training staff and volunteers on appropriate conduct with campers is the easiest and best session to teach, when in reality, it is the worst! However, during this session you will learn easy and practical ways to teach your staff teams and leave with the resources you need to present a training successfully.

From Onboarding to Retention: Signs That Your Staff Life Cycle is Healthy

Speakers: Daniel Shore, I'm Shore Research & Consulting

Throughout the staff life cycle, camp leaders have opportunities to influence the staff experience. In this session, Daniel Shore, a camp-focused researcher, will discuss familiar elements of the staff life cycle (e.g. staff training, supervisor support) with his unique, evidence-based perspective on how you can add intentionality to your approach toward the staff experience. Daniel has partnered with tens of camps to collect data from staff about their feelings and attitudes and will translate his research into leadership strategies. In particular, these strategies will include how to identify signs of a healthy staff life cycle as well as how to evaluate and achieve your leadership goals around various elements of the staff experience.

Sessions: 4

Thursday, March 26, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

Coronavirus and the Law: Group Discussion of Legal Questions Impacting the Industry

Speakers: Isaac Mamyasky, Potomac Law Group, PLLC & Camp Zeke

This small group session is intended for owners, executive directors, and other senior organizational professionals to have an informal group discussion about our collective legal challenges as we face the unprecedented demands of managing our organizations during the coronavirus pandemic. Please post any questions you have on the discussion page for this session in the Guidebook app, and we will also take questions during the session.

LGBT+ 101 Camp Edition: Policy and Procedures

Speakers: Kryss Shane,

With camps now experiencing an influx of out LGBT+ campers, camp counselors, camp administrators, and families, this provides foundational vital information for all. Topics will include: what camps should be thinking about, how camps should go about making decisions, being proactive vs. reactive with policies and procedures, and examples and scenarios to guide attendees’ thoughts and mindset. The goal is to be as supportive as possible to all while requiring as little deviation as possible from what we already know creates and maintains a safe and happy camp environment and experience!

Why Are All the Black/Asian/LGBTQIA Campers Hanging out Together?

Speakers: Nikki Turpin, Concord Academy Summer Camp

Increase awareness of ethnic identity and development in children of color and explore how environments directly affect their overall health. Attendees will discuss the correlation between identity development, achievement, and well-being. We will examine how we can support and be allies to children who feel “othered” in a time where outcasting is more accepted than ever in certain populations. We will also learn how the last 25 years of our country’s history have shaped children’s social identity and our own hidden biases, and how identifying those helps us connect to others. How do we ensure a safe space for all campers? How do we support staff who may feel awkward or ill-equipped to address uncomfortable but damaging interactions?

Noodles, Balls, and Cones

Speakers: Mac Wallace, Children's Island Day Camp/Northshore YMCA; Garrett Coler, LVO Day Camp Director; Pat Malone, LVO Sports Camp Director

With noodles, balls, cones, and an open space you can run any activity your imagination can come up with. We all know camp program supplies can really start to add up in our budgets. Being able to utilize inexpensive program supplies to build curriculum for campers of all ages, and groups of all sizes, can help cut down on those budget costs. In this session you will learn games for large, medium, and small groups using only Pool Noodles, Balls, and Cones. Whether you’re looking for new evening activities, or week-long programming, you will be sure to take away a giant catalog of ideas for your camp. So come and learn, play, and have a whole lot of fun in this interactive game session.

Adaptability Versus Accessibility: Creating Inclusive Environments Within Your Own Programming

Speakers: Mary Schafhauser & Dawn Willard-Robinson, Pine Tree Camp

With inclusion in the camping world on everyone’s mind, how do we continue creating inclusive spaces while holding true to our own history and traditions? This session will spark the conversation about how we, as camping professionals, can help facilitate all of our camper’s success by adapting our activities to meet their needs. We will take you through the history of special needs camping and how the needs of our young people have changed throughout the years. We will touch on how the ADA, IDEA, and other federal legislation plays into summer camps. We will look into the difference between adaptability versus accessibility and try our hand at adapting everyday activities to meet a wide variety of our campers’ abilities.

Supporting Positive Mental Health and Building Resilience in Campers and Staff

Speakers: Jon Mattleman, Minding Your Mind

Join Clinician Jon Mattleman in an interactive and engaging presentation providing a survey of relevant mental health topics impacting campers and staff alike, including anxiety, depression, home sickness, self-harm, and suicidal ideation/statements. Gain the information and skills to support your team and the youth you serve to develop and maintain a supportive environment that helps to build resilience. Jon has worked with a variety of summer camp administrators and staff on this topic and knows that each camp is a unique environment. He utilizes a variety of engaging techniques to create a supportive environment allowing for robust discussion of these sensitive topics.

Staff as Caregivers - The Importance of Self-Care in Creating Sustainable Enthusiasm and Engagement

Speakers: Rebecca Zelis, Songadeewin of Keewaydin

How do you create an environment that supports the well-being of your staff? Many staff do not have the life-skills necessary to consistently maintain their energy, focus, enthusiasm, and well-being throughout the summer. This can result in burn-out, unreliable behavior, and even health problems. We will share a wellness program (and free online resources) that help staff assess their health behaviors and create a personal wellness plan before campers arrive.

Sessions: 5

Firday, March 27, 9:00 am - 10:15 am

A Camper is Transgender...Now What?

Speakers: Kryss Shane,

This session will focus on how to create policies and procedures that address and support the needs of transgender campers. Whether your camp receives an inquiry call asking if the camp is safe, whether the family lets you know in advance, or whether you discover the camper is transgender during the camp experience, this session will guide you on what to do to create the best possible experience for all!

Becoming a Remote Worker Overnight

Speakers: Polly Goddard, Sandbar Coaching & Consulting; Heather Ramsey, Sojourn Partners

With the sudden move for many teams to working remotely basically overnight, many teams and managers will struggle to find their footing. Join Polly Goddard and Heather Ramsey, who collectively have over 20 years of experience in building and managing distributed teams, as they share tips and best practices for holding your team together while making major shifts in your work setting, approach, and changing perspective. They will cover the nuts and bolts of moving to a remote environment, effective management strategies, and how to support individuals in this challenging time. Bring your questions and be prepared to share (preferably on camera) what challenges you are facing.

Inclusive Initiatives for All Ages

Speakers: Gabi Tetelman & Sarah Derick, WingSpeed Adventures

Join Wingspeed Adventures for a discussion and explanation of activities that we utilize to foster an inclusive environment. We will delve into how these activities can be presented to meet the needs of all participants no matter their age or ability.

Staff Training: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Speakers: Erin Kelly, Kim Baker & Chelsea Gutierrez, Boston Nature Center

Camp is the ideal place for staff and campers to learn, practice, and value inclusiveness. In this workshop, we will share our favorite Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trainings for staff and ways to build a supportive learning environment for both staff and campers. At the Boston Nature Center, we find the most significant work around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion happens through conversation and self-reflection. We will discuss how to create a space for meaningful conversations, how to teach staff best practices when it comes to difficult conversations, and how to reflect on experiences throughout the summer. Join us in this important work to ensure that camps continue to be a place where everyone feels welcomed, celebrated, and at home.

Camp is More Fun with More Campers; 20 (or more) Affordable Ways to Increase Registrations

Speakers: James Tresner, Wanakee

Wouldn’t it be nice to run one of those camps that fills in a week? The common saying “if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” certainly applied to my current camp. A small but regular decline had taken the organization further and further from long-term viability, let alone vitality. Using my time spent in marketing at a national nonprofit, experience leading 70% growth at an after school program, and in partnership with a talented group of volunteers (plus a bit of external help), we’ve reversed course, growing 3% – 15% every year since 2015; 37% total in 4 summers. As a nonprofit, we had to find affordable ways to achieve that growth. Come learn 20 (or more) tested marketing ideas and strategies you can use at your camp today!

Ensuring Camp Safety in an Age of Active Shooters and Other Violence

Speakers: Joseph Pangaro, True Security Design

The program will cover all of the elements of a proper physical Threat, Vulnerability, and Risk (TVRA) Assessment for a camp to include: staff training, policies, security protocols, de-escalation training, and combining the the proper electronic equipment with the human element. A TVRA looks at the entire camp property and attempts to uncover all potential security and safety gaps present, then provides a road map for remediation of any gaps to create the safest possible environment. Part of the assessment determines the level of preparedness a camp has to respond to violence either from campers, staff, or outside intruders’. A proper assessment not only creates a safer camp, but also provides a liability reduction for camp owners.

Creating a Cushion of Safety for your Camp Waterfront

Speakers: Cathy Scheder, Second Nature Partners, LLC

Risk management is key for aquatic programs, but camps need to build a holistic approach to safety that is multi- faceted. This session will focus on building a cushion of safety including appropriate certifications, skills assessment and verification, pre-camp and in-service training, and supervision of waterfront environments. The session will focus on: overview of aquatics programs and staffing requirements including ACA Standards; overview of pre- service training fundamentals and requirements including skills verification; overview of in-service training fundamentals, importance of consistent training clinics, physical fitness, and emergency response; and supervision requirements, processes and procedures of all aquatics staff.

Sessions: 6

Friday, March 27, 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Show UP: Teaching Counselors to Connect

Speakers: Scott Arizala, The Camp Counselor

All connections begin with some kind of showing up, or being present both physically and emotionally. This session is about teaching staff how to do that. Sometimes it doesn’t take much skill, but a lot of effort, other times you have the talent, it’s just being used in the wrong place. From the secret ingredients of listening to the basics of time management, we will cover practical training ideas and coachable strategies that teach counselors how to Show Up. Of course, to do that you have to know where you are going and be valued when you get there. How you Show UP for them may be the most important part.

Hot Topics in Camp Health and Wellness

Speakers: Laura Blaisdell, MD/PMP, FAAP, Camp Winnebago

This session will address several hot topics in camp medicine currently including infectious disease from ticks and mosquitos, vaccination best practice and outbreak management, and importantly preventative practices to protect campers, staff and camps from communicable diseases.

Yes Means Yes and No Means No: Consent Education at Your Camp

Speakers: Stephanie "Ruby" Compton, Ruby Outdoors

Summer camp has an important role in rewriting the nation’s narrative about healthy relationships and self- advocacy. The best tool to prevent sexual assault is consent education. Learning about consent happens well before the bedroom and can be a powerful tool at camp to teach campers and staff radical empathy and empowerment. This session will share a easy ways to adjust your language and tactics this summer to teach campers about consent and deepen your community’s commitment to being an inclusive, safe, and respectful environment for all.

What's on the Horizon; Everything from Y to Z

Speakers: Lori Hoffner, Supporting CommUnity, Inc.

A workplace with multiple generations continues with the incoming Generation Z. Understanding the dynamics of this younger group gives you a better opportunity for retention of members of this generation either as staff or as a consumer. Together we will learn the similarities and differences between the Gen Y/Millennials and the up-and- coming Gen Z generations. Better understand how today’s young adults, teens, and youth think and behave in order to benefit your organization. We will discuss trends in education, employment and the offline experience and how it impacts the way the younger generations interact in the “real world”.

Spreadsheets: Level 1.5

Speakers: Marcie Glad, Tenacre Day Camp

Have you taken a spreadsheet course in the past, but need a refresher? Are you frustrated at your spreadsheets and wish someone could answer your questions? You’re in luck! Whether you use Excel or Google Sheets, this is the session for you! Content will include practice & review of: Pivot Tables, Print Management, Text-to-Columns and introduction to Spreadsheet Formulas COUNTIF (and how it can help your scheduling woes), CONCATENATE, IF. Bring a laptop, your spreadsheets, and your questions. Get ready to improve your ability to handle a spreadsheet and exponentially increase your efficiency!

How to Manage a Seasonal Challenge Course

Speakers: Phil Brown, High 5 Adventure Learning Center

It can be tough knowing what to do with your Challenge Course when you only run a seasonal program. In this workshop we intend to give you tips and tricks to efficiently manage your course from opening to closing. We will share our recommendations for each of the seasons to efficiently maintain your challenge course while getting the most out of your budget. The three main areas we will discuss are: equipment, facility/course, and staffing and training.

Believe it or Not: The Gang in My Camp - Lessons Learned from Crisis in Camp

Speakers: Cathy Scheder, Second Nature Partners, LLC

It was just another week of camp… or so we thought. This session shares a unique situation where as events unfolded the situation worsened to a crisis level where camper and staff safety was soon to be compromised. Join us for this engaging and dynamic session describing actual crisis in camp, steps taken, and lessons learned. The presenter will share with you the unbelievable story of this actual event, walk you through a crisis response exercise (how would you respond?), and share with you the outcomes from their experiences.

Get on the Bus

Speakers: Katie Johnson, The Redwoods Group

Transportation, field trips, and expeditions are a regular part of many camp programs. But there is also a rise of incidents of peer-to-peer abuse and bullying occurring during these times, in addition to lost campers and inadequate supervision. This session will discuss the unique exposures involved when participating in field trips & expeditions and the best practices to keep campers safe during these higher risk times.

Sessions: 7

Friday, March 27, 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Bloom: Creating a Culture of Growth and Development

Speakers: Scott Arizala, The Camp Counselor

The potential in a seed is only realized through the mix of ingredients, environment, and the attention we give it. We want our campers and staff to bloom, by cultivating a staff with a growth mindset in an environment that supports development for them and the campers. This session will cover activities, experiences, and practical skills to orient counselors towards development (ingredients), leadership ideas to help create and sustain a culture of growth (environment), and, maybe most importantly, tools and strategies for coaching and supervising along the way (attention). Sometimes it doesn’t take much for someone to bloom, especially with a little care and attention.

Considerations for Implementing Mental Health & Behavioral Supports

Speakers: Emily Golinsky, Bright Moose Training

Considering adding Inclusion/Intervention/Behavioral staff to your team? Don’t know what exactly you need, but you DO know that something needs to change? Where do you begin? Each camp has vastly different needs in this emerging, complex area. This session will help you determine the logistical, ethical, financial, and other concerns involved as you evaluate the best way to address the rising needs amongst your campers and staff for behavioral, mental, and emotional health supports. We’ll talk about identifying/addressing your camp’s needs, determination of internal strengths, and evaluation of complicating factors, plus logistics such as costs, structure, and intended outcomes. Most importantly, we’ll answer the question “where do I start?”

Essential Legal Considerations: A Checklist of Key Considersations

Speakers: Isaac Mamyasky, Potomac Law Group, PLLC & Camp Zeke

In this session, participants will think through some key legal considerations that help protect camps from liability. In light of current events, this will include an exploration of legal considerations related to coronavirus. Participants will explore questions such as: How does coronavirus impact typical refund policies? What obligations do we have to hired staff if camp doesn’t open this summer? What do we do if a staff member gets sick with coronavirus? Also, unrelated to coronavirus, we will discuss essential requirements to comply with the law while exploring common missteps and pitfalls that lead to unnecessary exposure. This session is intended for management teams/decision- makers within camps.

Strategies for Successfully Navigating Camp with LGBT+ Campers

Speakers: Kryss Shane,

We all know the adage that “Practice Makes Perfect” …but what happens during the practice stage of change? This session offers guidance on how to find out what you don’t know, how to update what you thought you knew, and what to do when mistakes happen. Rather than feeling flustered in the moment, come learn how to prepare for the unexpected and how to turn a stumble into a graceful dance move that supports campers rather than undermines your relationship with them!

Forget Feedback Forever

Speakers: Christopher Thurber, CampSpirit, LLC & Camp Belknap

Hack the managerial nightmare of colleagues who ignore you or get upset when you offer feedback. Participants in this innovative workshop will learn three unconventional approaches to continuous professional development – soliciting, referencing, and querying – that not only avoid hurt feelings, but also eliminate the arrogance baked into our self-perceptions and neutralize the intense emotions that distort our observations of others. Learn to lead others to be their best selves.

Teaching Girls to Use Social Media in Positive, Empowering Ways - In and Outside of Camp!

Speakers: Michelle Cove, MEDIAGIRLS

The average teen girl consumes social media for three to four hours a day. Research shows that using social media for over two hours a day is repeatedly linked to higher levels of anxiety, insecurity, and depression. Thousands of girls in our program have told us directly that while they are addicted to social media, it often leaves them feeling stressed and anxious. Our 75-minute #REALMEDIAGIRL workshop teaches girls to think critically about undermining messages they receive from media, and how these messages influence their well-being. Girls learn healthy ways to evaluate their true self-worth, and how to use social media to make media culture more positive and empowering.

Breaking the Ice!

Speakers: Alexis Dascoulias, Camp CenterStage

We’ve all faced those moments: how to start our staff training or the first full-camp activity at or (gasp) a new Board member social! Icebreakers are the most effective tool to begin to engage the interest and encourage the participation of campers and/or staff. Great ice breakers are the foundation for all team building. This lively, interactive session will explore a dozen ice breakers for groups of all sizes. Meaningful camp experiences start from the moment we first interact – so make them fun, engaging, and memorable. Let’s break some ice!

Accreditation and Standards Advice From Veterans

Speakers: ACA, New England Standards Committee Members

Is it your accreditation year and you just do not know where to start? You have your Accreditation Process Guide – but how do you organize the material to show your visitors? What if you are not quite sure of the 2019 standards? Are you not sure what to expect for your site visit this summer? Members of the New England Standards Committee are here to answer your questions! In this session we’ll show some methods to organize documentation (both digitally and in paper form), answer questions about the 2019 standards, and any questions you might have about the site visit. We’ll bring some tips and tricks to help you prepare for your upcoming Accreditation Visit so that you can walk out energized to get started!

Sessions: 8

Friday, March 27, 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

The Supervisor Challenge: Staff Hiring, Training, and Support

Speakers: Terri Mulks, Camp Susan Curtis

Campers need a cohesive and inspired staff team that creates a positive camp culture. Let’s talk about how we hire, train, and maintain a strong staff team in our most challenging role as a supervisor. Discussion will include a template for group interviewing, comprehensive staff training, MESH support throughout the summer, and engineering difficult conversations to highlight the good.

Can You Hear Me Now? Working More Effectively With Parents in the Technological Era

Speakers: Bob Ditter

Family groups chats and texts; scouring the Facebook pages of other parents; off-season social media bullying; parents who keep an overly keen eye on your summer postings: We live in an era where parents and their kids are immersed in technology. Let’s talk about some of the challenges this presents to you as a camp professional and what you can do to meet those challenges. While we see value in giving kids a break from their technology, their parents are not taking that same break!

Business Partnership Fundraising - Partners and Pitch Decks

Speakers: Kelley Freridge, American Camp Association

This session will cover the essentials of a good pitch deck, what brands and business are looking for in partnerships, and how to leverage your audience as influencers. Learn how to determine what potential business partners look like for your program and how to present opportunities to identified potential partners.

Suicide Talk; a Conversation to Create Awareness

Speakers: Lori Hoffner, Supporting CommUnity, Inc.

Suicide is a community health issue. Current statistics show that veterans, white men 65 and older, LGBTQ and teens as some of the highest risk groups. However, research also tells us that depression, one of the leading contributors to suicidal ideation, can be reduced with physical activity. Additionally, the ability to make connections with other people also reduces risk. Although suicide can be a very scary and difficult topic for many people to discuss, only an open and honest conversation about the issue of suicide helps remove the stigma and taboo. Every single person can participate in this type of conversation which helps to create a strong, positive community that encourages ‘help-seeking’ behavior for people that might be at-risk.


Speakers: Christopher Thurber, CampSpirit, LLC & Camp Belknap

Working precariously and without a net, harness, or crystal ball, psychologist Chris Thurber will shock and awe the camp world by revealing the six disruptive forces that will jeopardize all youth programs in the coming years. Join a robust debate about the end of camp as we know it. Wax philosophical about the positive youth development event horizon. Above all, learn to preserve the essential core of your program in the face of looming threats. Ignore this session at your own risk.

An Empathy-Based Approach to Behavioral Challenges: What Research Teaches Us About the Power of Camp

Speakers: Mia Klinger, Daybreak Day camp

We have tried time outs, calls home, prizes, charts, points, incentives, and consequences, and yet some camper behaviors do not seem to change. This workshop will look at what research teaches us about behavior and why some of our traditional approaches have failed. We will discuss how empathy can guide our interventions and help us build trauma-sensitive, strong communities. Participants will leave with an understanding of the brain science involved in behavior and several strategies for working with campers. Finally we will celebrate our camps’ special powers that help children with challenging behaviors find connections and success.

ACA's Youth Impact Study Update

Speakers: Thayer Raines, Research Advisory Committee (REAC)/American Camp Association

Learn about the latest research findings from the American Camp Association’s Youth Impact Study that is designed to discover the impact of the camp experience on a child’s developmental success in school, career, and life.

Research may serve as a powerful tool for explaining the value of the camp experience to parents, for marketing, grant writing, training staff, and for the design of programs that have high-quality impact. Participants will have the opportunity to consider what the findings mean for their camps and for the future of the national camp community. Come hear what has been shown to have a lasting impact and what has been learned so far from this 5-year national study.

Understanding the Entire Counselor Experience to Better Support Staff

Speakers: Benjamin Aaronson, Needham Youth and Family Services

Have you ever walked away from a counselor shaking your head and wondering if you’re even on the same planet as your staff? Summer camp staff have many talents, one of which is making their supervisors want to pull out their hair. Throughout this session we will explore the developmental skill sets of the young adults we employ as counselors and seek to understand how those abilities impact their problem solving and decision making approaches. We will then identify effective strategies and approaches that camp supervisors can take to support staff members.


Speakers: A

Kristy Andrews

Organization: Camp Wawenock

Kristy was a camper and continued on through many seasonal roles. After graduating from Bates College, Kristy taught abroad before returning to Maine to pursue her passion for camp by becoming a year-round camp professional. She is currently the Assistant Director and Waterfront Head at Camp Wawenock in Raymond, Maine and is the chair of the Maine Summer Camps Outreach Committee. Kristy is excited to be a part of ACA New England’s EPIC Committee!

Scott Arizala

Organization: The Camp Counselor

Scott is one of the leading experts & trainers on kids, staff, and the experience of summer camp. He is the CEO of The Camp Counselor, a consulting & training company working with hundreds of camps and thousands of staff & administrators across the country and abroad. He is the proud partner of Sanofi Genzyme, delivering the Camp Academy Staff Training Program to camps for kids with bleeding disorders, and the Founder of Chasing Summer, an organization dedicated to creating access for people with autism in recreation. He is a pioneering faculty member of Expert Online Training, a regular contributor to ACA’s Camping Magazine, and is the author of the best-selling book on summer camp & youth development, S’more Than Camp.

Benjamin Aronson

Organization: Needham Youth and Family Services

Ben is a licensed mental health counselor and nationally certified school psychologist who strives to help adolescents develop a strong self-concept through experiential education. Ben believes that a key ingredient to helping adolescents meet that goal is CAMP! Ben began attending overnight camp when he was 9-years-old and he has not left yet. He is currently a boys’ head counselor at Camp Tevya when he enjoys helping campers and counselors develop confidence in themselves. Outside of camp, Ben loves the outdoors and is an avid hockey fan.

Speakers: B

Laura Blaisdell

Organization: Camp Winnebago

Dr. Laura Blaisdell, MD/MPH, FAAP is a pediatrician, researcher, and advocate. For 20 years, she has worked in camp medicine, serving as Medical Director at Camp Winnebago. She currently is Vice President of Maine AAP and a founding member of Maine Families for Vaccines. Dr. Blaisdell researches parental vaccine hesitation with Maine Medical Center (MMC). Additionally, she served as site director for the National Children’s Study, Chair of the Institutional Review Board at MMC, Chief of Pediatrics at InterMed, and currently is Trustee to Mercy Hospital in Portland. She is an Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. She resides in South Portland, ME with her two sons and husband, Andy Lilienthal.

Phil Brown

Organization: High 5 Adventure Learning Center

Phil joined the High 5 team in May 2015 having previously worked in Adventure and Outdoor education for seven years. Originally from England, Phil moved to the United States in 2008 to work at the New York YMCA camp, first as a Camp Counselor, then an Outdoor Educator, and finally as the Challenge Course Coordinator. Phil brings high energy and devotion to the Adventure field and has presented at the NEYCC, ACA, New England, ACCT, Northeast and International AEE, BOOST, and several regional Phys Ed conferences and at the High 5 Symposium. He is also one of the co-authors of the book “Tinker: Building Purposeful Experiences from Classic Adventure Activities” and the producer/host of “High 5 Adventure – The Podcast”.

Speakers: C

Jonathan Caflun

Organization: Camp Wekeela

Jonathan has been in camp for 24 years; 10 years as a camper and eight as a staff member. Before entering into full-time camping, Jonathan attended Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. Jonathan lives in Boston, MA and is a member of ACA, New England’s EPIC and Education Committees.

Sarah Castro

Organization: Fleur de Lis Camp

Sarah is the Assistant Director for Advancement at Fleur de Lis Camp. She grew up on the shores of Laurel Lake and rose through the ranks at Camp Takodah. Sarah majored in Human Services and minored in Psychology at Geneva Collee in PA. After college and a fund development internship with a local YMCA, she moved back to NH and started her proessional career in caming with Camp Takodah, before joining Fleur de Lis. Sarah loves crafting, hanging out with her niece, and dogs!

Emily Chaleff

Organization: Camp Alsing

Emily (Rosenberg) Chaleff is a co-founder and the director of Camp Alsing, a residential Maine summer camp for kids with high-functioning autism and other social challenges. Prior to founding camp, Emily’s career was based in the nonprofit sector leading mission-driven organizations in strategic planning, fundraising and transformational change. Emily attended Camp Thunderbird for Girls in Bemidji, MN for 13 years as a camper, counselor, and trip leader.  She believes deeply in the power of camp to change lives and when the opportunity to make a career of camp arrived, she grabbed it!  Originally from Chicago, Emily and her husband moved to Portand, ME in 2008 where they live now with Gideon (8yrs), Asher (5yrs), and Burt the dog.

Max Claman

Organization: Oasis Day Camp

Max has been working in the camp world for over a decade, having held leadership roles at both day and residential camps, for both private and nonprofit organizations.  In addition to his role as a Camp Director, Max serves as a trainer, facilitator, and speaker, having spoken at camps and conferences since 2014, in addition to serving on multiple committees for the ACA NY/NJ.  Max currently serves as the Director of Development for Oasis Day Camps, helping manage multiple camps throughout the greater New York City area.  Max has two degrees from Ohio State University, where he also worked in the Department of Athletics in multiple capacities.

Garrett Coler

Organization: Children's Island Day Camp/Northshore YMCA

Garrett is originally from Manchester, NH, currently lives in Danvers, MA, and works as the Athletics Director and Day Camp Director at Lynch Van/Otterloo YMCA in Marblehead, MA. This will be his 9th summer working at camp and his 5th Directing. Has worked at Residential camps, Summer Boarding Schools, and Day camps across New England. His favorite part about working at camp is seeing development in both counselors and campers over the summer and working to build and promote elite sports camps in the surrounding community.

Stephanie "Ruby" Compton

Organization: Ruby Outdoors

Ruby Compton’s experience in the outdoor industry includes work with residential, day, private, and non-profit camps as well as school-year environmental and experiential education programs. She volunteers as an Accreditation Visitor and Standards Instructor. Ruby supports camps during the school year by co-hosting the podcast Camp Code–a free podcast that offers best practices for creating and delivering intentional staff training. She also serves as the Masterclass Provost for Go Camp Pro coordinating and teaching online classes offered to camp professionals around the world on a variety of topics applicable to the camp industry. She is also a member of the planning team for the Women in Camp Summit.

Michelle Cove

Organization: MEDIAGIRLS

Michelle Cove is the founder and Executive Director of MEDIAGIRLS, a non-profit that teaches girls and young adults to know their self-worth and harness the power of media for positive change. She is an award-winning filmmaker, author, and journalist whose projects have been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Today Show,” and national publications including The Washington Post, Psychology Today, Parenting, U.S. World News & Report, and more. She is the author of I Love Mondays (Seal Press, 2012), co-author of the national bestseller I’m Not Mad, I Just Hate You!: A New Understanding of Mother-Daughter Conflict (Viking, 1999), and author of Seeking Happily Ever After (Tarcher Penguin, 2010).

Speakers: D

Zach d'Arbeloff

Organization: Mass Audubon's Blue Hills Summer Camp

Zach d’Arbeloff joined the camping world in 2009 and only ever looked back once (because, let’s be honest, finding full time jobs in camping is hard). Currently, he is Director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Summer Camp. With a background in environmental and agricultural education, Zach’s passion is bringing a knowledge of local nature and farming to his campers. Zach is also an avid ultimate player and lover of cats.

Alexis Dascoulias

Organization: Camp CenterStage

Graduate of the MS program for Camp Directors & Leadership at Touro University and Camp Director & Co-Founder of Camp CenterStage, Alexis has 25 years experience as a camp director, teacher, public speaker, and theater producer. After spending 12 years on Maui, she returned to Maine last year to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning (and building) a camp. Alexis has directed residential and day camps in New Hampshire, Maine, and Hawaii.  As a guest presenter at Rotary International conventions, STEM conferences, and many ACA conferences, she strongly believes in the power of camp and that having an “attitude of gratitude” is the best way to live!

Bob Ditter


Bob Ditter has been teaching, coaching, and learning from camp professionals since he was a counselor at a boys’ sailing camp on Cape Cod in 1974. He is a highly regarded child, adolescent, and family therapist from Boston and an internationally recognized trainer and consultant. Bob has the largest lexicon of published camp titles of anyone in the field, with 5 books, 21 training DVDs, and an article or column in every issue Camping Magazine since 1987. He is currently President of the Board of Boston Explorers, an urban day camp for curious, capable kids in the city who have little access to quality camp programs. Bob is well known to folks in New England having started his own camp career here.

Speakers: E

Jack Erler

Organization: Maine Youth Camp Association

Jack Erler is an attorney in Portland, Maine. For more than 50 years Jack has been representing youth camps in all aspects of their operation. In addition, Jack represents Maine Youth Camping Foundation, the State wide non-profit organizations of youth camps and Maine Youth Camp Association, the policy arm of the Foundation. Jack is the recipient of the Halsey Gulick Award for distinguished service to the organized camping movement in Maine; the ACANE Community Honor Recognition; and the ACA Special Recognition awards for outstanding service to organized camping. Jack is a speaker on legal issues affecting youth camping including the duty of care, child abuse, sexual harassment, laws regulating alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Speakers: F

Amy Farnham

Organization: ReVision Energy

Before coming to ReVision, Amy managed a child care center at Phillips Exeter Academy for nine years where she was able to be with her children while providing quality child care for local families. During her time at PEA, she was able to take advantage of the academic environment where sustainability was beginning to thrive. She joined the Sustainability Advisory Committee and learned about how sustainability works on a campus. After taking courses on Solar Energy, she became interested in the notion that working to bring more solar to our corner of the world would fulfill her in both a personal and professional capacity. When her sons graduated from the child care center, she felt it was time to move on and commit to a career in solar! Amy is part of ReVision’s Brentwood branch where, as a NABCEP-certified PV Technical Sales Professional, she is enjoying the opportunity to educate residents of New Hampshire on energy efficiency and how to respect the planet on which we live.

Karin Freed

Organization: Boston University

Karin is a teacher turned MBA student at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. Karin has her M.Ed. from Harvard University and was a high school English teacher and college counselor at an urban charter school. There, she started an outdoor leadership program for struggling 11th graders, which was inspired by her time as a camp counselor. Karin loves improv and making people laugh!

Kelley Freridge

Organization: American Camp Association

Kelley Freridge is the chief marketing officer for the American Camp Association. With ten years of senior leadership roles in the outdoor industry at Eastern Mountain Sports, Patagonia ,and Chaco, she brings consumer insight and digital savvy to her role with the American Camp Association. Kelley points to her childhood experiences growing up at Van Buren Youth Camp as the compass she leverages in every business decision. As a National Outdoor Leadership School graduate and mother, Kelley recognizes the essential value of outdoor experience in developing tomorrow’s leaders and is passionate about passing down this cornerstone to the next generation.

Jeffrey Frigon

Organization: The Browne Center for Innovative Learning

Jeff has been involved in Adventure-based Experiential Education for 25 years. He got his start in camps at Camp Nashoba North in 1994 & has worked in many environments: therapeutic-adventure with Outward Bound, Classroom-based with the Exeter Alternative High School, and has been with youth and adults as an educational consultant at The Browne Center and an Adjunct Instructor at UNH since 2010. Jeff holds a B.S. in Outdoor Education and Psychology from UNH and an M.S. in Experiential Education from The University of Minnesota. When not at work, Jeff spends as much time adventuring as possible: surfing, kayaking, SUPing, backcountry snowboarding, MTB, and road biking and spending QT with his wife and dog.

Speakers: G

Becky Gilles

Organization: Mass Audubon's Wildwood

Marcie Glad

Organization: Tenacre Day Camp

Originally from Utah, Marcie Glad has been working in the camp industry for over a decade. She specializes in creating resident and day camp schedules using Excel. Marcie is also pursuing her MBA at Boston University. Her superpower is knowing the exact size of tupperware for leftovers.

Polly Goddard

Organization: Sandbar Coaching & Consulting

After receiving a degree in Outdoor Recreation Management from the University of Maine at Machias and a degree in Recreation & Leisure Service Administration from California State University, Fresno, Polly has traveled the United States developing her leadership, management and coaching practice. From directing ropes courses and adventure education programs at camps and schools in MT, NM, CA, and CT to leading conservation programs in MD, VT, and MA to coaching managers and leaders across the country, Polly has spent her career growing and learning about leadership presence, effective management practices, effective feedback processes, and employing coaching techniques to develop cultures of growth, commitment, and resiliency.

Emily Golinsky

Organization: Bright Moose Training

Emily’s sessions get called many things, and her favorites are: “tremendously helpful,” “definitely not the same-old-same-old,” “fun and informative” and “not to be missed – a reason to come to the conference!” Emily provides training and strategic support to camps, enabling success for staff and participants, and helping manage behaviors from “challenging” to “crisis.” She sits on the Board of Directors for NHCamps, and volunteers with ACA NE as a Visitor, member of the Conference & Fund Development committees, and New Camp Directors’ Workshop faculty. Emily has a BS in Health Psychology and MS in Camp Administration/Leadership. She spent 14 years as Executive Director at Camp Starfish and is excited about her new project, Bright Moose LLC – a training, consulting and advocacy organization. She is an avid collector of terribly awesome puns.

Speakers: H

Meghan Haslam

Organization: Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Camp

Meghan began her career as camp counselor in the Rocky Mountains outside Buena Vista, Colorado. After graduating with a B.A. in Creative Writing from Colorado College, she spent three years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, where she went on to found and direct the 4 Walls Project, a housing improvement organization. While continuing to live and work in Central America, she managed a range of community, educational, and outdoor programs. Since returning to the U.S. in 2014 she has directed the 100 Elk Outdoor Center, oversaw outdoor education programs at North Carolina Outward Bound School, and is now the Camp Director at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Camp in Lincoln, MA. Her passion is connecting with diverse communities through nature.

Lori Hoffner

Organization: Supporting CommUnity, Inc.

Lori A. Hoffner has been offering training for positive youth development, community networking, and organizational relationship building since 1997 and has spoken nationally regarding youth program development, employment and staff engagement as well as multiple community issues. For 11 years, Lori was the Executive Director of PACCT, a small non-profit in Jefferson County, Colorado, an organization dedicated to the success of youth and community. Lori specializes in positive staff and organizational relationships based on generational studies and research.  Additionally, she has years of experience with youth programming, program development and youth staffing. Lori is an ASIST Certified Trainer and SafeTALK Master Trainer. She has her B.A. in Psychology and is a member of the Jefferson Foundation Board of Directors.

Anna Hopkins

Organization: Friends Camp

Anna Hopkins has been the camp director at Friends Camp, a non-profit overnight camp in Maine, since September 2016. Anna is chair of the Education Committee for Maine Summer Camps and a facilitator with The Summer Camp Society. Anna is now an MBA student, figuring out some of the ways business school thinking can inform the way we run our camps.

Speakers: I

Speakers: J

Katie Johnson

Organization: The Redwoods Group

Katie Johnson has spent 20+ years as a youth development professional working with both resident & day camp programs, including eight years with the American Camp Association. Katie joined The Redwoods Group in 2016 as a consultant where she is sharing her professional experiences to help camps and youth serving organizations provide safe environments and programs for children and families.

Speakers: K

Erin Kelly, Kim Baker, & Chelsea Gutierrez

Organization: Boston Nature Center

Kim Baker and Chelsea Gutierrez are Camp Directors at Mass Audubon’s popular Boston Nature Center camps which annually serve 1,500 Boston children. Kim has worked in urban environmental education in MA, NY, and CT for 15 years and holds a M.S. in environmental education. Chelsea is a teacher at BNC’s nature preschool, received a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation from University of Massachusetts, and has worked at BNC for 6 years. Erin Kelly, Education Manager, has been supervising both BNC summer camps for 12 years, and was a residential camp director in NY and CT. Erin has been leading educational programs that meet the needs of urban audiences for 20 years. Erin earned a M.S. in environmental education from Antioch University New England.

Mia Klinger

Organization: Daybreak Day Camp

Mia is the co-founder and director of Daybreak Day Camp, a program serving children from under-resourced circumstances who demonstrate social, emotional, and behavioral challenges resulting from trauma or disability.  This year Daybreak marked its 30th summer and its first year offering Saturday school-year programming to its campers and teen CITs. Mia is a career special educator who currently consults to schools and after school programs around creating trauma-sensitive environments to support children’s needs. She also teaches undergraduates at Curry College.  As a camper, CIT, counselor, and administrator, Mia has spent all but 5 summers of her life in camp.

Speakers: L

Speakers: M

Pat Malone

Organization: Children's Island Day Camp/Northshore YMCA

Patrick Malone is a graduate of Endicott College (2018) having received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport Management. He has spent the past 2+ years at the Lynch van/Otterloo YMCA, currently as the Youth Program Specialist. Patrick continues to build experience in leading youth sports & athletics classes, Summer Sports Camp programs, as well as recreational and travel leagues such as the Jr. Celtics Youth Development and Jr. NBA Travel League(s). Patrick continues to coach sports to children starting from preschool and all the way through middle school. His previous experiences consists of a Woburn Memorial High School Athletic Department internship, and work with the Woburn Recreation Department and Stop It Goaltending.

Isaac Mamayasky

Organization: Potomac Law Group, PLLC, Camp Zeke

Isaac Mamaysky is a partner in Potomac Law Group, where he focuses on the unique legal needs of camps and many other employers. Isaac advises companies on various employment issues, including internal investigations, employment agreements, staff handbooks, separations and severance agreements, and many related matters. He also advises camps on camper challenges, contractual needs, negotiations, state regulations and licensing requirements, mandatory reporting questions, and related litigations. Isaac prides himself on his relationship with clients and especially enjoys serving as outside general counsel to a number of camps and other businesses.

Jon Mattleman

Organization: Minding Your Mind

Across all of his work, Jon brings warmth, understanding, and patience…plus a healthy dose of humor! In his over 35 years of experience as a therapist and presenter, clients have felt comforted by his ability to acknowledge that the challenges they face are complex – and often downright exhausting! In acknowledgment of this, his work is grounded in delivering tools that can be implemented in real time. Jon holds a BA from Clark University, and an MS in Counseling from the University of Hartford. He served as Director of the Stoughton, MA Youth Commission from 1983 to 1993, and as Director of Needham, MA Youth Services from 1993 to June 2017. Currently, Jon is the Clinical Director and lead presented for Minding Your Mind’s New England.

Ian Moorhouse

Organization: Dexter Southfield

Ian Moorhouse is the Director of Operations at Dexter Southfield, a private school and summer camp on their Brookline campus. With over 20 years of experience, Ian has played an active role in the camping world and has presented at various conferences and seminars across the country.

Terri Mulks

Organization: Camp Susan Curtis

Terri L. Mulks has a Bachelor of Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University and 25 years of experience with at-risk youth in out-of-school time programming. She incorporates trauma-informed methodology to build collaborative behavior management systems and experiential curriculum while strengthening staff, programs, and operations.  She is currently the Director at Camp Susan Curtis (recipient of the 2015 ACA Eleanor Eels Award for Program Excellence) after a lengthy YMCA career.  Terri is an ACA Visitor and a Board Member of Maine Summer Camps. She and her husband, Jay, live with their rescued pets and are halfway through a personal lifetime mission to backpack in all the National Parks.

Speakers: N

Speakers: O

Jennifer O'Rourke

Organization: MGH Aspire

Jenn O’Rourke studied psychology at the University of Massachusetts and earned her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at Northeastern University. Jenn worked as a Special Education Instructor at a recreational summer camp for children and teenagers with developmental disabilities from 2004-2010. She served as a Special Education Inclusion facilitator at a Reggio Emilia inspired school, in the District of Columbia Public School System, serving children with High Cognitive Functioning Autism. Jenn currently works as an Assistant Program Manager for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Aspire Child-Program year-round and serves in a camp director role during the summer.

Speakers: P

Joseph Pangaro

Organization: True Security Design

Joseph Pangaro is a 27-year veteran police lieutenant, school security director, master traininer, safety and security expert, nationally published police and security expert, professional speaker, and school safety TV Show Host  of “Hope is NOT a Tactic”. He was recently named to the Campus Safety magazine HQ board of experts.

Suzi Pond

Organization: Redbird Media Group

Suzi Pond is an awarding-winning digital journalist, producer, and storyteller and the founder of Redbird Media Group –  a video production company based in Freeport, Maine that specializes in commercial, nonprofit, and fundraising films. Suzi gets camp. From camper to counselor (to the one sticking on name tags), Suzi expertly weaves together journalism, documentary, and video production skills to deliver cinematic and purposeful videos to her camping clients. Suzi’s journalism work has appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and numerous magazines and newspapers throughout New England. She has worked for Boston Magazine and the Portland Press Herald and teaches audio storytelling at Maine Media Workshops and the Oklahoma Arts Institute.

Speakers: Q

Speakers: R

Thayer Raines

Organization: Research Advisory Committee (REAC)/American Camp Association

Thayer Raines is Assistant Professor of Sport & Recreation Management in the College of Business at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH.  He serves on the Board of the American Camp Association, New England and the Research Advisory Committee for the American Camp Association.

Heather Ramsey

Organization: Sojourn Partners

Heather Ramsey is passionate about helping individuals and teams define their leadership path through executive coaching. Her clients move forward fueled, not only by their vision, but with the emotional intelligence to effectively navigate complex situations. Her education and experience is a complementary mix of business, counseling, and education. She is a Certified Professional Coach through the International Coach Federation with a B.S. in Business Management from Northeastern University and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University. Heather infuses a civic responsibility in her clients, yet augments that with her international background and global approach to organizations.

Speakers: S

Mary Schafhauser

Organization: Pine Tree Camp

Mary Schafhauser is the current Assistant Director of Pine Tree Camp, a summer camp for adults and children with special needs located in Rome, ME. Mary joined the Pine Tree Camp team as the Assistant Director in 2018 after serving in Peace Corps Mongolia from 2015-2017. Together with Dawn Willard-Robinson, they have more than 35 years of experience in the world of adaptive recreation and camping. Their combined experience has led them to constantly work towards inclusivity and accessibility within Pine Tree Camp as well as share their knowledge with others within the camping world.

Cathy Scheder

Organization: Second Nature Partners, LLC

Cathy Scheder is the managing partner of Second Nature Partners, a consulting firm in camp, youth development, heritage interpretation, and environmental stewardship. She has a vast knowledge base and experience on aquatics risk management, general risk management, strategic planning, and operational administration. She literally wrote the book on Camp Waterfront Management for Camp and Recreation Programs and is a faculty member for Expert Online Training.

Kryss Shane


Named by The New York Times and many national and international platforms as the go-to Leading LGBT Expert, Kryss Shane, MS, MSW, LSW, LMSW (she/her) has 24+ years of experience guiding the world’s top leaders in business, education, and community via individual, small group, and full-staff trainings. One of her specialty areas focuses on LGBT+ youth, including making camp and educational settings safe, inclusive, and affirming for all. Kryss is well known for making each organization’s specific Diversity, Equity, Inclusion needs more manageable, approachable, and actionable without significant costs. This includes physical spaces, hiring practices, policies/procedures, and more.  You can reach her via her website:

Daniel Shore

Organization: I'm Shore Research & Consulting

Daniel Shore is a researcher and consultant with an MA (and about to finish his PhD) in workplace psychology. He conducts research across numerous settings, from cybersecurity teams to summer camps, and turns data into action by (1) facilitating training experiences, (2) conducting feedback focus groups, and (3) creating professional development and training curricula. In the camp world, Daniel combines his ten summers of experience as a staff member, unit supervisor, and director of staff and leadership development with his research expertise to help camps strategically train staff to enhance the camp staff experience. Daniel is always looking to connect with leaders who agree that to have happy campers, you need happy counselors, too!

Doug Sutherland

Organization: Brantwood Camp

Originally from St. Louis, MO, Doug moved to New Hampshire to work directly with children and adults in an outdoor setting. He took on the adventure of expanding his own experience to several other camp settings where he worked in high level admin positions.  Currently, Doug is helping to start the conversation of race in the camp industry and his community. His current role is the Executive Director of Brantwood Camp in Greenfield, NH, a non-profit camp that serves kids from urban areas in the Northeast.

Speakers: T

Gabi Tetelman

Organization: WingSpeed Adventures

Gabi Tetelman started her career in experiential education working with youth, colleges, and non-profits from diverse communities across Massachusetts. Her work within these communities afforded her the hands-on opportunity to learn from leaders in their fields, predominantly experiential education, non-violent communication, and cultural awareness.

Christopher Thurber

Organization: CampSpirit, LLC & Camp Belknap

Dr. Christopher Thurber educates leaders using innovative content that stirs thinking and compels action. A graduate of Harvard University, Chris has worked at Camp Belknap since 1983 and has served as an instructor and psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy since 1999. He co-authored The Summer Camp Handbook, now available in Mandarin, and is co-founder of, which thousands of camps use for their pre-arrival staff training. Chris has been invited to deliver keynotes, contribute articles, and lead workshops on five continents. You can learn more about Chris and access all of his articles, book chapters, and podcasts on Families can access Chris’s homesickness prevention video on

James Tresner

Organization: Wanakee

James has served as the Executive Director at Wanakee, a summer camp and retreat center in Meredith (NH), for four years. Prior to this role, James worked in fundraising, marketing, and outreach for a large national non-profit, taught 6th grade at a Saudi school on the Arabian Gulf, led an after school program at a Massachusetts public school, and worked in higher education in student and residential life. James is a graduate of Middlebury College (VT), where he studied Environmental Studies and Music, and has finally accepted that his dad was right when used to wonder “what are you going to be, a singing park ranger?”

Nikki Turpin

Organization: Concord Academy Summer Camp

Nikki Turpin is the Office Manager at Concord Academy Summer Camp. During the school year, she works at Nashoba Brooks School as a building substitute and is part of the Inclusivity Board Team and Assembly Committee, bringing diverse performers to Nashoba Brooks. She is the Programming Director for Robbins House in Concord and leads the Youth In Philanthropy Program for Foundation for MetroWest. Nikki recently presented at the Association of African American Museums, discussing the importance of telling the full stories of African American female suffragist.  Nikki’s experience as a parent, educator, and on the front lines of camp communication provides her with multiple perspectives on how best to connect with parents, campers, and staff.

Speakers: U

Speakers: V

Donna Volpitta

Organization: The Center for Resilient Leadership

As the founder of the Center for Resilient Leadership, Donna Volpitta, Ed.D. makes brain science of resilience and mental health easy to understand and apply. Her Resilient Mindset Model, which draws on the latest research in neurology, psychology, and education, has been applied to areas of leadership from parenting to corporate management. Donna is co-author of the book The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive-Not Reactive-Parenting, author of Neuroworld: A Guide for Teaching the Brain Science of Resilience, and co-creator of the Nametags Education Program.

Speakers: W

Mac Wallace

Organization: Children's Island Day Camp/Northshore YMCA

Mac Wallace is originally from Florida where he Directed Day Camps for pre school age children. He is currently the Camp Director/Youth Program Director for Children’s Island Day Camp and Lynch Van Otterloo YMCA in Marblehead, MA. Mac also worked in Residential camps for 5 years as the Head Counselor for Greenwood Trails Summer camp in Winsted, CT. For Mac camp is the place where you can truly be yourself, and feel supported by the people around you.

Dawn Willard-Robinson

Organization: Pine Tree Camp

Dawn Willard-Robinson is the current Director of Pine Tree Camp, a summer camp for adults and children with special needs located in Rome, ME. Dawn started out as a counselor at Pine Tree Camp in 1985 and became the camp’s director in 2005. Together with Mary Schafhauser, they have more than 35 years of experience in the world of adaptive recreation and camping. Their combined experience has led them to constantly work towards inclusivity and accessibility within Pine Tree Camp as well as share their knowledge with others within the camping world.

Elise Wulff

Organization: MGH Aspire

Elise Wulff has over 10 years of experience collaborating with and supporting the neurodiverse population, their families, and professionals in both public and private settings. A veteran of the specialized camp world, Elise helps programs develop, implement, and refine staff training modules for such topics as inclusion practices, behavior management, social skills development, stress management, and self-awareness strategies in the camp setting. Elise combines her teaching experience with research-supported social-emotional interventions to help camps reach their own goals of supporting the Whole Camper. In addition, Elise oversees year-round programming that includes groups, parent coaching, professional development, curriculum design.

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Rebecca Zelis

Organization: Songadeewin of Keewaydin

Rebecca Zelis is a Culture and Communications Strategist who works with schools, camps, and businesses to build ideal environments for sustainable learning, growth, and creativity. Rebecca has a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and develops programs emphasizing the health of individuals as the foundation of strong communities. She is the Staff Wellness Coordinator at Songadeewin of Keewaydin.

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