Summer Play Camp staff are teachers, artists and educators with many years of experience working with children. They collaborate to create a healthy social climate where real learning and camaraderie can flourish. Kind and nurturing adult Group Leaders remain with their group of campers throughout the day, quickly building an easy rapport and sense of trust with the kids. Station Masters set up beautiful spaces and lead the kids in their exploration of everything from art to science to soccer. Our only teenage staff members are our Junior Counselors, Counselors-In-Training (CITs), and Junior CITs. These younger staff members create a wonderful bridge between the campers and their adult Group Leaders and Station Masters.
Camp Director - Katie Karpenstein
Katie is a long-time advocate for getting children outside into nature. She founded Tarrytown Nature Club in 2012, a group that works to help local families connect with the natural world. Katie first fell in love with Summer Play Camp many years ago when her kids started here as campers. A few years later she signed on as Tinkering Station Master and Excursions Director,
splitting her time between helping kids express their creativity in the tinkering shop and leading them through the hills and lakes of Harriman State Park. From there she served as Assistant Director, moving into the Director position in 2018. Katie brings all this hands-on camp experience into her role as Director. She loves to pop into activities to help out, or just to say hello to the many kids she's seen grow and flourish at camp over the years. Katie has a B.A. in English Literature from Columbia University, and has a professional background in writing and editing.
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Mon-Fri 9am - 4pm
Camp Program Director and Nurse - Lysset Wynn
This is Lysset’s third year serving as camp nurse with Summer Play. She is also the Camp Program Director, which means she’s a key part of everything from arranging activities and schedules, to making sure each camper feels happy and safe. Lysset provides a warm, calm presence in her role as nurse. And when she’s not tending to boo-boos or double-checking food allergies, you might see her jumping in to help with tinkering or water play.
Lysset has nearly 20 yrs of experience as a nurse, working in various settings such as long term facilities, hospitals and schools. She received her RN from Rockland Community College and her BSN from Dominican College.
Excursions Director - Ginny Williams
Ginny has a background in Environmental Education (and a love for bugs and all things creepy crawly). She joined Katie as co-leader of Tarrytown Nature Club in 2016, and is an active community volunteer for the Peabody Preserve Outdoor Classroom and the Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow Farmers Market ("The TaSH"). She has a special talent for getting even the most shy kids to open up and get excited about nature.
Ginny adds, "I am excited to be leading excursions at Summer Play Camp this year. I have a passion for the outdoors - hiking, biking, backpacking and camping with my family are my favorite pastimes. I am the mom to two young humans, and one doggie, and we spend a majority of our time outside, exploring the amazing world around us (see if you can spot the dalmatian in my photo). I look forward to taking your children on fun nature excursions this summer." Ginny has a Masters of Professional Studies in Environmental and Forest Biology from SUNY Syracuse, a Masters of Engineering from Cornell University, and a B.S. in Biological and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University.
Aquatics Director- Summer Hoban
Summer has many years experience working in aquatics. An avid swimmer her whole life, she especially loves to help kids who may feel nervous about swimming become more comfortable with it so they can enjoy it as much as she does. Her educational background is in early childhood education and business administration.
Science & Nature Station Master - Mary Esther Malloy
Mary Esther has a MA in anthropology from NYU and is the owner of Mindful Birth NY in New York City. She has taught Science and Nature at Summer Play Camp since 2009, breaking ground on the front yard garden in 2012. In coordination with our Music Station Master, each summer Mary Esther writes and directs an original play with the
children. Past plays have brought to life subjects like microbes, the Big Bang, climate change, and the relationship between trees and the underground network of fungus that connects them. Before teaching at Blue Rock, she ran The Planet Moves in Manhattan, a dance program for children that took its themes from the NYC Parks Department Nature Center in which it was housed. Mary Esther is the mother of three children, aged 16,14, and 8.
Counselor - Phoebe Fischer
This is Phoebe's fifth summer working at Summer Play Camp. She started out as a CIT, and has now been a wonderful group counselor for a few years. She just finished her first year at McGill University, where she studies history and sociology. Phoebe says, "I love dancing, theater, and hiking, and I'm excited for another great summer."
Chess Station Master - Danilo Cuellar
Danilio is a passionate chess expert and instructor. This will be his third year teaching chess to the Summer Play campers. His love for the game makes learning fun for the kids, and he’s often seen jumping into a game with one of the campers. Danilio teaches after-school chess classes at various area schools, and Spring Chess Camp at the International
Chess Academy (ICA). He also has a Master’s Degree as an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Eastern Nutritionist, and Massage Therapist. Danilio adds, “I have been playing chess seriously for more than 20 years, since the age of 12. That was my age of enlightenment, when I started reading many chess books, going to chess tournaments, and playing chess online. I’m delighted to work with your kids at Summer Play Camp again this year.”
Sewing Station Master - Wendy Bayne
Wendy and Maria Eugenia are our co-station-masters for the popular sewing station. Wendy has an M.S. in Elementary Education, and has been an assistant and substitute teacher at Blue Rock School for six years. She and Maria work patiently with the kids to help them sew their own magical creations. In her spare time, Wendy creates and sells handmade aprons, and enjoys rowing on the Hudson and being a grandmother to her two young grandsons.