We look forward to spending the summer outside interacting with the kids and staff. We work ten months to get ready for two. The best part is getting to know the campers on an individual basis.”

Mitchell & Michelle Kessler


Mitchell and Michelle Kessler are the proud owners of Spring Lake Day Camp. Spring Lake has been family owned and operated by the Kessler family since 1989 and is celebrating its 34th year of giving children the summer of their lives.

Mitchell was born into a camp family and this experience gave him the unique ability to transform what was once a swim club in the 1950’s into a camp with a magical feeling of community and spirit. Mitch’s goal has always been to have a camp where kids can try new things, make new friends and create memories that will last a lifetime. When Michelle joined the Kessler and SLDC families, she brought with her creativity, organizational skills and amazing ability to remember the name of every camper and parent. Her warmth and love for camp help create the sense of family within our SLDC community.

Mitchell holds a B.A. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. Mitchell has put his education to work by designing all of our beautiful structures around camp. Michelle holds a B.A. in Psychology from New York University and an M.A. in Guidance Counseling from Hunter College. Before embarking on the wonderful journey of camp, Michelle was a teacher and then a guidance counselor in Manhattan.

Mitchell and Michell share their passion for camp with their two wonderful boys, Max and Michael.

FUN FACT: Mitchell and Michelle were introduced to each other by Mitch’s good friend who is the owner of another camp where Michelle was working at the time.
Mitchell and Michelle KesslerMitchell and Michelle Kessler

Our Year-Round Staff


Dara Garcia, Director
Dara Garcia, DirectorDara loves Spring Lake Day Camp, her home away from home and has been part of our administrative team since 2005. She began as a Program Administrator, then Division Leader in Girls’ Camp, Director of Junior Camp and Assistant Director before becoming our Camp Director in 2020. With a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S. degree in Social Studies Education from Queens College, Dara has worked in education since 1993 teaching elementary through high school both in Queens and New Jersey. Dara also worked in the not-for-profit world at a YM-YWHA as the Director of Camp, Youth, and Family services for three years. When Dara joined the Spring Lake family, so did her two daughters who were campers, counselors, lifeguards and have worked in the camp office. Dara’s administrative experience, strong leadership, and communications skills keep Spring Lake on top of its game.

FUN FACT: Dara has run nine 5K’s and is training for her next one!

Laurie Ann Weinstein – Director of Special Operations
Laurie Ann Weinstein - Director of Special OperationsWhile Laurie Ann’s true passion is her role as our Girls’ Camp Director (more on that below), it is her role as Director of Special Operations that ensures that our camp dots all of its i’s and crosses all of its t’s. Although Laurie Ann started her career as a lawyer writing legal briefs, “THE LAW” now uses her skills to draft and oversee everything from safety protocols to handbooks for our staff and camp families. Laurie Ann also ensures that SLDC complies with the American Camping Association standards and state and local guidelines, and works on any other “special” projects that arise at camp.

FUN FACT: Laurie Ann met her husband on the first day of law school and upon marriage, her initials became “LAW.”

Rosemarie Budde – Office Manager/Bookkeeper
Rosemarie Budde - Office Manager/BookkeeperRosemarie came to us in 2001 with her 10 year old daughter, Amanda. While Amanda enjoyed being a camper, counselor, lifeguard and then corporate event planner at camp, Rosemarie has been behind the scenes in the camp office making sure that all of the camp’s administrative needs are met. Prior to SLDC, Rosemarie worked for 28 years as an administrative assistant at a Fortune 500 company. Her knowledge of the business world and dealing with people has made her an invaluable asset to the SLDC team. As our Office Manager and Bookkeeper, Rosemarie is involved in every aspect of camp which gives her the opportunity to speak to many of our parents and staff members. She is also a vital component of our event planning for corporate picnics. We are so fortunate to have Rosemarie on our staff.

FUN FACT: Rosemarie is the proud parent of our SLDC camp dog, Buddy Budde.

Alessa Laraia – Transportation Director & Office Administrator
Alessa Laraia - Transportation Director & Office AdministratorWhile Alessa’s summertime gig at SLDC is really her favorite part of the year (scroll down for more on that), in the off-season she is a vital component to SLDC’s day-to-day tasks including billing, enrollment, marketing and parent communication. Her most important role, however, is transportation. Alessa is in charge of routing all of the SLDC buses and believes that camp begins when the children are picked up in the morning and ends when they all return home safely at the end of the day.

FUN FACT: Alessa starred in a hair commercial as a college student.

Brooke Mendel – Administrative Assistant
Brooke Mendel - Emeralds & Rubies Division LeaderAlthough Brooke has spent her summers since 1999 in Girls’ Camp (more on that below), in 2021 she joined our year round staff. Brooke’s primary focus is to make sure that all of the needed camper forms are submitted, but in her “spare time” she handles mailings, assists with enrollment and staffing, and assists parents with any questions that they have about camp. Her organizational skills and positive attitude have made her an invaluable part of our office team.

FUN FACT: During her first summer at SLDC, Brooke met her husband, Joey, who was a Boys’ Camp counselor.

Buddy Budde – Camp Communications Expert
Buddy Budde - Camp Communications ExpertBuddy joined the SLDC family eight years ago and has been a vital part of our Year-Round Staff ever since. In 2015 Buddy graduated PetSmart Dog Training Academy with high honors and we are very proud of him! Buddy brings love and smiles to our campers and staff each and every day.

FUN FACT: Buddy is a social media celebrity; he receives the most likes than any other SLDC post.

Our Administrative Team



JUNIOR CAMP

Lauren Amoroso – Director of Junior Camp
Lauren Amoroso - Director of Junior CampLauren has been a Spring Laker since 2013. She joined our staff as the Division Leader for the Pearls and Jewels and has been our Director of Junior Camp since 2017. Spring Lake is a family affair for the Amorosos; Lauren’s two daughters started as Junior Campers and continue to enjoy their summers here at camp. Lauren has Master’s Degrees in both Special Education and General Studies from Mercy College and is a resource and collaborative special education teacher in the Franklin Lakes School District. Lauren brings creativity, tremendous spirit and cohesiveness to Junior Camp each and every summer.

FUN FACT: In 2021, Lauren walked a total of 2,628.7 miles.

Alessa Laraia – Dinos & Dolfins Division Leader
Dinos & Dolfins Division LeaderAre you doing a double take? Yes, Alessa serves as both our Dinos & Dolfins Division Leader during the summers and as our Transportation Director in the off-season. Alessa’s experience working with children began in 1998 as an SLDC counselor when she was in high school. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and received her K-8 Elementary Education Certificate from Ramapo College. Alessa taught 5th grade and had her own three children before returning to our Spring Lake family as an administrator in 2017. Alessa’s bright smile, energy, love for fun and gentle demeanor help make our youngest campers feel right at home.

FUN FACT: Alessa starred in a hair commercial as a college student.

Monica DeVita – Bears Division Leader
Monica DeVita - Bears Division LeaderAfter spending five years gaining experience as a Girls’ Camp counselor, Monica moved to Junior Camp in 2019 where she has been a Division Leader for both the Owls and the Bears. Monica has a B.A. in English and Early Childhood Education with an endorsement and certification as a teacher of students with disabilities from Monmouth University. She teaches kindergarten and first grade students with disabilities in Clifton while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Special Education at William Paterson University. Monica encourages those around her – from her campers to her friends- to explore new experiences at every opportunity.

FUN FACT: Monica has been skydiving and is looking for her next leap!

Ashley Beneventine – Owls Division Leader
Ashley Beneventine - Owls Division LeaderAshley began her SLDC journey as an Owls counselor in 2014, worked with the Bears and our JTP program and, after a brief hiatus, returned in 2022 to where she started – back in Junior Camp with the Owls, but this time as their Division Leader. During the school year she works as an Elementary School Social Worker and Counselor in Morristown where she provides counseling, serves on the Child Study Team and is the Harassment, Intimidation and Anti Bullying Specialist for her school. Ashley received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from Monmouth University and continues to advise college students there. Her energy and bubbly personality are an asset to not only the Owls but to our entire camp program.

FUN FACT: Ashley is ambidextrous!

Arielle Linn – Pearls & Jewels Division Leader
Arielle Linn - Pearls & Jewels Division LeaderArielle has literally grown up at Spring Lake and has spent almost every summer of her life here. She was a camper for eight years (starting in the Dinos!), spent three years as a lifeguard, five years as a counselor and has been a Junior Camp Division Leader since 2017. Arielle is a first grade teacher in Fair Lawn (in the same school she attended as a child), has completed her Reading Specialist Certification and has a Master’s Degree in Reading. As an SLDC “lifer,” Arielle brings an enormous love of camp to Junior Camp each and every day.

FUN FACT: Arielle is a spin instructor at CycleBar Wyckoff.

GIRLS’ CAMP

Laurie Ann Weinstein – Director of Girls’ Camp
Laurie Ann Weinstein - Girls’ Camp DirectorLaurie Ann’s two sons were already campers when she joined our SLDC team in 1998. After spending one summer as a Junior Camp counselor, Laurie Ann joined Girls’ Camp, first as the Division Leader for the Emeralds and Rubies, and in 2005, as its Director (aka “The Queen’). Laurie Ann has a B.S. in Psychology from SUNY Binghamton and her Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law. Laurie Ann cannot imagine spending her summers anywhere other than at SLDC where she gets to wear a crown and a tutu and is forever “young and beautiful.”

FUN FACT: Laurie Ann met her husband on the first day of law school and, upon marriage, her initials became “LAW.”

Brooke Mendel – Emeralds & Rubies Division Leader
Brooke Mendel - Emeralds & Rubies Division LeaderBrooke joined the SLDC family in 1999 while she was still in high school. After six years as a counselor in Girls’ Camp, Brooke became the Division Leader for the Emeralds and Rubies. Brooke has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Hartford and taught elementary school for five years. Her three children are growing up at Spring Lake where Brooke has found her forever home in Girls’ Camp.

FUN FACT: During her first summer at SLDC, Brooke met her husband, Joey, who was a Boys’ Camp counselor.

Jamie Schechter – Diamonds & Opals Division Leader
Jamie Schechter - Diamonds & Opals Division LeaderJamie has been a proud member of the Girls’ Camp team since 2013 where she is the group leader for the Diamonds and Opals. Jamie has a B.S. in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in Teaching- Elementary Education, as well as a Reading Specialist Certification & Supervisor Certification from William Paterson University. Jamie teaches and tutors and shares her love of camp with her son who spends his summers with his mom at SLDC. Jamie brings her fresh and energetic spirit to Girls’ Camp each summer. There’s no place she’d rather be!

FUN FACT: Jamie was married during a blizzard in 26 inches of snow.

Bridget Sullivan – Corals, Jades & Stars Division Leader
Bridget Sullivan - Corals, Jades & Stars Division LeaderBridget joined our SLDC family as a Girls’ Camp counselor in 2011 and has been with us every summer since. She graduated from Rider University with B.A. degrees in both Elementary Education and Psychology, has a certification in Early Childhood Education, and has been a middle school science teacher since 2017. Since becoming a Division Leader in 2016, Bridget has been a wonderful role model for our oldest Girls’ Camp campers and her creativity and organizational skills have elevated the program for this age level.

FUN FACT: Bridget loves to travel and has been to 32 countries, 30 states and 29 national parks.

BOYS’ CAMP

Mike Levy – Director of Boys’ Camp
Mike Levy - Director of Boys’ CampMike joined our Spring Lake team in 2011. His time at SLDC began on the lower fields where he was a baseball specialist for two years. He then spent six years as the Division Leader for the Eagles before becoming the Director of Boys’ Camp in 2018. Mike has a B.A. in History from the University of Maryland and a Master of Education in Social Studies from Rutgers University. Mike teaches high school Social Studies in the Wayne school district but is most at home on and off the SLDC fields joining his campers in games and activities.

FUN FACT: Mike has visited all 50 states!

Carly Kalman – Eagles Division Leader
Carly Kalman – Eagles Division LeaderCarly is a lifelong camp person, having been a camper, counselor and Head Counselor in Long Island before joining the SLDC administrative team in 2021. She has a B.A. in Math, Secondary Education from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Education from Florida International University. Carly teaches middle school math in the Mahwah school district. Carly’s organizational skills keep everyone on track and her enthusiasm and love for camp are contagious.

FUN FACT: Carly was a cross country and track coach.

Alex Hutcherson- Patriots and Vikings Division Leader
Alex Hutcherson- Patriots and Vikings Division LeaderAlex started his SLDC journey in 2017 as a counselor for the Broncos, a position that he held for 3 years. A highlight of Alex’s counselor experience was being named a Color War Captain in 2018, helping to lead the White Walk of Fame team to victory! After a brief hiatus, Alex returned to SLDC in 2022, this time as the Division Leader for the Patriots and Vikings. Alex has a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Lawrence University. He spent 3 years as a ski instructor at Campgaw Ski School and 2 years as the ski school supervisor. Alex hopes to foster confidence and friendship in his campers and we know that the spirit and leadership skills he displayed as a Color War Captain will ensure that his campers have an amazing SLDC experience.

FUN FACT: Alex sang in the school chamber choir and an a cappella group while in college.

Aaron Kalman – Bucs, Raiders & Giants Division Leader
Aaron Kalman – Bucs, Raiders & Giants Division LeaderAaron grew up spending his summers on the basketball courts of northern Virginia. Throughout college at the University of Mary Washington he played club basketball while earning a B.A. in Math and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education. He is a high school math teacher at Ramapo High School. Aaron brings teamwork, sportsmanship and a great sense of humor to our oldest Boys’ Side campers.

FUN FACT: Aaron has visited Disney World 25 times!

AQUATIC DIRECTORS

Sheri Taback – Junior Camp Aquatics Director
Sheri Taback - Junior Camp Aquatics DirectorSheri joined our Spring Lake team in 2004 as a Junior Pool lifeguard and swim instructor. After spending five years in the water, Sheri took her talents to the land as a Girls’ Camp Division Leader but returned to the pools in 2012 as the Junior Camp Aquatics Director. Sheri has her B.A. in Business Management and Marketing from Cornell University and is a Red Cross certified lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor. Sheri brings all of her knowledge and experience to our Aquatics team. Having been a camper for her entire childhood, Sheri feels lucky to still be one in her adulthood.
Read a message from Sheri Taback.

FUN FACT: Sheri and her dog, Bella, volunteer together at local hospitals, nursing homes and libraries to bring warmth and comfort to the NJ community.

Stephanie Baer – Mid and Upper Camp Aquatics Director
Stephanie Baer - Mid and Upper Camp Aquatics DirectorStephanie joined our SLDC family in 2009 as our Athletics Supervisor but, with her extensive aquatics background with the American Red Cross, she was a natural choice to be our Mid and Upper Camp Aquatics Director, a position she has held since 2011. In addition to overseeing instructional swim and the safety at our pools, she also runs our successful American Red Cross Babysitting Basics course which so many of our oldest campers love! Stephanie has a B.S. in Physical Education from Hunter College and an M.A. in Athletic Administration from Columbia University. She has been teaching Elementary Physical Education in Teaneck since 1992 and coaches varsity level tennis, bowling and swimming. Stephanie finds all of her work with children at school and at camp extremely rewarding.

FUN FACT: Stephanie’s 2020 Teaneck Varsity Bowling Team won the NJ State Championship!

Ginny Harrison – Director of Mid and Upper Camp Aquatics
Ginny Harrison - Director of Mid and Upper Camp Aquatics
Joining the SLDC family in 2001 as a lifeguard, swim instructor and fitness specialist, Ginny now works as one of the Mid and Upper Camp Aquatics Directors. As a competitive swimmer all of her life, Ginny brings extensive experience in swimming skills, aquatic fitness, and water safety skills. Ginny has a B.S. in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, and Health from William Paterson University and has been a Physical Education and Health teacher of elementary and middle school aged children since 2010, most recently in New Brunswick. Teaching movement skills and a love for physical activity is a passion of hers and she brings that passion to our campers every day through our amazing aquatics program!

FUN FACT: Ginny has completed 2 triathlons and plans to do more.

Our Summer Administrative Team

Jessica Gordon – Leadership Training Program Supervisor
Jessica Gordon - Leadership Training Program SupervisorAfter seeing what a great time her oldest child had in Junior Camp, in 2022 Jessica (along with her middle child) decided to join in the SLDC fun. Jessica has a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University, and an M.S. in School Psychology and Doctorate of Psychology from St. John’s University. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Throughout her career she has had the opportunity to work with children of all ages, from Early Intervention through high school and has been the behaviorist in the Waldwick School District since 2012. Jessica’s passion has always been camp (she has attended and worked at both day and sleepaway camps) and she cannot wait until her youngest child joins his sisters at camp.

FUN FACT: Jessica loves a good adventure and has canoed with alligators and biked over 25 miles on family vacations.

Joe Turner – Junior Training Program Co-Supervisor
Junior Training Program Co-SupervisorJoe joined the SLDC administrative team in 2021 with loads of camp experience. He was a day camper, band camp participant, and a travel program counselor. Joe has a B.A. in History and Education from Ramapo College and is a middle school Social Studies teacher in the Montclair School District. Joe brings his great sense of humor and his passion for working with tweens to the JTP experience.

FUN FACT: Joe is a natural musician as he plays the saxophone, trombone, and guitar.

Betsy Greene Bortniker – Junior Training Program Co-Supervisor
Betsy Greene Bortniker - Junior Training Program Co-SupervisorBetsy began her SLDC career in 2016 and spent 3 summers as the JTP Supervisor. After taking some time off when she had her children, Betsy returned to SLDC in 2021 as our Lakefront Supervisor. Her true passion, however, is the JTP program and she returned to her role working with our tweens in 2022. Betsy has a degree in Physical Education from Adelphi University where she also received a Master’s Degree in Health Education. She has taught both Physical Education and Health in New York. Her easygoing personality and enthusiasm for camp make her a wonderful fit for our SLDC family.

FUN FACT: Betsy went to culinary school for pastry and baking, and had a custom cake business.

Ian Burke – Adventure Challenge Supervisor
Ian Burke - Adventure Challenge SupervisorSince Ian joined Spring Lake in 2012 he has spent his days “up in the trees” as a member of our Adventure Challenge team. In 2017 he became the Supervisor making sure that all of our ziplines, rope elements and climbing areas are staffed and running safely. Ian has been working with ropes since his days as a young Boy Scout where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Ian is currently attending Kean University where he is pursuing a degree in Information Technology and Computer Science.

FUN FACT: Ian was born and raised just a few miles from camp.

Michelle Romm – Arts Supervisor
Michelle Romm - Arts SupervisorWhen Michelle moved to New Jersey from California she enrolled her two daughters in SLDC and she came along with them! She has been our Arts Supervisor since 2015 and her creativity and enthusiasm has elevated our Art Department to a whole new level. Michelle has a B.A. from San Diego State University and spent over twenty years working in Hollywood designing costumes for television and films. Her Hollywood career prepared her well for camp where she handles the chaos of tie dye week and the deadlines for camp’s crazy costumes with a big smile and a sense of humor.

FUN FACT: Michelle was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the television show Ally McBeal.

Matt Gruby – Lakefront Supervisor
Matt Gruby - Lakefront SupervisorMatt joined our SLDC family in 2022 as our Lakefront Supervisor. He worked as a lifeguard at various summer programs and also spent three summers as a counselor in a travel program. Matt has a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Drew University. He is a special education teacher in the West Essex school district. Matt loves the outdoors and camping and he is an avid kayaker, making him a perfect addition to our lakefront.

FUN FACT: Matt ran the Brooklyn half marathon, and is training to run a full marathon in Fall 2022!

Julie Calabro – Camp Mom
Julie Calabro - Camp MomJulie’s bright smile and warmth have been a fundamental part of SLDC since 2000. Julie was our cooking specialist from 2000-2006 and after a brief hiatus, she returned to camp in 2009 as our Camp Mom. Julie can usually be found on the pavilion overseeing the dietary needs of our campers during lunch as well as the rest of the day, and her attention to detail in reading each and every food label ensures that our campers and staff stay safe. Julie received her B.A. in Radio, TV, Film & Advertising from the University of Maryland and is currently working in the Kinnelon School District. She has always been a strong link in our camp family and her ability to create a special connection with both campers and staff is such a significant component of our camp’s success.

FUN FACT: Julie is fluent in Pig Latin.

Mindy Pearlman – Tour Coordinator/Program Coordinator
Mindy Pearlman - Tour Coordinator/Program CoordinatorMindy’s three boys were already campers at SLDC when she joined our staff in 2005. Mindy has played multiple roles at SLDC including Junior Camp Division Leader and Van Staff Supervisor. Her experience in different parts of camp makes her an asset in her current roles as Tour Coordinator and Program Coordinator. Mindy received a B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University, a J.D. from the University of Miami and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Fairleigh Dickinson University. SLDC is Mindy’s happy place and we cannot imagine camp without her.

FUN FACT: Mindy has spent almost 40 summers in a camp environment.

Jen Amoroso – Van Staff Supervisor
Jen Amoroso - Van Staff SupervisorJen, along with her two children, joined our SLDC family in 2021. With a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Rhode Island and an Orton-Gillingham certification from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Jen began her teaching career in Oradell. She is currently a reading specialist in Hillsdale and is also a certified OG teacher of the dyslexic. Jen is a lifelong camper and brings her love of children, learning and fun to SLDC.

FUN FACT: After college, Jen visited 10 European countries in 30 days.

Rachel Weiss – Head Nurse
Rachel Weiss - Head NurseRachel joined our Health Care Office in 2020 and became our Head Nurse in 2022. She received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiological Sciences from the University of Maryland and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Georgetown University. Rachel has spent over 17 years specializing in women and children’s care working as a nurse in Labor and Delivery in Washington, DC and in Mother-Baby at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She has had experience as a school nurse working with children from preschool to high school and currently works at Northern Highlands High School. Rachel spends her “spare time” working towards her Masters of Science specializing in School Nursing. Her extensive nursing experience and her calm demeanor make all of our campers feel safe and cared for.

FUN FACT: Rachel loves to relax on the beach and is so thrilled to be in camp with her children.

Bob Rosenberg
Bob Rosenberg
Forever In
Our Hearts
(8/29/44 – 3/3/14)


Arlene Liebman
Arlene Liebman
Thank You For 27 Years Of Hard Work And Dedication
Happy Retirement!


Myron Simon, Director
Myron Simon
Thank You For 24 Years Of Hard Work And Dedication
Happy Retirement!


Linda Petro
Linda Petro
Thank You For 32 Years Of Hard Work And Dedication
Happy Retirement!