Scott is the leading expert and a nationally recognized trainer on kids, staff and the experience of summer camp. He has been involved with camps and youth development for over thirty years as a camper, counselor, director and consultant. As a professional speaker and international trainer, he has given keynotes, workshops and educational sessions at numerous professional conferences, training events, and with organizations. He is currently the CEO of The Camp Counselor, a consulting and training company working with hundreds of camps and thousands of staff & administrators across the country.
Since the summer of 1997, Scott has been the camp director at traditional resident camps, day camps, single gender camps, and camps for kids with special needs.
Scott has served as the Executive Director for Dragonfly Forest, a resident camp for kids with serious illnesses and disorders including autism, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, persistent asthma, and 22q deletion syndrome. He is also the Camp Director for Camp Kesem, a national student-led organization delivering camp for kids who have been affected by a parents’ cancer, with 70 chapters across the United States.
He is a pioneering contributor to Expert Online Training, the world’s leader in online training for youth development, on the faculty of GoCampPro the most popular online resource and community for camp professionals, and is the award-winning author of the best-selling book on summer camp, S’more Than Camp. Scott lives in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife Karin and their three kids Linnea, Desmond, and Griffin.
Message from Scott
“I grew up in Michigan, and while I have had addresses all over the US, I have always called it home. Having spent 18 summers at the Ann Arbor YMCA’s Camp Al-Gon-Quian, I learned early on that summer camp was where I belonged. I have spent my entire adult life working in summer camps and with youth development professionals. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with many kids with different needs. In every situation there has been one thing that has remained consistent, kids are kids and they all want and deserve to have a fun camp experience.
“When my family and I returned to Michigan at the end of the summer of 2012, I knew that I wanted to bring my experience, passion, and expertise home. I want to give back to the community that gave me so many wonderful opportunities. I want to work with the kids and families that are having a hard time finding traditional summer programs that can support the successful experience of every kid.”
Sylvia has worked with hundreds of kids and families with autism. She got her start working in ABA programs in Ann Arbor MI as a college student. After working with families in several states, Sylvia ran the Mainstreaming at Camp program at Frost Valley YMCA in New York before landing in Asheville to work for the Autism Society of North Carolina. After years of working for the Autism Society, she now owns and operates Empower Autism, a business for helping families and individuals achieve their potential. Sylvia designed and implemented the Dragonfly Forest overnight program for kids with autism and 22q. She has also designed and implemented several year round recreation programs for kids with special needs in North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Over the past 12 years, Sylvia has experienced many facets of the autism community including school services, afterschool clubs, one-to-one care, recreation clubs, summer camps and adult self-advocacy organizations. She has learned a lot in each of these settings, including a deep respect for people with autism. Sylvia believes that people with autism have a lot to contribute to our world, and she enjoys taking part in that process.
Message from Sylvia
“I believe that having fun is undervalued in today’s world. Having fun is critical to happiness, whether or not a person has special needs, whether a person is a child or an adult. Happy people are more productive, more relaxed, and more willing to receive feedback. In my experience, summer camp makes kids happy. I grew up in Michigan, and am raising a family here. I grew up going to summer camp in Michigan and I am thrilled to bring my experience back home, and to provide a much needed venue for kids with autism to relax and have an amazing summer experience.”
Kristin or “Breezy” is starting her 4th year on our year-round leadership team, and loves all things summer camp. She started as a counselor at Dragonfly Forest and worked various positions before becoming a director in 2014. In addition to her work at Dragonfly Forest and Camp Tall Tree, she has been involved in Camp Kesem and YMCA Camp Marston as an outdoor educator. She has recently relocated to Ann Arbor to be closer to the camp operation and our camp community. She works year round to recruit and enroll campers for the summer, working with each of our families to see how we can best support your kids at camp.
Josh or “Darkwing” began his camp career in 2007 as a counselor in the autism session at Dragonfly Forest, a camp for kids with autism/22Q/asthma/hemophilia/and sickle cell disease. He enjoyed it so much that he continued coming back in different roles with increasing responsibility. In 2013 he brought his experience to Camp Tall Tree and has been a director with us ever since. He helped pioneer and develop the Explorers Program, and feels passionate about its continued growth and expansion as an experiential teaching tool for our community.
In addition to summer camp, Josh has worked as a community one-on-one service provider for children with autism, an instructional assistant in an exceptional children's classroom, and an interim special needs teacher. Over the past 9 years working within these fields, he has developed a deep respect and appreciation for people who think and experience the world differently.
Erin began her summer camp career at Camp Kesem, a camp for children affected by a parent's cancer, at the University of California, San Diego, followed by three years in the outdoor education program at YMCA Camp Marston. From there, her camp journey led her to Dragonfly Forest, where she was brought onto the director team in 2014.
Erin now lives in Ann Arbor, MI and has a masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. She works during the year as an ABA Behavioral Supervisor & Case Support Technician as she works towards her BCBA Certification. She hopes combine her knowledge of camp magic with the skills from her education and career to provide meaningful services to children with autism in her local community.
Dr. Karin Arizala completed her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from University of Oregon and is currently a Staff Psychologist at The University of Michigan. She did her predoctoral internship at University of California, Santa Barbara’s Counseling Services, and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Stanford University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, where she was in the Gender and Sexual Identities Specialty Track. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Cornell University in 2001.
In addition to her work at university counseling centers, Dr. Arizala has worked with adults, youth, and families in a wide range of clinical and outreach settings, including summer camps, alternative schools, and community centers. Dr. Arizala's clinical interests include depression, anxiety, LGBTQ issues, gender identity, grief and loss, mindfulness, chronic illness, group therapy, and working with students with disabilities. Her doctoral research focused on tribal participatory research and historical trauma in American Indian communities, and she continues to have a special interest in empowerment, multiculturalism, and social justice.
She has also worked as the Mental Health Consultant for Dragonfly Forest, a summer camp near Philadelphia for children with serious illnesses and disorders, and volunteers as the National Mental Health Consultant for Camp Kesem, a free summer camp for children who have been affected by a parent’s cancer.