Camp Directors & Staff
Ari Golub - Camp Laurelwood Director
Ari has grown up in the camping world starting at the age of 4. Ari has been a camper, counselor, Division Head, Assistant Director and Director at various camps. Ari has more than 15 years of professional experience managing children’s and camping programs and services within Jewish communities around the country including serving as Assistant Director for Camp Laurelwood from 2004-2005.
Ari is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and Communications. In 2012 Ari was chosen to serve as a Fellow for the prestigious Jewish Experiential Leadership Institute. As an educator, mentor and leader in the Jewish community, Ari is constantly seeking creative ways to foster a dynamic learning and social environment and to promote high quality programming for children of all ages. He believes the social, recreational and educational experiences children receive at camp are invaluable.
Camp Laurelwood has significant meaning to Ari and his family. Along with having served as Assistant Director for Camp Laurelwood from 2004-2005, Ari has many family and friends who are Camp Laurelwood alumni, including his mother. Ari loves having the ability to share his love of camp with his two children, Peyton & Jordan and his wife, Heather.
Louis Lasko - Assistant Camp Director
Louis brings ten years of summer camp experience to this position. Prior to Laurelwood, Louis served three years as the Director of Day Camp at the Jewish Community Center in Springfield, MA. He also served as the AssistantDirector of Camp O-la-mi and the Director of the Kids Place after school program at the Stamford JCC in Stamford CT. Louis holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Elmira College.
Louis was selected as a Merrin Teen Professional Fellow in 2012. He collaborated with members of the Jewish community to develop leadership opportunities for teens. Louis has built his career around creating fun, engaging, and diverse programs for children, which he will continue to implement in his new role at Laurelwood. He will also be responsible for training and supervising camp staff.
As someone who grew up at overnight camp, Louis understands how meaningful and life-changing a great camp experience can be! He can't wait for summer to begin at Camp Laurelwood!
Evelyn Cohen - Director of Community Outreach & Engagement
Now in her 2nd year with Laurelwood, Evelyn continues to work hard to connect our communities back to Laurelwood. You might meet her at your local JCC, synagogue or elsewhere on the road! Evelyn feels that she "grew up" at her local JCC, where she went to camp for several years before becoming a staff member for several years.
Evelyn holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from McGill University and a Master's in Psychology - Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education from Springfield College. The former Director of Graduate Admissions at Springfield College, where she worked for ten years, Evelyn is embracing her return to camp life. Evelyn is married ahd has two children who attend Laurelwood.
Laura Pappas - Day Camp Director
Laura Pappas – Day Camp Director
Laura returns this year as Day Camp Director. She brings over 30 years of camp experience. Laura is a graduate of Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Southern CT State University with a master’s degree in Elementary Education. During the school year, Laura teaches religious school and at Merkaz High School for Judaic Studies. She and her husband Kelly are busy raising two teenagers.
For Laura, Camp Laurelwood is a family tradition. She attended with her brothers as a child. This summer she will have her daughter and three nieces at camp.
Marcie Steinberg - Program Director
Marcie is excited to return to Laurelwood for her 10th summer. Marcie began her Laurelwood experience as a camper were she spent seven amazing summers. Marcie resides in Cheshire, Connecticut home of the Rams with her husband Greg, daughter Amanda, and son Jake. Her husband also attended Laurelwood as a camper where he was known as Greg "Tiny" Steinberg. Marcie has been teaching Hebrew School at Temple Beth Sholom in Hamden for more than 15 years, tutoring teenagers for their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, and teaching Pre-school. When Marcie is not working she enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, and reading. Marcie is looking forward to creating a fun filled summer with terrific programs for all of our campers and staff.
Sam Swartz - Girls' Head Counselor
Emily Cooper - Junior Girls' Division Head
Emily Cooper is excited to join the Head Staff. Emily is from Woodbridge, CT and is a sophomore at Skidmore College where she is currently earning her BA in Art History, with a double minor in Studio Art and Arts Administration. In addition to being a student, Emily works as a tour guide, museum gallery monitor, and a Resident Assistant on campus. Emily is returning to Camp Laurelwood for her 13th summer because it has been her summer home for most of her entire life and she believes in providing a place where everyone is free to be their truest self. Emily feels blessed to give back to a community that helped me grow so much, "I’m excited to help give campers the experiences that I received at CLW."
Sydney Gellerman - Senior Girls' Division Head
Sydney Gellerman returns to camp for her 10th summer and is excited to come back for her 2nd summer as the senior girls division head. Sydney is from West Hartford, CT and is currently pursuing a double major in International Affairs and Environmental Studies and a minor in Spanish where she plays on the women's soccer team. Camp Laurelwood has been her "happy place" since summer 2008 and she cannot wait for another amazing summer!
Stella Berfas - Girls' Plex Division Head
Ken Yaffe - Boy's Head Counselor
Ken has been involved with Camp Laurelwood as a camper, counselor, division head and Boys’ Head Counselor for 27 years. During the school year, Ken teaches physical education for Walsh Elementary, where he has been for the past 28 years. Ken has coached high school basketball and baseball. Ken continues to come back to Laurelwood year after year because the camp and kids that attend are a huge part of who he is. The friendships he has made at Laurelwood, have lasted a lifetime. Ken has three amazing kids (Benjamin:26, Emily: 23 and Isaac:17) who have all come to Laurelwood. He cannot wait for summer number 27!
Andy Thompson - Junior Boys' Division Head
Originally from Naperville, Illinois Andy currently live in Boca Raton, Florida. He is a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University and is studying marketing. Andy enjoys listening to music and playing and watching sports. Camp has been a second home to Andy, a place where he has been able to grow as a person. “Camp has done so much for me, working at Laurelwood this summer gives me the opportunity to give back to camp and give the campers the best summer possible.”
This will be Andy’s ninth summer at Camp Laurelwood!
Ethan Schafer - Senior Boys' Division Head
Tom Edmonds - Boys' Plex Division Head
Tom is excited to return to camp for his 2nd summer. After spending a year as the Tennis Specialist at Laurelwood, Tom will now be head of Boys’ Plex. Tom lives just north of London and has recently qualified as a Primary School Teacher and will be starting his career as a teacher in September. Tom likes to play tennis and football (soccer) as well as relaxing with his friends. “I loved the experience at camp last summer as a tennis specialist and am excited to come back this year to enjoy a new role and continue my Camp Laurelwood experience.”
Craig Barrows - Director of Bonim
Craig started going to Camp Laurelwood 20 years ago as a camper on Boy’s Side. He has held numerous staff positions at camp including waiter, maintenance, counselor, CIT director and Plex Division Head. He took several summers off to go to college at Southern Connecticut State University and to serve in the United States Army where he learned valuable leadership skills which he brings to camp. Currently, Craig heads up the Bonim Travel Program and runs the Camp Laurelwood Retreat Center in the off season. Every year he staffs Birthright programs as an Informal Educator to Israel. His love of camp and travel makes him ideal to help campers make an experience of a lifetime in Costa Rica and to start to transition from camper to young adult, to future counselors at camp.
Matt Neirenberg - Director of Aquatics
Returning for his 25th year, Matt is thrilled to once again head up our Aquatics program and facilities. From 1984-1989 Matt attended Laurelwood as a camper and the worked at camp from 1990-2006 at which time he took some time off to take care of his twin boys, returning to camp in 2015. Through the years, Matt has had various roles at camp, but has been aquatics director for a majority of those years. Matt holds a certificate as a Certified Pool Operator, teach American Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR, and First Aid as well as swim lessons. Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education, Masters in Elementary education, and a 6th year degree in school administration and is a a special Education teacher/ PPT Chairperson . Matt also teaches Hebrew school on Sunday’s and sit on the board of Directors for Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven. “Overnight camping has always been in my blood and I looked forward to coming back.”
Gabriela Campos - S.I.T. Director
While attending Central Connecticut State University for International Studies, Gabriela was involved in many aspects of campus-life serving as a Resident Assistant and as the Chair of Arts & Culture for the Programing Board. She later went on to use the leadership and development skills learned there to become a union organizer, where she was able to combine her lifelong desire to help others with her previous leadership experience. To be effective as an organizer she had to identify and train leaders to have the ability to run every aspect of their local union from meetings to elections and everything in between. After many successful campaigns she brought her passion for people, art and development closer to home and worked on economic development in Fair Haven a challenged neighborhood in New Haven through the creation of a Business Improvement District, creating new business zoning, ushering in improved infrastructure & creating events that fostered inclusion and pride.
Gabriela has put her globe trotting, lobbying and zoning development aside in recent years to spend more time in the woods with her three sons. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to enjoy the woods with the Camp Laurelwood community this summer while continuing to pursue her passion for service to the greater good by helping tomorrow’s leaders and future camp mentors in the S.I.T. program.
Heather Golub - Office Manager/Registrar
Calum Hampson-Jones – Head of Ropes
Calum Hampson-Jones, who currently lives in London, England is returning to Laurelwood for his second summer. Calum has just recently graduated from the University of Lincoln where he studied Advertising and Marketing. Outside of University work Calum plays Football (soccer), Cricket, Golf and Tennis. Calum also enjoys travelling and is excited to have the opportunity to travel America again this year! Calum cannot wait to guide campers through our Adventure Course and helping campers reach new heights.
Henry Nicholson - Head of Sports
Henry, 20, returns to camp for his second summer. During the year Henry lives in South London and is about to finish his third year course at Aberystwyth University in west Wales, where he studies History and International Politics. Henry plays a variety of sports and specializes in soccer and cricket representing the 1st team at University for both. When he is not playing sports, Henry enjoys socializing with friends and going out. “After the great time I had as soccer specialist last summer I am really excited to take up a new role as Athletic Director this summer and continue the Laurelwood experience.”
Carlos Marcano - Head Chef
Ned Linnehan - Head of Facilities
Lila Tullock - Health Center Director (First Session)
Lisa Fichandler - Health Center Director (Second Session)
Lisa lives in West Hartford, where she works as a school nurse. Lisa is a mom of two Camp Laurelwood campers, Rafael and Amelia. This is Lisa’s second year as staff. Lisa grew up at camp where she spent her summers as a camper. “Being able to relive a cherished childhood experience, has been priceless and I cannot wait to see all of the smiling faces back at camp.”