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Who’s Who This Summer

Want to know more about the amazing staff we will have at Camp this summer? Read on and check back here often as we will be updating this page regularly.

For bios of our year-round Leadership Team, click here.

Mainside
Carolyn Samuels, Mainside Division Head
This will be my 14th year at SLC. During the rest of the year, I am a clinical therapist, but many don’t realize that I am also a master dance instructor and choreographer. I have done professional theater, and have even recorded an original cast recording, but I actually began my theater career on a camp stage at the age of 9,  as Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz.  I also love tap dancing. SLC is special to me because of the people, who have truly become my second family. My kids brought me to SLC, but I am the only one in my family still here! This summer, I am looking forward to my new role as the Mainside Division Head, though, I will forever be Carolyn “Support." I’m also really looking forward to creating new memories while at camp. That’s the best part!
Neil Weintraub, Mainside Head Counselor / Camper Support
This will be my eighth summer at Surprise Lake Camp. During the year I am a School Social Worker for the New York City Department of Education, private psychotherapist, and a parent to three wonderful sons. This summer at Camp, in addition to my roles as Mainside Head Counselor / Camper Support, I will be serving as Jedi Knight, Story Teller and Magician. I enjoy Camp because it is a great place to learn about children while watching them challenge themselves, grow and mature. As usual, I am looking forward to meeting and working with a great bunch of kids this summer.
Teenside
Robbie Bloom, Teenside Division Head
This will be my sixth summer at SLC! I have been a Unit Supervisor, the Head Counselor of Teenside and I am very excited to be the Division Head of Teenside this summer! During the year, I am a teacher, a tutor, and a full time mom. SLC is special to me because I love being able to spend my summer doing all of the things I love to do. I swim in the lake, hike with Whammy and play outside. This summer I am looking forward to the same things that I look forward to every summer: meeting new people, both staff members and campers. I think that the relationships we build truly makes every summer special.
Gary Silverman, Teenside Head Counselor
This is my 11th summer at SLC.  During the rest of the year I’m a High School teacher who specializes in teaching Social Studies and Special Education. What makes SLC so special to me is the lifelong memories and experiences that I’ve had here. I feel blessed to have had SLC help me become the person that I am today. I’m looking forward this summer to creating new memories, and starting each day by that beautiful serene lake.
Jen Benalt, Teenside Head Counselor / Camper Support
This summer will be my 10th at SLC! In the off season, I am a Social Worker at a preschool. I also get to spend quality time with my laughing and loving with my wonderful husband and fantastic son! SLC is special to me because of the meaningful connections people make with one another and the powerful sense of community that we create. This summer I am looking forward to slowing down, breathing the sweet smell of the lake in the morning, watching the magic that happens when people make strong personal connections and guiding the campers to recognize the beauty and power that exists in their individuality.
Camp Wide Staff
Ilana Atwater, Health Center Director
This will be my 19th summer at SLC, 11th as staff. During the year, I am a School Nurse in New Brunswick, NJ. Surprise Lake Camp is special to me because it is where I have always felt happiest, even as a camper! All school year, I'd look forward to the summer at SLC and I still feel that way. I am looking forward to meeting all the new staff and campers along with everyone who is returning. It is always my favorite thing seeing campers fall in love with Camp like I did!
Paul Suchow, Music Director
This will be my 25th year at the most amazing place ever; SLC! During the year I teach music and compose for several underscore music companies in NYC. There are many summer camps out there, but none with the rich history of Surprise Lake Camp. The staff works incredibly well with each other and I continue to learn from all of these talented people. SLC cares and changes campers lives! It is exciting to be a part of it and I continue to look forward to this wonderful opportunity each summer.
Whammy, Hiking & Photography
This will be my 45th summer at SLC. I am a retired High School Math Teacher, a professional photographer, and I also raise funds for the Leukemia Society as I run marathons throughout the year. SLC is special to me because I was born into it. Every part of my dear family is a result of my years at SLC. This summer, I am looking forward to spectacular hikes, sunsets, and breathing in the Camp air with the SLC community.
Harry Vogel, Administrative Director
I have been at Camp for 68 years. When I am not windsurfing on the lake or riding in my red Jeep, I am a ski instructor. I make a positive difference in the lives of campers and staff alike. The smiles, teaching windsurfing, and making life a little easier for all of us is what brings me back to SLC year after year.
Jerry Person, Assistant Administrative Director
After taking a hiatus, I have been back at Camp for the last 20 years. I was a camper from 1957-1960 and a staff member from 1961-1968 and 1975. I have spent 33 summers at SLC. During the year, I am retired and I spend my days looking forward to what I will experience. Surprise Lake is my "second home," the setting, the people, and the feeling of belonging all combine to make this place special to me. This summer, I am looking forward to seeing everyone from past years and meeting new people. I also look forward to working with the campers and staff, helping Surprise Lake Camp, to provide the best and unique experiences, and creating memories for everyone that will never be forgotten.