Most of our talented staff come year after year. Many are professionals in their field who are taking a vacation from their daily lives to share their passions with our campers. Please find a sampling of our wonderful new and returning staff below!
Click here to meet our core office staff and co-founders.
Alma Schneider - Alma, founder of Take Back the Kitchen, helps people of all ages and backgrounds overcome the common and unique obstacles to cooking. She also enjoys singing, playing guitar and spending time with her four children, two of whom will be with her at camp. She looks forward to connecting with campers in the kitchen this summer!
Alyx Lyons - Samba - Alyx is an active member of the popular Brazilian percussion group Sambatucada!, which performs around the state of Vermont and beyond! Alyx comes to camp with her partner and son, and they look forward to welcoming another baby to their family in summer 2015!
Anya Schwartz (right) - Fiddle Lessons - Anya is a born and bred camp person -- she has been coming to camp for many years and has served in roles ranging from kitchen staff to board president! In addition to being a talented fiddler, Anya is always up for a pick-up game of soccer or a dip in the pond. Anya is also involved in the Northeast Heritage Music Camp, which is an adult folk music camp held annually at Common Ground Center.
Aron Gutman - Chef - Aron lives in Ithaca, NY where he works as a baker & cook. 2015 will be Aron's third year working in our kitchen at camp. He is also a fan of Klezmer music and baseball. Aron looks forward to returning to camp with his partner Wendy and two kids.
Calia Marshall (left) - Dance & Yoga - Calia has been coming to CCG with her mom and brother since its first year, when she was a teenager. After taking a couple of years off while she was studying at Mount Holyoke College, she came back as a staff person (as well as a happy camper), teaching dance and yoga and working in the teen program. Calia has been living in NYC since 2000 as an educator, dancer, choreographer, and musician. She has been performing professionally and teaching dance to NYC public school children for 14 years, teaching yoga for 12 years, practicing Reiki for 10 years, and leading healing musical experiences for 4 years with her band, Kirtan Soul Revival.
Christine Mantakara - Chef - Christine is an artist, who, like many artists, has made her living doing a few different things. She studied whole foods cookery at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and subsequently worked as a chef and menu designer at the Kripalu yoga center. Some years later she went back to school to get her Master's degree in Oriental Medicine. She now practices acupuncture in Greenpoint and in Harlem, makes art whenever she can, and enjoys gardening and training at her karate dojo. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and daughter, with whom she has been coming to camp for seven years.
David Cloutier - Charcoal Drawing - David teaches art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has been featured in shows in Baltimore, Massachusetts, Portland (Maine), and southern New Hampshire. David is the proud father of two kids who love Camp Common Ground!
David Kirsch (right) – Youth Leader - Serious yet amusing, mysterious yet sincere, David Kirsch is a magical soap bubble master with a secret musical power. He is the friend of most children and animals. He is also a culinary alchemist, electronics wizard, and loves the smell of rain.
Dew B. Wilde – School Age Staff & Drumming Instructor - Dew is a musical educator with 19 years of experience leading groups of all ages in hand drumming, performance and song. She lives with her family in Williston, VT and works with kids full time at the School House. Dew has been a part of Camp Common Ground since its birth.
Emily Gibbs (left) - Assistant Program Director, Archery, Teen Programs - Emily has spent 12 summers working at camps. She's done great work overseeing youth, adult, and family programs for the South Burlington Recreation Department and currently heads up the physical education program at our local school, Robinson Elementary. Emily grew up on a farm in Vermont where she developed a love for the outdoors; she enjoys biking, hiking, camping, skiing, paddling, playing and coaching sports, and more!
Francis Goodman (below) – Construction Instructor & Handyman – Francis is a fourth-generation mid-western organic dairy farmer. He is active in farm organizing and works locally with several organizations, like the national Family Farm Coalition and The national Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. He is committed to preserving family farms and providing a safe and affordable food supply for consumers.
Kate Hartley - Art Instructor - Kate is full of stories about Camp Common Ground - she has been coming to camp since 2002. Kate has served as youth staff, watercolor instructor, and even camp program coordinator. This year, Kate will be offering clay tile making. Kate attends camp with her son Clayton, who is known to sport a fake mustache while at camp.
Kim Dunkley – Youth/Teen Leader, Lifeguard, Jill-of-all-trades - After a long history in outdoor ed/rec with many ages, Kim has settled down as a pre-school educator in Morrisville, VT. She still make time for the important stuff like traveling, skiing and standing on her head. She's looking forward to sharing some of her silliness and playing with folks at this summer in Starksboro.
Liz Ritter (right, on the right) - All-Around All-Star - Liz Ritter is a political organizer in New York City. She’s a hands-on operations person and problem solver who specializes in behind-the-scenes work to get things done. In her “regular life” she writes, reads, cooks, crochets, takes pictures, prays and sings. She spends a lot of time advocating for parks/open spaces, public education, food justice, cultural affairs and electoral politics in Upper Manhattan. Liz has been coming to Common Ground since 2001 and enjoys making people laugh, singing at campfire, and running the Hobart dishwasher at Camp! One of her cherished camp memories is officiating the wedding of Monroe Moore and Lupe Perez at Camp in 2013!
Marc Kornbluh (left) – Glass Instructor – Marc Kornbluh creates one-of-a-kind glass objects of art. He earned a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and traveled overseas for many years, informally studying art and culture. His work is influenced by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern designs, which he incorporates into his own contemporary style. Marc’s artwork is sold in museum shops and galleries and his borosilicate beads are featured in the 2006 Winterglas calendar. Marc attends about 15 juried shows around the US each year. Check out his work!
Martha Siegel (right) – Chamber Music (violin & cello) Instructor - Martha teaches strings at the UN International School and at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in NYC. She has been coaching chamber music groups of kids and adults in her home studio for many years. As a cellist, Martha has played with Argentine singer-songwriter Suni Paz since 1976, and performed with Calle Strada Strasse. Martha has been attending camp since 1994! Many past campers plan their weeks around her camp schedule. .
Melynda Schudrich - Arts and Crafts - Melynda is a proud homeschooling parent of three children, ages 10 to 16. As a mom who is passionate about the arts, she loves doing projects with her kids that help them gain an appreciation for art. Melynda’s art interests include fused glass, basketry, felting, knitting, and pottery. She also makes natural soaps, air fresheners, and even house cleaning products. Melynda is always learning something new,and she looks forward to sharing her latest projects with everyone at camp this summer!
Morgan Andrews - Theater and Storytelling - Morgan Andrews is a performance artist, activist, yogi, and puppeteer from Philadelphia, PA. Morgan has worked and performed with Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont and facilitates social justice workshops utilizing "Theatre of the Oppressed" methodology. He's also quite knowledgeable about vegan nutrition and cooking and Thai massage.
Rod MacDonald (right) Originally from Connecticut, Rod was a leading artist in the 1980s Greenwich Village “new folk” scene before moving to Florida in 1995, where the Palm Beach Post now calls him one of "Ten Magnificent Musicians of Palm Beach County." Rod tours in North America and Europe and performs regularly in south Florida with the rock and roll band Big Brass Bed. He teaches a “Music Americana” course at Florida Atlantic University and enjoys teaching songwriting workshops at festivals and community gatherings.
Sean Qualls (right with wife Selina) - Mixed Media Poetry and Illustration - Sean is Sean Qualls is an award-winning children’s book illustrator, artist and author. He lives in lives in Brooklyn (where you can find him DJing on occasion) with his wife, illustrator/author Selina Alko and their two children Ginger and Isaiah. Check out Sean's artwork here.
Selina Alko (right with husband Sean) - Mixed Media Poetry and Illustration - Selina Alko was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Although Selina has lived in New York since 1991, she still believes that she brings a Canadian perspective to her writing and illustrating. Selina’s optimism permeates her work; she believes that change is always possible. Alko demonstates this message in her latest book, The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage, co-illustrated with her husband, Sean Qualls. Selina and Sean live together in Brooklyn, New York with their two children and a pair of cats. Check out Selina's work here.
Steve Bronstein (below) - Blacksmithing - Steve has been creating functional and sculptural ironwork for over 25 years. His designs strive to blend the primitive charm of ironwork with the energy and interest of more contemporary design. Blackthorne Forge, his Marshfield, Vermont workshop, is where Steve has been creating a wide variety of sculptures. His clocks, judaica, garden sculpture and home wares are available in more than 100 galleries across the country. Steve enjoys attending camp with his wife and teenage daughter.