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 full-time office staff.
2014 Camp Common Ground Staff
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!
Alice Silverman – Non-violent Communication Instructor - Alice is a mother, daughter, wife, friend, student, teacher, singer, activist, nature and animal lover, vegetarian, and psychiatrist who has been studying, practicing and sharing NVC for the past 6 years. She is particularly interested in how NVC can be used as a tool for deepening empathic connection to oneself and others, resolving conflicts, parenting compassionately and working for social change and justice.
Calia Marshall (left) - Dance & Movement - 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 youth programs. Calia has been living in NYC since 2000 as a post-modern and West African dancer, a choreographer, and a singer. She teaches dance and yoga to 2 year olds through adults at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, National Dance Institute, and other studios all over NYC.
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.
Jackie Mangione - Watercolor Instructor - Jackie paints, teaches, and runs her own business, Nature Inspired Designs, in Burlington, VT. Inspired by the natural environment, Jackie paints with watercolors outdoors in the summer. Don't be surprised if you bump into Jackie at an area craft fair or farmers' market!
Jeh Kulu - West African Dance - A traditional West African performance and educational ensemble, Jeh Kulu has brought the spirit of West African music and dance to New England since 1993. Their vision is to raise cultural awareness, create a sense of community, and, at the same time, have fun! Jeh Kulu is comprised of 20+ talented artists who share traditional rhythms and dances from the countries of Guinea, Senegal and Mali, West Africa.
Johannah Reimer - Photography - Johannah has been coming to camp since she was a little kid and has since expanded her horizons as a traveler in New Zealand, Thailand, Africa, and Nicaragua. Johannah is an artist and photographer based in Brooklyn, NY and her passion is to support Women's Rights and Empowerment through art.
Kerrie Bodendorf (right) - Bodywork - Kerrie for the most part is a stay at home homeschooling mom that also teaches Melt Method classes and workshops all over Western Mass and also is a personal trainer to a few clients in her home gym. Healthy living has always been a focus for her. Diagnosed with Epilepsy at age 22, she immediately began her journey to wellness. Changing diet, exercise & sleep habits and finding natural ways to reduce stress, she was off all meds within a year and has been Epilepsy free ever since. She believes the body is a wonder machine that is capable of remarkable healing. She is very excited to share the MELT Method with everyone 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.
Kirtan Soul Revival - Kirtan Soul Revival (KSR) is New York City's newest, funkiest, devotional musical experience. They use traditional Sanskrit mantras, original music, spirituals and traditional music from around the world to create a unique, dynamic sound that merges funk, rock, rhythm and blues, world grooves, and chants.
Liz Ritter (left on the right) - Improv - Liz Ritter is an activist housewife 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 teaching improv and running the Hobart dishwasher at Camp!
Lori Biamonte (below on the left) - Kitchen Coordinator - Lori has played a variety of roles at Common Ground Center, including arts & crafts instructor, board member, store manager, and kitchen coordinator. Lori runs a nature-based education program for youngsters in Maryland, where she lives with her husband and two kids.
Magicians Without Borders - Magicians Without Borders performs magic shows for children in refugee camps, orphanages and hospitals around the world - often in war torn places where love, laughter and magic are desperately needed.
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. This is Martha's 16th summer at CCG – many past campers plan their weeks around her camp schedule.
Melynda Schudrich - Basket Weaving - Melynda is a proud homeschooling parent of three children, ages 7 to 13. 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—she recently began Kenpo Karate lessons with her family a few months ago, and she loves it. She looks forward to meeting everyone at camp this summer!
Michael Albert - Modern Pop Art - Michael Albert has been making art since his college days at NYU, where he studied business. His signature Cereal box collages, which transform used cardboard consumer packaging into fine art, are described as “a cross between Picasso’s Cubism and Warhol’s Pop”. Albert travels all over the USA and beyond where he provides opportunities for aspiring artists of all ages to create art in the same way he does using scissors, glue, cereal boxes & their own time, effort & creativity. Michael Albert makes a big splash at camp along with his wife and four kids…keep an eye out for them this summer!
Morgan Andrews - Puppetry & 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.
Peter Hansen - Tennis - Yogi Peter has been a student of Self Realization most of his life; so, besides studying with many yoga masters, he also acquired BA degrees in sociology, psychology, and social work, masters degrees in social work and psychology, a BS in physical therapy and a doctorate in metaphyics. He combines years of self practice and teaching in his ayurvedic methods of healing and yoga therapy. He also has been a serious tennis player, teacher, coach, club developer and writer for most of his live. He makes tennis fun for anyone wishing to get in the Zone and the spirit of play. He loves family and camp and can't wait to share again this summer.
Rhoen Pruesse-Adams - Rhoen Pruesse-Adams recently graduated from NYU, where he studied economics and mandarin Chinese. He now works at a real-estate firm in NYC and serves on the Common Ground board of directors. He shoots & edits videos in his spare time, including many of the videos found on this website! He loves meeting new people, making new friends, and eating vegetarian food.
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.
Sam Silverman – Non-violent Communication - Sam is a mental health and substance abuse counselor with 41 years experience as a social worker in institutional and community settings. He is currently working as a counselor at Lyndon State College and leads NVC workshops and support groups in the community. Sam has been a political activist since the 1960's and an active participant in mens' support groups. Both Sam and Alice Silverman have taken a workshop with Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication. They have been in a NVC support group for the past 3 years where they have fine tuned their skills and begun to work towards applying NVC for social change.
Sandra Griffith - Fiber Arts - Sandra studied handwork at Waldorf-inspired Sunbridge College. She learned to knit at her grandmother’s knee at the age of 7 and loves to share her skill with people of all ages. She also spins, weaves, and dyes (yarns and fabrics). And she can play a mean game of Rummikub or Boggle!
Sean Qualls (right with wife Selina) - Mixed Media Collage - 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.
Sequana Skye (below) - Nurse, Film, and Special Activities - Sequana Skye, RN, BA, has had the opportunity to move in many wondrous ways thus far on this planet: she's worked as an nurse, expressive arts therapist with diverse groups, facilitated dream workshops and taught classes from Yoga for Seniors to LaMaze for pregnant couples. She's currently a Story-teller, sharing her own as well as others' stories in word, song, movement and theatre.
Steve Blane (left) - Music Instructor - Steve majored in voice and obtained a B.A. in Music Education from Jersey City University. Following college, he performed as a singer/actor off and on Broadway. Steve was ordained as Rabbi in June 2001 at Rabbinical Seminary International after completing a course of study with Rabbi Joseph Gelberman in New York City. He is our lovely Camp Director’s husband and has been a fun loving member of the community for several years. Steve plays guitar, ukulele, and piano and loves to sing Jazz Standards. Come find him and play some music!