Staff of 2018: Counselors New to Birch Hill

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Greetings Birch Hillers, we are back again with some more introductions to our Staff of 2018! This summer we have quite a few new faces joining us, so we wanted to introduce them all to you. We want you to be able to arrive on opening day and already know a bit about the awesome people who will give your family a wonderful camp experience. So without further ado, here are the counselors new to Birch Hill this year.


My name is Reid Thorsteinson, many people call me Leike or Thor. I am from South Florida, and study business at Florida State University (Go Noles!). I have grown up in and around water my entire life and would say with confidence that I am part fish. From surfing to paddleboarding, skimboarding to boogie boarding, sandcastle building to snorkeling, boating to spelunking, I have plenty of experience with water adventures. I have participated in bodybuilding for 6 years now and was always one to be outside running through neighborhood forests to find the nearest lizard or snake to learn about. I was never a camper at Birch Hill, but I was highly involved with camping at local Florida centers. As an incoming freshman to high school I was a camp counselor in training and after a gap year I became a full Summer Counselor, in which I participated in teaching students about local ecosystems and played a myriad of water related activities (Bodyboarding, sandcastle competitions, Dragon boating, seining, fishing, and much more). I have been to most of the south, including almost every coastal part of Florida, Georgia to North Carolina and the beautiful blue ridge mountains that flow throughout, also the rocky reds to the peaks of Breckenridge in Colorado, most of the main Canadian cities and the aweing wonders of Banff, and the sweet tropical Bahamas. Making art, listening to music, meditation, and being in nature consumes most of my leisure time. The things that excite me the most about camp are being able to experience a new part of America that I have never been to and meeting so many new faces from different backgrounds. This season will be one for the books, and I’m hoping I can help to make the campers have the most enjoyable summer of their young lives!



My name is Amanda Garami, I am 24 years old and I am originally from Montreal Canada. After moving around quite a bit from Plymouth Massachusetts to Plattsburgh New York I returned to Montreal to study Communications at Concordia University. After spending a summer as a camp counselor at a video camp I knew that I wanted to redirect my career to working with kids. So, after graduating I headed to New York City where I worked as a Site Coordinator as an AmeriCorps volunteer specifically working on literacy intervention in one of the elementary schools in East Harlem. I absolutely loved my job and students, but the city and commute were a bit overwhelming for me. So, that’s when I decided to try something new and move to Denver Colorado (a place where I had never been). My experience in Colorado has been great! I have been working at College View Elementary and have been so inspired by the teachers and staff’s dedication to their students. I love getting to work one on one with students and see their love of reading grow. It has been so fun exploring the Colorado mountains. I have been lucky enough to have gone skiing, hiking, and/or exploring almost every weekend. But now it is time to return back home! Starting in the fall I will be doing my masters in social work at the University of New England in Portland Maine. I am so excited to see the ocean again, and be closer to family. I am also equally excited to be working at Camp Birch Hill as the Arts and Crafts Director! I hope I can inspire the kids to find magic in camp as I did when I was a kid, and I cannot wait to become part of the Camp Birch Hill family.



Hi everyone, my name is Connor Huydic. I am a full-time resident of Connecticut but have spent my last six summers in Milton, New Hampshire out on the lake practicing various watersports, and have spent most of my free days in the winter traversing the New Hampshire snowmobile trails. This is my first year working with Camp Birch Hill and I am looking forward to meeting you all. I am currently a rising junior at the University of Connecticut and am studying political science, history, and communication on a pre-law track. Some hobbies of mine include refereeing soccer, snowmobiling, waterskiing, wake surfing, wakeboarding, going to country concerts, and just about any recreational sport I have an opportunity to play. I have been playing sports my entire life but have been most interested in water sports the past six years. I have been wake surfing for two years now, slalom skiing for five years, and wakeboarding for six years and look forward to getting the opportunity to have a blast on the lake with you all this summer. This will be my first time attending Camp Birch Hill as either a camper or a staff member, but I do have great memories working as a counselor in training (CIT) in my home state of Connecticut and plan to apply this previous training to add to the positive atmosphere at camp. I look forward to meeting everyone and I’m already expecting to have an exciting summer with you all.  



My name is Oscar Flores and I come from the sunny and multicultural Barcelona, in Spain. I am 23 years old and will be 24 at the time of starting the camp so I believe that would make me one of the oldest counselors there, although that would also be my first camp ever, but I will stick with the saying “one’s never too old to try something new.” I finished my studies in Business Administration two years ago, when I started working in a major consultancy firm. Despite not being my dream job, I really enjoyed my time there as I had wonderful workmates with whom I shared very good memories, for example when we all tried the Spartan race, some struggled more than other but it was an awesome experience in which we all had to pull each other to make it to the end. After the camp I will head off for a new adventure in Rotterdam to do a Master Degree in Big Data and Marketing, despite not being my first exchange experience abroad, I am really looking forward to it as one of the things I enjoy most doing is traveling and meeting new and exciting people. It also goes without saying that I am a sport passionate; I am always up for a quick match of any kind of sport or for trying on a new one. As my pic could reveal I also love nature and mountaineering, I cannot think of a better plan than go camping with some friends and chat across a bonfire at night.



Hello! My name is Emma Wotring. I am originally from Glen Ridge, New Jersey. I am a rising sophomore at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts studying Film and Creative Writing. I enjoy writing, hiking, horseback riding, gardening, and traveling.

I have been to England and France when I was young and after I graduated high school, I chose to take a gap year. I traveled to Ecuador and Peru for 3 months during that time. I taught English, backpacked and volunteered in the Ecuadorian rainforest with an organization called the Arajuno Foundation which works to cultivate ecotourism and conservation programs.

I have been babysitting since I was 12 years old and I have experience working in summer day camps in the New York/New Jersey area. I thoroughly enjoy working with and getting to know campers and watching them thrive throughout the summer. I would say that I am most exciting to work at Camp Birch Hill because of the horses. My friends in college accurately describe me as a “horse girl.” Horseback riding is my passion. I have been riding since I was 10 years old and I am on the Wheaton College equestrian team. I can’t wait to work with the campers and horses at Birch Hill!



Hi, my name is Lily and I am 19 years old. I come from Ballarat in the land down under. For those of you who don’t know where that is, the land down under is Australia and I live about an hour and a half drive from Melbourne. I am currently working at a bakery, waking up at 4.45 in the morning to start work at 5.30. I do love to bake, so it’s not too bad, but it can be quite a struggle getting up when its still dark outside! I also love snowboarding and playing soccer, both of which I have done since I was a little girl.

Going travelling is something I love to do, and with a friend, I have recently travelled around Europe, snowboarding in the Swiss Alps, riding bikes through Amsterdam, climbing the Eiffel tower and taking gondola rides in Venice. Other places I have visited include the U.S, Bali, Dubai and I travelled through various parts of Australia. I look forward to visiting New Hampshire and having new experiences throughout your wonderful country.

My qualifications include being a pool life guard, my level 2 first aid and my boating license.

I am so excited to work at camp because it sounds like an absolute blast where you can show your personality and just be a bit of a goofball! Children are just full of so much energy, enthusiasm and are super hilarious and to eventually see that I have added to their amazing camp experience will feel so good. In the future I expect to work with children and this time at camp will hopefully add to my journey in accomplishing my dream.



Hi everyone! My name is Eevi and I’m an 18-year-old girl all the way from Finland. My hobbies are snowboarding, art and music. I play the piano, guitar and drums, and I also like to paint or draw when I have time. Art and music have been an important part of my life since I was a child, and I’m happy to be working with these areas at camp too. I also like team sports a lot (like beach volley or basketball with friends) but I don’t have a specific sport that I would do frequently. My friends would describe me as cheerful, adventurous and caring. Overall, I would say that I am an open-minded person and full of positive energy. My policy is to take every possible opportunity you get, and not to worry about things too much. This is actually what led me to working at camp as well. I study in high school – or what is in some way equivalent to the American high school. I graduate next year and after that my plans are still quite open. My favorite subjects at school are languages. Currently I study English, Swedish, Spanish and French. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited to work in a foreign country and meet all the people there. The best thing about camps is that everyone gets so close, you make so many incredible memories with some amazing people and you never know exactly what to expect. There’s nothing better than a good camp spirit. I am super excited to meet every single person who is going to be at Camp Birch Hill this summer. I hope it will be an equally exciting adventure to every camper as it is to me. See you soon! ☺



Hi! I’m Betsy, and I’ll be a counselor at Camp Birch Hill this summer. I’m a junior at UCLA studying Geography and Environmental Studies and minoring in Film and Conservation Biology. I am passionate about the planet and the arts, and I can’t wait to explore these passions with everyone at camp this summer. I am an avid yogi and I love animals, hiking, gardening, filmmaking, learning, traveling, and exploring. I’m always down to try new things, meet new people, and just enjoy every moment of life! I’ve lived in all sorts of places, from Los Angeles, to Alaska, to South Carolina, to London! I love spending my time outdoors, whether it be the mountains, the beach, or the lake (especially at camp!). My favorite country I’ve ever been to was South Africa! I love meeting people from all over the world and I can’t wait to meet all the diverse campers this summer at Birch Hill.

I was a camper at CBH from 2009 to 2013, and to this day all my best memories are from camp, the happiest place on earth! My favorite camp activities have been rock climbing, wakeboarding, and of course the water tramp! It’s been 5 years but I still don’t stop talking about it – my friends and family definitely think I’m crazy, but that’s just because they’ve never experienced the magic of camp! I can’t believe I finally am going back to my home away from home! I am so excited to share my enthusiasm for camp with everyone who enters the Birch Hill bubble and I can’t wait to get to know all of the campers this year. Get ready for an exciting summer!



My name is Charles and I am 22 years old. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and I still live there with my girlfriend and my cat. My favorite sport is basketball and I have been playing since I was in middle school. I played point guard on my high school basketball team, and I continue to play with different teams around my city. I also enjoy playing many other sports, including dodgeball, kickball, and I played on my work’s softball team. I’m very excited to work at camp this year and meet all the wonderful campers!



My name is Amanda and I currently live in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up on a farm in Montana where I was riding horses and taking care of the animals starting at a young age. During this time I was also dancing, primarily ballet and modern, and performing with my local dance theater. When I was 18 I moved to Massachusetts to attend Hampshire College where I studied a variety of things, including film, dance, art collaboration, and literature. I graduated in May 2016 and moved to New York shortly after. I absolutely love traveling and I’ve been to a few different countries and can’t wait to travel to more. I’m looking forward to meeting all the campers and being a part of Camp Birch Hill!



Hi! My name is Emily Greco. I have attended Camp Birch Hill as a camper since 2009. My nickname at camp was “Snooki” (I won’t be surprised if that name follows me as a counselor). I can remember the very first summer I attended. There’s a certain rush of emotions you get driving down the dirt road towards the happy, yelling counselors. Hard to believe I get to be one of those counselors this year. As a graduating Senior from High School-I will be attending the University of Miami School of Nursing in the fall 2018. I am thrilled to be going to the U next year, and I can’t wait to spend all of my time outside in the sun (or as much as they’ll let me). In 2017, I participated in a service project working in a medical clinic with children helping them with basic health and wellness skills through play, games and songs. Another skill fostered by my experience at Camp Birch Hill-I can’t wait to continue the Camp traditions with all the campers this summer. I love the water; the sun and the outdoors-I felt a natural fit for me was getting my Lifeguard certificate. I have been able to use the certificate at our local community pool, as well as, lifeguarding at my high school. In addition to this, I babysit regularly and love being with and working with children. With my life experiences-I have moved four times before settling in Highland Park, Illinois- I realize how hard it can be to begin new adventures and I am looking forward to being there for all the campers. I am so excited for summer 2018!



Hey there! My name is Tatiana Gonzalez and I am a recent FSU graduate (tears of joy, along with some tears of sadness) who studied Biological Sciences and Psychology. Throughout college I also participated in Neuropsychiatric Epigenetic research, which enhanced my passion for neuropsychology. I’ve never been a camp counselor at a sleep away camp before, but I have done weekly counseling at my high school’s summer camp, which was an adventure every day. I love writing, reading, learning, playing guitar, taking photos, laying outside, napping, and connecting with others :~) I am Puerto Rican so I travel there all the time – it is pretty much one of my favorite places on Earth. I am SOOOOO excited for camp because this sounds like a magical place with magical people and many marvelous magical activities !! I already feel myself growing so much from this experience – I cannot wait to bond with the campers and counselors. I am equally excited to feel exhuasted and excited at the same time through our long adventurous days. I love the essence of kids and their excitement and curiosity for the world, for it inspires me to inherit their attitude. Beeming with joy to meet all of you!



Hey, I’m Sophia! I’m from New Rochelle, New York and I am so pumped to be a counselor at CBH! I was a camper at Birch Hill between 2012 and 2014. During my final year as a CIT I helped teach acting and improv as well as sailing at the Waterfront. I have grown up sailing and kayaking on Long Island Sound with my family. I have been in plays and musicals and have been studying acting/improv since elementary school. I am currently studying Acting at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. When I’m at school I live in Greenwich Village, right off of Washington Square Park. But the urban jungle of NYC doesn’t compare to the beauty of New England. I can’t wait to be back up in New Hampshire this summer. Nothing beats spending weeks at CBH. I have also traveled throughout the United States and to a number of different countries in Europe and the Americas. Some of my favorite experiences have been hiking in the mountains along the border between Poland and Slovakia, and in the Picos de Europa in northern Spain. Back in high school I had amazing outdoor experiences such as snorkeling and ziplining in Costa Rica, sailing and spearfishing (for dinner) in the Bahamas. I like trying new things so I even tried to learn how to surf in San Diego, emphasis on tried! I also paint landscapes of places I have been or want to visit, as a hobby. I am an animal lover: I have two cats at home and I love looking for frogs at Camp, and of course playing with the Camp dogs. I’m excited for Camp Birch Hill and its amazing activities and unique evening programs after dinner, whether it is a fun game or fireworks on the Fourth of July. I think one of the best parts of Camp that I cannot wait for is seeing all the smiling faces a the beginning and end of each day!    



Hi everyone! My name is Sarah and I am so excited to be back at Birch Hill this summer. I was a camper for three years starting in 2012 and then participated in the Teen Adventure program. I grew up in a small town about an hour north of New York City, but I have fallen in love with New England after spending time here during camp and school. I just finished my freshman year at UMass Amherst where I study Music Education and Voice Performance. At school I am involved in a few choirs as well as the UMass Theatre Guild. It’s no surprise that I spend most of my time singing, playing or listening to music. I play guitar and piano and am new to the ukulele! I have been singing and playing since I can remember, and started teaching music in high school, including at several day camps. I absolutely cannot wait to make music with the wonderful campers and counselors at Birch Hill this summer.When I have the time I also love to travel and explore! I have been to several countries in Europe, my favorites being France and the Netherlands. In the next few years I would love to travel more in the U.S., especially the West Coast. I am always looking for a new adventure and new ways to learn and explore. I am beyond excited to bring these experiences to camp this summer, and to learn from my fellow staff as well as our campers. My summers at Birch Hill are undoubtedly some of my happiest, most cherished memories, and I can’t wait for the new ones to be made this summer. YAHOOOOO!!!!



My name is Portia, I am all the way from hot Australia and this is my very first time to any summer camp. I am not 100% sure what to expect but I am super keen to meet new people and experience an American summer camp. I am looking forward to guiding all the Birch Hill campers within all activities. In my spare time, I am usually at the river behind a boat or on a jetski. I used to be heavily involved with lacrosse which I played for 4 years during high school and eventually travelled interstate to play as captain of my team. I like to go camping with my mates any chance I get – whether it be along the beach or at the river. I love photography and trying out all different cameras. I studied food and hospitality for 5 years in high school cooking all different types of dishes such as a kangaroo burger which the whole class thoroughly enjoyed. I hope to make this a great summer for Camp Birch Hill and look forward to meeting everyone.



Hi! my name is Liv. I am 18 years old and I go to school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I study marketing and photography. Photography is my favorite past-time and passion. I love all activities on the water (paddle boarding, boating, swimming, etc.). I have played volleyball for six years and it is also a big passion of mine. I am a native Floridian, born and raised in Saint Petersburg. However, when I graduated high school my family moved to Boston, MA to start a new life; and that’s how I heard of the fabulous Camp Birch Hill. I loved summer camp as a kid, and looking back on my amazing memories I realized that it wasn’t so much about the activities (even though they were awesome) it was about the people and personality-shaping experiences. I take pride in leaving a lasting, positive impression on the people around me. I am also probably the most “nostalgic” person you will ever meet. I am always taking pictures and keeping little knick-knacks of places and experiences. I am looking forward to meeting all of the campers and staff from all around the world. I just returned for a five-month long trip in Europe and it has really shaped me as a person. I have never been to a camp as an employee so this should be an amazing learning experience. I look forward to more amazing memories and fun!


Hello 🙂 

My name is Georgia Rose and I’m 21 years old. I was born and raised in a town called Halifax which is in The North of England however I moved to the other side of the world 4 years ago and now live on the sunny Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne, Australia with my family. In my spare time I love being outdoors and playing sports, I love to go to the beach with friends, kayak, paddle board, go to the gym and camping. The sports I really enjoy playing include Netball, Table Tennis and Badminton, however I’m really up to giving any new sport that comes my way a try! 

I love to travel to new places, meet new people, learn about the culture and of course try the exotic food they have to offer!

This year I will be travelling back to the UK to see my English family before travelling to Camp In New Hampshire and then finally to China where I will join my Older Brother on a sight seeing tour. 

I worked as a counsellor at a YMCA camp last year in Michigan which I absolutely loved, afterwards I traveled the west coast of America, which was amazing! I love absolutely everything about camp! I’m really looking forward to joining the Birch Hill family, meeting everyone, the new friendships and to get immersed into the camp bubble of endless fun, camp fires, sing songs, and just all round camp mayhem! 



Hey! My name is Hannah-Maria and I’m from across the Atlantic in tiny little Scotland. I am going into my third year at the University of Edinburgh studying an MA in history. This coming year I will be studying on exchange at the University of Granada in Spain which I’m so excited about. I am enthusiastic and passionate about so many different things. I absolutely love Travelling and any chance I have to visit somewhere new I’m there, so far 19 countries in 19 years! Meeting new people, learning languages exploring and gaining new skills are among things which I am super passionate about. Last year I worked as a Camp Counselor at Camp Hayo-Went-Ha in Michigan and it was the most amazing experience where I made so many great friends and learned so many valuable skills whilst also obtaining my red cross lifeguarding certification. I have lots of hobbies and interests including playing violin, guitar, piano and ukulele. I also really love sports and being outdoors! I have been playing netball and dancing for many years, and I enjoy attending the local gym regularly. In addition, skiing, sailing, swimming and badminton are among some of my favourite sports also. Since starting University I have taken up boxing too. I love being a young leader at Girl Guides where I have improved my leadership qualities and I love working with children! Having the opportunity to see how much campers enjoy camp and how much they grow is such a humbling experience and I am looking forward to being part of it this summer.

I can’t wait to get to Camp, meet everyone and have a summer full of fun, laughter and excitement!



My name is Drew Watson. I’m from Carmel, Indiana, and I will be studying philosophy as a sophomore next year at Claremont McKenna College, a small school just outside of LA. This will be my first time at Birch Hill, and I could not be more excited! In high school I ran cross country and track and worked at a day camp that my team hosted to get kids introduced to the world of running. I also worked as a swim coach for several summers. In my free time I love playing ping pong, adventuring, and enjoying the outdoors in any way that I can. This spring my friends and I went to Yosemite, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work here, and I’m ready to make this summer the best one yet!



Hello, my name is Andrew but everyone calls me Drew, this is my first year ever at camp and I can’t wait to meet everyone! I recently graduated from Northern Vermont University with degrees in Outdoor Education and Visual Communications. I grew up in a town called Londonderry in the southern half of New Hampshire where I was involved with the Boy Scouts and the Marching band. I have been attending summer camps all around the Northeast since I was 6 and love every minute of the camp experience. Marching band gave me the ability to travel and perform at some really awesome places like the Rose Bowl Parade in California. In college I was involved in many clubs and sports such as Rugby, Lacrosse, Outing Club, Student Government and the Sandwich Club (a club dedicated to making, eating and enjoying one of the best foods ever). My favorite camp activity is singing songs, I’m not the best singer but that doesn’t stop me, camp songs are the best songs. Again, I cant wait to meet you all!



My name is Sam Palmisano and I hope you’re ready for a great summer full of unforgettable memories. Most of my time this summer will be spent on the waterfront, or on the lacrosse field ripping twine.

I am going into my sophomore year of college at the University of New England {Roll Clouds} where I am studying environmental science and play lacrosse. I love being outside, whether I am playing a sport or just exploring the great outdoors its all my kind of fun.  When I was a junior in high school I spent my fall semester at the Island School in Eleuthera, the Bahamas. This is where I found a passion for protecting and preserving the environment.

I was a camper myself at Birch Hill for the summer when I was 15.  My sister Olivia has also been a camper here for many summers. In fact, you might see her around camp this summer as well. She is a CIT staying in La Casa.  Spending summers here, at Birch Hill, has been amazing for both of us, and it is why I came back to be a counselor.

As one of the counselors here this summer, I cannot wait to meet all of you and help to show you how to have a fun-filled, growth filled summer – like the ones I had when I was a camper here.   If I could give you any advice as either a new or returning camper, it would be to embrace everything about camp no matter how strange or outside your comfort zone it may be. Try new things, be willing to test yourself, and come to camp with an open mind.  You won’t regret it for a moment.  See you at the circle!  YAHOOO!



Hi everyone! My name is Max Penzo. This will be my first year at camp Birch Hill and can’t wait to start. I’m taking a gap year right now but I’m planning on going to community college of Vermont then transferring into Merrimack college for athletic training. I’m into football, baseball, basketball and hockey. I also really like being social and being with a group of good people and I can’t wait to join the Camp Birch Hill staff.



Hi hi everyone!! My name is Julianna but a lot of people call me Jules! This will be my first summer at Birch Hill and I am super stoked to meet all of you. I just (fake) graduated from Bowdoin College where I studied Sociology and French, but in the fall I will be headed to Toulouse, France to finish up my last 2 credits. Outside of school things, I am super passionate about all things music and art and theater. My parents are both folk musicians so growing up we had a ~wholesome~ family band. Currently, I’m trying to teach myself clawhammer banjo and I’m honestly pretty bad but I’m having a lot of fun with it. I also love adventuring and hiking and reading good books and dancing and being outside and having late night life chats and lots of other things. I am so excited to meet all of you and spend the summer getting to know a bunch of amazing kids and getting to know each other!! Here is a photo of me eating veggie sticks in a bathtub—aka the moment that I #peaked.



Hey everyone, Sean here!! Somethings to know about me is I truly love most sports I’ve ever been shown how to play, and lucky I was able to be a 3-sport athlete throughout high school. Now I spend all that time I was on sports either rock climbing, mountain biking and or snowboarding just depending on the season that it is. I’ve grown up in a nice size city, so I do enjoy being able to run away from the hectic life of living here, and now I’m going to school in the Adirondacks for Adventure Sports! A short break down of what my major entails is, helping the students get their certifications to either become a guide and or instructor in the fields of rock climbing, white water rafting, high ropes and or skiing/snowboarding. So far after my first year, I have already earned my level 1 snowboarding certification and then my Wilderness First Responders certification. Also, on top of just getting all the certifications done they open the door to a therapeutic reactional side of things. Anyways enough about school, I’ve been a lifeguard at my local amusement park for the past 4 years and also on top of that I have worked at a pawn shop for the past 3 and let me tell you; there are some great sights to see working at one.