Girls on the Go Camp staff at park in Berkeley

Staff from Previous Years



We appreciate all the magic and care these former staff brought to our camp. We honor them as part of our legacy.
Some of them return after taking time away.

 
ALLANA MORRISON
Hey guys! My name is Allana Morrison (in the orange sleeve shirt). I’m super excited to be back in Tilden. I love being outside, working with kids and having fun! I just graduated from the University of Oregon and am excited to see where my next adventures will take me. I generally try to spend as much of my spare time as possible outside. I love to run, backpack, read, climb, hike, bike, etc. I can’t wait to be back summer with the wonderful Monkey Business family!

 

ALYSSA HAMMOND (she/her)

I’m back! I met Heather and Stacy in 1998 when I started teaching at Step One School. As I recall, they were just starting Monkey Business then. We share the common love of learning through play which was fostered at Step One School. I taught preschool for years before graduating to teach elementary school. I’ve had the pleasure of being with Monkey Business Camp every few years. First I was a Counselor and then Site Director. Years after that, I was the parent of a counselor. Recently, I visited as a storyteller. I’ve been developing stories over the years and I look forward to sharing them with your camper(s). I love that young camper energy, and I enjoy hearing all the stories they tell. Last year was the first year in decades that I was not teaching young children. My own children are teenagers now, nearly ready for college. So, now I’m back to play, listen, and learn.

 

 

Anya PrussinANYA PRUSSIN
Hey monkeys! I am Anya Prussin. I love playing tennis, reading, and simply having fun. I have been going to Monkey Business for 10 years as a camper, junior leader and now a counselor. I love Monkey Business because the environment is so friendly and the kids are amazing. I love working with kids because they teach me to think more creatively and be silly. I have so many good memories of Monkey Business and I can’t wait to have another amazing summer. I look forward to meeting new campers, as well as seeing campers I’ve met in the past. I hope everyone has a fantastic summer!

 

ASHKON DAVARAN 

I’ve been at Monkey Business Camp on and off since 2004 and couldn’t be more excited to be back. I grew up in the Bay Area and recently moved back, after living in New York for the past six years where I was acting, making music, working as a teaching artist, and completing my master’s in Applied Theatre at the City University of New York.  I am a very high-energy person always doing my best to match or top the energy of the kids. Monkey Business is a great place to work, full of positive energy and good people. GO MONKEY BUSINESS!!!

 

BEN RIVERO
What is up Monkey Business?! My name is Ben and I’ve been part of Monkey Business Camp since I was a little kid. Now I’m returning as a regular counselor and I get to have fun with the kids, play, and I even get paid for it! I am luck and thankful to have traveled all over the world. I’ve been to Mexico, Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, Paris, London, and Amsterdam. I love traveling and seeing new cultures so I’m very open minded. I’m active, love to run around and have fun! I love music, writing songs and stories. I am very much into including everyone and making sure everyone has fun. I got that pep in my step, and kids sure are the best!

 

 

BEN SCHOLAR
Hey Monkey Business! My name is Ben Scholar. I’m born and raised in Berkeley and just graduated from Berkeley High School and heading off to Ohio for college. I love sport and the outdoors, from baseball to hiking. I’m super excited to join as a Group Leader at Boys on the Go this Winter. Playing with the campers at Monkey Business Camp, since 2014, as a youth leader for 3 years, and then on staff, has brought me a lot of joy and I’m hoping the upcoming camps prove no different!

 

 

 


CERIDWEN MITCHELL

I am so excited to be on staff at Monkey Business Camp! I came to visit San Francisco and worked at both Tilden and Girls on the Go camps in 2012 and fell in love with the place and the people – and now I am back! I said goodbye to my London home after I graduated in June 2019, and I can’t wait for more adventures we will go on together. I love swimming and hiking, trying new foods and improv acting.

 

DARA ACKERMAN

Hello Everyone! So excited to be on the Monkey Business Team-since 2017!
I connected through Soul Shoppe where I serve as Head Peacemaker Trainer, coaching 3rd-5th graders in peer-peer conflict resolution, in Bay Area elementary schools. Originally from Santa Barbara, I grew up in music, theater and dance, and was in love with my magical summer camps. I attended Sarah Lawrence College in NY, finished up at UCSB, and since then have lived in Northern India, working with young Tibetan refugees, and in the Bay Area working with kids in numerous settings. I love working with kids of all ages! In my spare moments these days, I can be found in the yoga studio, or meditating in the sun, teaching voice, performing with my band, and recording my second album. Monkey Business rock band, anyone? We’re going to have so much fun. I can hardly wait for camp with you all!

 

DEVIN BERRYDevin Berry
I’m grateful to be a part of the Monkey Business Camp staff since 2009. I’ve worked as a park ranger, farmer, teacher, counselor and mentor for over 20 years, recently as Youth Leadership Director for The Mosaic Project. Currently I facilitate a kids mindfulness play group on the peninsula and lead a teen sangha in Oakland. I’m excited about another joyful, peaceful and inspiring summer spent with the Monkey Business community in Tilden Park.

 

 

DEZIRAE PEBENITO
A bit about me: I am a native Californian from the central coast and can’t quite seem to move very far from the ocean. I love dance and body movement as forms of expression. I’m learning to sing and find the harmony in my voice. On my free time I like to create art and poetry, be outside as much as possible, and travel to see the world with new eyes. I have a background in Plant Biology from UC Davis. I have been awed and inspired by Bay Area kids and teens in a variety of ways : mentoring, tutoring, social emotional learning, science education, circus, and art. Some places I’ve worked for are Oakland Leaf’s STEAM and SEL Art and Performance, Brushstrokes art camps in Berkeley, Circus of Smiles, curriculum director for Oakland Youth Aspire, Carpentry for Kids in San Rafael, facilitator for Soul Shoppe, and leading storytelling workshops for preteen and teen girls called Girl Myth. I am a beginner Spanish speaker though practice makes perfect!

DIEGO PONTE-FRITZ
Ever since I started going to monkey business as a little munchkin, I’ve loved the camp. I was a Counselor in Training at Monkey Business Camp and was a Junior Counselor at Boys on the Go, and I am excited to take more of a leadership role in the camp. Working with kids is one of the most entertaining and rewarding things in my life. I learn more, be it gross or funny, from the kids than from anyone else. Among other things, I love music, movies, running, and the great outdoors. I’m a fluent Spanish speaker. I’ll see you at camp!

 

ELINA JUVONEN
My name is Elina and I’m a new banana slug heading off to UC Santa Cruz, where I’m planning to stay close to the ocean and study history or anthropology. I grew up in Berkeley speaking three languages- English, Swedish (fluent), and Finnish (intermediate), and am taking advanced French in school. Previously I’ve worked at outdoor school programs with Berkeley Unified 5th graders and taught at my former dance studio. I love gardening, long laughs, going on beach adventures with friends, and hanging out with kids. I’m also a big reader and am always on the hunt for my next favorite book. I’m super excited to be working at such an awesome camp and I can’t wait to meet everyone.

 

 

EMI YATES (she/her)

I am thrilled to have some fun and explore with you all at camp! I have lived in California for a majority of my life, yet also spent a few years in Colorado where I received a BA in Psychology with an emphasis on mindfulness, health and healing. Living an embodied and inspired life is what I breathe and I love to share these interests and practices with others. I have been working with kids in a variety of settings: outdoor ocean adventure camps, surf lessons, equine camp, as well as a few years employed as a behavioral technician/therapist. My passions include dance, flow arts and hula hooping, hiking and exploring the natural world, and crafting such as collage, painting and jewelry making. I look forward to grooving, learning, and playing with you all!

 

EMILY SHEPPARD (she/her)

Staff Breaks/Sub/Special Guest Teacher June 14-July 2

Hi friends! My name is Emily and I grew up LOVING the camp-life in Tilden park. I discovered my passion for youth engagement and outdoor recreation when I began teaching swim lessons as a teen at the El Cerrito Community Center in 2011.  A few years down the line and now my specialty is connecting youth with nature and each other. My degree in Sustainability and Geology helps me break down science in a fun and digestible way. Additionally, my experience teaching outdoor education at Walker Creek Ranch, Adventure Playground and the Shorebird Nature Center has helped me learn so much from the land, people and our plant and animal friends. My simple pleasures include basking in dappled sunlight, swimming, and hanging with friends on trail or in a park. I am thrilled to play, learn and share wonder with youth and staff at Monkey Business Camp!

 

ERIN GOTTWALD
Erin GottwaldMy first day of work with Heather and Stacy at Monkey Business Camp was in April 2003. I have been contributing my administrative and technical skills for the past decade to the dream of these two visionary women. I am the person behind the screen – working to get our registration organized, our website to provide clear information and our marketing to catch your eye! Since living in Berkeley, I have moved to NYC to continue my professional dance career: choreographing, teaching, performing and producing work throughout the country (most recently at Bates College in Maine and Juneau Dance Unlimited in Juneau, Alaska). When you get an email at 3am, it’s usually from me (working in a different time zone!). Monkey Business Camp is a thriving community of campers, parents and staff who encourage expression and inspire creativity. I am honored to be a part of its longevity, its integral role in children’s lives and the community it fosters in Berkeley.

GABE VERGEZ
Gabe VergezI’m a recent graduate of the remarkable Maybeck High School, and I’ll be taking a gap year working with children before heading off to University of Puget Sound to major in Education with a Theater Minor. I’ve been involved in theater, mostly at Berkeley Rep, since I was in Brundibar in 4th grade. I also do capoeira, and love to sing, dance, and play basketball. I’m super-excited about returning to Monkey Business for the 6th year (3rd as a counselor). Let’s have a great summer, Monkeys!

GRACE VELASQUEZ
Grace VelasquezHi, my name is Grace Velasquez and I am excited to be a part of Monkey Business Camp this summer! A little about myself. I was born and raised in San Diego, California. At a young age, I knew that I wanted to work in education. I love working with children as teaching is my passion. After I graduated from college, I was accepted to the credential program at California State University, San Marcos. I graduated with my credential in May 2009. After a year of substitute teaching, I happily accepted my first job teaching third grade at an elementary school in Fallbrook, CA. For three summers, I worked for Mira Costa College For Kids as a lead counselor. Last July, I made the move up north to the Bay Area! I currently teach 2nd/3rd grade at an elementary school in Concord, CA. I love my new life here! In my spare time, you’ll most likely find me trying a new restaurant or exploring San Francisco. I look forward to the summer and getting to know all of you!

 

GRIFFIN DOLIN
I’ve been part of the Monkey Business community since 2005 when I started attending as a kindergartner. I have moved up the ranks from being a camper to a CIT, then to a JC, and now finally being lucky enough to take on the responsibility of being a counselor. I only wish that this amazing program had been offered when I was a camper! I love everything from mountain biking and hiking, to playing baseball and volleyball, to playing music. Growing up in the Bay Area has given me so many experiences and so much valuable knowledge I know I would not have gotten elsewhere, and I hope I will be able to share some of it with my campers. I am looking forward to bringing my energy to camp and topping the fun that we had at past camps! I can’t wait to see all of you there!

 

HANNAH HERMANHannah Herman
I cannot wait for another summer at Monkey Business Camp! I am going to be a senior at Berkeley High School come the fall. I have loved my time as a youth leader and now I am so thrilled for my second year as a counselor. I love working with kids and it is so amazing to have this opportunity to spend the summer in the outdoors. I know this will be an incredible summer.

 

HANNAH RUDSTEN
Hi there! My name is Hannah and I am so excited to be working at Monkey Business Camp! I am a Bay Area native and have been working with young girls for the past 15 years in a variety of settings such as schools, camps, and mentoring programs. I just finished up getting my Masters in Counseling Psychology, concentrating in Drama Therapy. One major passion of mine is facilitating empowerment groups for girls that include the outdoors, improv, art, and meditation exercises. In my free time I love spending quality time with family and friends, going on road trips with my partner and dog, exercising and watching movies. I also love to travel and wish I had more time for that. But one of my fondest memories was living in Argentina for two years learning Spanish and teaching English.

IAN STEVENSON

Hi, I’m Ian, and I am super excited to be a part of Monkey Business Camp! As you can see from my picture, I’m quite at home with little monkeys – the human variety as well! I’ve been with Monkey Business since 2012, and have worked with children for several years prior. My focus is on nature connection, imagination, storytelling and being silly! I’ve taught in many a Montessori classroom, outdoors at forest kindergartens and primitive skills gatherings, taken teens to Ecuador and the Galapagos, and many other alternative teaching environments. I’ve traveled to over 40 countries, and enjoy sharing those experiences. My passion is to bring more connection and positivity to the world! I always say the kids teach me more than I teach them ~ how to laugh, smile, play, live in the moment. We always enjoy plenty of that at camp.

 

 

 

JENNY HOLLADAY
I am a long time friend of Monkey Business, I first worked with Heather and Stacy back in 2003.  Since then I was a teacher in the Oakland Unified School District for 6 years and once I moved to Santa Cruz became a sand sculptor and professional face painter (I am available for birthdays or other events-contact office for my info). I am a poet and musician and love to surf and go on adventures.  I am also a nanny to a sweet 2 year old girl.

 

 

JOY JOHNSONJoy Johnson
Hi there! My name is Joy this will be my first summer at MBC and I am looking forward to all the good times! I have worked with children before through the Mosaic Project. I look forward to spreading the peace! I am a graduate of Castro Valley High School where i was in the drama program and lead singer of a band. I will be going into my first year of college soon studying international relations. I can speak, read and write in french and hope to visit France one day! Can’t wait to meet you all monkeys!

 

 

 

LILY MATTHEWS (she/her)

Group Leader November 22-24

Hi! I am currently a senior in high school and started as camper, then became a youth leader at a variety of programs, including Girls on the Go and Tilden and school breaks at Berkwood Hedge. I am very excited to be joining on staff as a counselor at Monkey Business Camp this year.  I enjoy the outdoors and find it very calming to be near a lake or in the woods.  I am super excited for camp, and I can’t wait to meet the kids, so we can share some new adventures together.

 

MADDIE LEW (she/her)

Hi there! My name is Maddie and I am a Bay Area native and lover of the outdoors. This will be my first year working at MBC, but I attended camp as a child many summers ago! I am a huge proponent in integrating children and nature, along with the many benefits it brings in connecting them with the natural world. I discovered my passion for working with children when I started to teach swim lessons at the El Cerrito Community Center. There, I found my calling to pursue a path in education. I am a recent graduate from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa where I received my BEd and credential in Elementary Education. In my free time, you can find me surfing, going for a swim, hiking, cooking, soaking up the rays, or surrounding myself with the people I love. I am beyond excited to be part of such an amazing team and can’t wait to get to know all of you! 

 

MARCUS CHAPPLEMarcus Chapple
Hello there! I am a Bay Area native and have spent the last 6 years co-directing the afterschool program at Prospect Sierra School. I have also spent the last 4 years working at Happy Baby Small School and I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with children and having fun. I am currently enrolled at Cal State Eastbay and am working towards my Bachelor’s degree hoping one day to become a teacher. This will be my first summer with the Monkey Business Camp and I look forward to plenty of good times and lots of laughter.

 

MARCUS LIEFERTMarcus Liefert
Marcus Liefert has been around Monkey Business since he was first a counselor in 2005. Summer Camp always makes him feel at home. He has worked and played with kids of all ages in a variety of settings around the Bay Area, including at The Mosaic Project, the Exploratorium, and several elementary schools. In his other life, he recently graduated with a Masters in Divinity from the Graduate Theological Union and is pursuing ordination as a Unitarian Universalist minister.

 

 

Megan HeerenMEGAN HEERAN
My name is Megan, and I’m a sophomore studying engineering at the University of Washington. I was born in Walnut Creek, but have lived in London, England my whole life. I come to the bay every summer, and love every part of it! I love working with kids, games and exploring, and I’m so excited to do all of this with Monkey Business Camps!

 

 

 

MEGAN NOBLE

Hi! One of my favorite memories of Monkey Business Camp is coming back from a day of cheese-tasting only to tell my mom: “I can’t live without Brie!” Now, I’m dairy-free, but still support all the wonders MBC offers. I grew up on the trailhead to Wildcat Canyon and went camping every summer in Point Reyes. Natural spaces have always been a refuge for me, and I hope to share that love with y’all. For 8 years, I taught and managed swim lessons at the El Cerrito pool. I adore the Bay, graduated from Cal, and am now getting my Masters in Creative Writing. I can’t wait to explore and create memories with you!

 

Merav DaleMERAV DALE
Hey monkeys! I’m Merav and I can’t wait to be your counselor this year! I have been with Monkey Business as a camper, CIT and JC. This year I will be starting my Junior year at Berkeley High School. In my free time I like to dance, bake and hang out with my friends. I also work in Beth El’s religious school program every week in the kindergarten class. I can’t wait till summer when I get to hang out with all you monkeys again!

 

 

 

MIA MACHADO

Hi! I’m so excited and feel very fortunate to be working at Monkey Business Camp! I was born and raised in Berkeley, California and spent my summers attending MBC as a camper myself. I love playing sports, being outdoors, and having fun in the sun (with protective sun gear of course) and look forward to working with all of the amazing campers at Monkey Business! I am currently a student at UC Davis studying political science and economics! In addition I can speak Spanish at a (roughly) intermediate level and Portuguese intermediately as well.

 

 

MILES DE ROSA

I am a long-time member (all the way since 2005!) of the Monkey Business family and am really excited to get back to camp this summer. Last summer was my first summer since I was three that I was not involved with Monkey Business in some way and I really missed it. I love sports and music and really look forwards to all the fun to be had this year.

 

 

 

MILES KELEKIAN
What’s up Monkey Business! My name is Miles Kelekian. I grew up and lived in Berkeley for eighteen years before moving off to Washington, DC, for college where I am in my second year at The George Washington University. I’ve been at Monkey Business for a total of 11 years – 3 as a camper, 3 as a counselor in training, 3 as a junior counselor, and had an amazing time two summers ago in my second year as a full counselor. Monkey Business was a huge part of my childhood and gave me a place I was happy to call home each summer. When I am not studying and reading for school, I enjoy playing sports, spending time with my friends, and adventuring in the outdoors. I love meeting new people and learning more about their lives and ideas. I always have a blast hanging out with campers every year and I’m looking forward to another awesome-packed session at Monkey Business Camp!

 

MISHA BROOKSMisha Brooks
Hey! I’m so excited to be part of the awesome Monkey Business staff this year. I’ve been attending Monkey Business for as long as I can remember and it has been a huge part of my life. I’m currently heading into my senior year at Berkeley High School. Outside of that I love theater and music, and I’m stoked to have fun this summer.

 

MIRIAM KOPF
Hey there, my name is Miriam and I am so excited to be part of the Girls on the Go team for a fifth summer! A little bit about me: I was raised in Southern California but grew up going to overnight camp in the beautiful Napa Valley. Making so many Bay Area friends at camp, I was inspired to attend UC Santa Cruz for undergrad and make Berkeley my new home! With so much love for camp and summer, I like to spend the whole year working with young people and having fun. In the non-summer months, I work with the wonderful people at Classroom Matters, helping students achieve their highest goals in school through tutoring and after care. I also recently completed a master’s degree in counseling psychology at the Wright Institute. Woo-hoo! Otherwise I can be found dancing, working on arts and crafts, or cooking up some tasty gluten free snacks. Let the summer fun begin!

 

NATALIE ALFANDARY
Hello everyone, my name is Natalie (on the right in this photo) and I’m excited to spend another summer at Monkey Business Camp! I was a youth leader for several years and I’m back for my fourth year as a counselor. I am currently studying social work at Humboldt State University. I love the outdoors, and the fact that I get to spend my summer at Tilden Park is awesome. I think kids teach adults a lot about how to have fun. I’m looking forward to reading books and playing monkey ball this

 

OCTAVIO HINGLE-WEBSTER
Octavio Hingle-WebsterHey everybody, I’m Octavio! I love kids and their imaginations, being outdoors, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of monkey business this year! I was born and raised in Berkeley, graduated from Berkeley High and I am currently taking a gap year before heading off to Middlebury College in Vermont this September. I just got back from traveling and volunteer farming in Ecuador, and this coming year I hope to study Dance and Environmental Studies in school. Besides working with kids and studying, I spend my time taking dance and yoga classes, hiking, cooking, and biking. This will be my first year working with Monkey Business, here’s to a fantastic summer!

 

 

OLLIE ROKHSAR (they/them)

Hi all! My name is Ollie and I use they/them pronouns! I’m so grateful to be part of the monkey business staff team. I started in around 2009 as a
camper and “graduated” to being a youth leader and now I’m a staff member which is such an honor! I love spending time with my dog, Mochi, running, listening to music, and doing art! I currently speak minimal amounts of Japanese and Hebrew. I am a college student in New York and am very excited to come home for breaks and work at Monkey Business!

 

 

 

PHOEBE ISAACSON

Site Director December 27-30

I started as a camper at Monkey Business Camp when I was about 7, and then joined Girls on the Go at age 9, before becoming a youth leader and then staff member in 2017. Looking back on my camper years, I remember admiring my mentoring counselors and thinking about how one day I wanted to be just like them. Making others smile because of a silly story, inspiring creativity with crafts, or leading a field game full of excitement are some of the things that inspire me. I’m super excited to be joining camp again, and getting to know all the new campers as well as connect with those who will be returning. Also, I am a beginner in French language.

 

QUETZAL FRANCOIS
Quetzal FrancoisHello! My name is Quetzal Francois and I am thrilled to be part of the Girls On The Go team this year. I was raised between the gorgeous mountains of New Mexico and the diverse city life of Paris. The bay area stole my heart when I was visiting 5 years ago and I haven’t left since then. During the school year, I teach sixth graders in OUSD and older teens about health, consent and healthy relationships. I love it! I will also be attending the gender studies program at UC Berkeley this fall. The rest of my time, I am usually found hiking, trying out new acroyoga poses, dancing, reading, playing on a trapeze, or planning my next trip. I am looking forward to a sunshine and adventure filled summer, spent with wonderful kids as they develop new skills and discover new passions.

 

RACHEL WILENS
Hello everyone! I’m so excited for Monkey Business Camp! I recently graduated from CSU Sacramento with two music degrees and currently teach trumpet lessons and co-own a vegan body care/apothecary company. I have spent the last 8 summers teaching music at Donner Mine Music Camp and Cazadero Performing Arts Camp. I just moved to the Bay Area and can’t wait for a fun and inspirational summer working (and playing!) in Tilden Park.

 

ROSSANA ALVESRossana Alves
Hi everyone! I’m really happy to be teaching dance again for Monkey Business Camp this Summer. I’m a Brazilian performing artist, yoga and dance teacher who loves working with children. I was born and raised in Brazil enjoying the vibrant music and dance we make over there. Since 2008, I have been living in the Bay Area, where I have been teaching creative dance and family dance classes at schools, preschools, studios, libraries and community centers. I am a member of a performance group called Oakland Improv Collective and I am also completing a Somatic Movement Educator program at the School for Body-Mind Centering. It will be great to dance, play and have fun with you at Tilden Park.

 

RUBY HOLMAN
Hi! My name is Ruby (on the very left of this photo at camp). I’m excited to be on staff this summer.  I have previously been a CIT and JC. I live in San Francisco (I win award for longest commute ever), and attend high school at Drew school. I love singing, dancing and playing sports, especially basketball and badminton. I am also fluent in Chinese and I hope to travel to China in the future. I love being outside in beautiful Tilden Park, playing and running around with the kids. I can’t wait to meet all you returning and new monkeys!

 

 

SAMRA GIRMA
I’m an Oakland native, though for much of the past 10 years I’ve been on the east coast, where I recently finished up a Masters of Divinity. The highlight of my program, along with lots of fun language study, was my field education: I worked with adult immigrants in the Boston-area ranging in age from 18 to 70 teaching ESOL; and with brilliant youth living on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where my father grew up, at a drop-in resource center. I find so much meaning in working directly with people of all ages, especially the old and the young, to cultivate strong and healthy relationships to self, other and world.
In my free time (which is precious and rare these days as a new mom!) I love reading and writing nonfiction, hiking in the hills, and playing at my yoga practice. I also really, really enjoy languages and have studied quite a few, though I am most proficient in speaking Amharic and Spanish (roughly intermediate).

 

 

SARAH HERMAN
Hello everyone! My name is Sarah (on left of this photo) and I am a Berkeley native but studying Anthropology and Latin American Studies at Connecticut College. I have a passion for working with kids and learning about what makes us all different and unique. Monkey Business holds a very special place in my heart and I am so glad to be joining staff again for part of this summer. I am only able to be here for part of the summer because I will be studying in Peru from the end of July to mid December. I can’t wait to meet everyone and have a great summer monkeying around!

 

SIMONE PARISI
Tilden Summer Counselor
Hi everyone, I’m Simone. I can’t wait to join the Monkey Business team this year and love spending time outdoors and being creative with campers. In my free time I love playing sports (ultimate frisbee and softball), being outdoors, and traveling with my family. I am currently a student at El Cerrito High School and was previously a camper at Girls on the Go.

 

 

 

SOFIA DIBENEDETTOSofia DiBenedetto
Hi Monkey Business! My name is Sofia, and I’ve been going to Monkey Business Camp since I was six, and I have so many great memories here. I grew up in Berkeley, and I’m currently going to Berkeley High. I love to hike, climb, swim, listen to music, and play outdoors. I’m also an animal lover and volunteer at my local animal shelter. I’m so excited to be a counselor and to contribute to a camp that has given me so much. I can’t wait to work with kids and be part of the Monkey Business family for another year!

 

 

SOHA LEVERT
My name is Soha and I am so excited to be working with Girls on the Go and Monkey Business this summer! I’ve just returned from 3 months of traveling in Southeast Asia and am now planning my next trip to Senegal, Africa. My highlight was taking trains throughout Thailand, backpacking in Vietnam, and eating crunchy insects in Cambodia. I have been volunteering with The Mosaic Project for the past 3 years; a nonprofit that empowers students to create peace in themselves and their communities. My heart feels the fullest while learning with young people, creating art, and eating Ethiopian food. I love singing and playing soccer. I aspire to be a social justice peacemaking warrior and muralist.

 

 

T MAES
My name is Anthony, but my friends and family have always called me “T”. I was born and raised in the East Bay, graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004 with a degree in Psychology. Camp is my favorite time of the year. When I’m not here at camp, I teach mindfulness to teens, practice yoga with friends, teach acrobatics, play softball on my family’s team, and adventure around the Bay and beyond.

 

 

 

TAMSEN FYNN
Tamsen FynnHey Monkeys! I’m so grateful to be joining Monkey Business again after working as the resources coordinator back in 2010! This summer I’ll be spending lots of time with the Papayas, leading music and art activities, as well as assisting Samantha all summer with resources and having lots of fun. I am a music specialist in early childhood education and I teach in East Bay preschools, and I’m really looking forward to doing lots of music with the papaya monkeys too! This summer my daughter is also a monkey, and she is having loads of fun with the mangoes! My favorite things in the entire world, other than the people I love, would have to be singing and writing songs. I am in the kid’s band Orange Sherbet, I lead a women’s singing circle at The Freight & Salvage on Thursday nights, and I also teach private voice lessons, all of which bring me joy and meaning. I’m also finishing my masters in education at Sonoma State, with a focus on early childhood education. My favorite thing about Monkey Business would have to be the camp songs, ’cause you feel like you’re at sleep away camp!!!

 

TAYLOR O’CONNOR
Talor O'ConnorHi everyone. I’m Taylor. I’m an old Monkey Business staff member who is so excited to be back for some end of summer fun. I started working at Monkey Business back in 2002 learning under the mentorship of Stacy and Heather while studying for my Bachelors in Child Development. I used to spend my summers at MBC, then travel and volunteer internationally in the extended off-season. Got my Masters in Peace Education in 2009 and have been doing research and working in Burma most of my time since then. I can’t wait for singing songs, hiking, dancing, swimming, playing games, book of the day, the campers, the staff and all that which makes Monkey Business so special. See you there!

 

TERESA REYES
Teresa RyesI am excited and happy to be returning to Monkey Business Camp this summer! This will be my 10th year with the MBC family! In 2004 I graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and minor in women’s studies. I also worked for three years at Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito as a third grade associate teacher and afterschool assistant. In 2008 I received my teaching credential from SFSU and am pursuing my passion for social justice through education. I have spent the last five years teaching 3rd and 4th grades with the WCCUSD. Prior to teaching, my experience with children includes college volunteer work with campus organizations doing educational outreach, experience as a summer camp counselor in Marin county, and classroom experience as a teachers’ aide. Some of my hobbies and pastimes include dancing, writing, exercising, cooking, camping, arts and crafts, scrapbooking, and digital film/ photography/ music media. I am a Bay Area native and love to immerse myself in the culturally diverse community we have here that is unique and holds a very special place in my heart!

 

YUSEF ZALOUKH
I was born in California, and I’m first generation Syrian on my father’s side. I’ve been going to Monkey Business since I was four years old, meaning that some of my earliest memories are from this camp! I live in Berkeley with my thirteen-year-old cat and one-year-old puppy, which results in a pretty interesting dynamic between them. Some of my interests include writing, traveling, being in nature, and solving problems. I’ve worked at both sleep away and daycare camps before, and love the positive energy that you become part of when working around children. I have five years experience as a camp counselor, and I’m excited to continue spreading positivity at Monkey Business!