Year Round Team listed first, then seasonal on site staff-alphabetically by first name in each category; Occasionally someone is hired close to camp and their photo and bio is not yet here. Read about our Director Heather Mitchell on the Founding Director page
YEAR ROUND TEAM
BEN RUFFMAN-COHEN (he/him)
Administrative Manager in Training
Howdy! Like many of you I grew up in Berkeley and spent my teenage years as a counselor at Monkey Business after making my way through the CIT/JC ranks. I’m excited to be returning to camp after more than a decade away adventuring. During that time I lived mostly in New York and a bit in LA. My background is in filmmaking and I’ve had all sorts of strange and interesting jobs like driving a truck for a movie props company and being a mini museum repairman. I love food, cinema, and working with my hands. I live with my wonderful creative wife, our awesome baby daughter, a feisty senior cat, a sweet timid dog, two silly shrimp, lots of plants, and a terrarium full of isopods.
BRAD OLSON (he/him)
Operations Assistant & Works on Site All Camps
Hi! I grew up in Alaska and spent many years living (and skiiing!) in Winter Park, Colorado, and Houston, Texas, being a cook and stone-mason, before moving to the Bay Area to live with my wife, Heather, the Founding Director of this camp. It is a family business! She suggested I help her teach in 2013 and I loved it, and am now I am on the year-round team, working in Operations, with Samantha. You might find me leading the kids in a game of medic or BINGO, a bubble dance party, or just generally supporting them. I also make sure things are in good working order. When not at camp, I enjoy work with general handyperson projects, as well as specific ones in stonemasonry and tile. I love mountain biking, roller-blading, disc golf, cooking, playing my sax, seeing and dancing to live music, and hockey.
KIRA DULANEY (she/her)
Administrative Manager and Special Guest Art Teacher (Kira will be stepping out of her role around Thanksgiving 2023, but will continue to be a special guest teacher and support us as we transition to a new Administrative Manager, Ben Ruffman-Cohen)
I have been working with Monkey Business Camp since 2010, mostly in the office handling communications and registrations. I also teach craft projects like felting and embroidery at camp, and it’s wonderful to spend some time with the campers! My passion is fiber art (knitting, crochet, sewing, weaving, felting, spinning, embroidery . . . ), and I have a business, Kira K Designs, designing knitting and crochet patterns. I teach fiber arts in the after-school program at MLK Middle School in Berkeley, and at yarn stores around the Bay Area, and learned how to do many of them virtually during Covid! I also love to cook, and my wife and I love to have friends over for dinner parties!
SAMANTHA SWOR (she/her)
Hello! I’ve been working at Monkey Business Camp since 2011. During this time my kids have gone from campers, to youth leaders, and now both my children are on staff. Wow! Amazing to be in the MBC family all these years. Couldn’t have asked for better summers (and break camps!) for my family… outside, with friends, making up games, living and learning with the best counselors anywhere, it’s the best. I’ll be working on operations and curriculum, coming up to camp each day to help get things set up and teaching art over various days, and mentoring staff and youth leaders. My background is in early childhood education and I have been working with kids most of my life. I first met Heather and Stacy, the Founding Directors, while we both were teaching at Step One preschool in 1994. Time flies! I hope camp is as colorful, interesting, messy, silly, and delicious as usual. See you there!
ZACK BIGELOW (he/him)
School Breaks (ALL) Mango Coconut Site Director or Special Guest
Hi, I’m Zach. I’m a long-time staff member who began as a youth leader and recently joined the year-round team as Program Manager. I enjoy board games, spending time in nature, and stories in all of their various mediums and forms. I recently finished my education in San Diego and look forward to returning to the bay where I grew up. I’ll be a Site Director for all break camps from now on as well as summers, and I’m excited to spend time having fun with everyone whether it’s camp activities, hikes, lunch field games, or anything else.
“I had the best time feeling free and joyful working at camp. Monkey Business is structured so well for youth (as well as staff) to explore and connect with community. I cannot wait until next time. Bring on the fun!!”
ON SITE STAFF
We will be updating this area with school break camp staff as we have more info. Some summer staff are left below with no dates, as they have not yet confirmed to work any upcoming camps, but we think they may.
AUDREY DOWLING (she/her)
Winter Camp Strawberry Banana Site Director (Dec 18-29)
Hi everyone! I am so excited to be a part of the Monkey Business staff team! I have attended Monkey Business since I was 4 years old, since 2006, beginning the summer before kindergarten. In the years since then I have come to camp every year going from a Strawberry-Banana, to a Mango-Coconut, to a CIT, then JC, Counselor, Group Leader and now a Site Director. I love playing with my two dogs, photography and baking, and I can’t wait for camp!
BEN SCHOLAR (he/him)
Hey Monkey Business! I’m born and raised right here in Berkeley, California. I graduated from Berkeley High School in 2019, and have most recently graduated from Case Western with a degree in Computer Engineering. I’ve attended Monkey Business Camp for over a decade now as a camper, youth leader, and finally a staff member. I love anything to do with sports and the outdoors, with hiking and sailing being my favorite activities, and I am a beginner/intermediate Spanish speaker. Monkey Business represents a special place in my life, and I’m excited to continue the good memories at camp this year. I can’t wait to see everyone!
Winter Camp (Dec 18-22)
Hello friends! My name is Chris, and I’m excited to join you all for Monkey Business Camp! I was born in New Jersey and have lived in the Bay Area for most of my life. I started teaching elementary school soon after I graduated college, and I have worked at 4 different schools teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes. One of the best parts of teaching is taking the class on field trips! I love being in nature and exploring new places, and it’s so much fun to share those experiences with others. I especially love seeing animals when I’m out in the wilderness, and in my life I have seen all sorts of amazing creatures like grizzly bears, golden eagles, barn owls, spider monkeys, Asian elephants, and one time I accidentally woke up a mountain lion when I was hiking by myself on Mount Diablo and it roared at me! When I’m not outside hiking, playing disc golf, or walking a dog, I am often spending time with friends or else I am cooking, reading or writing. I am a very curious person and every day I love learning new things.
DANIEL BEYDA (he/him)
Hi! I have been part of Monkey Business for several years, first as a camper before starting as a CIT in 2019, then a JC, and I am thrilled to continue my work as a staff member. At camp, I love playing field games and other sports with the campers, playing board games and cards, and going on walks and engaging in nature activities. Working as a youth leader with Monkey Business was such a wonderful experience, and I am excited to continue to meet new people and have fun at camp.
DEVON O’ROURKE (they/them or she/her)
Hi everyone! My name is Devon and I am a naturalist, storyteller and musician and there’s nothing I love more than playing outside. My passions are exploring and nurturing connections with nature, noticing and following the plants and animals through the seasons, and singing together with kids and friends. I have worked with youth in nature both through weekly school programs in the Bay Area, and through the National Park Service all up and down the West Coast. I am totally in love with the East Bay Regional Parks and I am very happy to be adventuring close to home, in Tilden park. I speak beginning Spanish and intermediate French and Russian. I also happen to be a math teacher. I am super excited for camp, and I can’t wait to see familiar faces and meet some new kids and families. See you soon!
“As a camper I learned so much about the area I live in and the people who live here; as well as a lot about myself, my own capabilities, and my likes and dislikes. As a counselor the camp provided me with a wonderful first-time work experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. This camp is a beautiful melding of fun and education, of independence and cooperation.”
FREESIA HUTH (she/her)
School Break Camps (Thanksgiving, February and Spring) Strawberry Banana Site Director
I was born here in the Bay Area and love it here. I’ve been dancing and performing since the age of three and teach dance to kids and adults. I have two sons that are taller than me and two dogs that I hike with and love being in Mother Nature with… she is a wonderful teacher. I was a competitive ice skater and dancer in my youth and learned that FUN is the most important factor to any physical activity. So I’ve spent the last 30 years teaching dance to kids and adults with the belief that FUN is the key to healthy living and … I believe that everyone can dance. I currently teach dance at the Stanford Neurology Center to students that have Parkinson’s Disease. We have a fun time as well. I am so excited to have been in the Monkey Business family since 2015 and look forward to more playing and dancing with y’all.
Winter Camp Site Director (All 3 weeks)
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.
KISA IACONA (she/her)
Winter Camp Group Leader Jan 2-5
Hi all, I’m Kisa! I’m very excited to be joining the Monkey Business team again. I’m looking forward to meeting all the campers this year and the many crafts, games, and activities we will do together. For fun, I usually do sports (lacrosse, tennis, and swimming), play with my dog, and go on fun adventures with friends. I love the outdoors and am an avid hiker and beach-goer. I have been taking Spanish for about 5 years now.
LILLIE PLAJZER-FRICK (she/her)
Winter Camp Camp Counselor (Dec 18-22 and Jan 2-5)
I grew up spending my summers at monkey business and now I am so so excited to return as a counselor!! I’ve grown up in Berkeley and now go to Indiana University but plan to return to the bay area when I finish school. I’m majoring in cyber security and polish, which I am fluent in. I also speak some French and German. In my free time I love to go mountain biking, rock climbing, and go to the beach! Spending time outside, especially in Tilden, is one of my favorite things.
LILY MATTHEWS (she/her)
Winter Camp Counselor (December 18-29)
Hi! I started at Monkey Business as a 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 returning 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.
LIV JOHNSON (she/her)
Spring Camp Counselor
Hey guys! I grew up here in Berkeley, just like my dad. I’ve been exploring Tilden my whole life! I’m on the BHS mountain biking team, and I love the outdoors and adventuring with my friends. I love love love kids, and babysit in my free time. I started at Monkey Business as a Counselor-In-Training, then spent two years as a Junior Counselor, being on Staff is a dream come true! Some of my best memories are ones I’ve made here, and I’m excited to now help kids make their own Monkey Business memories!
NAIMA ECKHARDT de CAMARGO (she/her)
Hello! My name is Naima and I grew up in Berkeley. My dad is from Germany and my mom is from Brazil, so I was raised speaking both languages and visiting my family outside of the United States. I graduated from Berkeley High in 2018 and now attend UCLA where I study art. I love drawing, listening to music, singing, and dancing. I worked at an art camp for a couple of years before starting at Monkey Business and really enjoy spending time with children of all ages. Monkey Business is such an amazing camp and community and I look forward to getting to spend time together!
MYARI ADAMS (she/her)
Winter Camp Counselor (December 26-29)
Heya! I’ve always enjoyed my time at Monkey Business. Going as a youth leader, alongside my sister Zakiyah, and eventually working my way up towards a staff member. I’ve loved and lived in the Bay Area since I was little and I can’t imagine my life without it. I’ve been learning Spanish since I entered school and can speak it at a relatively fluent level. When not at camp, you can always find me making friendship bracelets, playing a board game, or just reading. Creating memories at MBC over the years has been one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life and I can’t wait to make more!
Thanksgiving Week Site Director
I attended MBC as a camper/youth leader from the early 2000s, and then joined the staff about 10 years ago. I’ve always loved hanging out with the campers and finding creative ways to entertain them. In my free time I enjoy theater, dance, and music.
OLIVIA BECKETTI (she/her)
Winter Camp Group Leader (Dec 18-22 and Jan 2-5)
Hi there! I’ve been at Monkey Business Camp since 2012, first as a camper, then a youth leader, and on the staff team since 2019. You’ll usually find me helping kids with art or luna sticks, singing songs, being silly, and having lots of fun with campers! Also, I am a beginner in German language. I can’t wait to see you all at camp!
OLIVIA WALSH (she/her)
Winter Camp Site Director (December 18-29)
I’m so excited to be returning to camp! I have been working at Monkey Business since 2016 and I love coming back every year and seeing new and returning campers. I’ve worked with all ages and love all the unique stories, jokes and energy each group brings to camp. I love spending time outdoors, whether biking, rowing, or hiking with my dog. In 2020, I graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Global Disease Biology, and started graduate school in nursing at Johns Hopkins in 2022. I grew up in Oakland, and was a camper at Monkey Business and Girls on the Go myself!
Hello everyone! I’ve been a part of the Monkey Business community since 2013. I started out as a camper, then a youth leader, and now a counselor. In my free time, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee, playing with my cats, or hanging out with friends. I’ve made so many memories at camp over the years, and I’m so excited to make some more! I can’t wait to see everyone at camp!
Hi! I have been going to Monkey Businesses every summer since I was 5, became a youth leader at 10, and am now a staff member. At camp, I love dancing, reading, and playing games, but my favorite things are teaching crafts and being silly. I am passionate about working with kids and trying new things. Some of my happiest memories come from my time at Monkey Business, and I look forward to making more this year!
WILL SCHOLAR (he/him)
I’ve been at this camp going back many years starting as a camper, becoming a Youth Leader, and now a Counselor. In my free time I enjoy listening to music, playing games, rock climbing, and hanging out with my pets. I’m very excited for camp to begin and I can’t wait to meet everyone.
ZAKIYAH ADAMS (she/her)
Winter Camp Counselor (December 26-29)
Hello!!! I started volunteering at MBC after my sister Myari, who had been a youth leader, told me about camp. I’ve since worked my way from a CIT (counselor-in-training), to a JC (junior-counselor) to now being a staff member. I live full time in the sunny state of Florida but on my breaks I come to visit my family here in the Bay Area. I have a passion for music and have always loved working with kids!