Meet Our Team
We are proud to introduce you to some of the members of our Leadership Team that will be working with your family this summer. The Banner Day Camp Leadership Team includes more than 30 educators and camp professionals who are dedicated to providing unsurpassed supervision at camp.
Each age-level and specialty area has multiple Leadership Team members responsible for working with campers and staff. Your camper will also have one specific age level Leadership Team member that will be working closely with their group on a daily basis. From planning and participating in activities, supervising and guiding staff and addressing individual camper needs, Leadership Team members are devoted to creating an exceptional Banner experience for each child.
Stacy Schwartz Kotelov – Owner/Executive Director
Banner and my life go hand and hand. I grew up surrounded by camp and am so proud that Banner is part of my family. I have taken part in nearly every role at Banner — from camper to Leadership Team member and everything in between! I am excited to continue my parents vision of the first 50 years of camp as I have now taken the lead into our next generation of Banner. I enjoy leading the Leadership Team and working with campers, staff and parents to create the very best Banner experience possible. Being at camp and implementing the customs, spirit and tradition of Banner is something that I truly love. It is so rewarding to watch how much our campers and staff grow throughout the summer. Banner is such a community — there is truly no other place like it. The Banner tradition continues on in my family. My husband Paul spent 20 years here, and my children Noah (14), Eli (17), and Ari (19) have spent their day camp careers (and more!) at Banner. Every day that I walk into camp, it fills my heart and soul, I still feel the passion, love, joy and pride for camp and all that it stands for. I am so happy to have your family be part of the Banner family.
Howard Thall – Executive Director
I am looking forward to spending my 22nd summer at Banner. Camp is my year round home and I enjoy working with almost every area of camp and I truly believe that there is no better place to be. Throughout my time at Banner I have had the opportunity to serve as an age-level director, pool director, office manager and most currently partner with Stacy to run our camp program. I enjoy working with the Leadership Team and staff to create an excellent program for all of our campers. I have the great privilege of spending the Banner summers with my family; Maddie (15) and Sophie (13) are life-long Banner campers. I am excited for another great summer at camp and hope that all of your children have a wonderful and growthful camp experience.
Niki Papak – Program Director
I am so excited to begin my 15th summer on the Banner team! As the program coordinator, I spend my days creating and implementing programs at camp and truly believe that Banner offers the most exceptional camp experience. I find great joy in working with the camp staff and know that they are what make Banner so incredible. Before working at Banner year round, I taught middle school Spanish. While I often miss my class of eighth graders, I am able to use my passion for teaching at camp. My almost eight year old son, Thor, is a Banner camper himself, and I have seen first-hand, as a parent, the social growth and skill development that happen at camp. I hope that your campers have an amazing summer experience and I feel honored to be a part of their Banner family.
Melanie Mann – Junior Camp Director
I am excited to be celebrating my 21st summer at camp and continuing the adventure of overseeing the Junior camp and CIT/SIT program. My entire family is here at Banner sharing in such a heartwarming and fun experience! Charles, my husband, also works at camp supervising the Senior camp. Our two boys – Tyler (eleven years old) and Kevin (eight years old), talk about camp all year long and count down the weeks until camp. We love coming to camp every day! I get to see the tremendous impact camp has on so many people’s lives – a place to make friends, gain self-confidence and try so many new, exciting activities and adventures. I have worked year round at Banner for 18 years, and it is very rewarding to plan and organize Banner’s exceptional program, train and teach our newest Leadership Team members, and work closely with numerous staff members and campers. I have the benefit of communicating with so many Banner families and working with all aspects camp. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your camper. I am eager to once again get camp started and look forward to talking with you soon.
Charles Mann – Senior Camp Director
I have been a part of Banner Day Camp for the past 21 years. I began at camp as a counselor and have spent the past 18 summers serving as a Leadership Team member. For seven years, I was responsible for Senior campers who had just completed the second grade, and for six years, I worked with the campers that had just completed first grade. Now I oversee the entire Senior campers and working with your age level Leadership. Banner is also a part of my family, as my wife Melanie works at Banner year round. She oversees many aspects of camp throughout the year, in addition to serving as a Leadership Team member working with Junior campers, CITs and SITs. My eleven-year-old son will be in his nineth year at Banner this summer, and cannot wait to be a Tween and for camp to start and my eight-year-old son will be at Banner for his sixth year this summer as a Senior camper. During my “non-Banner” months, I teach AP Psychology and U.S. History at Vernon Hills High School. At VHHS, I also serve as an Adjunct Athletic Director in the fall, and enjoy coaching our Varsity Boys Volleyball team. I am ready for the summer to begin and cannot wait to meet your camper and create a positive experience.
Ron Port – Transportation Director
Banner is not a job for me; instead, Banner is home. I have been blessed with having the Banner experience in my life for twenty-eight years, and have done much of my own growing here at camp. Through Banner, I have formed unforgettable relationships with others by being a counselor, mentoring counselors, training our bus drivers and working with the bus routes. To me, every facet of camp has helped me become who I am today. During the school year, I serve as a kindergarten teacher in North Chicago. Banner is not just a home for me, but an extension of my family. My almost thirteen year old daughter is a camper and has been a part of the Banner family for the past ten years. It’s amazing for me to see camp through her eyes and to share the experience with the other Banner parents and families. I hope your experience at Banner this summer is as wonderful as mine always is and will be.
Brad Greenberg – Sports Coordinator
I am so excited to begin my sixteenth summer at Banner and my ninth summer on the Leadership Team. I have served as a counselor, Junior Sports Specialist, Junior Sports Camp Supervisor, Kindergarten Leadership Team member and now Specialty Coordinator. I love working with the campers and helping them have fun while developing their skills and confidence. I have a degree in Physical Education from Northern Illinois University. I am currently a Physical Education teacher in Deerfield District 109, where I travel between Kipling, Walden, South Park and Wilmot schools, teaching regular and adaptive P.E. classes. During the winter, I work with the Banner Sports program and am also a DJ for Bizar Entertainment. I met my wife Lisa at Banner. We have been married for five years and have a beautiful daughter, Joie, who is already counting the days until she is a Banner Camper!