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 working at Banner, and my children Noah (17), Eli (20), and Ari (23) have spent their summers here and now work 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 26th 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 (18) and Sophia (16) 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 19th summer at Banner! As the program director, I spend my days creating and implementing activities and events at camp and sincerely believe that Banner offers the most exceptional camp program around. I find great joy in interviewing and working with the 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 still able to use my passion for teaching here at Banner and I get to see the growth the campers and staff make all summer long. My son, Thor (11), has spent every summer of his life at camp and I have seen first-hand as a parent the unique social growth and skill development that happen at camp. I hope that you and your campers have the very best summer at Banner and I feel honored to be a part of your Banner family.
Melanie Mann – Junior Camp Director
I am so excited to be celebrating my 24th summer at camp and continuing the adventure of overseeing the entire Junior camp and Banner Leadership Team & staff. My entire family is here at Banner sharing in such a heartwarming and fun experience! Charles, my husband, also works at camp leading the Senior camp. Our two boys – Tyler (14) and Kevin (11) – 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 21 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 of 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 24 years. I began at camp as a counselor and have spent the past 20 summers serving as a Leadership Team member. For fifteen years, I worked with campers who had completed first and second grade. Now I oversee the entire Senior camp and work with your age-level Leadership. Banner is also a part of my family as my wife Melanie works at Banner year round. My 14 year old son is in his 11th summer at Banner and will be a CIT this year. My 11 year old son has been at camp for eight summers and will be a Tween. During my “non-Banner” months, I am the Social Science Department Chair at Vernon Hills High School. I also serve as an Adjunct Athletic Director in the fall and enjoy coaching the Varsity Boys Volleyball team in the spring. 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 just a job for me; Banner is home. I have been blessed with having the Banner experience in my life for 30 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 am a technology teacher in North Chicago. Banner is not just home for me, but an extension of my family. My daughter, Lilly (16), is now a Junior Counselor and has been a part of the Banner family for the past 13 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 19th summer at Banner and my 11th summer on the Leadership Team. I have served as a counselor, Junior Sports Specialist, Junior Sports Director, Kindergarten Leadership and now am the Athletic Director and help to coordinate all specialty areas. 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 at Kipling Elementary School in Deerfield. 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 seven years and have two kids. My daughter, Joie (4), will be beginning her third summer at Banner and my son Blake (2) will begin his Banner career in 2019!