At Dragonfly Forest, we believe that high-quality, energetic staff members are crucial to a strong program. We like to keep our staff happy by preparing them with in-depth training, and giving them creative freedom over many group activities. In training, our group leaders learn to use social stories, social cartoons, schedules, power cards, and structured choices to enhance their communication skills. Leaders are also trained to in conversational techniques such as scaffolding and rephrasing. At Dragonfly Forest, we think that activities should be engaging and entertaining all participants (counselors, leaders, campers, and members). To this end, we encourage our team members to combine their energy and creativity with our autism-friendly communication strategies to plan hilarious and refreshing activities that are a joy to see in action.
The Leadership Team of Dragonfly Forest, who directs the camp program, is made of the following individuals:
Fred Weiner | President
Fred Weiner is the President of Dragonfly Forest. Fred has been involved since 2002 in the development of Dragonfly Forest organization and its' programs.
Fred has over 20 years of experience helping companies with their business development and technology needs. He has worked with numerous well known Corporate 1000 and middle market companies in a variety of vertical industries. He has developed business, market, and partner strategies to support overall organizational goals. Fred has been involved in the Not for Profit world as a consultant, project manager, and volunteer for organizations such as national organizations such as Make-a-Wish, Cystic Fibrosis, Mercy Volunteer Corp., Muscular Dystrophy Association, and various other smaller organizations.
Fred is known for helping to build companies including his own consulting organization, Influent, Proscape Technologies, and Omicron Consulting. Fred has also worked for AMS, Keane, IBM and CBS. Fred holds a degree in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University.
Scott Arizala | VP of Summer Programs
Scott Arizala directs the Dragonfly Forest Residential Summer Camp Program. Scott oversees all aspects of our summer programming from hiring to program evaluation. Scott is one of the leading experts and premier trainers on kids, staff and the experience of summer camp. He has been involved with camps and youth development for over twenty years as a camper, counselor, director and consultant.
As a professional speaker and educator, he has given keynotes, workshops and educational sessions at numerous professional conferences, training events, and with organizations. In addition to his work with Dragonfly, he is the CEO of The Camp Counselor, a consulting and training company working with hundreds of camps and thousands of staff & administrators across the country and Camp Director for Camp Kesem, a student run national organization delivering camp for kids whose parents have or had cancer.
Scott is a pioneering contributor to Expert Online Training, the world’s leader in online training for youth development and is the award-winning author of the best-selling book on summer camp, S’more Than Camp. Scott teaches our counselors to be The Coolest People in the World to our campers, and has been known to Rap from time to time.
Sylvia van Meerten | VP of Year Round Programming
Sylvia has worked with hundreds of kids and families with autism. She is incredibly proud of designing the Dragonfly Forest summer program for kids with autism and 22Q, and is thrilled to be heading up the new Dragonfly Forest year-round venture, The Spectrum.
Over the past 12 years, Sylvia has experienced many facets of the autism community including school services, afterschool clubs, one-to-one care, recreation clubs, summer camps and adult self-advocacy organizations. She has learned a lot in each of these settings, including a deep respect for people with autism.
In addition to working with Dragonfly Forest, Sylvia owns and runs her own business, Empower Autism, and loves to design creative programs to help people achieve their goals.