Summer 2016, handing out 7 Year Award trophies

Senior Director: Eugene Bell

Gene joined Summit in 1999 after 19 years as the founding director and administrator of a camp program quite similar to Summit. He holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Rutgers University. Since 1972 he has been involved full time in Special Education, first as a classroom teacher, resource teacher and then as a Camp Director and Administrator. His experience includes typical settings as well as experiential.

As a camp director, Gene was recognized by the American Camp Association as a Certified Camp Director (CCD) and has conducted seminars and workshops about special-needs campers, camp administration, and staff training. He is also an Accreditation Visitor who consults with and visits other camps as they seek American Camp Association certification.

He serves on the professional advisory board of the Learning Disabilities Association of New Jersey and as national secretary of CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD-ADHD).  Gene and his wife Sally have two adult boys and their dog, Tucker. They became grandparents to their grandson Landon in September 2016. They met at camp and worked together for many years before Sally stayed at home to support their sons’ high school sports. In 2017 Sally resumed working at camp as Head of Specialists.



Managing Director: Shepherd Baum

Shep, Chase, and Derek Jeter

Shep grew up in Manhattan and was diagnosed at a very young age with severe dyslexia. After many years (and tutors), he grew to embrace his disability and use it as a strength. Shep graduated from the University of Maryland and entered the world of finance. He then bought, ran, and sold small businesses- but never felt fully satisfied. It wasn’t until Shep’s second child was born that he figured out his life calling. His daughter Lila was diagnosed with a P-ten mutation. In addition to severe learning disabilities, and growth challenges, Lila has an abnormally high chance of getting cancer. That’s when everything changed. Shep decided to give up everything to enrich the lives of children with special needs and their families. Shep’s wife, Amanda, has been teaching special education for over a decade. Their two children are Chase (7 years) and Lila (5 years). Shep now has three passions, in no particular order: his biological family, his Summit Camp Family, and The New York Giants.


With one of the Summit Unit Leaders at the Wayne County Fair, 2015

Assistant Director: Leah Love

Leah Love joined Summit after years of working in Philadelphia and the surrounding area providing a variety of services for youth with autism spectrum issues and their families. Leah has a Master’s Degree of Counseling Psychology and has experience providing group therapy, social skills training, and behavioral treatment for youth with a wide range of abilities and diagnoses in school, home, and community settings. Leah formerly served as counselor, site director, and camp director for Philadelphia County’s summer therapeutic program, a day program servicing youth with autism diagnoses throughout the city.

Growing up in central New Jersey, Leah also spent her summers as a youth at overnight camp, an experience providing lifelong friendships and memories. Now living in central New Jersey once again, Leah enjoys cooking, writing, and various artistic pursuits.


Travel Director & Area Director for Weekenders DC and Florida: Thea Mullis

On her first Summit Tour, the British Isles, 2014

Thea Mullis, a native of Savannah, Georgia joins us as the Summit Camp Travel Director and D.C. Area Director for our Weekender program. She has been a faculty member/tour leader of our tour programs in the 2014 and 1015 seasons.

Thea spent her collegiate summers and onward working at various sleep-away summer camps. Throughout college, she worked with special needs individuals in school and recreational settings. Thea was active in her community by volunteering with programs including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Special Olympics. Through the University of Georgia, she studied abroad in Ireland, where she worked in a school for children with autism. In May 2013, Thea earned her BS degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders from Armstrong Atlantic University.

Thea will reside in the Greater Washington DC area where she will direct our Washington – Baltimore Weekender Program along with the Summit Travel Program. She will travel to our Winter Office in Parsippany on a regular basis to interact with the rest of the Summit Team.


Maryann with her daughter Danielle at our Wayne County Fair, 2015

Admissions Director: Maryann Santoro

Maryann has over 25 years of clinical experience. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Early Childhood Education. She received her Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work, and then went on to become a Psychoanalyst after studying at an eight-year psychoanalytic institute. She has a solid understanding of Psychoanalytic, Behavioral and Cognitive treatment modalities.Maryann started at Summit Camp in the 2007 season. She serves as camp’s social worker and Admissions Director and is involved in all aspects of our clinical work. She sees our campers on an as-needed basis and provides support to our staff. She is often the first line contact for our parents during the summer. During the off season, Maryann focuses on Clinical Intake Evaluations for camp and reviewing all clinical materials on our campers.

Maryann is also in Private Practice where she treats children, adolescents and adults in individual, couple and family therapy. Maryann is the proud mother of two children, one of whom has special needs.


Setting up Track and Field with the computers team, 2016

Enrollment Director: Lauren Breheney Bartow

Lauren joined Summit as Registrar & Office Manager in 2014. She has always lived in North New Jersey which is where she attended William Paterson University and graduated with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. Lauren has had lots of experience in the Resident Camp environment, serving in many capacities from counselor, to recreation specialist and office assistant. She also has an extensive customer relations background.Lauren has a passion for outdoor recreation; she has been active in varsity track, varsity cheerleading, soccer, fencing, dance team competition, competitive swimming and as a water ski instructor. She volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and as an after school soccer coach in her Town’s recreation league, for 6th, 7th and 8th grade boys.

Montvale Rest Stop en route to Pine Grove Dude Ranch, 2015

Weekender Director: Sally Bell

Sally Bell works with us as our overall Weekender Director and takes specific responsibility for our program that serves metropolitan New York, New Jersey, and suburban Philadelphia. Sally earned her BS in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland and Special Education certification from William Paterson University. She has worked in a range of roles from the classroom to director.

Sally has also worked in residential and day camping since 1980 with typical and special populations.  She is known for her nurturing ways and creative approaches to program design.




Cassidy and her rescued pup Petey

Program Assistant: Cassidy Jourdan

Cassidy joined the Summit family the summer of 2017. Growing up in Northern California, Cassidy made the move to New York City where she received a B.S. in Sports Management from New York University. Her collegiate years include a year on NYU’s Women’s Basketball team, two seasons playing for NYU’s Women’s Volleyball team, and internships at Fox Sports and Madison Square Garden. She spent her previous summers at a summer camp in California as camper for 12 summers and a trained staff member for 3 summers. Combining her passion of participating, working & planning events with the opportunity to enrich our special needs community through a traditional camp experience, Cassidy is thrilled to be contributing to the success of Summit Camp & Travel! Cassidy can be reached at or found on our Metro NY Weekender trips!