Directors & Staff

Gary, Barbara & Steve Bloom

A Family Affair! For sixty-eight years, the Bloom family has been dedicated to enriching children’s lives through the camp experience. Our family is incredibly excited to share our summers with you!

Steve Bloom, joined his parents, Gary & Barbara Bloom, in 2011 as Playland’s third generation of Blooms.  Steve lives on campus year round with his wife and four year old son.

The Playland staff is comprised of teachers, college and high school students. Staff members are selected for their maturity, ability, experience and sincere love for children. Many of our counselors are Camp Playland alumni and we have a high rate of returning counselors each year. This enhances the feeling of a camp family.

Matt Dudics


Matt has has been a full time employee since 2007 . Matt enthusiastically attended Playland as a camper and grew up as part of the Playland family. He met his wife, Pina while working at camp and they have a son, Matteo, who attends Camp Playland and is a Playland Nursery School alumnus. Fun Fact: Matt and his family are Disney enthusiasts!


Mary Garesche

Assistant Director

Mary comes to Camp Playland after 10 years working in schools as a teacher, coach and administrator. In her free time, Mary loves exploring new areas, hiking, running and trying new foods! Fun Fact: Mary is was raised in St. Louis! 

Vivi Torres

Pre-K Division Leader

Vivi is from Costa Rica! She has worked at Playland for 13 summers and her daughters, Camilla and Caterina, come to camp with her. Vivi is a Head Teacher and Assistant Director at Playland Preschool. Fun fact: Vivi has represented Costa Rica in various Olympic events and holds the current record on the 200m back-stroke!

Lynnet Karamanian

Pre-K Division Leader

Lynnet has worked at Camp Playland for 8 years. Lynnet graduated with a Fine Arts degree and quickly realized her love for teaching! Fun fact: Lynnet speaks Spanish and she lived in Uruguay for 2 years!

Caitlyn VanDeusen

Kindergarten Division Leader

This is Caitlyn’s 9th summer working at Playland in the Kindergarten Division. Caitlyn is a 5th grade teacher at an elementary school in Stamford. Fun Fact: Caitlyn studied abroad in Ireland when she was in college.

Rachel Cuesta

Kindergarten Division Leader

This is Rachel’s 5th year at Playland.  She has been at camp her whole life as a camper, counselor and division leader.  Rachel’s two sons will be coming to camp with her. During the year she is a 2nd grade teacher in Stamford. Fun fact: Rachel has a vegetable garden at home!

Kimmy Loop

Lower Camp Division Leader

As someone who was a Playland camper and counselor for many years, Kimmy LOVES Playland! Kimmy is currently teaching in Stamford. Fun fact: Kimmy dances to at least one song each day to make sure that she is always smiling and spreading positivity!

Emma Zachary

Lower Camp Division Leader

Emma has been working at Playland for 7 years, and also attended as a child, so she absolutely adores Playland! Emma is a 2nd grade teacher in Bedford, NY! Fun fact: Emma studied abroad in Barcelona in college.

Rachel Wolfe

Middle Camp Division Leader

This is Rachel’s 6th summer at Playland and she is so excited to be back. Reachel studied Psychology and Early Childhood Education at Tulane University and teaches at Greenwich Country Day School. Fun Fact: Rachel lived in Australia last year!

Sam White

Middle Camp Division Leader

This will be Sam’s 4th summer at Camp Playland. Sam is studying for his Masters Degree at East Carolina University where he is the president of the Men’s Club volleyball team. Sam is a volleyball coach at a youth club in Greenville NC during the school year. Fun Fact: Sam is the Camp Playland ninja.

Izzy Weiss

Upper Camp Girls Division Leader

This is Izzy’s 10th summer working at Playland. She also attended as a camper when she was younger. Izzy has been teaching kindergarten for the past three years at New Canaan Country School. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Izzy is ready for a fun-filled summer taking on the role of supervisor for the Upper Camp girls. Fun Fact: her mom is Rhona from the pool!

RJ Cavaliero

Upper Camp Boys Division Leader

This is RJs 2nd summer at Playland and RJ is excited for more to come! RJ has been an elementary school teacher for 12 years and has experience with coaching and leadership in a school setting. Currently he is teaching in Norwalk and loves every minute of it. He is thrilled to come back to Camp Playland this year and can’t wait until his son is old enough to join him in a few summers. In RJ’s free time, you might see him golfing, hiking, camping, relaxing at a beach or park with his family, or watching movies. He is looking forward to seeing you all this summer get ready for some FUN!

Jon Zajdel

Aquatics Director

Jon Zajdel directs the Playland Pools. He has been at Playland every summer since he was 14 years old and on the pool staff for 15 years.  Jon was a collegiate swimmer at Ithaca College.  Jon is a history teacher at Norwalk High School. Fun Fact: Jon loves Jazz!

Matt Turek

Athletics Director


Matt Turek heads Playland Athletics and has a talented team of physical education teachers. He has been at Playland for 11 summers. Matt is a teacher in Waterbury. Fun fact: Matt played lacrosse in college!