Meet Our Directors and Staff
Lisa and Geoff Newman, Directors
Lisa and Geoff Newman met and graduated from the University of Maryland in 1986. Along with their fondness for the Terps, growing up in new jersey, and loving children, their passion for camp spans almost a combined forty years. When they are not at camp they are busy being parents of their three wonderful daughters, Melissa, 24, Paige, 22 and Nikki 17. During the off season Lisa and Geoff enjoy the rocky mountains residing in Castle Pines, Colorado. Lisa and Geoff are excited to be back at IA/FA and are looking forward to adding new activities, facilities and programming to our already top flite award winning programming.
Michael “Moe” Burness, Assistant Director
Moe, as he is known around camp, is a veteran of Indian Acres. He began as a camper in 1967 and has since worked as a counselor, unit leader, program director and head counselor. He is a graduate of Boston College and resides in the Hartford area. Moe’s enthusiasm for camp life is obvious from the energy he puts into the leadership of camp, whether teaching, playing or coaching. His years as a camper gave him a deep love and respect for the camp and its traditions, which he is passing on to new generations of campers.
Mary Beth “Bert” Wiig, Head Counselor, Camp Forest Acres
“Bert” is another long time member of the Indian and Forest Acres community. Bert began her Forest Acres career in 1978 as a counselor and quickly became a treasured part of the camp. She moved from counselor to unit leader to program director, and then to head counselor. Bert and her husband Mike, the Forest Acres hiking director, met at camp. They return each summer with their children Lauren and Eric. The family resides in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where Bert is a guidance counselor and varsity softball coach for the high school. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is President of the Minnesota Peer Group, an organization for children. Bert’s creativity and talent in working with children are key ingredients in the smooth administration of Forest Acres.
C.J. Law, Equestrian Director
C.J. joined the Indian and Forest Acres community in 1986. As program director and equestrian team coach at Mount Holyoke College, Law’s teams have been consistently ranked among the elite programs in the Intercollegiate community and has won many Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships in her tenure at the school. Her extensive Equestrian background includes her experience as a junior and intercollegiate rider, graduation from the Equestrian Degree Program at Averett College, where she subsequently taught and has since studied with internationally recognized professionals in Dressage and Combined Training.
Of the more than 50 counselors and staff members, half are college students and half are professional teachers and coaches. Counselors are carefully selected through personal interviews for their love of and ability to relate to children in a consistently caring, enthusiastic, and supportive manner and for their qualifications to teach in one or more activity areas.
All staff members go through an intensive precamp orientation developed from more than seventy years of counselor training at Indian Acres Camp for Boys and Forest Acres Camp for Girls. More than half of the staff members return each year. Careful staff selection and training ensure a caring, supportive and encouraging environment in which campers grow, learn and have fun.
Whether supervising, counseling, coaching or teaching, staff members provide sensitive leadership and quality instruction. An M.D. and an R.N. are resident members of the camp staff. A hospital is only 10 miles from camp.