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Day Camp Directors

We are the Directors of the Thomas School Day Camp,
and these are our stories.


Nancy Thomas
Owner and Director

Nancy’s parents, Bill and Fran Thomas started the Thomas School of Horsemanship in 1943, and in 1952 founded the only Long Island day camp to offer children all the joys of camp as well as a full riding program.

“I feel so fortunate that I knew when I was 16 that I wanted to be the Camp Director. I knew that who I had become as a camper was so powerful that I was a truly effective counselor as a result. I have spent the past 45 years creating the environment for both campers & staff to become the best people they can be for their mutual benefits. It is wonderful to know how successful our alumni are in their adult lives. We know that the confidence, leadership, communication & responsibility they enhanced at camp are working for them now.”

Nancy takes great pride in the multi-generational community that she has fostered at TSH. Many camp alumni remember their time with us so fondly that they return to work with us, and send their own children to camp as well. This full circle of family and friends helps us offer those same wonderful experiences to a whole new generation.


Jayne O’Toole
Camp Director

Like many of our wonderful staff members, Jayne first joined us as a camper in our Thomas School Day Camp over thirty years ago. Soon after attending camp, Jayne signed up for year round riding lessons and quickly earned a place on our USEF Show Team. Then, after completing our Campers In Leadership Training (CIT) program, she joined our staff as a horseback riding instructor.

Once Jayne had children of her own, she came back to Thomas School to re-join our day camp staff and help give her four children, and all of our campers, the wonderful experiences she had as a child. We are so lucky to have her back with us. Jayne is knowledgeable and kind, and cares for our Jr. Campers as if they were her own children.


Caryn Yakacki
Year Round Ride Director

Caryn has been riding since the age of 6 and began teaching with us as an assistant instructor at the age of 14. She is now not only a show team instructor but a senior camp ride director, helping to manage the horses and instructors throughout the year. Her dual passions of music and horses make her a very sensitive and intuitive trainer and teacher. Caryn graduated with her B.M. in Music Education in 2013 and now can be found teaching and riding the horses in between running her music lessons business across Long Island.


Claudia Stewart
Program Director

Claudia has a degree in Physical Education, is originally from Argentina, and came here in 1997. Lucky for us, she now calls Thomas School her home. Claudia was so creative and well organized for all her years on the sports staff that she is now our Program Director. She schedules our day to day activities as well as organizing our Special Day schedules.

Claudia met and married Mike Stewart, a past camp director at Thomas School, and their daughters Kayla and April are now campers.


 

Janine Ortiz- photo

Janine Innes Ortiz

Sr. Camp Director

Janine says “I love getting to relive my childhood by being back at camp.”   Lucky for us, Janine is going move up to Long Island from Florida just for the summer so she and her daughter can both work at camp.

Janine has not only been a camper and CIT at camp, but she has also been Jr. Camp Director, Jr. Ride Director and CIT Director at camp in the past. This year she is bringing her great enthusiasm to our Sr. Camp.

 

 


Ilyana Fox
Jr. Camp Director

We are so lucky to have Ilyana returning to Thomas School. She was a camper and a CIT and has always been drawn back to Thomas School. She is happy that the stars have aligned and she is now able to be here as our Jr. Camp Director. Ilyana works as an Occupational Therapist with a specialty in Pediatrics during the school year. She is now able to be back to give her own two children and all of Jr. Camp the positive experience that she had as a child .


Ben Fox
Sports Director

Ben has so much to offer us at Thomas School. He is a certified High School Science Teacher. He has coaches JV Lacrosse and Varsity Golf and is a Guilliard trained musician. How wonderful that he married into the Thomas School Family.


Dee Dee Olsen
Special Day Director

Dee Dee is also following the circle of life that draws people back to Thomas School. She attended as a camper and CIT as a child. The minute she stopped in with her own children, we all knew that she would join us as part of our staff. Dee Dee brings great passion and creativity to our programs. She adds her special touch to every special day.


Katie Cushman
Aquatics Director

Katie has been a member of the TSH family since she started camp as a 3 year old Early Starter. She found a love for riding and started taking lessons through the year, eventually joining the Show Team. Katie joined our staff as a 16 year old assistant riding instructor, and when she turned 18 became a full instructor. Katie’s passion for swimming lead her to be our Pool Director last year and we are excited to spend another summer with her!