About Camp Chrysalis

As a mature staff, well-experienced together, we’ve developed a rich context. Most of us are teachers professionally during the rest of the year. And all of us have unique expertise we love to share with kids. That’s why we keep coming back.

In addition to the veteran staff listed here, Camp Chrysalis benefits immensely from its Counselors-in-Training. These are older (15+) campers — usually though not exclusively Chrysalis veterans — who seek the challenges and satisfaction of taking an active role passing down camp traditions. That many of our staff have grown up through this program is the greatest testament to both its success and to its importance to the program.

Current Full-Time Staff

Lee Tempkin

Lee has been an educator and mentor to young people since 1973 as a teacher and middle school director. After 45 years in education, he is loving retirement where he spearheads Camp Chrysalis between summers and coaches individual students in math. He loves conifers, birds, singing, cooking, and hiking in the Sierras. He tunes the camp organizational engine while sharing his fascination with the outdoors and his vision for building community.

Ashley Daly

Ashley Daly is a math teacher at Berkeley High, outdoor adventure enthusiast, and described by her students as a "kid at heart." She grew up with Camp Chrysalis, starting as a camper at age 10 when she fell in love with sleeping outside and exploring nature. Since she joined the staff in 2006, she has not missed a single summer and can't wait to return to the camp family again in just a few months!

Erika Singer

Erika has been a part of Camp Chrysalis since her first year as a camper in 1994. Since then she has continued to share her love of the outdoors as her role evolved from camper to counselor. After graduating from Lewis & Clark College with a BA in Sociology and Anthropology, Erika has enjoyed traveling around the world and living in new countries, though always returning to beautiful California. At camp, Erika shares her knowledge of local flora, her love for high Sierra vistas and looks forward to learning something new every year.

Yaniv Singer

Yaniv discovered Camp Chrysalis through Erika in 2009, fell in love with it immediately, and has been part of staff ever since. Multi-cultural, Yaniv was born in New York but raised in Israel. After leading a communication group in the IDF, he returned to New York and completed his BSc. in astrophysics and visual arts from Columbia University. Since graduating, Yaniv has been teaching high school math and biology, running an after-school mountain-biking program as well as experimenting in different vocations from finance to photography to construction to video editing. At camp, he loves to share his love for nature, cosmology, geology, outdoor living, photography, and of course, his children, Yarden, Mia, and baby Leo!

Gideon Lazarus

Gideon is a graduate of The New School with dual degrees in dance and history. He currently lives in NYC where he teaches chess to K-5th grade and spends the rest of his time auditioning for local performances. He has been a camp veteran since the age of seven.

Andrew Risinger

Andy first worked at Camp Chrysalis in 2009 and enthusiastically returned to camp in 2016 after taking an eventful hiatus. The epic call of fatherhood, living in the Pacific Northwest, and intensive baseball studies were the focus of the time off. Originally from Pennsylvania, Andy grew up camping and falling out of trees in the Allegheny National Forest. It is in that forest that he developed a love of starry nights, birds, high places, geologic history, and (once moving to California) the ocean and redwoods. When not camping, Andy teaches history at Park Day School, chases his kids around the yard, attempts to fix his house, and tries not to fall out of trees.

Robert Symens-Bucher

Robert's first experience with Camp Chrysalis was as an 11 year old camper. After attending each session twice over the course of 6 years, he decided he loved camp so much he wanted to work here! He is now going into his 4th year as a camp counselor and his 3rd year as an undergrad at UC Berkeley where he studies Geography. Robert loves sharing his passion for sports, hiking, plants, and animals with the campers. Outside of camp you can find him in the library, gym, or on the top of a mountain enjoying a scenic view!

Amelia Smyth

Amelia is currently finishing out her undergraduate education at UC Santa Cruz studying both Chemistry and Fine Arts. She grew up in Berkeley and has always had a passion for nature and adventure. She started out as a young camper and loves continuing as staff. When she isn’t studying for university or medical school, she is painting and improving her skills as an artist, focusing her work on the beauty of nature and life. She loves riddles, math, art, and is always ready to play some board games!

Mia Rahman

Mia is a third-year Environmental Studies and Statistics student at UC Santa Barbara. When she is not studying and working during the school year, she is exploring new local spots on her mountain bike, dragging her friends on new hikes, or plotting mini weekend camping trips. This is her 11th summer with Camp Chrysalis and her 4th summer on staff. Her favorite parts about camp are campfires, cooking in small groups, and living in the trees away from technology.

Emiliano Garcia-Sarnoff

Emiliano is a UC Berkeley grad, junior high English Development Teacher, and writer living in Chico, CA. He's done an off-trail solo week in the snowy High Sierras, circumnavigated Cuba by bicycle, was kidnapped briefly in Morocco, and wrestled alligators in the Amazon, among a lifetime full of adventures. He's a father of two.

Founding Director:

Michael Rossman

Michael, an ardent naturalist and founding director, died May 15, 2008, after an arduous battle with leukemia. He taught science by looking under every rock, learning to “read” the land and its story, and coming to every new environment with an eager mind and open heart. His passion inspired many campers and staff throughout our camp’s existence, and his spirit continues to walk barefoot through camp as we share his love of road kill and edible wild plants, sing songs and tell stories of working people’s struggles. He lived life according to his own rules and influenced a generation of young people in the East Bay.