Michael Rouse, Co-Founder/Executive Director
Michael Rouse is the Executive Director and co-founder of ESF Summer Camps and the ESF Dream Camp Foundation and oversees all operations. Michael created the ESF camp programs at Greenwich Academy (Greenwich, CT), Lawrenceville School (Lawrenceville, NJ), Gilman School (Baltimore, MD), Georgetown Prep (Bethesda, MD) Haverford School (Haverford, PA), Episcopal Academy (Devon, PA), Montgomery School (Chester Springs, PA), Phillies Baseball Academy (PA, NJ, DE), and Philadelphia Union Soccer Schools (PA, NJ, DE).
In 1998, Michael and his brother, Bill, established the first Dream Camp at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. In 2002, he founded the second Dream Camp at Temple University (formerly Girard College) in Philadelphia, PA. Michael is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Arts and Communication. He is also a graduate of the Disney Institute’s People Management, Customer Service, and Creative Leadership Programs. He has a Black Belt in Tang Soo Do karate from the Tang Soo Do Mo Doo Kwan Federation. Michael also competed on the professional tennis circuit for two years as an amateur. In 2004, Michael was inducted into the Villanova University Athletic Hall of Fame. Michael serves on the Board of Directors of The Vetri Foundation for Children, Temple University’s Board of Managers, and Acting Without Boundaries (AWB).
Before her start at ESF’s Dream Camp, Leah Evans worked as the Community Relations and Foundation Manger at the Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer team in Philadelphia. There she found her love for non-profits. Currently, she serves as the Managing Director at
Dream Camp and is excited about organization’s mission, specifically, working with children of all ages, who are under-served or might not otherwise have certain opportunities. As Director, Leah plans to keep things simple while creatively increasing revenues. “Our program is continuously evaluated for its relevance and ‘fun’ and we place a great value on the long-lasting relationships created between our students and our mentors.”
Dan Swartz is the Site Director at Dream Camp at Trinity College. Dan has been a part of Dream Camp since the summer of 2003. He served as the Big Ten Conference Director for three years and has been the Site Director at Dream Camp since 2006.
During the school year, Dan is a professor, the physical education program director and chairperson of the Exercise Science Department at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT. He has been President of the Connecticut Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Dan received his Bachelors degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and Masters’ and Doctorate degrees from Florida State University.
Natalie Padula, Program Director, Temple University
Natalie began working with Dream Camp Philadelphia as a Mentor at the After School Program when she was studying at Temple University in 2007, and has since worked in various roles including Counselor, Floater, YLP Director, Senior Camp Director, and most recently, Assistant Site Director. Upon graduating with a degree in Elementary and Special Education, she spent almost 5 years teaching at Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School in Philadelphia. Her classroom experience includes teaching 4th and 6th grade girls and science to 6th grade boys. In 2014, she received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Scranton. Throughout the years, Natalie has always dedicated her summers to Dream Camp. In the fall of 2014, Natalie stepped away from the classroom in order to join Dream Camp full time and continue working with the program she is so passionate about.
Danielle Nicoletti, Site Director, Temple University
Danielle “Dani” Nicoletti has been with Dream Camp Philadelphia since 2006. Dani is a graduate of the University of Scranton, where she earned her degree in Human Services Counseling and Human Resources. Following graduation, she volunteered as the Education Coordinator at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, a residential home in Chicago. Dani enrolled in the EPICS (Educational Partners In Catholic Schools) Program at Seton Hall University in 2006, where she earned her Master’s Degree while teaching 3rd grade at St. Michael’s Catholic School. After graduation, she became the Program Director of ESF Dream Camp’s year round programs from 2006-2010 in Philadelphia. She eventually left her full time position with Dream Camp in order to pursue her goal of becoming a principal. Dani is currently the Director of Student Life for the Mastery Charter School’s Smedley campus during the school year. Since her heart is truly with Dream Camp, she could never leave it completely. Dani continues to participate in Dream Camp’s special events and activities throughout the year and is the Site Director for Dream Camp in the summer at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Adah Gillon began her career with Dream Camp Trinity in 2010 as a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. Over the next 6 years she moved through various summer roles that included: Counselor, Sports Specialist, and Day Camp Support. Upon graduation from Plymouth State University in 2011 she began teaching Physical Education at Annie Fisher Magnet School in Hartford for Pre-k through 5th grade and became a Mentor at the After School Program. In 2012, Adah became the after school program coordinator and worked in this role while she earned a Masters in Special Education from Central Connecticut State University. After earning her Masters, she taught K-8 Physical Education at New Beginnings Family Academy Charter School in Bridgeport. After teaching in Bridgeport, Adah moved back to the Hartford area to work with Dream Camp full time in 2016 as the Program Director. Dream Camp has become a second family to Adah over the years and there is nothing she is more passionate about.
Taschet has been with Dream Camp since 2014, where she started as a Day Camp Counselor. She took a year off to focus on her studies, and after graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a Recreation Management degree in 2016, she came back as a Senior Camp Counselor and was also asked to become the Overtime Coordinator. She loved it so much and happened to become the “Ichiban Award” winner for the summer of 2016. She decided to apply for the Leadership Apprentice position at ESF Headquarters to further her knowledge in recreation management. Revealing her newly found passion, Taschet continued to move up, from being a counselor to a Senior Camp Support Specialist for the summer of 2017, to now having a full time position with the ESF Dream Camp Foundation as a Program Coordinator. She is confident and ready to take Dream Camp to new levels.