High-Performance Coaches + Experienced Camp Professionals
We’re a team of high-performance coaches, nurturing counselors and experienced camp professionals that are passionate about athletics.
Combining the independence and self-reliance camp creates along with the exhilaration and challenges athletics instill led us to the formation of Academy Camps. Our collective focus is to partner with you and your children as developing athletes and future leaders.
Welcome. Your Academy Camps journey has just begun.
Meet Our Directors
Director of Camp Life
Alison brings experience deeply rooted in athletics and wellness to her role as Program & Residential Life Director.
A graduate of Colgate University, she was 4 year Varsity Lacrosse player for the Division 1 Raiders and team captain her senior year. The mother of 4 grown children, Alison has always been immersed in youth sports as a coach, administrator and fan. Her oldest was a 4 year Varsity Lacrosse Player at Lafayette and her youngest is a current member of the Colby College Men’s Varsity Lacrosse Team.
A Yoga instructor for 15 years, Alison has a background in applied positive psychology, resilience skills and mindfulness. She also has an impressive track record of high performance across diverse industries including media, nonprofit, biotech and executive coaching.
Alison resides in Westport, CT with her husband and her passions include hiking and skiing. She also volunteers in support of military veterans and students in underserved communities. Alison brings a great energy and maternal instincts as a vital member of The AC leadership team!
Director of Operations & Programs
As Academy Camps’ Director of Operations and Programs, Courtney brings a big passion for camp and a diverse professional background to the team.
Courtney has dedicated her career to creating transformational learning experiences for children and young adults - from language learning and study abroad programs to summer camp. She spent 9 summers growing from camper, to CIT, to senior counselor at a traditional residential summer camp up in Northern Wisconsin. She was also the Senior National Program Manager at Experience Camps, a non-profit organization that provides free, one-week camps to children who have lost a parent or sibling. While there she managed the people, processes, and systems required to deliver the camp experience to over 1,400 campers, staff, and volunteers across 10 programs and implemented scalable systems to set the organization up for accelerated growth.
Prior to joining the camp world full-time, she drove a constellation of projects at EF Education First in the higher education study abroad division. These projects spanned all areas of the business requireing her to wear many hats impacting 360 degrees of the business. No matter the role or task at hand, she’s always focused on the people in front of her.
Courtney resides in Somerville, Massachusetts and makes the most of her off-season time by traveling to visit friends and family. Her passion for camp runs deep and extends beyond the office: she hosts an annual “camp weekend” where she invites friends to celebrate, play get-to-know-you games, compete in Camp Olympics, and bring the camp magic to life.
Residential Life Director
As the Residential Life Director, Dan’s mission is to empower every AC athlete to achieve their goals. With an infectious enthusiasm often described as “camp counselor energy,” Dan brings unmatched passion to the AC experience.
A jack of all trades, Dan dives into every aspect of camp life, always willing to take on any challenge or game (especially pickleball, where he’s practically invincible). Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, Dan sets the standard for our human-centered approach to camp, ensuring each athlete maximizes their time on and off the field/court.
With 5 years of dedicated volunteer work at Experience Camps and entering his sixth year as an Associate Program Director, Dan’s commitment to the camp community shines brightly.
In the winter months, Dan calls Brooklyn home with his girlfriend, Hannah, and their dynamic feline duo, Tuna and Bean. And for those who dare, last summer’s pickleball challenge still stands: beat Dan and earn yourself a free milkshake from the Snack Shack. Dan says bring it on!
Meet Our Coaches
Director of Soccer
Coach Rick Warren brings vast knowledge and expertise to the AC Team as our Director of Soccer. With an extensive collegiate and prep school coaching background, Rick also holds his National Soccer Coaches Association of America Premier Diploma and a USSF Coaching License. In addition to his coaching achievements, Rick is also a former member of the Jamaican Youth National Team.
At Suffield Academy, Rick’s resume speaks for itself. He has amassed nearly 150 career wins and numerous accolades, including being named Connecticut’s Large Preparatory High School Coach of the Year. Rick also serves as the President of the New England Prep School Soccer Association (NEPSAC).
Rick’s passion, enthusiasm, and love of the game are unmatched, making him the perfect person to lead The Academy Camps Soccer Program.
Rick and his wife Liz, Suffield Academy’s Cultural Diversity Director, are the proud parents of four boys.
Director of Basketball
Coach Mike Evans’ reputation and experience in the world of basketball are deeper than a full-court buzzer-beater. He’s a former collegiate standout at Hamilton College, a Varsity Coach at New Canaan High School & Stamford Academy in Connecticut, a private shooting instructor, and an author and philanthropist.
Mike’s basketball trajectory began as a player at Weston High School in Connecticut before starring for the Hamilton College Men’s Team. After graduating from Hamilton, Mike launched a professional career, playing and coaching internationally in Belfast, Ireland. He then earned his Master’s in Education at Harvard University, where he was a member of the Harvard Men’s Basketball Staff. Coach Mike is one of the most sought-after private shooting instructors in the Northeast. His company, Right Angle Shooting’s client list includes NBA players, European pros, D1 players, and middle and high school athletes.
Mike is the Founder and Executive Director of Full Court Peace, an international not-for-profit organization that uses basketball to bring diverse groups of kids together to repair courts in low-income neighborhoods from Norwalk to New York to Havana. Mike is also the author of a recently released book, The Belfast Blazers: The Journey of an American Basketball Coach in Ireland.
Mike and his wife, Alexandra, will welcome their first child this year.
Director of Girls Lacrosse
We are thrilled to have Ang “Coach Vec” Vecchiarelli leading Academy Camps Girls Lacrosse and assisting with our Performance & Wellness program. Known for her versatility as a coach, Ang currently serves as the Head Girls Lacrosse Coach, Assistant Girls’ Basketball Coach, and Strength and Conditioning Coach at Suffield Academy. She brings boundless energy and extensive experience.
A graduate of Williams College, Angela was a standout lacrosse and basketball player during her collegiate career. Her passion for lacrosse began in her hometown of Agawam, Massachusetts, where she developed a love for the sport that has continued to this day. We’re confident Angela’s dedication and expertise will help our lacrosse players reach their full potential, both on and off the field.
Director of Tennis
Symeon Siomopoulos has been a force on the international tennis scene for over 30 years. A graduate of the University of Athens, Coach “Simos” also has a Masters Degree in Sports Psychology from the University of Miami, Ohio and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Athens.
His tennis teaching credentials speak for themselves. Coach Simos holds a diploma of the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and coached the women’s Division I program at Miami of Ohio. From 2011 to 2021, he was the Head Technical Director of the Deree Athletic Tennis Club & Academy located in Athens, Greece. He also held the position of Sports Psychology Consultant of Tennis at the former Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida. Simos is the former coach of the Greek National Junior team (ages 12-18). In this role, he led Greece’s top junior players in the European Championships.
Enthusiasm, repetition and mental “toughness” highlight Coach Simos’ on-court teaching approach and his experience in Sports Psychology complements his seasoned tennis teaching acumen.
Currently an associate professor at The American College of Greece, Simos teaches University level courses in the fields of Sports Psychology and Coaching. Growing up, Simos was a decorated and highly ranked junior tennis player. During the winter months, he resides in Athens, Greece with his wife, a renowned interior designer, and their 2 children.
Director of Boys Lacrosse
Academy Camps Director of Boys Lacrosse, Coach Chris Perkins, is a head varsity high school coach, former collegiate captain, boarding school dean and father of 3. His credentials say it all!
The Head Boys Lacrosse Coach at The Berkshire School since 2017, Coach Chris has skillfully guided the Bears in the WNESSLA Division 1, a powerhouse league of “Who’s Who“ in high school lacrosse. His past summers have been spent as a member of the coaching staff for one of the top club lacrosse programs in the country, 2Way Lacrosse Club.
Chris is a product of the northeast boarding school landscape. He was a 3-sport athlete at The St. Marks School and then attended The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. A soccer, ice hockey and lacrosse standout at “L’ville”- Chris then took his “game” to Connecticut College, of the esteemed NESCAC conference. At “Conn,” Chris was a 4-year lacrosse letter-winner, team captain his senior year and represented Conn in the NELIA Senior East/West All-Star Game.
In addition to being at the helm of Berkshire Lacrosse, Chris teaches Advanced Economics, is the Freshman Dean and the Head Varsity Squash Coach.
Chris is a lifelong learner who is always looking to expand his knowledge. He has spent recent summers as an “intern” at Stio and AOL, and he brings this dedication to personal growth to his coaching on and off the field.
Chris’ wife Elizabeth, also a member of the Berkshire faculty, graduated from Colgate where she played ice hockey & lacrosse and they have three student-athlete children at The Berkshire School.
Director of Performance & Wellness
As Director of Performance & Wellness, Bryan Brissette brings an all-star resume and diverse background to the AC Team.
Bryan attended Harvard, graduating as a member of the Dean’s List. While in Cambridge, he was a member of the Crimson Varsity Baseball Team for four years and was an All-Ivy catcher. After Harvard, he earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University and a master’s in History from Trinity in West Hartford, CT.
Before joining the Suffield Faculty, Bryan served as a United States Secret Service Special Agent. Today as the current Head Varsity Baseball Coach and Asst. Varsity Football at Suffield, an emphasis on Performance & Wellness has become his passion and a pillar of Bryan’s approach to coaching.
Strength & Conditioning, Speed & Agility, Flexibility, Functional Movement, Visualization and Breathwork will comprise his summer curriculum as we take it to the next level for all AC campers.
Bryan and his wife Chrissy are the proud parents of a daughter.
Josh’s love for the outdoors and experience in running Suffield Academy’s adventure activites makes him the perfect person to be Academy Camps’ Adventure Coach. He will head up our outdoor leadership elective, SOLO. This program enables AC Athletes to diversify their traditional athletic experience and explore activities including Wall Climbing, High Ropes and Overnight Camping.
A graduate of Suffield Academy, Josh served as a Dorm Proctor and was captain of the Wrestling Team. While a student at Suffield, Josh discovered his thrill for the outdoors and took his first backcountry camping trip with SOLO in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park….and the rest is history!
While attending Springfield College, Josh worked at the East Campus Outdoor Learning Center as a Challenge Course Facilitator and Adventure Camp Counselor. He also has earned multiple certifications in emergency medicine as an EMT, Ski Patroller and Lifeguard. Prior to joining the faculty at Suffield, Josh worked as a State Park Ranger for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
AC Adventure under Josh’s leadership will enable our athletes to reach new heights, both literally and figuratively!
Meet Our Founders
We’re the founders of Academy Camps, three life-long campers, counselors & full-time camp directors. We’re passionate about Athletics too.
While the three of us are not front and center at Academy Camps, we work closely behind the scenes with Michael and Alison, sharing our knowledge, passion and industry know-how.
Jon Deren has been the owner and director of Camp Manitou for Boys since 1998, never having left since he arrived as a camper in 1987. Jon was a collegiate skier at Tufts and received his MBA from Columbia University. Jon served on the Board of Directors for the American Camping Association – NY/NJ Section and is active on several ACA committees. During the year, Jon lives in Westport, CT with his wife Sara, and their 3 children.
Josh Hahn is the co-owner and Director of Camp Somerset for Girls in Smithfield, Maine, which he rebuilt and reopened in 2018 after being closed for more than 30 years. He was also the founding program director of Experience Camps, a non-profit organization that provides free, one-week camps to children who have lost a parent or sibling. Originally from Newton, Massachusetts, Josh spent 16 summers at camp in Maine. He graduated from Emory University and spent 15 years in the restaurant business in Washington, D.C. before moving to full-time camping.
Jem Sollinger is the Managing Partner and Director of Camp Laurel. His history and career at Laurel spans over 35 years as he rose the ranks from camper, to counselor, to director and owner. Comprised of 520 campers and 300 staff, Jem’s leadership, boundless energy and attention to detail has established Laurel as a leader in the camping industry. An All New England soccer player in high school, Jem is a graduate of Union College where he was a four-year varsity soccer player and captain of the Alpine ski team. Jem is the President of The Top of the Hill Team, an organization comprised of parents and alumni that provides the Staples Boys Soccer program (his alma mater) with supplemental resources needed to remain one of the leading programs in the state. Jem is also a former member of the Board of Maine Summer Camps, Maine Youth Camping Association and Temple B’nai Chaim in Georgetown, Connecticut. Jem lives in Weston, CT with his wife Debbie and their 3 daughters.