Risa Paskoff | Executive Director
“I am the director of Aaron’s Acres and have been with the organization since it first began in 1998. I have my master’s degree in social work. When I was younger, my dream was to create programs for children who have special needs—I am now living out that dream and it feels wonderful! Prior to Aaron’s Acres, I was affiliated with Roseville Pediatrics in Lancaster, PA as a psychotherapist treating children, adolescents and their families. I am also involved with my congregation working on social action committees. I live with my husband in Lancaster and have 2 grown sons (one lives in Washington, D.C. and the other lives in New York). When I am not working, I spend my time with family, friends, exercising and reading.”
Elaine Burnett | Program Director
“I was welcomed into the Aaron’s Acres family in the summer of 2008, amazed by the fact that the children stole my heart on the very first day. I was excited to return the next year. The excitement, pride, challenges and joy that is experienced every day at camp makes my journey with this organization one that I hope to continue for years to come. Moving from the camp side to the administrative side of the organization is a very exciting change for me. I look forward to assisting with the continued growth of the organization as well as staying closely connected to the camp and school year programs that we run. When I am not working I can be found, with my husband, in the stands of an ice rink or baseball field supporting our two sons.”
Maria Kapsak | Community Outreach Coordinator
“Volunteering for Aaron’s Acres over the past few years, I have seen the rewards of helping the families and our community by providing programs for children and young adults with special needs. Being a part of the team is even more exciting! I am a creative and highly motivated professional with demonstrated abilities to establish and sustain relationships, and in the process, enrich the lives of others. My 30 years’ experience in marketing/advertising will help to build and foster solid relationships with businesses, agencies and national corporations to support our mission and aid in the growth of Aaron’s Acres.”
Tammy Snyder | Financial Administrator
“Before serving as Financial Administrator at Aaron’s Acres, I served 15 years in the Business Administration field. When I’m not working, I enjoy scuba diving with my husband and spending time with my family, dog, and my friends. I live in Ephrata with my husband.”
“I have just joined the Aaron’s Acres organization. Prior to joining i was a live-in caregiver for 4 years. Before that, I worked for two different non-profits as a Grants Manager and a Foundation Assistant. My spare time is spent with family and friends. I enjoy participating in sports, doing arts & crafts and reading.”
Alexander Gawn | Events and Communications Coordinator
“I am thrilled to be working for such an amazing organization! Having worked as an intern in non-profit event and public relations management for the Lancaster based organization Music For Everyone, I strive to positively promote the region’s benefit sector and the welfare of their program participants. In concert with my firm background in childcare I hope to provide the necessary services to further promote Aaron’s Acres as central Pennsylvania’s premier recreational program provider for children and young adults with special needs. When away from the work desk I can be found hitting the stage at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center and playing guitar with my band at local music venues.”
The staff at Aaron’s Acres is one of our greatest assets and the reason we have offered a quality program for over 18 years. Our experienced professionals include licensed social workers, special education teachers, and music therapists. In addition, a nurse is on site at all times to address any medical needs that may arise. In addition, both undergraduate and graduate students studying social work, special education, psychology and occupational or speech therapy or recreational therapy are hired as counselors. A 1:1 or 1:2 staff-to-child ratio ensures ongoing positive interactions and appropriate interventions as needed.
Jackie McArdle | Site Supervisor, Lancaster Programs
“I began my amazing journey with Aaron’s Acres as a Millersville student in 2005. After deciding that it was a life changing experience for me, I continued with the program during the summer camp and have not looked back since. I have been through it all, from student, to counselor, to group leader, to now entering my 4th year as the site supervisor in Lancaster. I graduated from Millersville University in 2006 with a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education, and also have a certification in Middle School Mathematics. In 2012, I received my Master’s Degree from Wilkes University in Classroom Technology. In the fall of 2014, I will be going to back to school again; this time to obtain my principal certification. During the school year I work as a Special Education Consultant for the Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13, working in Secondary, Center-based Emotional Support. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, whether that be at the beach, attending sporting events, or just gathering together and catching up. Aaron’s Acres has been a place of release for me, to be able to give back and interact with so many incredible kids and young adults. Each and every child that we serve puts a smile on my face. I look forward for the opportunity to continue working with these amazing kids and young adults for years to come.”
Kelly Parker | Site Supervisor, Lancaster Programs
“I became part of the amazing Aaron’s Acres family during the summer of 2008 as a high school buddy. Following that summer, I returned as a counselor before I went to college. Four years later after I graduated, I became a group leader and I am now excited to start my time as Assistant Site Supervisor. I graduated from Lebanon Valley College in 2013 with a dual degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. I am currently in the process of starting my Master’s Degree in Special Education. During the school year, I am an elementary Multiple Disabilities Support teacher for Manheim Township School District. In my spare time, I love spending time with my family and friends, having game nights, and watching movies. I am looking forward to continuing my fantastic journey with Aaron’s Acres and seeing all of the awesome Aaron’s Acres’ kids for many years to come!”
Carson Miller | Site Supervisor, Lancaster Programs
“I joined the awesome Aaron’s Acres family in the summer of 2014 as a Group Leader at the Lancaster campus. I graduated from Marshall University in 2007 with a degree in Journalism and a minor in History. I started my journey in Special Education Services in 2008 with the Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 serving as a Personal Care Assistant and later a Job Trainer. In 2016, I began my current position as an Emotional Support Teacher with the School District of Lancaster. I’m currently in pursuit of my Masters in Special Education at Millersville University. In my spare time, I coach football, wrestling and track at J.P. McCaskey High School and enjoy spending time with my wife and three kids. I am extremely excited to be continuing my awesome opportunity with Aaron’s Acres as a Site Supervisor and look forward to meeting all my new and returning campers and their families this year!”
Beth Hartz | Site Supervisor, Berks Programs
“I have been with Aaron’s Acres since 2009, and I have enjoyed every minute of the Friday night outings, the Saturday night school year programs, and the summer camp sessions in which I have been involved. As programs begin, I become so excited to see each child’s smiling face. New years bring new adventures for Aaron’s Acres and I am proud to be a part of each adventure. During the school year, I work for the Kutztown Area School District as the elementary Life Skills Support teacher K-5. I graduated from Penn State (1996) with an Associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy. In 2000, I graduated from Alvernia University with a B.S. in Health Science. I have a certification in Special Education from Alvernia University. In my spare time, I enjoy watching my son play lacrosse, going to the movies, and I enjoy time with family and friends. ”
Heather Oppmann | Site Supervisor, Berks Programs
“Aaron’s Acres has been a positive aspect of my life for the past five years. I enjoy working with all of your children and it makes my day to see them smile and enjoy themselves at camp and during the school year program. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Mansfield University in Special Education (1992) and I received my Master’s degree from Wilkes University in Classroom Technology (2008). During the school year, I work for Kutztown Area School District. I have a learning support classroom grades K-2. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my two children, reading, and going to the beach. I have been blessed to find this organization and I look forward to many more great experiences.”
For all new staff to Aaron’s Acres, a face-to-face interview with our program director is required. Staff must also submit clearances (PA Child Abuse, PA Criminal, and FBI Criminal).
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