Front row from left: Harold and Marianne Breene
Back row from left: Mike Glackin, Katie Higgins, Dave Muller, Roger Breene, Debbie Breene, Robin Breene Hetrick, Paul Breene, Miriam Peretsman, John Stein, Jill Breene Cheng, Jeff Kaesshaefer.
Harold Breene (Founder and Director) has been involved in camping his whole life! After a stint in the Army during World War II, he earned a Masters Degree in Camping Education from NYU. He was the Athletic Director of a local private school, and then a college professor of Recreation and Camp Administration. Harold is a proud Eagle Scout, and was a scoutmaster in Berkeley Heights for many years. He has also been a stalwart member of the American Camp Association, serving as President of the New Jersey section and of the Association of Independent Camps. He worked to improve camp quality nationwide as a member of the national ACA Standards Board. In the off-season, Harold is an official for swimming and diving meets. He enjoys golf, opera, and relaxing by the pool when he can find the time!
Marianne Breene (Founder and Director) was the very first counselor for our preschool campers. For many years she was the director of the Summit Coop Nursery School. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from Kean University when her own children were in college and high school. She is an avid bridge player and loves to read and go to the theater. She and Harold have 4 children and 10 grandchildren, who have been campers and then counselors at Camp Riverbend.
Roger Breene (Assistant Director) is Marianne and Harold’s oldest child. Camp has been a part of Roger's life since it started nearly 49 years ago. He was a camper, and then worked on the maintenance staff, as a swim instructor and lifeguard and then as the Waterfront Director. It was during his time as Waterfront Director that Roger met his wife, Debbie, who was then a counselor. To this day, she continues to serve as the head of F Division. Roger returned to Camp approximately 15 years ago as an Assistant Director, after working full-time as a practicing attorney. During the winter months, he continues to work as a partner in a New Jersey law firm. He loves when June 1 rolls around and he is able to trade in his suits for shorts, a T-shirt and a pair of sneakers and get out in the fresh air and work with campers and staff! Roger is an avid skier and cyclist, and also enjoys golf in his free time.
Jill Breene Cheng (Assistant Director) has been at Camp Riverbend since she was 5 years old. She started typing camper lists (on a typewriter, with carbon paper!) while she was still in high school. Jill graduated from the College of New Jersey with a degree in Art Therapy. She has three children who have all been campers and counselors at Camp Riverbend. Her interests are travel, reading and hanging out in New York with her sons.
Paul Breene (Assistant Director) grew up at Riverbend and only left for a few years to get a law degree. He still practices law from Labor Day to June 1 but, like the rest of the Breene family, loves camp and returns every year to be a part of it. Paul is married to our program director, Miriam Peretsman and this year is the father of one of our co-counselors, Jack Breene, a new High School graduate. Paul loves everything about camp and looks forward every year to the first day of staff orientation, which is kind of like baseball spring training in that it is filled with anticipation of another great season with our incredibly talented and devoted staff. Paul loves to help lead morning assemblies with his dad--Mr. Breene--and especially loves leading the campfires when E and F Division Groups have their overnights. In his spare time, Paul gardens, skis, golfs (badly), and reads.
Robin Breene Hetrick (Waterfront Director) was too young to be a camper when Camp Riverbend opened, so she toddled around camp with her babysitter. Robin graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Physical Therapy and she is still the one we consult for our aches and pains! She worked as a physical therapist full time for 6 years and then came back to camp. She is a fitness buff and an enthusiastic fashionista!
Miriam Peretsman Breene (Program Director) had her first summer camp experience as a Girl Scout on Long Island. She has been here at Camp Riverbend since 1988, first as the newspaper editor for one year, and then as the program director every year since then. Miriam studied at the University of Pennsylvania and she met her husband Paul Breene during her (and his) junior year abroad in London. Miriam likes to read, ski, travel and garden.
Katie Higgins (Clubhouse Division Head) has a BA in Art Education and holds a MA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She is currently an Art Teacher at the elementary level. She loves working with kids and getting them excited about new experiences! Katie remembers her first summer working as a junior counselor where she realized she wanted to continue to work with kids and make an impact in their lives. In her free time, Katie loves to travel,explore new places, go to museums, watch movies, snowboard and play sports.
Dave Muller (B Division Head) been working at Camp Riverbend for seventeen years. He is a father of three campers. During the school year, he is a sixth grade teacher in the Belleville Public School System. He has been teaching for seventeen years, and has a B.A. degree in Teacher of the Handicapped. He also holds a masters degree in School Counseling and an associate degree in Food Service Management. For this reason, Dave is the “executive chef” for our end-of-the-summer barbecue for all campers! In his spare time, Dave enjoys road cycling, swimming, and camping.
Mike Glackin (C Division Head) has been a counselor at Camp Riverbend since he graduated high school in 2005, following in the tracks of his mother who was a counselor in the 1970's. Mike is a high school teacher in Edison now. Mike met his wife Jenn at Camp (another Riverbend romance) and at their wedding the happy couple came to Riverbend for a game of gaga! Mike is an accomplished bagpiper who has performed at many of our Counselor Talent Shows.
John Stein (D Division Head) currently teaches 5th grade at Koinonia Academy, where he is also the Athletic Director and Cross Country Coach. He has a Masters degree in Education from Long Island University. Before being a teacher in New Jersey, he taught various elementary grades for many years at a school on Long Island. He was also a police officer on Long Island. He has been a Boy Scout merit badge counselor for 25 years! John and his wife have 7 children and 8 grandchildren. After Camp Riverbend’s season is over, John switches hats and is the program director for a church camp in upstate New York for 2 weeks. John’s hobbies include chess, judo and reading.
Jeff Kaesshaefer (E Division Head) has worked at Riverbend for over 10 years. He has taught elementary physical education at South Mountain School in South Orange for the past 17 years. Jeff has 3 kids who are all campers at Riverbend. He has recently completed his masters in Educational Leadership. During the school year he coaches basketball and lacrosse. To stay active, he likes to run, play basketball, and spend time outdoors.
Debbie Breene (F Division Head) met her husband Roger Breene at Camp Riverbend 34 years ago and has been working at camp ever since that time. She was a Spanish teacher for 5 years, had her family and then taught at Marianne’s nursery school for 20 years. Debbie is a substitute teacher in Summit at the elementary schools. She enjoys biking, skiing, collecting sea glass at the Jersey shore, volunteering, cooking, working with children and taking classes at Equinox.