Lisa Tripler & Dan Rapaport (Owners/Directors)
Hands-on leadership is caringly given by the dedicated Owners/Directors Lisa Tripler and husband Dan Rapaport. Lisa has been connected to Kohut for over fifty years and has a deep commitment to carrying on its rich tradition of excellence in camping.
Lisa grew up in the New York metropolitan area, spending many happy summers at Kamp Kohut where her father Bob “Trip” Tripler was alternately the Waterfront and Program Directors, and her mother Elsebeth was Assistant Program Director and “Kamp Mom.” Lisa’s brother, Scott, was a camper and counselor during that time as well. Kohut was an all boys camp in those days, so alumni from those years may remember Lisa as the Fairy Princess in the play or the sole young girl around Kamp. When Lisa was older, she went down the lake to work at Camp Fernwood, where she learned different aspects of camp as she worked her way up from Pantry Girl to Waterfront Director and Head Counselor. However, Lisa feels her most valuable experience comes from being a mom where she learned to deeply appreciate how each child is different and special and little things make a big difference in a child’s eye.
Lisa earned her B.A. with honors from Colby College, in Waterville, ME. She knew she loved working with children and wanted to make a positive difference in children’s lives, so she went on to earn her J.D. in Juvenile Law from the University of Maine. Her dream of changing the world one child at a time came true when she and her husband Dan bought Kohut in the fall of 1992.
Passionate about her mission and the place which holds such fond memories, Lisa remains thrilled to have the opportunity to own and direct Kamp Kohut. She is committed to giving children and young adults a positive experience and an environment to grow, learn, have fun, and tangibly improve self-esteem in a warm, supportive, nurturing setting.
Dan is a Boston area native, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Colby College. At Colby, he was captain of the baseball team and sports editor of the Colby Echo. He earned his J.D. at Cornell University in 1978 and joined the firm of Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios the same year. He is a former director of the Jewish Federation and a former Hebrew instructor on the faculty of Temple Beth Ha’am. Dan’s camp experience comes from happy summers at Ted Williams baseball camp.
Although Dan is a very accomplished attorney, he spends his summers at Kohut, lending a hand wherever needed, from coaching baseball to handing out evening snack to making announcements at flagpole. He has even been known to join in a camper acapella performance in the Kohut Talent Show upon special request.
Dan & Lisa have two daughters, Julie & Carly, who have been campers and staff members at Kohut. Julie, a graduate of Tufts University, is a head studio executive and film producer in Los Angeles. Carly is a graduate of Colby College and after five years in educational recruitment, joined the Kamp Kohut year-round team, working her way up to Associate Director and Head Counselor.
When they are not at Kamp, Lisa and Dan live happily in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, with their dog Ruby. They also thoroughly enjoy time in their new role as grandparents to adorable Lottie and Jack.
Joe Long (Associate Director)
Joe Long has been coming to Kohut from Galway, Ireland, almost every summer since 1980. He started as a swim instructor and then became the Waterfront Director, the Head Counselor, and is now an Associate Director. Joe has a Bachelor of Arts and Higher Diploma in Education from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Masters in Career Guidance and Counseling from University College Dublin. He taught secondary school English and Geography for over ten years and then added the responsibilities of Guidance Counselor and Deputy Principal for over 20 years.
In his free time, Joe has taught and coached swimming (American WSI, Irish WSA, Swim Club President) and Gaelic Football (National champions). He also enjoys cycling, walking, photography, video editing and reading. His Irish accent and vast vocabulary, good humor and incredible experience add a special quality to our Kohut Leadership Team.
Carly Vargas (Associate Director/Head Counselor)
Carly Vargas grew up at Kohut, where she spent many summers as a camper, a counselor, and then a member of the Leadership Team. Carly has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Colby College and a Master of Camp Administration and Leadership from Touro University. At Colby, Carly was captain of the Women’s Lacrosse team (NESCAC champions) and coached high school lacrosse in Maine and Massachusetts. After college, Carly worked for the educational recruitment and placement firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates placing teachers and administrators in independent schools K-12 worldwide. While Carly enjoyed staffing, she missed the satisfaction of working directly with young people and joined the Kamp year-round team in 2015. She is now an Associate Director and Head Counselor. Carly was selected to be a board member of the New England American Camp Association, has presented at the ACA New England Camp Conference and the ACA NY/NJ Teen LEADership Conference, and was recently awarded the ACA’s Leadership and Service award.
Carly lives in Cape Elizabeth with her husband Alex, their sons Jack, Simon, and Noah, and their dog Libby. She enjoys taking walks with her family and keeping up with friends. Carly enjoys working side by side with her parents, Lisa and Dan, and looks forward to continuing Kohut’s rich legacy into the future.
Rory O’Connor (Assistant Director/Head Counselor)
Rory O’Connor is a Wisconsin native, although he also lived in western NY, Ohio, and Montreal before coming to Maine to work at Kamp in 2012 as a general landsports and music counselor. Working his way up from counselor, Rory has been the Outdoor Education Director, the Media Director, and joined the year-round team in 2015. Rory has a Bachelor of Arts in music history from Baldwin Wallace University and studied musicology at McGill University’s graduate program.
Rory is also a certified ropes course instructor, so his well-rounded talents are a tremendous asset to Kamp as he plays Reveille every morning, accompanies on the piano for Kamp Talent Shows, Musicals and Song Fest – in between leading, organizing, and photographing outdoor adventures. Rory is a member of Maine Summer Camps’ Community Outreach committee and has helped with various community youth service projects.
An avid outdoorsman and photographer, in his spare time Rory enjoys exploring, hiking, and camping all over New England. He also volunteers at a local Boys and Girls Club.
Frank Saenz-Lee (Director of Operations)
Frank Saenz-Lee first came to Kamp in the summer of 1998, beginning a journey that has spanned over two decades on Thompson Lake. His initial role as a radio counselor was just the beginning of his Kohut journey. Over the years, Frank progressed through various positions, including Media Director and IT Director, a role which he assumed in 2004 after moving to Maine. His dedication and expertise culminated in his current role as the Director of Operations, a position he has held since 2023.
Throughout his tenure, Frank has been involved in many various parts of Kamp. His skill set is further accentuated by his qualifications as a nationally certified paramedic, licensed in both Maine and Florida, along with being a licensed paramedic instructor. His passion for helping others has extended outside his roles at Kohut, as evidenced by his tenure as an adult education teacher since 2000 specializing in emergency medicine and first aid instruction. Frank’s contribution to education also included teaching a short-term semester EMT course at Bates College for several years.
Before joining the Kohut team full-time in 2023, Frank served as a firefighter/paramedic Captain, where he developed a strong foundation in leadership, education, and emergency management. This experience was enhanced by several certifications with both FEMA and ProBoard, underscoring his commitment to safety and preparedness in various settings.
Frank lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida during the off-season with his husband Leo and Sparky, his 13-year-old Morkie Apso, who is a beloved guest at Kamp. Outside of his professional and family endeavors, he actively participates in a community-based non-profit fundraising organization. There, he is involved in organizing and participating in fundraisers for local LGBTQ+ charities and youth programs, showcasing his dedication to fostering positive change within his community.