The über-popular Town of Gardiner Summer Recreation Program, which moves into full swing this week, is co-run by a husband-and-wife team, camp directors Frank LaRonca and Amanda Paul. The two moved to the area 11 years ago, and Frank took over directing the summer rec camp when an opening came up five years ago. “It was a great opportunity to work with local kids in a different way than we do during the school year,” he said, noting that they’re both public school teachers in the region.
Amanda joined him two years ago, and the two have been busy preparing for the 2013 summer camp extravaganza. Asked what makes the camp special, Frank said, “Awesome campers, fantastic counselors and terrific CITs” or counselors-in-training.
The couple of 18 years, married for 13 (Frank notes that he had a “crush on Amanda five years before they started dating”), are the subject of this week’s New Paltz Times Meet & Greet column.
Business or organization:
Town of Gardiner Summer Recreation Program.
Where are you from originally?
Amanda grew up in New York City and Frank grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
What makes New Paltz /Gardiner unique?
New Paltz and Gardiner have an unusual sense of “community,” which is not easy to find in 2013. The farmers, the climbers, the small-business-owners, the college students — all living together, not always agreeing with one other, but generally looking out for each other and taking care of each other.
What do you like about this community, and why?
The people! We can’t think of a better place on Earth to raise our children. Our experience has been that the whole “It takes a village thing” really happens here!
What is your favorite hangout? Why?
Our front porch, built last summer by local master builder Dana Simmons, where we get to gaze out at beautiful Taliaferro Farms and the gorgeous mountains beyond.
Tell us something we never would have guessed about you.
Frank was a Butoh dancer in his 20s, and Amanda was about to open a private investigation business before having children.