Meet the Directors

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Sisters Sara Blumberg and Laura Harres, along with their husbands Michael Blumberg and Nate Harres, have long dreamed of owning and directing a camp. Being a part of Discovery is a dream come true for them!

Sara has worked in camping since she was 15 years old. She is a former day camp Counselor, Head Counselor, Dance Specialist, Assistant Director, and Camp Director. Sara has her degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Masters in Social Work with a School concentration from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sara worked for 9 years at Northwood Junior High School in Highland Park as a Bilingual Social Worker. She also coached the poms team!  Her husband, Michael, is a former Discovery Day Camp camper himself, in addition to attending and working on the Admin Staff at North Star Camp in Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Sara and Michael are the proud parents of Scott, Reed, and Oscar, the dog.

Laura also has a background in camping for many years. She is a former day camp Counselor, which included working as a 1-on-1 companion for the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA). Laura is presently on the American Camping Association Illinois Board of Directors helping craft camp standards and best practices within the industry. She is a Licensed Architect with her degree and Masters in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her husband, Nate, is also a Licensed Architect and a former college baseball pitcher at Knox College. He earned his Masters from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Laura and Nate are the proud parents of Logan, Mason, and Evelyn (Evie).

Oscar is a very important part of the Discovery program! As Discovery’s camp dog, Oscar is at camp all summer long. He is a cuddly Goldendoodle who loves spending time with his Discovery friends.

Directors Emeritus

Discovery Day Camp was founded in 1984 by Ilise and David Schwartzwald to meet the needs of their three young children. Ilise and David originally rented property for the camp and later purchased property in unincorporated Lake County. Discovery has been at its current location in Indian Creek since 1992.

Ilise worked in camping year-round beginning in 1974. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan, taught high school in Highland Park and Deerfield District 113 where she also coached gymnastics, and developed a number of preschools. Ilise was a member of the American Camp Association (ACA) and is a former ACA-IL Section Executive Board Member and Midwest Association of Independent Camps (MAIC) Co-President. Ilise has been a certified WSI, lifeguard, first aide, and lifeguard instructor since 1967. She was also certified as a Starfish Instructor trainer by the Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI).

David was involved in camp from the beginning while he worked in other professions. David graduated from Loyola University and is a Certified Public Accountant who worked in the accounting field, as well as in private industry. David joined Discovery full time in 1990. David was the Co-President of the MAIC and the Treasurer of the Illinois section of the ACA for a number of years.