The Zeal Team
Our leaders are the best in the industry. They have extensive experience working with teenagers at some of the best summer camps in the nation, and are only eligible to join our staff if they are nominated by their prior camp director. Our staff combines their passion for travel with backgrounds in teaching, touring, experiential education, and the outdoors. And, even with their extensive knowledge and experience, we provide customized training to all staff to ensure that all Zeal tours prioritize safety while fostering a community of growth, development, fun, and adventure!
David and his team go above and beyond in everything that they do. The mix of activities is a perfect balance of adventure, education and service. The attention to detail on all aspects of the trip really gives me comfort and confidence as a parent that my son would not only have an amazing time but would always be in good hands. David and the other leaders passion for travel and kids shines through in everything they do. Thanks Zeal! – David K., Zeal Parent
David Jacobson-Fried comes to Zeal after years of experience in summer camp and education. For over a decade, David has been involved in every level of summer programming from counselor to director. Originally a counselor at Camp Walt Whitman, David became a water-ski director, before moving on to be a trip leader, medical specialist, and SCUBA instructor for a well known teen tour company. David spent three summers at the United World College of the American West. At UWC, he worked as the Director of Summer Programs and head of the school’s experiential education program. David has been with Zeal since its inception in 2015.
Our Executive Directors
Carolyn and Jed Dorfman have over 20 years of combined experience as the directors of Camp Walt Whitman, one of the premier co-ed sleepaway camps in the world. They have combined their passion for working with teenagers with their knowledge of the life skills developed through travel to create Zeal Adventure and Travel. Working closely with David, Carolyn and Jed have designed Zeal’s trips, overseen the hiring and screening process, and implemented the industry’s highest standards of safety. Their passion for youth development is only matched by their love of safe and exciting adventure.
Trip Leader: Meghan Porath
Meghan is an adventurous Canadian passionate about outdoor adventure experiences and travel. She holds a degree in tourism from Thompson Rivers University with a major in management and a minor in international adventure community development. She has worked as a zipline guide, an analyst/content builder for a biological reserve in Chile, and most recently was the quartermaster and hiking guide in the white mountains of New Hampshire at Camp Walt Whitman. Meghan has traveled most of her life with multiple trips across the USA and Canada, as well as making her way through the entire east coast of Australia, and spending a month in the Andes and Patagonia region of Chile. She has been rock climbing in Chile, Nevada, and most often Squamish, B.C. Multiday backpacking trips are what Meghan finds most rewarding.
“I’m beyond excited to work for Zeal this summer so I can help showcase how outdoor adventure and travel can be a useful learning tool. I want to use my own experiences combined with my education to help these young adults create a greater appreciation for other communities, cultures, and the environments they’ve thrived in.”
Trip Leader: Griffin Weiss
Growing up in British Columbia, Canada, Griffin has always had a passion for the outdoors and adventure. He graduated from
Thompsons Rivers University with a Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management, which allowed him to attain a number of outdoor adventure certifications and gain ample experience while doing so. Griffin has been involved in multi-week adventure trips including rock climbing, backcountry skiing and hiking. Outside of adventure sports, he has been on travel trips to world destinations including Israel, Australia, Chile, Norway, Amsterdam and more. He has spent the last 7 summers working for Jed and Carolyn Dorfman at Camp Walt Whitman holding numerous positions with the last being the CIT (Counselor in Training) Director.
“Being able to show young adults new cultures, communities and everything that goes along with them is something that a lot of people don’t get to experience. I consider myself very lucky to be able to share these things with Zeal families.”
Trip Leader: Pete Georges
Pete is known for his humor and caring personality, but behind the jovial façade is a strong leader with extensive experience and education. He holds a degree in Psychology from Salve Regina University where he began his youth leadership experience as a student mentor and Resident Advisor. Pete is currently pursuing a masters degree in clinical and mental health and working in student support at Groton Dunstable Regional High School.
For the past three years, his summers have been spent working with teens as a counselor and CIT director for a premier sleep-away camp in New Hampshire. There, he led their oldest campers and counselors-in-training on outdoor adventure and community service trips, as well as teaching them the leadership skills necessary to be powerful mentors for younger campers.
Aside from his professional travel experience, Pete has been all over the United States and across the globe. He’s always up for an adventure, and in the pursuit of learning more about the world.
“I think that the most rewarding experience that anyone can have in life is traveling. It doesn’t matter if it’s to the next state or an exotic locale, but if you can give yourself an opportunity to learn new things, to grow, and to have fun then there is truly nothing more exciting. I look forward to using my leadership skills and experience working with young adults to develop a cohesive group that will not only learn so much about each other, but develop a better understanding of different cultures and their environments, and how important it is to give back, all while having a lifechanging summer! “
Trip Leader: John Harlow
John’s parents introduced him to Scouting at the age of seven, and what began as simple backpacking and camping trips across the British Wessex Downs quickly escalated into extended travel, caving, alpinism, and traditional climbing. During his tenure at the University of Kent, he earned his degree in Philosophy. In his final two years at university, John led multi-day caving, climbing, or mountaineering trips every single week.
Elsewhere, his travel experience includes crags in every corner of the UK, summits across Europe, and over the breadth of the USA, which he fell in love with working as a Program Instructor at a YMCA camp in New Jersey. In the UK, John volunteers with mountaineering, caving, and search and rescue groups, which have given him an appreciation for the great value that volunteering can have to communities and the human spirit.
“As an organization with such a positive ethic towards responsible travel, personal development, and community service, I am absolutely delighted to be a part of Zeal! Adventure, volunteering, and travel have been formative experiences in my life, and I feel privileged to be sharing those values and new experiences with our young adults.”
Trip Leader: Maureen La Clair
Maureen caught a strong case of wanderlust early on in life. A love of travel, experiencing new cultures, and exploring the great big outdoors has led her to adventures like living in Athens, Greece, traveling by train through 10 European countries with nothing but a backpack, and spending countless nights out under the stars from the east to west coast of the United States.
She grew up life guarding on the beautiful ocean beaches of Eastern Long Island. Her time there prepared her to be the Aquatics Director and cabin counselor for a premier sleep-away camp in Holmes, New York. Maureen was also the Assistant Director of a leadership program for young women held at Eleanor Roosevelt’s estate in Hyde Park, NY.
When she’s not traveling, camping, or planning her next trip, Maureen lives in New York City where she works as a youth athletic coach and after school instructor. A lifelong runner and soccer player, she’s always ready for a quick pickup game or a sunset run, and she doesn’t mind taking the long way to get the best views. She can’t wait to meet the teens she’ll be leading this summer, and is so excited to share in amazing adventures.
Trip Leader: Naomi Miessler
Naomi’s love of travel grew out of family excursions at an early age. Primed for a life of adventure, Naomi lived abroad in Lithuania for a year and has crisscrossed the United States many times over. She’s also road tripped throughout Europe. Naomi views each day as an adventure, and brings an indomitable positivity to every youth group she leads.
Naomi has over 12 years of experience with youth service trips, which led her to pursue a degree in Education and Service Learning at St. Olaf College. Naomi loves partnering with communities and believes the exchange of service, culture, and knowledge makes the world a better place.
“As a person who greatly values service and travel, I love being part of Zeal! I know being involved in community service, adventures, and travel since a very young age helped to broaden my world view and develop my empathy for others. I love being a part of the journey as another generation has new experiences and gains valuable life skills through Zeal adventures.”