Mary Stein is the proud founder, owner and director of Dream BIG Day Camp, Denver’s premier camping experience for children. After leaving a successful NYC/Westchester County counseling career with children and families, she has enjoyed over 25 years in the camping community. Founded in 2005, Dream BIG Day Camp is a culmination of her own dream of returning to Denver and starting a first class children’s camp.
Mary is a former owner and director of Camp Echo Lake, a full season residential camp in Warrensburg, NY. Echo Lake serves approximately 550 children and employs 225 staff members each summer. She graduated from the University of Colorado and earned her Master’s Degree from Fordham University in New York City. Mary has served on the board of the Rose Women’s Organization and has held various board positions including the American Camp Association, Project Morry and the Montessori School of Denver. She was nominated as one of Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business and is a member of the Colorado Chapter of Entrepreneur’s Organization, a dynamic, global network of more than 10,000 business owners.
Mary is the mother of twin 16-year-old boys and actively runs after them. She loves skiing, tennis and cycling as well as cheering on her sons at their numerous athletic events. Mary grew up in Denver where she successfully competed in high school basketball, volleyball and soccer.
Assistant Director, Jen O’Leary, best known as “JellO” around camp, met Mary Stein while working as a Group Leader and Assistant Head Counselor at Camp Echo Lake in New York. Jen caught the camp bug immediately and was thrilled to rejoin camp life when Dream Big opened for summer in Denver in 2007. With 13 years of experience in camping, Jen loves working with campers and staff to learn and grow in a supportive environment where they feel safe to take risks.
Jen received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders with a minor in Child Development from California State University, Fullerton. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in Communication Disorders also at CSU Fullerton.She has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist for 15 years and currently works in Jefferson County Public Schools. Jen works with elementary students with special needs in kindergarten through 6th grade and enjoys helping her students persevere through challenges to reach their full potential. While working in California she was awarded the Parent-Teacher Association VIP honor for her dedication to children. Jen recently took on the role of Educator for Girls Leadership, an organization that teaches girls the skills to know who they are, what they believe, and how to express it, empowering them to create change in their world. As an Educator, she facilitates parent-daughter workshops that teach practical tools to support and nurture girls’ confidence and friendships. Jen also has experience working as a preschool teacher with children ages 3-5.
Jen grew up in southern California and followed her family to Colorado in 2007. She loves spending time with her family and especially loves her new role as being a mother to three-year-old, Quinn. Jen also adores her four nephews and two nieces. She enjoys playing soccer and skiing, loves following football and baseball and attending all types of live sporting events. Jen grew up as a Girl Scout and enjoyed the many opportunities scouting brought to her life as a young person. She was a recipient of the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting for creating and implementing an environmental awareness program for preschool students. Jen has done volunteer work for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, serving as a mentor for a pre-teen girl. Additionally she has helped fundraise for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in honor of her late father. Jen is passionate about Dream Big and looks forward to camp all year long!Katie Cothern started working at DBDC in the summer of 2009. She began as a Group Leader for the lovable and rambunctious four year old boys. She then spent four years as a Head Counselor for our four and five year old campers at the Denver campus. In the summer of 2014, Katie switched roles and has been writing the program for campers and families. This past summer, she assisted Mary in opening the doors of our new Greenwood Village Campus.
During the school year, Katie works as a third grade teacher in Jefferson County. She has been in the classroom for nine years, including time in kindergarten and fourth grade. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Metropolitan State University, as well as a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Colorado Christian University. She has spent time volunteering with the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of America, and at Outdoor Education Lab School. She has helped organize shoe drives for third world countries with the help of Soles 4 Souls in many locations including right here at DBDC.
Katie is a Colorado native, and lives in Arvada with her husband, and four year old daughter, Addie. In 2017, Addie joined the ranks at Dream BIG Day Camp, and fell in love with camp just like her mother. Katie enjoys spending time cheering on the Rockies, traveling to the mountains, and going to the zoo. Katie has participated in Tri for the Cure to benefit breast cancer research, as well as multiple 5K races supporting various causes such as the Denver Dumb Friends League, Fight MS, Food Bank of the Rockies, and the Denver Rescue Mission. Katie as a self diagnosed “Camp Addict,” and loves sharing her experience with our kids every summer.