neal spinler,
executive director

Neal Spinler has over twenty years of theater and arts leadership experience with key marketing, communications, and development roles at The Children’s Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, LA STAGE Alliance, Rogue Artists Ensemble, Tears of Joy Theatre, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, and ODC/Dance. He received a BFA in Theatre Direction from U-WI Superior and an MBA from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at U-WI Madison.


Galen Cohen, MA, LPC
Camp Director / Registration & Program Coordinator

Galen has been involved with YMA since 1993, when he attended 1st Session as one of the youngest cellists in the program. He remembers that all of the cello parts had to be re-written for him, as it was his first time attempting to play more advanced music. He continued at YMA into his teenage years as a CIT (Counselor in Training) and then as a Counselor. After a brief hiatus, Galen returned as the Director of Student Life for 8 years and was appointed Camp Director in 2015.

Galen holds a B.S. in Education and Social Policy and a Minor in Music from Northwestern University, and a M.A in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. In addition to being Camp Director, Galen works as a Mental Health Therapist, primarily with adolescents and families. Galen is also an active cellist in the Portland music community.

As with most students who attend YMA, the summer program has been life-changing for Galen, and he is thrilled to pass the experience along to new generations of families. At camp, in addition to seeing him run around addressing parent questions, training the Counselor team, helping with facilities issues and supervising the Faculty, he is known to be a beast on the 4-Square Court. However, he sadly admits that he has never won the tournament.


Outreach coordinator

Elena Cissell attended camp for the first time as a middle school student and continued for 10 years as a camper, CIT, and flute counselor. In middle and high school she played with various ensembles associated with Metropolitan Youth Symphony. She describes YMA as the best two weeks of the year and is thrilled to come back to her camp family in a new role.