Camp Akeela Staff
Camp Akeela is proud to boast a ratio of more than 1 adult for every 2 campers. More essential than the number of staff we employ is the quality of our personnel. At Akeela, every camper benefits from the care, spirit and skills of each staff member. We undertake extraordinary lengths to find the best of the best, to ensure that campers have the safest, most fun and most transformative experience possible. Each of our staff members has chosen to join Akeela because they are excited about living, playing, laughing and learning in our camp community. They approach each summer with the energy, dedication and sense of humor that make it evident how much they enjoy and truly “get” Akeela campers!
This incredible group of people includes experts in the fields of child development, psychology, special education, therapeutic interventions, and health care. All of this combined expertise helps ensure that every Akeela camper receives the individualized care and attention that he or she requires to have a successful summer.
Our Camp Directors
Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Place I’d Like To Visit: New Zealand
Camp Food: Fajitas
Favorite Book: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Place I’d Like To Visit: South Africa
Camp Food: Tacos
Debbie and Eric met at a summer camp and have been partners in camping ever since. They have each held virtually every job available at camp, from bunk counselor and swim instructor to unit head and camp director. Throughout their careers, Debbie and Eric have always found themselves gravitating towards the “quirky” kids. Opening Akeela enabled them to create an empowering community for boys and girls who thrive in traditional camp setting with a little extra social support.
Akeela Wisconsin and Beyond Akeela Director
Kevin is from Palo Alto, California. He played basketball at Palo Alto High School and was a member of the 2006 State championship team. He then went on to graduate from Wake Forest University with a bachelors and masters degree in Accountancy. After spending a year at Ernst & Young, the call to return to camp was too strong to ignore. He left his young accounting career behind to follow his passion here at Akeela. When he’s not working on camp stuff, Kevin enjoys playing basketball and traveling to see friends.
Favorite Book: The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
Place I’d Like To Visit: Greece
Favorite Camp Food: Chicken Patties
Akeela Wisconsin Director
Originally from the Midwest, Mike graduated with a degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota. During and after college, he spent 4 years working at an autism and early childhood intervention center. He loved working one-on-one with clients to improve their social skills, as well as running after school groups for teenagers. Mike traded in the Midwest flatlands for the Rhode Island ocean and has spent the last 8 years as an Assistant Dean at Middlebridge School, a private boarding high school for students with learning differences. During his free time, Mike enjoys exploring the world with his family, directing the school play and engaging in any card or sports game he can convince others to play with him!
Favorite Book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Place I’d Like To Visit: New Zealand (to walk the trail to Mordor)
Favorite Camp Food: Chicken Patties
Beyond Akeela Director
Favorite Book: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Place I’d Like To Visit: Portugal
Favorite Camp Food: Vegan cookies
Our Senior Staff
Our senior staff is composed of highly trained and experienced professionals in the fields of psychology, education, special needs, and therapeutic interventions. These “go-to” people train and provide on-going support to our counselors and activity specialists. They also work directly with campers as part of our regular program and on an as-needed basis.
Vermont Site Manager
What makes Blayne such a unique and invaluable asset to Akeela is that in addition to his skills as a builder, contractor, and facility manager, he loves camp life! He and his dog, Kayla, are beloved figures around camp and play a big role in the community. Born and raised in Thetford, Vermont, Blayne also serves as our expert in all things local. When not working on camp projects, he can usually be found fishing in Miller Pond or playing in the mud with his excavator!
Favorite Book: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Place I’d Like To Visit: Japan
Favorite Camp Food: Desserts
Assistant Director (VT)
In 2015, Rob moved over to the Program side of life at camp and discovered a new love for the complexities of scheduling and trying to make sure that everyone gets their top choices for Specialties! Beginning in 2017, Rob pioneered the role of communications director for Akeela. In that capacity, he works closely with Debbie, Eric and the head counseling team to continually improve how we communicate all of the successes happening at camp with the outside world!
During the rest of the year, Rob works as an actor and workshop leader. A lot of this work takes him into schools and colleges to facilitate issue-based presentations on a wide variety of topics such as anti-social behavior, bullying, community cohesion and drug issues. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, reading, swimming and watching Doctor Who!
Favorite Book: The Box of Delights by John Masefield
Place I’d Like To Visit: Nepal and Tibet
Camp Food: Hot Dogs and dessert!
Head Counselor (VT)
Nicole is looking forward to so many things about camp, including getting to know her campers, sharing music at the campfires, and working with an incredible and dedicated staff!
Favorite Book: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Place I’d Like To Visit: Iceland
Favorite Camp Food: Anything gluten free!
Head Counselor (VT)
Favorite Book: Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Place I’d Like To Visit: Alaska
Favorite Camp Food: S’mores
Program Director (VT)
Favorite Book: Wonder by R.J Palacio
Place I’d Like To Visit: Chile
Favorite Camp Food: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Head Counselor (WI)
Since joining the Akeela family, Lauren has fallen in love with camp life and couldn’t be more excited for another summer filled with awesome camp traditions (evening meeting and campfire being her personal favorites) and a wonderful crew of campers and counselors.
Favorite Book: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Place I’d Like To Visit: Ireland
Favorite Camp Food: Tacos and desserts
Program Director (WI)
Catricia joined the Akeela staff in 2015 as a Cabin Counselor. She moved to the program side of camp in 2017 as the Lead Program Specialist at Akeela Wisconsin and will be the Program Director in Wisconsin this summer. In her free time, Catricia loves to dance, listen to music, and spend time with her family and friends. She is originally from Minnesota and has loved being part of Akeela’s move to the Midwest. Catricia loves all things camp life and is looking forward to her fourth summer with the Akeela community!
Favorite Book: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Place I’d Like To Visit: India
Favorite Camp Food: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup