Directors and Staff

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

Sasson Family
Debbie and Eric Sasson (with their daughters, Margo and Julia)

Eric Sasson has over 35 years of camp experience, at some of the Northeast’s finest camps, including Camp Walt Whitman, Camp Wingate*Kirkland and Camp Mah-Kee-Nac. He has been a full time camp professional for over 25 years and is an active member of the American Camp Association. Eric earned a BA in Math from Haverford College and a Masters in Education from Harvard University. Outside of the camp world, he has extensive experience working with children and young adults in a variety of settings.
Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Place I’d Like To Visit: New Zealand
Camp Food: Fajitas
Debbie Sasson has been spending her summers at camp for more than 30 years. She has a BA in Psychology and a Masters in School Counseling from the University of Rochester. After 3 wonderful years as a middle school counselor in Belmont, MA, she returned to school and earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University in May 2008. She works as a full-time director of Camp Akeela, a position to which she brings extensive knowledge of the fields of child, adolescent and Family-Systems psychology.
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.

Connect With Our Directors

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.

Erin Stewart
Assistant Director
Erin was born and raised in Country Derry, Ireland, and has been living and working in the US since 2012. She has always loved the outdoors, and was a member of Scouting Ireland for 15 years where she learned to love camping, climbing, and hiking, as well as the friendships and bonds that come from experiencing these things together! While studying for her Bachelor’s in English Literature, she took part in an exchange program which placed her at a summer camp in New Hampshire, and she immediately felt at home. Since then, she has worked through the ranks at camp, first as a camp counselor, and then as Adventure Staff member and Program Director. She accepted a position as a Camp Director in 2016, and has been directing since then. When she isn’t at camp, Erin loves exploring new places, visiting National Parks (she hopes to visit them all eventually), and spending time with her partner, Amy, and their two dogs, Koda and Archie, who you might spot at camp!

Favorite Book: On the Road by Jack Kerouac (She also reads the entire Harry Potter series once a year!)
Place I’d Like To Visit: Belize
Favorite Camp Food: Mac & Cheese

Rob Glyn-Jones
Rob Glyn-Jones
Assistant Director
Rob Glyn-Jones lives in the north of England, although he has spent the last twenty-five summers working at American summer camps. Rob started his camp career in 1996 as a counselor at Summit Camp in Pennsylvania. He rose through the ranks at Summit and for eight years was a Unit Leader there. In 2010 he joined Camp Akeela as a head counselor and had an immediate and profound impact on the Akeela campers and staff. He has always been drawn to working with children and believes that camp is a fantastic environment for encouraging growth and development – as well as having a great time!

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, Courtney Smith
Courtney Smith
Head Counselor
Courtney comes to us from North Carolina. After attending NC State and earning her degree in Communication Media, she decided to make Raleigh home. She is currently a K-5 Special Education teacher and has her Masters in Special Education from NC State, with a focus on students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. When Courtney first came to Akeela in 2019, she fell in love with the campers and the lifelong friends she made that summer. This will be Courtney’s fifth summer at camp and when she’s not at Akeela, you can find her loudly and proudly cheering on the NC State Wolfpack in various sports, volunteering with Miracle League of the Triangle or playing in an adult sports league. Courtney also enjoys catching up with staff friends around the world throughout the year.
Favorite Book: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Place I’d Like To Visit: Portugal
Favorite Camp Food: Chef Trina’s Brookies (half brownie / half cookie)

Head Counselor Jake Ferguson
Jake Ferguson
Head Counselor
Jake first worked at Camp Akeela in 2017, and has spent every summer with us since! Over the years, he has been a Hiking Specialist, Sailing Instructor, Counselor at Large, and Head Counselor.

Raised in Washington State, Jake moved to New York to attend Vassar College. At the end of his first year of college, he learned that he needed a summer internship. While hastily googling “good summer jobs for college students,” he discovered Akeela and immediately fell in love with its tight-knit community and passionate counselors. Since 2020, he has worked as a special educator and behavioral interventionist in schools around Northwestern Vermont. On his time off, Jake loves playing soccer, backpacking, and swimming in Lake Champlain.
Favorite Book: Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Place I’d Like To Visit: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Favorite Camp Food: Grilled cheese

Justin Rivera
Head Counselor
Justin is from New Jersey, where he is an instructional support aide in an elementary school setting. He has worked in education and childcare for ten years, and has spent summers at camps for nine years. Justin specializes in social skills coaching, community living, and life skills for teenagers entering adulthood; and assists in classroom integration for various learning styles. He will be returning to Camp Akeela for his third summer as a Head Counselor. When Justin is not busy working with students, he works a professional arts career as a dance theater artist, yoga instructor, and writer. He loves to go on trail walks and long hikes in New Jersey, reading on a comfy chair, and a casual game of chess.
Favorite Book: Upstream by Mary Oliver
Place I’d Like To Visit: Barcelona
Favorite Camp Food: Cookout burgers
Head Counselor, Nicole Frederick
Nicole Frederick
Head Counselor
Nicole’s first summer at Akeela was in 2014 and has continued to be in touch with the camp community in various capacities over the years. Between the summers she has spent at camp, Nicole is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and has worked in psychiatric hospitals, schools, and in the community as a music therapist and mental health counselor. She particularly enjoys working with adolescents and this will be her second summer as a head counselor. Outside of work, Nicole enjoys playing the violin in community orchestra, doing yoga, being outside, and playing with her dog, Juniper, who is from the farm around the corner from camp!
Favorite Book: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Place I’d Like To Visit: Costa Rica
Favorite Camp Food: Good Old Grilled Cheese
Johnnie Alberts Photo
Johnnie Alberts
Program Director
John Alberts is excited to be back for his fourth summer at Camp Akeela! Starting his camp career on the shores of Lake Cobbosseecontee, he began as a swimming and bunk counselor at Camp Cobbossee for Boys in Monmouth, ME. With years of competitive swimming experience, he quickly moved to the assistant waterfront director position. He spent two summers in that role, implementing a structured, safe, and of course engaging swim program in which campers strove to be the best versions of themselves. Over the past few years, John has spent the school year months working at year-round camp programs, including one in Texas that serves kids and adults with special needs and challenging illnesses. All of these experiences have reinforced Johnnie’s passion for camp, and inspired him to make camping his career objective. He believes camp has a monumental impact on those who truly step outside their comfort zones, and being able to provide a safe environment for campers to thrive makes places like Camp Akeela feel like a second home.
Favorite Book: The Body by Stephen King
Place I’d Like To Visit: Tokyo
Favorite Camp Food: Cheeseburgers

Maggie Partlow Photo
Maggie Partlow
Aquatics Director
Maggie was born in New Orleans and later moved to the Seattle area where she attended Western Washington University. It was there she gained her lifeguard and swim instructor certification and has been teaching swim lessons since 2017. She began her camp adventure in the summer of 2018 at Camp Akeela where she was a lifeguard and swim instructor. After her first summer at Akeela, Maggie received her Bachelor’s degree in English in 2019 and later became an early childhood educator at the Goddard School in Seattle. She then moved to New England to join the Middlebridge School in Rhode Island before moving to Vermont in 2022. She is now working as a special educator in an elementary school and can’t wait for her 6th summer at Akeela!
Favorite Book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Place I’d Like To Visit: Greece
Favorite Camp Food: Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Keefe Traendly Photo
Keefe Traendly
Site Manager
Keefe Traendly was born in nearby Lebanon, NH, and grew up along with his two brothers and two sisters right down the road from Camp Akeela! He graduated from Thetford Academy in 2000 and began working as a carpenter for several years before deciding to move to North Carolina to attend college. After 10 years down South, the opportunity arose to come back home to Vermont to help his ailing father run his contracting business. Since then, Keefe has made carpentry into a career, on that gives him the type of satisfaction most only dream of. In 2013, Keefe married his wife, Yvette, who is a special education teacher at the Newton School in Strafford. His hobbies are hiking, fishing, hunting, and going to see as much live music as possible!
Favorite Book: Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Place I’d Like To Visit: Brazil
Favorite Camp Food: S’mores
Chef Trina Photo
Chef Trina Triacca
Head Chef
Chef Trina is from Orlando, Florida and currently lives in Gainesville, where she is a chef for a fraternity at the University of Florida. She is a graduate of the prestigious culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales and has been working in food service for over 20 years. She has explored her love for food and people in a variety of settings, including catering and food specialty stores. She has even owned, managed and cooked in her own food truck! In addition to her talent, her contagious laugh and her unwavering positivity, one of the things we love most about Trina is her passion for making people happy through food. Now in her 7th summer at Akeela, she continues to wow us with a great menu, and a sharply tuned attention to all of our various preferences and special diets.

When Trina isn’t in the kitchen she enjoys spending time with her family and her old dog, Bender. She loves trying new restaurants and traveling. Her travels have taken her to much of the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and all over Europe. She has a quirky love of 80s movies, especially anything starring Bill Murray. She also loves painting, crafting and everything about Camp Akeela!
Favorite Book: The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Place I’d Like to Visit: Australia
Favorite Camp Food: Tacos!

Connect With Our Directors

Beyond Akeela Directors

Kevin Trimble
Beyond Akeela Director
Kevin Trimble lives in Philadelphia and has worked at Akeela since 2009. He started as an accounting intern, and has spent his other summers as a counselor, Program Director and Head Counselor at Camp Akeela. In October 2013, he joined Akeela’s full-time staff as Assistant Director, before taking on his current role as the director of Beyond Akeela.

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


Kristin Trimble
Beyond Akeela Director

Kristin Trimble joined the Akeela team in 2015 as a counselor, and has spent every summer since in the Akeela community, including her role as the Beyond Akeela Head Counselor in 2018. When she’s not at camp, Kristin is a school & mental health counselor at a high school in Philadelphia. She obtained her graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Temple University, and has focused her career on high school aged students. Kristin brings her counseling expertise to camp and oversees the social success and emotional well being of Beyond Akeela teens. During the off-season, Kristin works closely with her husband, Akeela’s Assistant Director Kevin Trimble, to build the Beyond Akeela curriculum and meets with each new family. When she’s not focused on camp, Kristin enjoys playing in a local volleyball league (with Kevin!), exploring Philadelphia, and finding new recipes to try at home!
Favorite Book: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Place I’d Like To Visit: Portugal
Favorite Camp Food: Vegan cookies

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