Meet this year’s Summer Camp Director Team!

One of Camp Fire’s greatest assets is the incredible people who plan and run our programs. We’re starting off a series on our blog that will highlight some of the talented staff and volunteers who pour themselves into our youth – giving of their time, their energy, and their expertise. Our first feature is all about the Director team at Camp Sealth (affectionately referred to in short as the ACD’s).  Made up of both year-round and long-term seasonal camp professionals, this team is responsible for the recruitment and hiring of over 100+ summer staff, planning of staff training, camp logistics, programming, schedules, and of course, all the small, fun details that help build a unique camp community! Let’s learn a little more about who they are and what makes them tick!

Danielle Gruenberg – “Ivy”

My name is Dani, camp name Ivy! My pronouns are she/her.  I’m from Santa Barbara, California, a beach city 2 hours north of Los Angeles. I’ve spent most of my camp days at Camp St. Albans, a Girl Scout camp near the Olympic Peninsula. I started there as a counselor and ended as an ACD. I’ve also worked at a few outdoor education camps mostly on the West coast. In September 2020, I started my journey at Sealth working with their Outdoor Connections program, which supported local Vashon families by providing childcare services. This will be my first summer at Sealth!

Outside of camp, I love to thrift and to craft. I’m trying to learn how to embroider currently. I am a vegetarian as well and like to explore with cooking, although I’m not always successful! At camp I love (of course) Arts & Crafts and campfires the most. This year I hope to learn more especially about the inclusion program and to learn from our unique team!

Lexie Parrott –  “Lava”

My name is Lexie (camp name Lava) and my pronouns are she/her. I grew up in Kokomo, Indiana but I’m definitely starting to feel more at home out on the west coast. This will be my second year as an ACD and I am beyond pumped to be back. Outside of my time at Sealth, I’ve been both a Day Camp and an Overnight Camp counselor at YMCA Camp Tecumseh, an intern at YMCA Camp Potawotami, and a Naturalist at Mission Springs Outdoor Education.

I definitely picked the right profession, because I absolutely love to be outdoors. Nothing brings me more joy than evening beach walks watching the sunset while searching for sea glass, seals, and sea stars. (I also appreciate alliteration.) I love visiting National Parks and am always looking for an excuse to plan a road trip. I know how to dissect a squid, and I would love to talk with you about banana slugs. I also enjoy making pottery, swimming laps, and playing the board game Ticket to Ride.

Ksenia ‘Kae’ Klepitskaya – “Cream”

My name is Kae (she/her), I’m originally Russian and grew up mainly in Colorado, but I’ve moved around so much that the question “where are you from” leaves me a bit stumped (I came to camp from this year from San Diego). I’m super excited to discover the Sound and for island life.

This is going to be my twelfth summer working at a camp. I spent many summers at a Girl Scout camp in Colorado, was a program director at Camp Quinebarge in New Hampshire, and also worked at day camps and camps abroad. I also spent a year and a half teaching English in Prague and on Koh Samui, Thailand. I love learning and education, and I keep coming back to camps because of the joy they bring, and because I absolutely adore the outdoors. I love camping and hiking, bodies of water, and mountains. I also get excited about maps, compasses, and tracking. I am enthusiastic about traveling and languages (I can communicate in four!).

Avari Tawater-Tiedemann – “Honeybee”

My name is Avari (she/hers) and my camp name is Honeybee. I have called quite a few spots home but I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I cannot wait to be able to see the Pacific Ocean every morning because I am moving from a different ocean away.  My background in the camping world spans teaching 5-year-old girl scouts the ecological importance of honey bees, showing young adults survival skills, and corporate adults the value of team bonding. I have been lucky enough to bandage a skinned knee, teach swimming and ballet at summer intensives, run a summer school for Chicago and New Orleans public schools, and teach a camper the importance of “Leave No Trace.”

If I am not at a campfire, you can probably find me near the water playing. I love hot tea during a rainstorm and telling astronomy stories at night. Honey bees and the hives they create are a passion of mine and I hope to be able to care for my own hive again in the future!

Meaghan Baumgartner – “Burro”

My name is Meaghan (she/hers), but I’ve been “Burro” at camps now for 15 summers! I grew up across the water in Des Moines, WA and got to spend weekends at Camp Sealth originally as a Camp Fire group program member. I fell in love with camps officially though when I got to go to local Camp Waskowitz for outdoor school in 6th grade, and then all over again my first summer working at Sealth as a Riding Specialist.

I am thrilled to be in truly a dream job this summer as Summer Camp Director – you get to do so many different types of tasks and pull on so many different skills, it never gets boring! Each summer is so unique but even 100 years later, camp still serves such a special purpose in the lives of our camper and staff. There’s fun, there’s games, but it’s also an incredible legacy and responsibility that I feel privileged to be a part of.

What does the ACD Team do before summer starts?

Our summer team stays busy in a lot of ways! This will be a summer returning to a new reality that takes COVID into consideration, but that also more closely resembles a summer at full capacity! Our team is busy not only recruiting and hiring staff, but it will be Camp Sealth’s accreditation year with the American Camp Association and there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes updates of policies, procedures, and documentation that go into that process.

The team spends time carefully and intentionally building staff training, talking to parents, and acquiring supplies for next summer – who doesn’t love hitting the ‘Order’ button for 100+ glow sticks!? Most importantly, this year they are spending time deep diving into more equitable and restorative justice focused practices within the camp schedule, along with incorporating more mental health supportive policies into our staff culture.

What else? Our team supports the operations of camp! You may see them teaching an archery slot or working with one another in the kitchen during our Outdoor Education and Retreat season, or at the Spring Service Day. Just like any other staff too, we try to balance all the to-do’s with intentional teambuilding time and space for the adventures and rest they need before heading into a busy summer!

Inspired by Our Leaders?

We know we’re so excited to see what this passionate and creative team has in store for Summer 2022! If you’re interested in joining us for a summer unlike any other at Camp Sealth, it’s not too late to apply! We’re now hiring for counselors, specialists, support roles, and our supervisory/seasonal leadership team. Want to learn more about the application process or have questions? Reach out to us at campstaff@campfireseattle.org

Apply Now for Summer 2022!