Chair - Ross Turner is the President and CEO of Guided Discoveries, which develops and operates outdoor educational programs and summer youth camps. The Guided Discoveries family of programs include the Catalina Island Marine Institute, Catalina Sea Camp, Camp Fox YMCA Camp, Astrocamp, Astrocamp Summer Adventure, and CIMI Tall Ship Expeditions aboard the Tole Mour. Guided Discoveries has grown into an organization that serves over 45,000 children annually. Ross is described as an education entrepreneur who provides services outside walls and/or boundaries in both traditional and nontraditional ways and in various locations in and outside of California. Ross is the former President of the Western Association of Private Camps (WAIC). He is skilled in nonprofit development and management, as well as an entrepreneur and an innovative “big picture” thinker. This is his first term as Board Chair.
Vice-Chair - Tony Oyenarte is the Director of Camp Lochearn for Girls, located in beautiful Vermont. Previously, Tony was the Director of Camp Crystal Lake in Florida for 16 summers. He began his career in education as a high school Science and Math teacher. Tony has been very involved with the ACA as President of the Southeast Section and a member of ACA’s transition committee. His passion for youth development and the relationship between children and the outdoors is evident in his 20-year career in children’s camping. Tony volunteers with the Kids in the Woods program in Gainesville, FL, which connects children with the outdoors. He has also been very involved with Hands to Love, a charitable organization that helps children born with congenital limb differences. Tony is married to Stacie and is the proud father of Michael and Max. This is Tony’s first term as the Vice Chair.
Treasurer – Craig Whiting is the President/Executive Director of Education Holdings, Inc., dba Emagination Computer Camps, operating summer technology camps near Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Prior to entering the camp profession, Craig had wide experience in private acquisition search and was managing director for Weiss, Peck & Greer, LLC, a firm managing over $11 billion in assets. He began his career in banking with Citibank and later served as Vice President, Investment Banking for Credit Suisse. Craig has degrees from Boston College and Columbia Business School. He and his wife have three children. He has been active in the ACA New England affiliate, serving as vice president. Craig is a former member of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and is serving his second term on the ACA national board.
Mark Benerofe is president of the CampGroup Family of Camps, where he is responsible for oversight of 13 residential camps and 2 day camps on 12 different sites, serving over 6,000 children annually. He also serves as the director of Camp Winadu in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a sports specialty camp for boys. An active member of the ACA New York/New Jersey affiliate, Mark has degrees from Cornell University, Hunter College, and Baruch College. Prior to directing camp, he was the managing principal of Benerofe Properties Corporation and is a former social studies teacher, basketball coach, senior advisor, and athletic director at the High School for Health Professions and Human Services in New York City. Mark and his wife have a son and a daughter. Mark is serving his second term on the ACA National Board.
Brian Crater is Associate Executive Director at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times©, a program of Ronald McDonald House Charites© of Southern California providing healing and supportive experiences for 1,800 children diagnosed with cancer and their families annually. Brian is also a standing faculty lecturer at California State University, Long Beach, Department of Recreational and Leisure Services in the fields of outdoor recreation and organized camp management. In addition, Brian is the past-president and a current board member of Children’s Oncology Camp Association International (COCA- I) strengthening over 120 international camps serving over 35,000 pediatric oncology campers and their families. Brian’s passion for research has led to co-authoring papers on the Psychological Impacts of a Camp Experience for Children with Cancer and the Camp Awareness Project, a multi-facility study assessing the value of a camp experience with healthcare professionals and unserved patient families. Brian has been president of the Southern California/Hawaii Section (ACA) and faculty trainer of the ACA Basic Camp Director Course and currently on the ACA Southern California/Hawaii Local Council of Leaders, a Standards Visitor, member of the National Council of Leaders Steering Committee and past member of the ACA Board Development Committee.
Brodrick Clarke is a consultant in his own firm, Brodrick Clarke Consulting LLC, specializing in Youth Development - Program Quality Assessment in the Washington, D.C., area. He previously served with the Muhammad Ali Center, directing their domestic and international youth development initiative. He brings a deep understanding of effective capacity building, and facilitating hundreds of trainings over the past 20 years has given him a great lens on organizational development, sustainability, quality product delivery, economic engines, and best practices vs. promising practices. In his position, he actively works with educators, parents, and students, providing them with the tools, skills, and competencies to survive, grow, and thrive. He has extensive experience working with the K-12 student population, primarily in an out-of-school time setting. He has a focus on Youth Work Methods, Advancing Youth Development, and fostering the 40 developmental assets in youth. This is his first term.
Anne Derber is serving in her 16th year as CEO for Manito-wish. Anne’s roots run deep within the organization going back to that of a camper in the early 70’s. She has been working for the YMCA for over 30 years including the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Anne and her husband, Brian have two adult children. Anne enjoys walking, snowshoeing, golf, bike riding and being on the water.
Ed Doody is committed to facilitating career exploration and college access for young people. For the past 10 years, he has initiated collaborative research among non-profit organizations, focusing on youth development, higher education, and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Prior to his experience in the non-profit sector, Mr. Doody garnered 35 years of expertise in international and growth leadership, including professional positions at the QuanStar Group, a nationally known strategic management firm, and The Expo Group, where he organized global interactive conferences while serving as Executive Vice President of Conference & Exhibition Management. He also acted as Senior Vice President of PGI, a full-service event and communications agency, where he managed a team of employees and independent contractors to manage events worldwide. Mr. Doody was employed with Robert Bosch GmbH at their corporate headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, where he was trained in international management. He received his education at St. Mary’s University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and at the University of Chicago’s MBA program.
Chicka Elloy is the global director of leadership development and talent management for 11,000 employees at BCD Travel, a leader in corporate travel management based in Atlanta. Raised and educated in Australia, Chicka earned his degrees in education before moving to California to work 15 years for SuperCamp, an academic and life skills residential camp operating at universities throughout the US and 16 other countries. Chicka has written for USA Today Education, was featured in Target's first virtual runway, and has appeared as a parent expert on Huff Post Live. His blog "The Frequent Flyer Father" was voted 2012/2013 Best Daddy Blog by Parents Magazine. Most recently, Chicka published Addicted to Camp: An Intervention for Staff and Future Leaders, which climbed to #1 on Kindle under Education in 2014. He is the founder of iKnuckleBump.com, which now serves 2,000+ educational leaders each month as a staff training and engagement platform. This is his first term.
Niambi Jaha-Echols is an author, visionary, certified life coach, artist, and inspirational speaker. A native Chicagoan, she wrote and self-published Project Butterfly: Supporting Young Women and Girls of African Descent through the Transitions of Life. In 2004, she founded Camp Butterfly, which serves girls nationally and internationally using the butterfly as a wonderful model of transformation to help break the perpetual cycle of negative self-image and social outcomes. Niambi has degrees in psychology and fine arts from Michigan State University and Columbia College Chicago with graduate hours in Art Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a co-contributor to the recently released book entitled African Americans and Community Engagement in Higher Education and was recognized in 2005 by Essence Magazine as one of the “Women Who Are Shaping the World.”
Kelley Freridge manages sponsorship, customer service, training, digital and social media marketing for Chaco Footwear— a division of Wolverine World Wide in Rockford, Michigan. With 10 years of senior leadership roles in the outdoor industry at Eastern Mountain Sports, Patagonia and Chaco, she brings insight into the outdoor consumer and digital savvy to her role with the American Camping Association. Active in the Outdoor Industry Woman’s Coalition, Kelley has been a vocal advocate for women in the workplace. She points to her childhood experiences growing up at Van Buren Youth Camp as the compass she leverages in every business decision. As a National Outdoor Leadership School graduate and Mom, Kelley recognizes the essential value of outdoor experience in developing tomorrow’s leaders and is passionate about passing down this cornerstone to the next generation.0
Roberto Gil, Jr. is the Director of the Blairstown Campus for Princeton-Blairstown Center, where he is responsible for all aspects of their adventure-based, experiential education program. Roberto joined PBC in 2013 after spending eight years at Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL). As Director of Field Operations, Roberto oversaw programs in New York, NY, Augusta, GA and Detroit, MI. Prior to this he served as BELL’s Site Manager for the Bronxwood School where he oversaw an afterschool program for 200 scholars. Prior to BELL, Roberto was a Program Director with the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, serving the Brooklyn community at their Navy Yard Clubhouse, and Deputy Director of Court Operations at The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES). One of his major accomplishments was the successful launch of the Manhattan Family Court – Court Employment Project, an alternative-to-placement program for juvenile delinquents. Roberto holds a BA in Government from The University of Texas in Austin and a JD from New York Law School. He is also a Wilderness First Responder.
Carl Metzger, a partner in the firm’s Litigation Group and a member of its Securities Litigation & SEC Enforcement Practice, concentrates on complex business litigation for technology companies, private equity firms and other business clients. Mr. Metzger’s experience includes securities litigation defense, financial fraud litigation, governmental and self-regulatory organization investigations, intellectual property litigation and complex commercial disputes. He specializes in advising clients on director and officer liability, insurance coverage matters, liability risk prevention and litigation due diligence in connection with mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Metzger is currently a co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Subcommittee on Securities and the Internet, and he is a former editor of the American Bar Association’s journal, Securities News. Mr. Metzger has been recognized as a “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” by Boston Magazine, and has been elected as a Fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC). Mr. Metzger writes and speaks nationally on litigation-related topics, and he has been quoted in such media outlets as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Corporate Board Member Magazine and CFO Magazine.
Mary Kay Park, Ph.D. is the managing director of FEBC-Korea in Los Angeles. FEBC-Korea is a global media non-profit that operates 14 radio stations in Korea and the US, providing internationally-recognized content that reaches across the Far East. She is an adjunct professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Mary Kay is the mother of three daughters who have spent a decade of summers at camp.
Ray Sanborn is the President of Kama'aina Care, Inc., overseeing all operations of the four divisions (camp, preschool, school age, hotels & convention) of this multi-service organization, which provides ongoing quality education and enrichment programs serving over 7,500 children and families on a daily basis, with an employee base of 1,000. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, Ray has served on the ACA Southern California/Hawaii Board, is an ACA standards visitors, and a validator for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. He has worked for the Department of the Navy, at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, and is a voting member of the State of Hawaii Childcare Advisory Committee. Ray is serving his second term on the ACA board.
Mike Stringer is the Vice President of Business Development for DollarDays International. He graduated from the University of Tennessee, he began his career and executive business experience with Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW) a Fortune 100 company, where he opened, managed and grew major accounts such as Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Ace Hardware and Sears. From 2005-2008, Mr. Stringer was the National Sales Manager for a privately held nutraceutical company. He was responsible for all major national and global distribution. At DollarDays, Mr. Stringer implemented a new business development division, leveraging his experience in selling and account management to create new revenue streams with national accounts and partnerships. With his passion to help nonprofit organizations stretch their dollars, he arranged national programs for The Salvation Army, Gospel Rescue Mission, Kiwanis Clubs and many other organizations that help those in need. He has been working with ACA camps for years to supply products to enhance their programs. Mr. Stringer spent summers involved in Everybody Counts, a non-profit agency dedicated to the empowerment and independence of people with disabilities. Mr. Stringer enjoyed volunteering and spending time swimming with children with disabilities. Mr. Stringer has established national relationships with the Salvation Army Camps, Christian Camp and Conference Association and the American Camping Association. Throughout extensive work with the Salvation Army, Mr. Stringer and his team work with Territory Youth Workers throughout all 50 states and 40 divisions in the Salvation Army to support their camps and needs throughout. Dollar Days is a business affiliate of ACA. Michael is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Sherri Weidman A former camp professional, Sherri is now CEO of SocialBirds Media, LLC, her own internet marketing firm, located in Naples, Florida. She has served Girl Scouts over five different councils in Indiana, Tennessee and North Carolina. Sherri established her first career based on her own love of camp as a child and the impact it had on her own life. She was an ACA Certified Camp Director, a Camp Visitor, served leadership roles in several sections, and previously served on the ACA National Board of Directors from 1999-2002, serving as governance co-chair on the board that brought Policy Governance to ACA. She also served on the ACA CEO Search committee that recommended Peg Smith 1998. She was the National Program Chair for the ACA Conference held in Nashville, TN in 1986 as well as the one in New Orleans in 1997. For the last 15 years of her career with Girl Scouts, Sherri served as the Chief Executive Officer in northern Indiana. Sherri and her council received recognition from Girl Scouts of the USA as one of the highest performing councils for diverse membership representation and for fund raising success. She has a certificate in Fund Raising Management from IUPUI School of Philanthropy and a Master’s Degree in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. After retiring from Girl Scouts following a remarkable thirty-one-year career, Sherri has gone on to continue life-long learning under some of the best internet marketing educators and is an Online Marketing Certified Professional.
Lisa Westrich is the program development director at Challenge Success, a national school reform organization affiliated with Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. She supports the organization’s general operations, core programs and initiatives, and research efforts. Previously, Lisa was a research and policy analyst at Stanford’s John W. Gardner Center where she partnered with educational institutions and community-based organizations, both in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally, to improve outcomes for youth. Lisa is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who has worked with children and families in a variety of education and nonprofit settings, with an emphasis on positive youth development, for twenty-five years. In addition to research and direct clinical work, she has also held nonprofit leadership positions and provided clinical consultation to a number of local organizations. Lisa received her MSW from Columbia University and her bachelor’s degree from U.C. Berkeley.
Don Whipple is the director of Mountain Camp in Lake Tahoe, and is the co-owner, with his brother Scott, of Mountain Camp Woodside and Plantation Farm Camp. Don has been an active member of ACA for more than 20 years and has served locally and nationally in a variety of roles. Currently Don is the incoming Chair of the ACA National Board Development Committee and is also the President of the Western Association of Independent Camps. He is a member of the California Collaboration for Youth which advocates on legislative issues in California and is collaborating with Challenge Success at the Stanford University to conduct research on the developmental outcomes of the camp experience for youth. He is a proud graduate of UCLA and formerly directed Bruin Woods, the UCLA Alumni Family Camp in Lake Arrowhead. Don and his wife Cara are expecting their first child next November and could not be more excited!