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ACA's Board of Directors Biographical Information
President - Tisha Bolger has served in senior executive leadership positions with youth serving agencies for 25 years, including directing programs for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, and as CEO of Alpha House Youth Services in Wisconsin. Tisha currently serves as chief operating officer for the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. In her role as COO, Tisha provides leadership for all programs, membership, volunteer services, and property departments, serving 45,000 girls and 17,000 adult volunteers in 49 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tisha has been chief operating officer of the Girl Scout Council of St. Croix Valley, where she also served as interim CEO. Tisha’s passion for all youth to reach their full potential extends through her work with other agencies that focus on youth development. Tisha currently serves as president-elect for the board of directors of the American Camp Association and is a member of the board of directors for Face to Face Health and Counseling Services, Inc. Tisha also served as a board member and president of Teen Wise, formerly named Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention, and Parenting (MOAPPP).
Tisha holds a master’s degree in education, recreation, and outdoor education from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Carroll College in Helena, Montana.
Vice President — Rue Mapp is the founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, which strives to increase outdoor participation in African American communities. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Mills College Institute for Civic Leadership, Rue previously served as a program officer for the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council and as a development associate for Golden Gate Audubon. Rue has worked on a leadership team for the Environmental Protection Agency and Cornell University, participated in the White House Conference on America's Great Outdoors, and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Children and Nature Network. She also served as a member of a National Parks Service Committee on Relevancy task force focused on helping national parks create relationships of reciprocity with diverse community members. Rue is serving her second term on the board and her first term as vice president.
Treasurer - Melanie Lockwood Herman is the executive director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, a nonprofit that provides training, technical assistance, and informational resources to help nonprofits take a practical approach to managing risk. She has authored and co-authored more than 15 books covering a wide spectrum of risk management issues and has been named multiple times to the NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50. An attorney licensed in the District of Columbia, Melanie earned degrees from the American University and George Mason University School of Law. A camper as a child, she is the proud mom of a first-time junior camp counselor. She previously served as Finance Chair of a nonprofit theater camp and currently serves as a trustee and officer of a private school serving kids in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. She is also a member of the board of the American Foundation for the Blind. Melanie is serving her second term on the board and second year as treasurer.
Chief Executive Officer - Peg Smith, the CEO of the American Camp Association since 1998, is widely recognized for her entrepreneurial work style and organizational capacity – and her ability to move people, organizations, and government agencies through significant change. Born and raised in Indiana, Peg has a BS in early childhood and family studies and a master's degree in management. Her professional career began in Head Start programs in various capacities. She served in the Indiana Office of the Governor as director of the Governor's Step Ahead program, managing a $43 million budget. Prior to joining ACA in 1998, she was the executive director of the Indiana Youth Institute. Peg is a regular presenter at both state and national conferences for varied professional associations and youth-serving groups and serves on the board of the National Collaboration for Youth. During her tenure at ACA, Peg has been a passionate spokesperson for the camp experience and has led efforts to increase camp opportunities for children and youth. She lives in Spencer, Indiana and has two sons.
Steve Baskin is the owner/director of Camp Champions and a partner in Everwood Day Camp in Massachusetts and Camp Pinnacle in North Carolina. He has been actively involved in the New York/ New Jersey Affiliate, serving on the local board and as chairman for the Tri-State Conference. A frequent conference speaker, Steve was previously an analyst with Goldman Sachs and was the co-founder of iluvcamp, Inc., while establishing Camp Balcones Springs and purchasing Camp Champions. He and his wife Susie have four children. A graduate of Davidson College and Harvard Business School, Steve is a blogger for Psychology Today and recently presented at TEDx San Antonio. Steve served as national treasurer for ACA from 2010 - 2013; he is serving his second term on the national board.
Jennifer Bender is CEO of New Sector Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that strengthens the social sector talent pipeline through fellowships for early career professionals committed to social impact careers. She previously was the executive director of the Bridge Center, an agency providing year-round recreation to children and youth with disabilities. She previously directed therapeutic summer and afterschool programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and taught in therapeutic afterschool programs. A 2003 graduate of Cornell with a BA in psychology and mathematics, she also has an EdM from Harvard and an MBA from Babson College, and certification in ASDs. During college, Jenn worked in Minnesota at a camp for adults and children with developmental disabilities. She is an active ACA standards visitor in New England. This is her second term.
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 first term on the ACA National Board.
Rev. David Berkey is the Director, Camping Ministry and Operations for the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has wide experience within the United Methodist Church (UMC) in camping, outreach, and as a local pastor, serving churches and camps in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Florida, where he also served in a similar position with the Florida UMC camps and retreat centers. David is an elected member of the UMC National Camp and Retreat Committee and has served as Chair of the National Council of Churches Committee on Outdoor Ministries. David has been on the ACA National Board since 2010 and is serving his second term.
Maggie Braun is the co-director for WeHaKee Camp for Girls in Winter, Wisconsin. A long-time ACA member, Maggie has also worked as Executive Director for Catholic Youth Camps in Minnesota, as Chief Operating Officer for Girl Scouts of the St. Croix Valley, and as a 4-H and Youth Development Agent in Wisconsin. She is a national trainer for the ACA Basic Camp Directors Course, a member of the Policy and Organizational Systems Committee, and served in numerous other volunteer positions for ACA, including membership on the Board Development Committee. A frequent presenter at ACA national and regional conferences, Maggie served as president of the Wisconsin section of ACA and was previously a member of the national board. She and her husband Bob have two children. Maggie received her MBA in 2012 and serves as Board Development Chair, an ex-officio position on the national board.
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.
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.
Ellen S. Gannett is director of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, a national action/research project which for over 30 years has provided research, evaluation, technical assistance, consultation, and specialized training on afterschool programs throughout the United States. Ellen has degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Lesley College, Graduate School of Education. A national speaker and trainer, Ellen has been featured in numerous media stories and co-authored several NIOST publications. In addition to her service on the ACA national board, she is co-chair of the Next Generation Youth Work Coalition and has served as a board member of the National Afterschool Association (NAA, formerly NSACA) and as a member of the Professional Development Task Force with the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
Dayna Glasson Hardin is the director of Lake of the Woods Family of Camps and a past member for the ACA Illinois Section Board and past national vice president. Dayna has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Iowa and a graduate degree from Loyola University in Chicago. She was the Vice President of Programming and Production for Educational Management Group, creating content for 12 educational satellite channels. When offered the opportunity in 1997 to purchase Lake of the Woods and Greenwoods Camps, she jumped at the chance. Dayna is well-known in ACA, chairing the 2009, 2010 and 2011 national conferences. She is president of the Mid-West Association of Independent Camps, co-founder of SCOPE Midwest, and worked closely with the "Because of Camp" video and promotion in 2010. Dayna has two sons and lives in Chicago.
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."
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Marcus Mason is an undergraduate recruiter at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. While employed full-time at the university, Marcus is simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in Christian Formation and Business Administration. Before working in higher education, Marcus received his bachelors of science in communication from Northwestern University in 2009. Immediately upon graduation, Marcus went to work for an emerging nonprofit organization that works with youth in some of Chicago’s most underserved and most under-resourced areas. He has a passion for youth and education. This is his first term.
Miriam Musco is the education director at Science Museum of Western Virginia programs. Previously, Miriam worked in the education department of the Sciencenter, a children's museum in Ithaca, New York, where she conducted field trips, afterschool programs, and outreach to local schools, and also ran the summer camp program and several special events. She contributes to the content and education programs of Girl Museum, an online museum devoted to the history and cultures of girlhood. Miriam is passionate about youth development and providing role models for today's children to become tomorrow's leaders. A New Jersey native, Miriam earned a BA from Indiana University and an MA from University of the Arts. She relishes this opportunity to not just give back, but also learn from other leaders around the country, who are working in a variety of settings and have a multitude of experiences. Her interests include informal science education among children and teenagers. Musco is passionate about the links between museums and social work, such as programming for underprivileged groups and community advocacy. This is her first term.
Tony Oyenarte began his career in education as a high school Science and Math teacher. He has been very involved with the ACA as President of the Southeast Section, a member of the ACA's transition committee, and speaking on the importance of camp and school partnerships. Tony and his wife Stacie have two boys and are directors of Camp Lochearn located in Vermont. Tony is serving his second term on the ACA National Board.
Kurt Podeszwa is the director of Camp For All, a Texas residential camp serving children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses. Kurt has been active in three different sections during his career in camping and served on the section boards in both Illinois and Texoma. A frequent speaker on a variety of camp topics, Kurt is also a standards visitor and visitor instructor. His presentations have included working with multiple generations, adapting ropes courses for special needs campers, and developing leadership skills in supervisors. Kurt is a graduate of Western Illinois University and proudly served in the United States Marine Corps. He and his wife Katie have three children. Kurt has worked with the National Council of Leaders since its beginning and is serving his second term on the board.
Fretta Reitzes is the Director of the Lillian & Sol Goldman Family Center for Youth & Family at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, which provides services for 7,500 children and families annually, including early childhood, parenting, camping, afterschool, community service, science enrichment, and special needs. With a background as a classroom teacher and arts educator, Fretta has written extensively, including Wonderplay, Wonderplay, Too!, and The Right to Learn: Preparing Early Childhood Teachers to Work in High Needs Schools. Fretta has degrees from Boston University and the Bank Street College of Education. She serves on numerous advisory boards and is a frequent speaker on childhood and education issues. Fretta is serving her first term on the ACA national board.
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 first term on the ACA board.
Posie Taylor is serving as the New England Representative on ACA's National Board. She retired as the executive director of the Aloha Foundation in Vermont after a 30-year career with Aloha. Posie has been active in the New England Affiliate, holding numerous offices, including president, vice president, and chair of various committees for education, planning, and funds development. A frequent ACABoardBiosRev040813 conference presenter and contributor to Camping Magazine, Posie has served on the ACA Audit & Financial Policies Committee, the Strategic Planning Task Force, the Core Services Task Force, the 20/20 Task Force, and as a member of the National Board. She has degrees from Middlebury College, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan and was a founding member of the Consortium of Non-Profit Camps of Northern New England and New York State.
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.
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 first term on the ACA national board.