Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Meet the Staff 2014 Part 1

Meet the 2014 Summer Staff! These short bios will help you get to know our awesome staff before summer even starts and this is just part one! Stay tuned for part two later this week. Pictures will come in early June once staff training gets underway.


Spencer Wild aka Swild is coming back to the shores for his 3rd summer on staff. His favorite outdoor activity is anything that is competitive or involves a ball. Swild is a Grand Rapids native and he enjoys reading, going to concerts and playing basketball when he is not studying for his classes at Hope College. A random fact about Swild is that he once swam 4 miles in the open ocean, now he can maybe swim 4 yards, on a good day, with floaties. He wants each camper that comes to Camp Henry this summer to simply know that they are loved.

Emily Cole is returning for her second summer on staff and is really looking forward to wearing crazy clothes, singing at the top of her lungs and being invested in campers' lives. When she is not at Camp Henry, she can be found cooking and eating delicious food, rock climbing, swimming or working in the garden. An interesting fact about Emily is that when she was a child, she was bitten by a deer at a petting zoo and has a picture to prove it! Her hope for the campers this summer is that they will try new things and find new gifts and abilities they didn't know they had before camp.

Marissa Vargo aka Maraqua or Mer or Merbin (take your pick) will be starting her 4th summer on staff after spending many summers on the shores as a camper. She just finished up her degree in Communications with a minor in Youth Studies and Recreation at Central Michigan University. She is also one of the handful of year round program staff at Camp Henry. She loves water activities, going on adventures and playing bandana tag. She is really excited to see how much returning campers have grown and help new campers grow as well. Marissa hopes that every camper will learn to be more positives, strong and confident by the time they leave camp this summer. Next time you see Marissa, ask her to wiggle her ears for you!

Ronald Hedgcock aka Ron is from Crystal Lake, IL and is joining the Camp Henry Summer Staff for his first summer on the shores. When he is not busy applying to be on the next Survivor, Ron likes to go camping and backpacking. He also enjoys board games, running and swimming. Ron has an extensive background in working at camps and is excited to be at Camp Henry and have the opportunity to serve in new ways. He studied Psychology and Political Science at Calvin and plans on working with kids. He hopes that each camper will come to know about the power of God's love and strength.

Jennifer Lewis aka Jenni, a former AC (assistant counselor) is wrapping up her first year at Grand Valley and will be spending the summer on staff for the first time. It's her goal to work for a nonprofit that focuses on children after she graduates. Her favorite outdoor activities are riding horses and playing soccer. She also plays the guitar and piano and is fluent in Spanish and working on learning American Sign Language. She is excited to see all the friendships campers will form and to help them grow in their faith and confidence.

JJ Jacobs has been able to call Camp Henry home for many summers, more summers than she can count on her fingers. Her favorite thing to do outside is go hiking and she also enjoys spending time with her family, going running and reading a good book. She can't wait to see campers smiling while they sing, play and enjoy camp this summer. Something you may not know about JJ is that she spent two summers living in a tent, planting trees for the forest service. JJ hopes that every camper will leave camp knowing that they are special.

Jake Jacobs is getting ready to spend his 18th summer on the shores as Camp Director. He is also the Executive Director of Camp Henry and is looking forward to having a front row seat to seeing lives changed (including his) at camp! Jake loves to go canoeing and traveling with his wife, JJ, and three sons, Levi, Luke, and Logan. A fun fact about Jake is that he once worked on a train in Alaska. His hope for each kid that comes to camp this summer is that they are loved just how they are. To learn more about Jake, click here.

Elizabeth Ray aka Liz, Lizzie, E-Ray, E-Beth is getting ready for her 4th summer on staff. She is from Benton, MO and after graduating from Southeast Missouri State with a BS in Recreation, she sought her dream job of working in camping ministry by coming to work at Camp Henry year round. She is so amped to see what the summer staff will accomplish and to see lives that are impacted while at camp. An interesting fact about E-Beth is that she is closer in age to her youngest niece than all her other siblings, other than her twin sister, of course! She hopes that campers will leave with the knowledge that they are more than they know. To learn more about E Ray, click here.

Erica Thomas aka Eri Cat is a California native who joins the Camp Henry Summer Staff after spending the past 10 months as year round staff. She is excited to experience her first summer on the shores and can't wait to sing, play and laugh all summer long. Erica loves to be active and can often be found on the waterfront SUPing or swimming. She has the unique ability to lick her own elbow despite claims that it is impossible. It is her desire that all summer campers will have a strong identity after their time at camp and that they will feel and know they are loved. To learn more about Erica, click here.

Madeline Karsten aka Maddy joins us from Grand Rapids for her 1st year on staff. She loves to go hiking and swimming in the great outdoors. She also likes to run, read and spend time with friends. A fun detail about Maddy is that she can't roll her tongue. She is thrilled to meet new people and change kids' lives this summer. She wishes that campers will learn and know that they are more than their mistakes or flaws and that they are always welcome at camp.

Kenny Hotaling aka God Father is coming to Camp Henry for the 9th summer in a row from Morro Bay, California. When he isn't teaching middle school, he is busy surfing and spending time with his family. His favorite activity at camp is wakeboarding and can often be found on the waterfront. Kenny is eager to explore the 2014 theme, You are more, and hopes that campers learn that God has a plan for them and that plan is GOOD!

Brianna Marshall will be spending her 3rd summer on the shores as a staff member and is looking forward to seeing the kids again and learning new things! She is one of a few California natives at Camp Henry. She came to Michigan to study Geology at Calvin and aspires to help rural areas deal with the effects of natural disasters. Her favorite outdoor activity is hiking and everyone loves to hear her sing with her beautiful voice. A random tidbit about Bri is that she met Arnold Schwarzenegger in California's state capitol, Sacramento. Bri's desire for campers this summer is that they understand that they are loved and that each of them has so much to offer the world.

Alexander MacDonald aka Maverick or Mav is coming back for a second season at Camp Henry. Outside of camp, Mav is working on his dream of becoming a pediatrician. Ask any camper from last summer and they can tell you that Maverick is an Ultimate Frisbee fantastic. He also enjoys reading, riding his motorcycle and solving Cryptics. A fascinating fact about Mav is that he had 6 wisdom teeth pulled when he was a teenager (that's two more than usual!). He can't wait to go mermaid watching this summer and help campers know they are loved.

Kelly Hotaling aka KB, Kelly Belly, or Schmeli is coming back for her 9th summer at Camp Henry. During the year, Kelly spends her time in beautiful California practicing physical therapy and helping people have more mobility and a greater quality of life. Kelly and Kenny have three daughters that come to camp for the summer as well. Kelly loves to go hiking, running and skiing. In fact, she has climbed the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states two times! She is looking forward to loving kids and staff and growing closer to Christ this summer. She hopes that every camper knows they are loved for who they are.

Hannah Kugele, who happens to love playing with and blowing bubbles outside, is a familiar face at Camp Henry despite this being her first summer on staff. Hannah is currently wrapping up her first year at Ashland University and hopes to become a reading teacher and eventually open up a boarding school. It should be no surprise that she loves to read and write. She also enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies and playing quidditch; in fact she is a beater on her school's quidditch team. She hopes that campers will learn that they have the power to make the world just as loving, caring and friendly as camp is.

Rachel Mindes aka Rae, Rach, Mindes is another long time Camp Henry camper and staff member. She is coming back for her 4th summer on staff. When she is not at Camp, she is working on her degree in Illustration at Kendall College of Art and Design. Mindes loves to go camping, hiking and swimming and she also enjoys a chill afternoon lying in the sand or on the deck. You can also find her on the four square court or on the A-field playing Bombo. She is thrilled to be able to impact and love on more kids this summer and help them learn to love and accept themselves!

Scott Fowler aka Scott Bro is another veteran staff member with 4 summers already under his belt. Scott Bro comes from St. Joseph, MI and is very musically talented. He spends time playing his guitar in a praise band and is eager to find new ways to positively impact kids' lives at camp. If you can't find Scott on the Dining Hall deck playing his guitar, you may be able to spot him searching for 4 leaf clovers. He is really good at finding them. Scott is looking forward to assisting campers as they learn to try new things and step outside of their comfort zone.

Even though this is Erin Eighmey's first summer at Camp Henry, she can't wait to be a part of all the traditions! Erin is a majoring in Public and Nonprofit Administration with a double minor in Hospitality and Tourism Management and Environmental Studies at Grand Valley. She hopes to put her studies to work with a nonprofit similar to Kid's Food Basket. When Erin isn't studying, she is busy crocheting scarves for the Winter Special Olympics. She also enjoys running or riding her bike and spending quality time with her family. Her hope for this summer is that campers know how valued and loved they are.


Sarah Veldman aka Serr-ah or Veldie is coming back for her second year on staff and can't wait to hang out with campers on the shores. She is excited to learn and experience God's love together with them this summer. Sarah's hometown is Coopersville, MI and she is currently attending Grand Valley and studying Clinical Exercise Science. She loves to play basketball, throw a Frisbee around, play guitar and go fishing. And even though she is not entirely sure what color her eyes are, she is certain that each camper will learn that God sees each of them as His perfect, amazing, and beautiful children.

India Daniels aka Inds is another new staff member who joins us from Chicago. She is just wrapping up her first year at Calvin College and can't wait to learn all the Camp Henry traditions this summer. She loves a good book or going on a hike in her spare time. A random fact about India is that one time she ended up with cornrows accidently and apparently they aren't a good look for her. Ask her about that sometime as there has to be a good story behind that! India is hoping that campers and staff will know that God loves each of them and that they will love others in the same way.

Jaclyn Mancos aka Jackie hails from Farmington Hills, MI and is about to start her first summer at Camp. She spends her free time doing yoga, swimming, cooking, and running when she is not caught up in her studies at Central Michigan. Jackie hoping to become a registered dietitian that helps families live healthier lives. She is thrilled with the opportunity to meet all the campers this summer and is hoping they understand that they are more than whatever it is that society depicts them to be. If you happen to start a pick-up game of soccer this summer, she's a good one to have on your team as she played for 11 years!

Molly Peterson aka Gilly loves a great game of smuggle and will be delighted to be playing it many times during her second summer on staff. Gilly is very comedic and will be sure to have you laughing whether you are kayaking, horseback riding or just playing a round of Euchre. She spends the school year studying Human Developmental and Family Studies at Michigan State. If you want to learn a fun fact about Gilly, ask her about her belly button, it's one of a kind! She is eager to return to the camp community and hopes that kids learn more about a life with Christ.