Our Year Round and Summer Staff with an International Flavor
Jim Sexstone, Executive Director
Jim joined Camp Carson in 2020, from 25 years with YMCA and Church Camps, most recently as the Executive Director of the Kirkmont Center. He quickly fell in love with Camp Carson, and is excited to bring some of his energy and ideas to life as we continue to grow our programs and find new ways to reach camp families.
Jim earned a Masters in Recreation and Park Administration from Eastern Kentucky University in 1992. Jim is married to Jenni and they have two daughters, Jordan and Josie.
Sarah Hooper, Senior Program Director
Sarah (Peddie) Hooper joined the year round camp team in the spring of 2014. She now serves as our Senior Program Director. Sarah is originally from Mt. Vernon, IN but currently lives in Fairfield, IL with her husband, Zach and daughters, Gretchen and Eleanor. She loves singing camp songs, canteen and the Raggers Program!
Sarah has been coming to camp since the summer of 2002 moving through camper, LIT, CIT, counselor, Teen Director, Special Programs Director, Program Director. She is looking forward to an amazing summer and hopes that you will be joining us this year!
Ryan Meeks, Program Director
A graduate of Ball State University with degrees in Chemistry and Education, Ryan joined our full-time team in January 2018 and currently serves as our Program Director. Before joining the camp team full time, Ryan spent a year and a half in the United Arab Emirates teaching Middle School Science, Robotics, Chemistry,
AP Chemistry, and coached Basketball.
Previously, Ryan has worked seasonally at Camp Carson starting in 2014. Ryan has served as the LIT Director, CIT Director, Service Corps Director, and Program Assistant. He is looking forward to having a fantastic summer, learning and growing together.
Heather Pierce, Director of Engagement & Development
Heather has been a part of our Camp Carson family for 40 years - as a camper, counselor, camp parent and board member. She joins us after 25 years with Kimball International, leading their internal operations, government and customer service departments.
In this role, Heather’s passion for Camp Carson will help us to further expand our Alumni activities and engagement, create fundraising and marketing activities that resonate with our camp families and community supporters. Her ultimate goal is to ensure that Camp Carson continues to be a treasured and valuable resource for youth, for her great-great-grandchildren.
Barb Williams, Camp Registrar
Barb joined the Camp Carson team in 2012 following a 25 year career working as a school office administrator. Her experience working with children and parents is a perfect match for taking on the Registrar position at camp. Barb is married to Tom and has 4 children and 8 grandchildren.
Barb is a vital member of our team and takes great care of our families.
Matt Schooler, Facilities Manager
Matt started as our Facilities Manager in September, 2019. He joins us with a wide variety of professions over the past 18 years. Originally from Francisco, Indiana, Matt’s vocational experience includes carpentry, construction, millwright work, vehicle mechanics, golf course maintenance and restaurant management. A favorite hobby is restoring classic cars. He is excited to take on the challenge of maintaining our Camp facility and joining the family atmosphere. Matt is married to Jeni and has three children and one grandchild.
Tyler Williams, Assistant Facilities Manager
Tyler Williams, Assistant Facilities Manager, is a Princeton, IN native and part of our summer grounds crew in previous years. As of September 2019, he is now back as a full time member of our team. Tyler is passionate about keeping the grounds groomed and has a talent for all things mechanical. In his spare time he’s always working on an engine of some sort. Tyler and his wife, Peyton, live in Princeton.
A camp is only as strong as its leadership team. At YMCA Camp Carson, excellence is a standard! Camp Carson counselors are positive role models and mentors who are focused on the needs of campers both in the cabins and the activity areas. We personally interview each candidate, secure a minimum of three personal written references and perform a national background check for all new and returning counselors.
Staff training week concentrates on effective cabin leadership and includes heavy emphasis on teaching skills. Staff are required to complete 40 hours of online training and testing prior to on-site staff training. In addition to traditional camp training, all of our staff are also certified in First Aid, CPR, AED, O2 and typically 20-25 of the staff will also be certified waterfront lifeguards.
All Senior Counselors must have completed a minimum of one year in college, while junior counselors must have completed high school. Two/three counselors are assigned to each cabin with a minimum of one senior counselor in every cabin. We maintain an overall staff to camper ratio of 1:4 in the cabin and 1:3 on the grounds with the inclusion of our program staff. Our high ratio ensures each camper receives positive interaction with their counselors each and every day.
While 75% of our staff are from the USA, we also try to bring an international flavor to camp. Each year we spend extensive time selecting staff from all over the world to enrich the camp experience for everyone involved. Typically we have 8-10 nations on staff. Over the years we've had staff from Scotland, England, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, Columbia, Brazil, Russia, France, Ukraine, Paraguay, Mexico and more. Our campers will have the opportunity to expand their understanding of our global community. Obviously depending on the age of the campers, this may be from things as simple as international games and food to more in depth discussions about geography, cultural awareness and education.
To learn more about the staff working at camp this Summer, watch the Camp Carson Facebook page throughout the Spring for weekly introductions.