the 2012 Staff
Becky Pasman – Executive Director
Hi, I am Becky Pasman (aka Mamma P or Grandma P) the Executive Director. Western Michigan University is my Alma mater. I have a BS in Elementary Education and an MA in Middle Level Curriculum and adolescent development. In June of 2007, I retired from teaching eighth grade at Paw Paw Public Schools.
I am actively involved with the American Camp Association as a conference planner and facilitator, an associate standards visitor and a board member on the Michigan Counsel of Leaders. My husband and I spend a great deal of time in the off-season volunteering and traveling. In my spare time, I enjoy watching my grandson grow, yoga, kayaking, reading and experimenting with new recipes.
This summer will be my ninth summer at camp. Each summer is like reading a new book. It is exciting to watch the camp community come to life. I love listening to the laughter and songs, and greeting old and new camp friends.
Jason Groth – Summer Director
I'm Jason Groth the Summer Director for VBYC this year. I have a BS in Recreation and Leisure Management from Western Michigan University. I have been coming to camp since 1994, following a family tradition that stretches back to when there used to be folk dancers. I have been a volunteer counselor, riflery instructor, archery instructor, low ropes instructor, canoe instructor, lifeguard, and a two term Program Director at VBYC ever since starting in 2004.
I work for a plumbing and mechanical contractor in the off season. I like spending time with my family, being outside, camping, reading (fantasy-adventure), bicycling, and learning new skills.
My plans for the future include working with at-risk or underprivileged children and getting a graduate degree in child psychology, child and adolescent development, or social work.
I cannot wait to hear Taps every night; it puts me in a sleepy mood every time!
Erica Johnson – Waterfront Director
Salutations! Erica Johnson - checking in for yet another summer. This summer I will continue my post as the guardian of the blue barrel, aka the Waterfront Director. This will be my 8th summer at camp and my fifth on staff. I spent my first summer in the Kitchen as a Kitchen Man and my second and third as the canoeing instructor. In the off-season I go to school at the University of Georgia. I am a senior this year and will be graduating in the fall of 2012 with a bachelor in Psychology. I plan to go to graduate school to get my PhD in Developmental Psychology. Along with going to school, I am a lifeguard, manager, and safety instructor at the rec center. I love camp and am more than excited to be back for another summer. I can't wait to see everyone!
Matthew Heyboer – Archery
Greetings Earthlings! My name is Zurg and I will be doing archery this summer. Actually, my name is Matthew Heyboer and I honestly can't wait for this summer as this will be my first summer on staff. I will be starting my third year at Western Michigan University this fall studying music. I play cello, and a little guitar. I spent five summers volunteering at a place called Children's After School Achievement at Hope College in Holland, MI working with students. I greatly enjoy being outside, playing sports such as Ultimate Frisbee, and exploring nature. I can't wait to be a part of such an awesome camp this summer!
Zada Harris – Arts & Crafts
Hey, my name is Zada Harris and I am so stoked to return to VBYC as a second year staffer! I love this place like Spongebob loves krabbypatties. I will be the ever-lovely arts and crafts instructor so prepare yourselves for some splendid creative adventures. I am studying biology and art at Hope College (go Dutchmen!). In my spare time, I enjoy painting, reading, playing cards, yogaing and bothering all of my friends with the songs VBYC has taught me. I can't wait to share and laugh and learn this summer with everyone at camp!
Cody Preston – Canoeing
Hey my name is Cody Preston and I'm going to be your canoeing instructor for the third year in a row. This is my fourth year on staff and my thirteenth summer at camp. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever leave. When I'm not working at camp and spending my days on the waterfront I study bio-medical science at Western Michigan University. I am an athletic outdoors person I love swimming, canoeing, camping, and playing lots of soccer. Whenever I'm not on the waterfront at camp I am always playing soccer in the bowl with the campers. I can't wait to see all of you this summer.
Presley – Director of Camper Happiness
Hi, I'm Presley!
Betsy Antisdale – Head Cook
Jello! My name is Betsy Antisdale and I am returning to VBYC for my 10th summer on staff. As in summers gone by I shall be your head cook. I live in Kalamazoo where I am a homemaker and artist. I enjoy bird watching, hiking, cooking, and kookiness. My very own Little Bear camper and I are looking forward to another great summer. May the grilled cheese be ever in your favor.
Amanda Mancini – Kayaking
Hey hey! My name is Amanda Mancini and I absolutely can't wait for summer twenty-twelve to come! This is my second year on staff and once again I will be the kayaking instructor and a lifeguard! This will be my fourth summer in a row life guarding (yay experience!) so I am excited to spend another summer on the water. During the school year I attend Kalamazoo College and I am a Biology and Chemistry double major. I run cross-country at K and also love swimming, soccer, and anything sporty. This upcoming fall I will be studying abroad for six months in Quito, Ecuador and I'm really excited to spend my last couple of months in the states at VBYC! I can't wait to see all the campers I met last summer and meet new ones in this upcoming summer!
Jon Childress – Kitchen
Hi, I'm Jon....Childress....yeah...and I'm really flippin' excited for this summer out at Van Buren Youth Camp. This is my 11th summer out at VBYC, but my first as a staff member. I will be a Kitchen Bro(Boy) this year which means I'll be washing your dishes and doing super cool stuff all summer. The plan for this fall is to attend WMU and begin my major in Psychology and minor in Elementary Education. When I'm not at camp I work at Arby's (GOOD MOOD FOOOOOOD), I'm very active in my Church with their band Audience of One. I enjoy learning about music with them and I recently have become their Light Tech. I have loved camp my whole life and I'm very excited to be out again this summer with all the kids. Hope to see you out there this summer!
Ben Holt – Kitchen
BEN HOLT! That is me. This is my second summer as a Kitchen Bro and I am super major ecstatic about coming back. I can't wait to make awesome kitchen signs and wash dishes for you! When I am adrift from camp I work at a bike shop in South Haven repairing bikes and fixing flats. I have a year left before I receive my Associates in Business Marketing and Management at Lake Michigan College. I can't wait to arrive.
Dottie Frailey – Kitchen
Hello! I'm Dottie Frailey and I am returning for another summer as Kitchen Woman! I have been going to camp since I was a kid and this will be my second year on staff. Currently I attend Grand Valley State University, going for my bachelors in Communications. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, reading, long walks, and watching too much of the History Channel. I can't wait to get back to camp and see all the campers again! Booyah!
Sydney Achler – Kitchen
Hello! My name is Sydney Achler, and I am proud to call myself a return Kitchen Lady for your 2012 summer at camp! Currently I'm working towards a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology at Illinois Wesleyan University. VBYC is right up there with theatre in the list of things-that-have-changed-my-life-and-made-me-me (also on this list are veganism, tree climbing, and coffee). 2012 is my second year on staff and eleventh summer at camp, so there is no taking this place out of my heart...I'm sure many of you already understand what I mean. And, if not, after this summer you will. So here's to campers, grilled cheese, and the Hobart! See YOU this summer!
Jeff Mott – Lifeguard
Greetings from across the pond!! I am Jeff Mott and this shall be my first year on staff at VBYC as a lifeguard. I'm super excited to be joining the staff this summer and cannot wait for the good times to roll. I live in the south east of England and I am a student at the University of Leicester studying for a BA in Economics. I will be graduating this year and plan to spend a few years traveling before starting a career. Currently I work as a part time chef at a local restaurant but when I'm not working or studying I love to be outside, hiking, swimming or fishing. Can't wait to meet you all!
Katie Haynor – Lifeguard
Hello hello! My name is Katie Haynor and this is my first year as a staff member. I will be guarding lives on the waterfront this year! while this is my first year staffing this is not my first year out at camp so I'm super excited. I am currently attending school at Oakland University where I am studying Criminal Justice. In the off season I work at the campus police department as a cadet to prepare myself for the future. I look forward to meeting everyone this summer and hope you are all as excited as I am.
DFTBA! (Don't Forget To Be Awesome)
Marian Pintar – Lifeguard
Salutations! My name is Marian Pintar and I am your 2012 Co-Swimming Instructor! I am an undergraduate at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin majoring in communication and philosophy with minors in psychology and entrepreneurship. At Marquette, I am President of Club Adrenaline (think skydiving and rock climbing and outdoors-y things), Treasurer and Dancer for HYPErformance (a hip hop dance crew), and a fitness instructor on the weekend. I have been coming to camp for eleven years (Holla!) and it is my pleasure to be returning for my second summer on staff. Living in a city has left me missing the games, the campfires and the general silliness of camp. So grab your bathing suit and towel and get ready to make a splash this summer!
Wyatt McAllister – Low Ropes
Hi, I'm Wyatt McAllister the Low Ropes instructor. Western Michigan University is where I currently attend school for Nursing. I have Associates in Art & Design from Northern Michigan University where I focused in Ceramics and Glass engineering.
I'm a very active individual. My hobbies include Running, Biking, Art(ceramics), and Camping. In the off season I am very involved in campus life with my school. Be it through my academics, registered student organizations, or marching band. I try to round out my time so that I can get the most out of life while I am still in college.
This year will be my ninth summer at Van Buren Youth Camp; however, it will be my first summer being on staff. I was a camper since fifth grade and counseled while I was in high school. I'm very much looking forward to working with the campers this summer, and I can't wait to get the summer started.
I hope that's good :) I don't really have many good photos to choose from, so I'll send some options for you guys :)
Kati Mac – Night Cook
Hi everyone! My name is Kati Mac and I hope you are getting ready for an awesome summer at VBYC! This will be my fifth official year on staff and my second summer as your lovely Night Cook. (It just means that I cook dinner!) When I'm not out at camp, I attend school and I will be starting a Masters Program at The University of Chicago this fall. In my spare time, I like to take long walks when it isn't too hot outside, cook, watch 30 Rock and hang out with my family. My favorite camp activities are kayaking, sitting on the back deck, and water wars! I love cooking for you guys and I love working with the kitchen staff so I have a feeling this is going to be the best summer ever! I hope you're hungry :)
Jill Simon – Office Manager
Oh hey. My name is Jill Simon and I am so happy to be on staff for summer 2012! It is my first year on staff and I will be working as the new Office Manager at VBYC. This Fall will be my senior year at Central Michigan University. I am working towards a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations, with a minor in Event Management. I spend a lot of the school year working with an organization called Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA. I enjoy fishing, painting, playing Euchre, Ultimate Frisbee and anything else that sounds fun. I'm stoked to meet all of the VBYC campers this summer and for all of the outdoor activities. It's going to be an amazing summer! Get Excited.
Mike Schmidt – Rifle Skills
Hey everyone! My name is Michael Schmidt and I am very excited to returning to camp for a second summer. Last year I was on the Low-ropes course but this year I switched over to the rifle range. I am currently a mathematics major and a physics minor at Central Michigan University. Fire Up Chips! I did football and teakwondo since third grade. In my spare time I enjoy hanging out with friends or playing a pickup game of basketball, football, racquetball, or pretty much any other sport. I have a healthy obsession with movies and T.V. show. By obsession I mean I quote them constantly. This summer is going to be one for the record books.
Emily Patterson – Song, Dance, & Drama
Hello, Hello! My name is Emily Patterson and I will be your Song, Dance and Drama instructor this summer! Camp has been a part of my life for the past ten years as a camper and counselor but I am beyond excited for my first year as a staff member. I am a student at Western Michigan University pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education with minors in Social Studies, Language Arts and of course Dance! When I'm not doing school things, I enjoy being outside, watching Dance Moms, taking pictures and acting ridiculously silly. I am really looking forward to seeing returning campers as well as sharing the joys of camp with new ones! So, get pumped and ready to dance the Amos Moses, see you this summer!
Daniel Mattar – Sports
Hello there, I am Daniel Mattar and I am the sports staff member for this summer at VBYC! This is my first year on staff and I am heavily looking forward to a great, fun-filled summer at camp. I am currently studying Elementary Education in my third year at Saginaw Valley State University. I am the vice president of the SVSU men's Rugby team and love to play other sports, hang out with buddies and enjoy fine dining. I hope you all are as excited for this summer as I am!!
Katie Brems – Volunteer Coordinator
This is Katie here to report about myself. It has been a long journey through life to get me to where I am at today. I live in Kalamazoo, graduating April 28th, hold your applause please. I will have a degree in Organizational Communication which I chose only to impress people with how fast I can say it. I have a dog that will somehow this summer frustrate you, if it's not giving you poison ivy, it's because you can't handle her cuteness. I like to be around happy people, you all seem happy, my intuition says this will be an epic summer.