Dottie Myers-Hill, Camp Director
Dottie Myers-Hill, Camp Director — Hello there goobers and grownups! My name is Dottie and I am your Camp Director at VBYC. This is my 22nd summer working at Camp and I love my job so much...I used to tell people that being on staff was so fun, I felt guilty accepting a paycheck. I have worked with a bunch of different camp generations and consider myself lucky enough to have met many founding family members in my days here. I credit them with giving me the Camp spirit and the inspiration to come back and keep their original vision for the program alive so many years later. I feel very lucky to work with the young people in these photos...they teach me things every day and I am extremely grateful that they allow me to lead them and VBYC into the future. I have one "kid" in college, one a new teacher, a husband and three cats at home. In addition to my family, Camp fills my soul and keeps me grounded. Thank you for trusting me, and our staff, to look after your children...happy camping! :)
Hannah Powless, Assistant Director
Hannah Powless, Assistant Director — Hello friends! My name is Hannah and I am so excited to be returning to VBYC this summer. Camp is seriously the highlight of my year. I am a recent graduate of Western Michigan University where I received a BA in Gender and Women's Studies and Communication Studies. I am eager to dive back into nature and make memories with you all this summer. See you soon!
Wendy Tarantino, Office Manager
Wendy Tarantino, Office Manager — Hi! My name is Wendy and this is my 9th summer as your Office Manager at Van Buren Youth Camp. I love all the campers, the singing, the games and fun that we have out here. This has been my favorite place since I was 8 and it has barely changed at all. I LOVE IT HERE! Besides camp, I work at an elementary school and am a mom to 5 girls ages 3 - 20. My favorite things to do include taking photos, watching my girls play at the beach, attending (or being in!) musicals and travelling.
Antonio Fields, Low Ropes and Initiatives Instructor
Antonio Fields, Low Ropes and Initiatives Instructor — Hey everyone, I'm Antonio! I'm so excited to come back for my second year as a staff member after being a camper/counselor at VBYC since 2012 along with my brother, and recently, my sister as well. Even though I split my time between Detroit and Chicago, I happily make the drive to camp anytime I can! During the rest of the year, I attend school at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee where I major in music education, with a concentration in choral, and minor in English (yes, I can spend all day reading and will sing any song that comes onto the radio). I'm so excited to get to know every face that comes through camp this summer!
Allison Shaw, Kitchen Crew
Allison Shaw, Kitchen Crew — Hello, my name is Allison, and this will be my first year on VBYC staff. Every summer I look forward to being with my camp family and giving children the best experience at VBYC. When I am not at camp, I am at Central Michigan University working towards my Bachelors in Fine Arts. I enjoy making pottery, making memories with friends and family, and being at VBYC. I look forward to developing friendships this summer!
Azabeth Kish, SCIT Coordinator, Song & Dance Instructor
Azabeth Kish, SCIT Coordinator, Song & Dance Instructor — Hi! My name is Azabeth, and I am so excited to be returning to VBYC this summer! I thoroughly enjoy spending my summers at camp! Outside of camp I am a full-time student at Grand Valley State University. I am working towards a degree in English Secondary Education. I spend my free time reading, listening to music, and more recently I've taken up journalism as a hobby. I am beyond excited to get this summer at VBYC started! It's gonna be a great one!
Berfin Yilmaz, Drama Instructor
Berfin Yilmaz, Drama Instructor — Hellooo! My name is Berfin. I’m in my senior year department of performing arts Theatre-Acting in Turkey. I’m a storyteller, performer. I’m super excited about this summer to work at VBYC with young people. Mostly I enjoy to create new art projects. I’m keen to act, dance, draw, sing. I love yoga, meditation, traveling and the nature.
Emma Pearson, Nature Instructor
Emma Pearson, Nature Instructor — Hi, I'm Emma Pearson, and I'm very happy to be back working at camp again this summer. I love hanging out with all my camp friends, and am excited to be teaching nature.
Evan Wahmhoff, Riflery
Evan Wahmhoff, Riflery — Hello all! My name is Evan Wahmhoff, my pronouns are he/him, and I have the pleasure of being the riflery instructor this season at camp! I've been going to camp for the past 7 years now, and I'm excited to have you all down at the range! When I'm not at camp I love to cook and help civically engage the college students!
Hollie Powless, Head Counselor, Arts & Crafts Instructor
Hollie Powless, Head Counselor, Arts & Crafts Instructor — Hello, my name is Hollie, and I am thrilled to be returning to staff for my 15th year at VBYC! I am looking forward to spending another summer immersed in the beauty of camp. During the off season I attend Western Michigan University where I am pursuing a degree in anthropology. I spend most of my free time crafting, reading, and drinking tea. I’m so excited to form connections this summer!
Ian Myers, Waterfront
Ian Myers, Waterfront — Hey camper families! I am so excited to be working with your kids at VBYC! I have spent a good part of my life at camp and always walk away with a great appreciation for it. In my free time I enjoy playing board games, snowboarding and flying planes. I cannot wait to have another great summer at camp!
Jake Clifton, Waterfront
Jake Clifton, Waterfront — Hi, my name is Jake and this is my first summer working for VBYC and I am really excited to work as a waterfront instructor, also currently I am a social work major at Northern Michigan University.
Kiernan Dean-Hall, Waterfront Director
Kiernan Dean-Hall, Waterfront Director — Hello people! As always, I am Kiernan. This will be another great summer and I'm looking forward to it. Getting to see the joy in everyone as we play games and such with one another day in and day out is a blast. In my free time I enjoy swimming, biking, rock climbing, reading graphic novels, reading philosophy, writing philosophy, studying chemistry and physics, watching movies and TV, making short films, and teaching all the random stuff I happen to know to anyone interested. Someday I would like to get a teaching position at a small independent high school where I could be free to teach all my passions, and not just one, just like at camp! For now though, it's all about camp!
Liam Hunt, Head Kitchen
Liam Hunt, Head Kitchen — I love VBYC!
Madelin Lapp, Store Manager, Archery Instructor
Madelin Lapp, Store Manager, Archery Instructor — Hi friends! My name is Madelin (she/her) and I am the archery instructor this summer! This will be my fourth summer on staff, and my second summer teaching target skills. I come back to camp every year because I love the feeling of home, and the connections I've made here with other staff, campers, and their families. One of my favorite things to do with campers is listen to their fun stories! Outside of camp I am a college student in Indianapolis, IN, and am a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
Mako Swanson, Kitchen Crew
Mako Swanson, Kitchen Crew — Hello! I am so excited to be on staff this year!!! VBYC is by far my favorite place. Working at camp is my dream job, I'm so excited to see how things will turn out. I enjoy doing anything art related. I also enjoy music, can play a few instruments and sing. I hope to share all these fun things with campers this year!
Owen Thompson, Kitchen Crew
Owen Thompson, Kitchen Crew — Hi everyone, my name is Owen. I have been coming to camp since 2011 and love this place. I am so excited to be on staff this year. In my free time I like to watch, talk and play sports. I run track at my school. I also like to play video games, but I will gladly trade those in for a summer at VBYC. Some of my favorite things at camp are pink muffins, the folk dances and all of the games and activities. I'm so excited to see you this summer.
Ryan Trombly, Kitchen Crew
Ryan Trombly, Kitchen Crew — What’s up y’all? My name is Ryan and I am beyond excited to be returning to VBYC after a six year (!!) hiatus, where I most recently attended leadership in 2016 (and was a camper for many years before that). In the meantime, I have been doing a lot of mildly kooky things, like studying in Denmark for a year, studying in China and Hong Kong, and finally graduating from Duke University this past May with a degree in public policy and international relations. I can’t wait to make this summer amazing, and eat some pink muffins along the way!
McKenzie Wilson, Kitchen Crew
McKenzie Wilson, Kitchen Crew — Howdy Howdy! I'm McKenzie I will be the fun face you see in the kitchen. This is my first year on staff but certainly not my first year at camp. I have been going to camp for over ten years and am excited to come back to it! I have been a camper, counselor and now staff member. I love listening and telling the crazy wacky stories that come from life and hope to hear some great ones this year. Outside of camp I am a student at Michigan State University, and a member of a couple of clubs like outdoors club and ghost hunting. Super excited to be seeing some happy campers and very excited to be back at camp!
Emma Vander Roest
Emma Vander Roest — Hi there! I’m Emma and I will be working in the kitchen this summer! I have been coming to VBYC since I was a little bear camper and I am so excited to be joining staff this summer. Growing up camp was always my favorite part of the summer and I cannot wait to help your campers have the same experience! Outside of camp you can usually find me reading, spending time with my family and going on lots of hikes.