Tom came to Ketcha in 2006 with 23 years of experience in nonprofit leadership. His experience is well matched to the diverse characteristics of our 107 acre facility. Tom has worked in youth camping since 1983 and has run day camps and tripping camp operations. In several previous organizations, he has enhanced summer camping programs by using the program facilities and staff year-round to meet community-identified needs. Tom has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Maine Youth Camping Foundation. Tom lives in Portland with his wife and two boys who love Ketcha Outdoors.
A native of Scarborough, Liz has worked at Camp Ketcha since the summer of 2000, first as a counselor, then working her way up to Camp Director in the summer of 2004 and then moving in the Director of Operations. She is a member of the American Camping Association and formerly served on the American Camp Association New England Standards Committee and the Emerging Camp Professional Committee. Liz is passionately committed to youth development and public service. She has worked with children in a variety of capacities throughout her career, including as a nanny, a volunteer with the Special Olympics, and as a summer camp counselor. Liz began her work with nonprofits leading the United Way’s Youth Engaged in Service group and participating in the Day of Caring as a Youth Site Supervisor. She holds undergraduate degrees in sociology and criminology from the University of Southern Maine in Portland. Liz continues her camp professional development through courses, training, and conferences held by the American Camp Association. She lives in South Portland with her husband and three children, who all love Camp Ketcha summer camp and school vacation camps!
Kate combines over 25 years experience in outdoor education and program leadership. She developed and currently directs our popular nature based preschool program ensuring that our youngest explorers are outdoors to play and learn throughout the year. For our summer campers Kate leads our educational program areas including farm and garden, art and crafts, outdoor living and environmental education. Kate believes that quality nature based education provides children with essential enrichment for emotional development, creative expression,confidence and connection to the natural world.
Kara started at Camp Ketcha in 2014 as a senior camp counselor (she was also a camper when she was in elementary school). After graduating from UNH with a degree in music education in 2015 she stayed on with us in the summers as a head counselor and spent 4 years working in the Portland Public Schools as an ed-tech and music teacher. We welcomed her on year round in June 2018 as the Director of Youth Development. In this role she runs our summer camp, after school, vacation camp, and adventure challenge programs. When Kara is not at camp she can be found hiking, climbing, or running with her dog, Casco.
Billy began working at Camp Ketcha during the summer of 2018 as the Archery Instructor. He grew up on Peaks Island, ME and holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from UNCW. Billy has worked at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and in Connecticut’s Diadromous Fisheries Program. In his spare time Billy enjoys running, traveling, and learning how to play the banjo. During the school year he has been helping to maintain the facilities and teaching in the After School program. And this summer he will be the Environmental Educator at camp!
Mary Ellen began working at Camp K in 2006 as the part-time Camp Registrar. In 2010 she took over as the Facility Rentals Director. She enjoys helping each and every bride & renter make Camp Ketcha a special place for their event. Mary Ellen can often be found washing windows & dusting while answering summer camp questions and calls! Mary Ellen lives in South Portland with her husband.
Ainsley began working with Camp Ketcha as the Portland Gear Hub’s 1st Shop Manager in 2014. Ainsley brings over 10 years experience working in community bicycle shops and bike advocacy from Minneapolis, Michigan, and now Maine. Ainsley enjoys repairing bicycles as much as she loves riding them and you can find her riding the local trails with her 2 dogs and husband in her free time. Stop by the Portland Gear Hub and she’ll help set you up with outdoor gear or put you to work repairing all of our incoming donations!
Emma Dixon is originally from Minnesota and moved to Maine in 2017 after receiving her BFA from Lesley University. That fall she started out as a teacher for the nature preschool and over the next three years has worked with Kate Connolly in shaping it into the Farm and Forest Preschool we now have. She spends the summers running programming for camp and helps run barn operations throughout the year. She loves her chickens, making art, camping, and hopes to visit every national park!
Thea started at Camp Ketcha in 2019 as a head staff after graduating from Ithaca College with a B.M. in Music Education and has continued to be on leadership staff during the summers as well as facilitating the Counselor in Training program. A lover of the outdoors, Thea enjoys watching kids gain new skills and friendships while they connect with nature. As the Rentals Coordinator, she enjoys knowing that funds raised from her program help facilitate positive experiences for the kids that come to Camp Ketcha. Thea loves hiking, running, and is in the process of receiving her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Madeleine grew up in Portland and has a BA in Social Psychology. She comes to us with a wide range of programming experience in social services from developing prosocial activities for at-risk girls to running a vocational training program for the houseless. Throughout the year, Madeleine works to develop and run our behavioral programs, as well as help maintain camp’s grounds and facilities. An avid outdoors person, she is passionate about connecting people to the therapeutic benefits of the outdoors.
The Camp Ketcha Staff
Our staff members are hired for their enthusiasm, creativity and ability to provide a nurturing, caring and fun atmosphere. We provide thorough training including: child development, risk management, curriculum planning, emergency procedures, and waterfront safety. All personnel undergo a background check and are First Aid and CPR certified. We are known for our high-quality staffing and low staff to camper ratios.