Here are some of the program staff that students and teachers will work with during their trip.
Camp Director Karyn Bonner is originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, and has been working with College Settlement for over 30 years. Karyn has two teenage children, Rob and Rosie who also love spending time enjoying nature outdoors. After graduating college in Edinburgh and quickly realizing a career illustrating natural history was not as much fun as actually being teaching about it, Karyn left the art world behind and instead worked with experiential/environmental education programs all over the USA. College Settlement has always been her favorite place in the world, and where her favorite teachers, kids, bugs, ponds and creeks are! Her hobbies include photography, art, mud runs, anything camp-related, and most of all, being a “mum.”
Assistant Camp Director Joshua Davis is originally from Michigan by way of Canada, and has been with College Settlement for 19 years. Josh lives on-site with his wife and two daughters, Grace and Sophie, both of whom often come out on lessons with the camp kids! Josh is a Temple graduate with a background in sociology. Other than his work at our base camp, Josh also ran our Spruce Run Outpost for a few years. Josh is an accomplished musician, a talent his oldest daughter Grace seems to have inherited! Josh is often found at Pennypack Farm, as he is an avid gardener himself.
Outreach Coordinator and Summer Counselor in Training Coordinator
Rebecca is a Philadelphian and Anthropology graduate from Bloomsburg University. She has been with College Settlement for 5 years. She has worked with many youth and social service organizations, is a former Teacher Naturalist and Camper Advocate. She recently returned to College Settlement after a year as a Team Leader with Americorps. Rebecca runs our Counselor in Training program during the summer and coordinates most of our spring and fall weekend programs. Rebecca loves working with our former campers as they join us for their first job and transition into the work word. Rebecca’s hobbies include reading, biking (not while reading), and meeting each year’s new crop of students. Her favorite part of the job is connecting with students and junior staff, and the teachable moments that occur while spending “time in” at College Settlement.
Our Teacher Naturalists
We take great pride in making sure each student gets the most out of their trip to College Settlement. Our staff members are carefully selected and trained to make sure our programs are a unique opportunity to meet and make new friends, as well as enrich their education and appreciation of our outside world. Outdoor education provides a chance to create fond memories of joy and discovery. From encouraging students to take a leadership role during group challenges to leading night hikes, our TNs keep the students learning and laughing. Some join us for a year or two, while other have been with us for more than a decade.
Old Man Mike
Teacher Naturalist Mike is a Penn State grad and retired Philadelphia science teacher who has worked with us in many capacities for over 30 years. Mike’s hobbies are camping, traveling, running, and terrible puns. His wife encourages him to run long distances… that way she cannot hear his jokes.
Mike would like folks to know: “I once actually had hair. They refer to me as Old Man Mike at College Settlement Camp, since I am the oldest person on camp. I was a science teacher in an elementary school in Philadelphia for thirty five years. I brought groups of children to College Settlement Camp for the three-day overnight trip for 21 years. Since I retired in June of 2009, I have been working at College Settlement Camp as a teacher naturalist during the fall and spring. During the summer I am the farm educator and spend a good part of my day taking campers on hay rides. One of the things that never gets old is watching a child catch a fish for the first time.”
Raised in South Jersey, Whittier is keen on reaching out and inspiring our youth. He loves sharing the marvels of macro-invertebrates which whets the appetite of the students imagination in his Stream Ecology class. Maintaining a positive attitude and high energy keeps his students engaged and excited on each activity. A renaissance man, he enjoys hiking, all types of games, scuba diving, ceramics, blacksmithing, and more. Whittier also works during our summer program as our Overnight Camp Coordinator – and is basically our scheduling Yoda.
In 2017 he spent 6 months in Colombia, South America, teaching English as a second language traveling with his wife Heidi. Whittier has been teaching outdoor education since 2014. Whittier even starred in our end of season movie “Ferret Smith”
Native to Long Island, Charles is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and Dowling College, was a special education teacher in southern Colorado and a sustainability caretaker at a wolf sanctuary. This past summer, Charles ran our Spruce Run Outpost in the Pocono Mountains where our Teen Adventure Program campers spend 5 days at a time.
His hobbies include foraging, gardening, pickling, hiking and recycling. He enjoys learning and teaching about the variety of edible plants growing wild throughout the trails of Outdoor School, often fostering discussions on sustainable practices during lessons held around the campgrounds or at Pennypack Farm, where students are encouraged to try new foods they harvest together. Talents include walking fast, reaching things in high places, tying his shoes with magic and wearing a big hat.
Darin is from Springfield, Virginia. He just graduated from Americorps-NCCC having spent a year working on service projects around the United States. His first service project was here at College Settlement in March and April 2019 where he and his team did stream restoration and trail improvements as well as working with many of our school groups. He enjoys volunteering his time to help others and his season with College Settlement will enable him to continue that goal! He is a history enthusiast and an avid traveler with a knack for all things outdoors! He is also officially our tallest staff member ever. We predict he will be running The Wall at group challenges quite a bit.
Sarah “Solo!” L
Sarah is from Phillipsburg, NJ and actually visited College Settlement with her troop during her days as a Girl Scout before serving here with AmeriCorps NCCC! She is THRILLED to be back at this exciting, fun camp full of opportunity with two of her former teammates. She started going to camp when she was seven years old and since then, it has been her dream to live the rest of her life in camp-mode. Singing loudly, making unique tie-dyes and staying positive on rainy days is something Sarah can do particularly well. Her first summer as a camp counselor, she was given the camp name “Solo!”, because she likes to spend her free time in solitude. She has worked at Girl Scout and other non-profit camps in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. She was VERY out of shape the first time she took her lifeguard certification, but is now on her third and feels confident that she can save your life (if needed).