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Summer 2011: Staff Bios

Photo © Jim Mauchly

Pemi’s greatest asset has always been the remarkable staff that dedicates itself, each summer, to making the Pemi experience rich, unique and nurturing for each boy, and this summer is no exception. While for a few of the staff this is their first summer at Pemi, the vast majority has years and years (and in some cases, years and years and years!) of experience on the shores of Lower Baker. We are grateful for their dedication and work ethic, impressed by their multitudinous talents, and humbled by their dedication to Pemi.

Cabin Counselors

J1— Zach Barnard: I just finished my Sophomore year at Boston University, where I am pursuing a degree in Ethnomusicology. I can’t wait to get involved with the Nature program, as well as return to the Music program, potentially bridging the two disciplines to create some great interest among the campers. I’m excited to be a member of the Pemi family once again!

J2— Ben Ridley: I am from a small town called Hexham in the North of England.  This is my first summer at Camp Pemigewassett and I am looking forward to teaching music, art, and different sports activities, including track/field, rugby, soccer and swimming.

J3— Jeremy Keys: I’m from Downingtown, PA and just graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA where I took part in many activities from running on the Track Team to doing Improv comedy and singing with an A Capella group.  This is my second year at Camp Pemi in the Junior camp.  I hope to coach come soccer, basketball and track, to teach some music and help the Junior Campers have a good time at camp and develop valuable friendships with other campers.

J4—Alastair Bowman: I’ve spent most of my life in Scotland where I have just finished my first year at University of St Andrews studying philosophy and psychology. This will be my second season at Pemi as a counselor where I will be involved in the music and nature programs. My aim this year is to help and encourage the campers to try new activities.

J5— Matthew Turner: I am from Birmingham in the UK and am currently studying Law at the University of Nottingham. I will be teaching in Pemi’s nature program and assisting with trips as well as serving as a cabin counselor. I want to make sure that the campers have a really great time at Pemi, as they learn and try new things, have fun, and develop as individuals.

J6—Zander Buteux: I grew up in Madison, NJ and am entering my Senior Year at the University of Denver. This is going to be my ninth summer on the shores of Lower Baker. As a lacrosse and soccer coach and as an art instructor, I hope to be a link between the arts program and athletics.

JT— Conner Scace: I just finished my first year as a graduate student working with Dr. Larry Davis at the University of New Haven and currently live in West Haven Connecticut. This will be my second year as a nature occupation instructor and camp counselor. Last year I ran insect occupations (with a particular interest in the ant occupation) as well as basketball occupations and was a Junior basketball coach. This year I would like to add Mound Builder Ant and Ant Lion activities to the insect occupations.

L1— Dan Reed: I grew up in Carlisle, PA, and enjoyed 2 academic years in Christchurch, New Zealand. I am a rising sophomore at Middlebury College, where I am focusing on Geology but am enjoying an array of other subjects.  This will be my 19th summer at Pemi: eight summers as director’s son, eight as camper, one at Pemi West and two on staff.  I hope to teach photography, nature, archery, and some tennis, and I look forward to another great summer.

L2— Henry Eisenhart:  I’m from Natick, Masschusetts and am a rising senior at St. Lawrence University.  There I am majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Music.   This is my ninth summer at camp and third on staff.  This summer I’ll be the Lower Division Head, and will spend time teaching athletics and music.  Pumped for a great summer.

L3—Sean Munck (Co-counselor): I am a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania and am a rising sophomore at the Schreyer Honors College of Penn St. University.  This will be my first season at Pemi.  As an instructor, I will focus on wood shop and the music department, but I will also be assisting with various other occupations.  I really hope to teach guitar to as many campers as possible, and I am very excited for the season to begin.

L3—Robert Kerr (Co-counselor): this is my first summer at Pemi.  I am originally from outside Philadelphia but my parents recently moved to Keene, NH.  This winter I will be a sophomore at Colorado College.  Some of the areas in which I will be working this summer include Baseball, Arts and Sailing.  I am super excited for this summer, and cannot wait to meet all of the campers.

L4— Charlie Shiverick: I graduated from Colgate University last spring where I studied Mathematics and spent this past winter in Vail, CO operating a Snocat. This will be my sixth summer at Pemi, and my second as a counselor. This summer I hope to be helping out on the waterfront, as well as coaching baseball, and teaching waterskiing.

HT— Peter Siegenthaler: from Providence Rhode Island.  I’m a graduate of Roger Williams University, where I studied Photography and Art History.  Fourth summer on Staff; instructor in Nature and Arts; Emergency bugler.

L5—Nick Ridley: I am back for my 3rd summer on the staff this year.  I knew immediately after camp closed last year I’d find it difficult to stay away.  I live in the UK. Chemistry at Edinburgh University, however I’ll be in the states until August 2012 completing an internship in Chicago with the Ridgley Company.  I’ve have really enjoyed the relationships I’ve built with the boys in my cabin in the past.  I can’t wait to get going with the guys in L5 this summer

L6—Willy Rittling: I live in Boston MA and am a rising sophomore at Clarkson University. This will be my 6th year at Pemi including Pemi West. I will be helping out in the woodshop and windsurfing. This year I hope encourage campers to try new things and get everything possible they can out of Pemi.

L7— Will Clare: I am from Manhattan, New York.  This is my 11th summer at Pemi.   I am 21 years old and am looking forward to another great summer teaching Lacrosse, Waterskiing, and a variety of other sports.

U1— Fitz Stueber: I’m a native of Cleveland, Ohio. This is my 7th season, 2nd on staff. I am going into my senior year at Washington & Jefferson College where I am on the Mens Soccer Team. With the skills I have acquired over the years, I will be teaching soccer and other athletics this year along with anything else I can help out with. Creating a fun and interesting summer for the camp community is my main goal for this year.

U2— Sean Denson: I live in Clementon, NJ and am a rising senior at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. I am excited for my first summer at Pemi, where I will coach campers in Track and Basketball, my two favorite sports. I hope to help each camper realize his full potential.

U3— Ted McChesney (Co-counselor): I am 22 years old, from Richmond, VA, and just graduated from the University of Virginia (and am looking for a job.)  This is my 11th summer at Pemi, 5th on staff.  This summer I will be the Upper Division head and involved primarily with the sports program.

U3—Galen Ryan (Co-counselor): I was born and raised in Riverside, IL and I am now a rising sophomore at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. This will be my first year at Pemi and I am looking forward to it. I love to swim, play ultimate Frisbee, and lead an energetic life in general. My goal for the summer is to teach campers the importance of leading an active life.

U4—Ben Walsh (Co-counselor): I am excited to spend my 10th summer at Pemi; this will be my 4th on staff.  I am a rising Sophmore at Carleton College where I played on the Soccer and Baseball teams and did homework on occasion (you can take this last part out).  This summer I hope to share my appreciation of camp with campers old and new.

U4—Carlo Yeung (Co-counselor): I’m from Newcastle in England, and graduated from the University of Essex last year where I did Sport and Exercise Science. This is my first time at Pemi and in the U.S.  I’m a specialist table tennis coach but what I really love is Xtreme martial arts and mental stunts.  I hope to inspire the kids to do something they would never normally do.

S1—This will be my twelfth season at Pemi, including Pemi West. I will be the head of the windsurfing program this summer, in addition to coaching soccer and ultimate Frisbee. I’m a rising senior at Carleton College. “This year I hope to assist the senior campers in taking leadership roles across camp.”

S2— Sam Johnson: I’m from the South East of England, and just finished my final year at the University of East Anglia in Norwich where I studied History and International Relations. I play several sports including soccer, field hockey, and golf, and I like to think I am a pretty good table tennis player too! This summer I will coach soccer and help out with drama, and I hope to share some British culture along the way. My goal is to teach kids new skills as well as to encourage them to learn from one another, and doing so, experience the reward that comes from helping others.

S3— Alex Reese: I grew up in Wyomissing, PA and will return to Johns Hopkins as a junior next fall. This is my 9th summer at Pemi, 4th on staff.  I look forward to spending lots of time on the tennis courts preparing for Tecumseh Day.  Among my goals are to enable each boy to maximize his experience, to find new avenues for returning campers, and to welcome first-year campers into our rich and diverse community.

LT— Dwight Dunston: I am originally from Philadelphia,PA.  I recently returned to America from Norwich, England where I completed an MA course in Creative Writing. This will be my third consecutive summer at Pemi. I will be coaching basketball and track, and I also will be leading poetry and comedy improvisation occupations. I hope to once again provide an exciting and safe atmosphere for the campers, where they are in the best position to learn from counselors, and also from each other.

Assistant Counselors

J1— Jay McChesney: I am from Richmond, Virginia and recently graduated from St. Christopher’s High School.  I am 18 years old and I play squash and Lacrosse,. In the fall, I will attend school just a few hours from here, at the University of Vermont.  This is my 8th summer at Camp Pemi and I’m very excited for the upcoming season.

J2— Adam Sandler: I am 18 years old, from Westchester, New York.  This will be my 9th summer at Pemi, and my second summer as a staff member.  This summer I look forward to contributing in lax world, on the waterfront, in the art program, and with frisbee.

J3—Wesley Eifler: I grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut and this will be my 9th summer at Pemi. I just graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall, and will be attending American University where I will be studying journalism. My goal this summer is to coach baseball and instruct in sailing and photography. I also hope to promote everything Pemi has to offer.

J4—Andrew McChesney: I am from Millburn, NJ and I will be a freshman next year at Trinity College. This will be my 6th year at Pemi and my second on staff.  My goal this summer is to teach sailing, lacrosse and to help the campers have the best summer possible.

J5—Richard Komson: I am from New York City, just graduated from Loyola High School, and will attend Boston University in the fall. This will be my 9th season at Pemi and my second as assistant counselor. I will be doing the majority of my occupation and work as part of the Nature staff and will also be part of the archery program and help the physical fitness occupations. As an assistant counselor I hope to aide on a few trips as I also went to Pemi West two years ago.

J6—Mike Plecha: I will teach basketball, baseball, soccer, and swimming, A capella, and anything else I am asked to help with.  I graduated this spring from Lake Ride Academy in North Ridgeville, OH, and will be studying Music Industry at Northeaster University in the fall.  As a first-time counselor at Pemi, I am excited to work with the wonderful kids and staff that make this camp special.

L2—Charlie Pannell: I’m from Tiburon CA and will attend UMass Amherst in the fall. This summer I’ll teach in the Nature and Art programs, help drive the ski boat, and serve as lifeguard. I’m looking forward to an awesome summer.

L4—Ryan Fauver: I’m from Chatham NJ and will be a freshman at Skidmore in the fall. I’m the camp bugler and will be teaching music. I’m very excited for a great summer.

L5— Payne Hadden: I am 17 years old and grew up in Weston, MA.  I am currently enrolled at St. Paul’s School, a boarding school in Concord, NH, where I will be a senior in the fall. Though this is my ninth summer at Pemi, it is my first on staff.  I am excited about helping out with the lacrosse, soccer basketball and swimming programs.

L6— Andrew Brummer: I live in Chatham, NJ and I am a rising senior at Newark Academy, where I play Varsity Soccer and Tennis. This will be my 8th summer at Pemi. This summer, I hope to help instruct campers in tennis, soccer, and swimming as well as encourage them to try something new in an unfamiliar field.

Bridget Ruf: I’m from Southport, CT and this will be my third summer at Pemi. I just finished my first year at Wellesley College, and I am looking forward to teaching music occupations, performing at campfires, and spending time in the junior camp. I’m excited to be back again this summer and hope to encourage the campers to take advantage of all the opportunities at Pemi.

Kelsey Wensberg: this will be my third year at Pemi.  I am from Darien, CT  and will be attending Villanova University in the fall.  This year I will work in the art and music departments, and will help out with swimming and various other occupations. I am looking forward to an amazing summer with the boys and can’t wait to see how this season unfolds.

Olivia Walsh: My family lives in New Canaan, CT but I go to boarding school in Northfield, MA (NMH). I just finished my Junior year there and am beginning the college search process. This is my second summer at Pemi as an assistant counselor (though I don’t live in the cabin) and I join two of my brothers. I look forward to spending time on the waterfront teaching sailing and swimming, as well as playing soccer.

Trip Leaders

James Andrews: I grew up in Columbus, OH, and will be entering my senior year at Kenyon College. This will be my 13th season at Pemi, and third year as a trip counselor. Going on hiking trips with Pemi as a camper made a huge impression on me, and I hope that I can continue to teach younger generations to enjoy the outdoors.

Sam Day: This is the first time I’ve ever been to the USA! I grew up near London and study History at the University of Leeds. My life’s passion is travelling and adventures; I travelled the world last year and am a trip leader this summer. My goal over the next few months is to share new sights and experiences with like-minded, adventurous campers at Pemi.

James Finley: I am an instructor and doctoral student at the University of New Hampshire, studying American Literature. This will be my seventeenth summer at Pemi and while I regret that my time here will be limited, I’m looking forward to leading the Katahdin trip, fifteen years after climbing it as a camper.

Sylvia Parol- I’m from Worcester, MA and I just finished my first year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I’m studying Interactive Media & Game Development and I also play on the Varsity field hockey team. I attended Pemi West in Olympic National Park in Washington two years ago. I’m very excited to be a trip leader this summer. I hope to foster a love of the outdoors and backpacking in campers and to have a lot of fun!

William Sargent: I am from West Hartford, CT and just finished my freshman year at Union College.  This summer I will be a Trippie.  I am very excited to take campers out this summer to hike in and explore the White Mountains.


Ian Axness (Head of Music):  I will be teaching piano, ensemble improvisation, and Gilbert & Sullivan occupations this summer, in addition to accompanying singing in the Mess Hall, auditioning acts for Campfire, and writing/editing Bean Soup.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, I attended Oberlin College and moved to New York City, where I work as a freelance pianist and music director.  I’m currently doing a close reading of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas— plenty of material for Sunday meetings! This will be my fifth summer at Pemi.

Andrew Bale:  I was born in Hummelstown, PA and I am a fine art photographer and photography teacher.  I became a photographer because a teacher challenged, inspired and encouraged me to see the world differently through the lens of a camera.  It is my goal to pass along that same creative eye to campers.

Deb Kure (Associate Head of Nature Programs): After studying Geology at the University of Rochester and learning how to teach kids in the outdoors— at Pemi’s first Nature Instructors’ Clinic in 1993—I’ve been grateful to have taught outdoor science in rural, urban, and wilderness regions, all over the US. I currently live in Austin, Texas, and teach with Camp Fire USA, but I’ll take moose over armadillos any day!  Glad to be back for my fourth summer with Pemi!

Larry Davis: Director of Nature Programs and Teaching. A.B., A.M. in Earth Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis. PhD in Geological Sciences University of Rochester. Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven. This is my 42nd year on Pemi’s staff. Flutist, caver in chief, wild foods chef, collector of waterfalls, lover of all things “natural.”

Dorin Dehls: I am from Woodstock CT, and I am very excited to student teach in the fall as a Music Education major! This will be my third summer with Pemi, and I am so happy to return as a member of the music staff. In the past I have worked with the Gilbert & Sullivan productions that are performed at Pemi each year. I can’t wait to start working with the rest of the camp staff and the talented boys coming to camp this year as we prepare for The Mikado!

Emilie Geissinger: I grew up in Darien, CT but now live in Bismarck, ND. I am a rising sophomore at Bates College where I study Biology, swim, and play water polo. This is my first summer at Pemi and I will be working on the waterfront as a swim instructor, sailing instructor, and lifeguard.

Jeff Greene: (Director of Tennis). This is my 13th consecutive summer at Pemi. I first coached at the high school level in 1985, and then went on to coach at the intercollegiate level for 20 years. During the winter, I teach tennis at Queens College and during the spring and fall, I run an after-school tennis program in Westchester County, NY. Described as having “a distinctive raspy voice and a unique sense of humor,” I am always on the lookout for Pemi’s next tennis star, but enjoy teaching and encouraging campers at all skill levels.

Harry MacGregor (Head of Shop) – I grew up in Lowell, MA and for the last 30 years have lived in Canaan, New Hampshire.   I have had a long career in commerical, industrial and residental construction.   I have owned my own business focusing on custom woodworking.  My focus at Camp Pemi will be to bring my knowledge of woodworking to the campers.

Brian Mitchell: I will be returning for my 12th summer at camp where I have had the opportunity to serve many different roles.  This summer I will be back to help coach soccer and lend a helping hand where ever it is needed for two weeks in July.  I recently completed my seventh year of teaching and my second at The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland.  At BL, I am the 9th Grade Dean, I teach Upper School Mathematics and I coach both soccer and lacrosse.

Ken Moore – Assistant Director and Head of Program Born and bred in Lakewood, Ohio, I teach 9th grade history at Lake Ridge Academy where I also serve as Director of Alumni Relations.  This is my 19th summer at Pemi, some as a boy, counselor and Division Head, and more recently as Waterfront Head and this year taking the role as Head of the Mess Hall, Head of Program and Assistant Director.  My BA is from Kenyon College and my MAED is from University School’s Teacher Apprentice Program.  My primary goal for the summer is to create an instructional program that allows our boys to try new activities as well as to learn and develop specific skills in a specialized area.

Deb Pannell (Head of Arts): I am delighted to be teaching art at Pemi this summer! I live with my husband, Jim, and our sons in Tiburon, a small town north of San Francisco where I teach elementary school. I am the mother of Ethan (13), a Pemi camper, and Charlie (18) a Pemi counselor. My goal this summer is to get to know every single boy at camp and to involve as many boys as possible in the creative fun that will be taking place in the art studio.

Abby Reed (Co-Head Junior Camp): I’m from Carlisle, PA, and just graduated from Middlebury College. In the fall, I’ll be attending a master’s program in literature at the University of Cambridge. This will be my (7th?) summer at Pemi, including Pemi West. In addition to being co-head of the Junior Camp, I also will teach swimming and nature.

Paige Wallis (Head of Swimming): I grew up in Norwich, Vermont and will be a senior at the University of Vermont this coming fall. I spent the past semester studying abroad at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. This will be my second summer at Pemi and my first year as the head of swimming. This summer my goal is to encourage and inspire campers to develop  their skills in and out of the water.

Johanna Zabawa (Head of Staff, Co-Head Junior Camp): I’m from Afton, Minnesota and work as a family support worker at the elementary school in West St. Paul, MN.  This is my 7th summer at Pemi.  I’m looking forward to a new role as Head of Staff along with continuing as Head of Junior Camp.

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