Welcoming New Directors

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Greetings from Gwynn Valley!

We’re excited to announce two new faces joining our Director Team for this summer, Heather Chalmers and Dr. David Adams!

Heather started attending Gwynn Valley as a camper back in 2006. She will be stepping into the role of Assistant Director of Main Camp, having served as the Head Counselor of Hillside and Brookside in 2021 and 2022. Over the course of the past two decades, Heather has returned to GV in a variety of camp roles. She has worked as a Main Camp Cabin Counselor, has taught in program, and worked during Family Camp in 2020. 

Heather graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in International Affairs. After graduating in 2017, Heather spent time teaching 5th graders in Florida through the Teach for America Program. She has also taught preschool and traveled through Workaway in a range of care capacities. After spending a year in law school, Heather decided that her passion is in working with youth. She has always been drawn to working with children as she loves the new and fresh perspective on things that children have. She sees the reciprocity in how this elicits new perspectives of her own! More than anything, Heather is drawn to this work because of how much potential children wield when led by example!

Heather is passionate about giving campers a home away from home here at Gwynn Valley, because that’s what it was for her. GV was a place where she experienced so many different things: the magic and beauty of living in the mountains, feeling empowered by overcoming challenges, and gaining confidence and resilience by trying new things. Heather can’t wait to be able to “pay it forward so the next generation of campers can have those same fun growth opportunities.” We can’t wait either, Heather!

Dr. David Adams has worked in Pediatric ER and ICU Medicine in North Carolina for 18 years. He’ll be joining us at camp this summer as the Medical Director and serving as an Assistant Director of Main Camp. Dr. David has worked at Gwynn Valley for six summers during different sessions as a camp physician. We are so excited to have Dr. David joining us this summer!

Some early and formative work with children and teenagers that Dr. David has done included guiding backpacking trips in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming and running a small youth camp. He was a cabin counselor for several summers in Connecticut, at a camp for children with cancer and hematologic disease. This experience was certainly the primary motivation for him to become a physician. After a residency in pediatrics at Yale, Dr. David worked as a general pediatrician in a small community for three years before returning to complete a fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine.

When asked what he was most excited to be bringing to our Director Team, Dr. David spoke to his “extensive experience in communication and with complex decision making…I think this translates well to camp. I’m excited to work with both the counselors and campers in a positive, high energy environment.” With a wealth of experience working in dynamic environments, we look forward to having Dr. David bringing his steadfast, calm leadership to our team!

“Work with children, whether in medicine or as a cabin counselor, demands and amplifies hope. Hope is the substrate. While showing a child to use a compass, or ride a mountain bike may be singular events…the events, in aggregate, may allow positive change. Positive experiences at camp may fuel positive decisions and actions later. This knowledge, the importance of every encounter, has fueled my work with children.”

We feel so fortunate to have Heather and Dr. David joining our leadership team this summer! Their experience will help guide and teach our staff and our campers, plus they are so much fun! We can’t wait to welcome our first session of campers with both new faces and returning faces in just a few weeks!