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Our Staff

Our Most Valuable Resource

We hire creative, fun, inspiring individuals who demonstrate a desire to work with children and who have strong character, leadership skills, and experience to teach in our program areas. Our staff is made up of many camper alumni, friends, and people from all over the world; these diverse cultures are integral part of Gwynn Valley. Countries such as Scotland, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, The Netherlands, South Africa, Poland, Russia, and others have been represented at camp. There is also a lot of geographical diversity within our American staff with 20-25 states being represented each summer.  All of our counselors and program leaders are 18 or older and the majority have completed at least their freshman year in college. Our overall camper-to-staff ratio is 3 to 1. Our medical team consists of a physician and two nurses each session.

Meet the Directors

Anne and Grant Bullard bring a rich variety of skills to Gwynn Valley as professionals, parents, and grandparents. They became Directors and Owners in 1998 and are dedicated to the mission of Gwynn Valley and youth development. It has been a joy for them to watch children grow up at camp, to be a part of each camper’s development, and to work with them later as caring and mature counselors and staff.

Before joining the Gwynn Valley family, Anne taught French at both the elementary and high school levels for fifteen years. Anne leads in all aspects of camp and loves partnering with parents and families, overseeing camper adjustment and their well being, and training and working with the the GV leadership team. Her attention to the details keeps us all on track. Anne’s favorite activity at camp is horseback riding and she loves all of the traditions at Gwynn Valley, from Tajar Ball to Friendship circles, to serenade at bedtime.

Grant has been involved in year round camp administration and outdoor education programming for forty years and also instructed for two Outward Bound Schools. He has served as a delegate to the American Camp Association’s Southeast Section, serves as a board member for the NC Youth Camp Association, is a whitewater canoe instructor for the American Canoe Association, and loves mountain biking. Grant is out in program every day working with children and staff.

Both have a great love of the outdoors and its connection to the growth and education of children. They live at camp year round and raised their four children here.  They devote their full time energies to the direction of Gwynn Valley and love the camp life.

Please call or email us, if you have any questions. We would be happy to speak with you about camp.
Anne: anne@gwynnvalley.com  828-885-2900 ext 24
Grant: grant@gwynnvalley.com 828-885-2900 ext 23

Meet the Leadership Team

We have a very talented Director team and year round staff with many diverse strengths.  If you have a specific question, you can email them directly.

Maggie Howe

Director of Staff / Associate Director

In the off season, Maggie focuses on hiring the best staff to make each summer both fun and safe for all our campers. In the summer months, she helps keep an eye on the big picture operations of camp, helping mentor summer staff and coordinate activities across programs. Maggie has a passion for environmental issues, which started with her days as a Gwynn Valley camper hanging out at the farm or going on backpacking trips with Mountainside. She studied environmental policy as an undergraduate at Georgetown University and went on to work as a government contractor for the EPA before joining Gwynn Valley’s year round team in January 2013. Outside of camp, Maggie loves to travel, cook, and have outdoor adventures. Maggie owns Brevard Clay with her husband, Stuart Howe, who is also part of the Gwynn Valley alumni family. When she’s not trail running with her dog, Luna, she’s probably studying as she is currently working towards her MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler.

maggie@gwynnvalley.com

Kevin MacDonald

Program Director / Assistant Director

Kevin oversees programming at Gwynn Valley – essentially, all the “fun stuff” that campers do from morning to evening! He mentors and trains the adventure program leaders (backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater paddling, and earth skills), provides leadership and support for GV’s older programs (Mountainside, Riverside, Young Leaders, and Staff-in-Training), and manages inventory and logistics for in-camp activities and out-of-camp trips. As a boy, Kevin attended camps in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York, and as an adult he’s worked for almost a dozen different camps and/or youth outdoor education organizations. After graduating from Houghton College in western New York state with a degree in Studio Art, Kevin worked as a whitewater rafting and canoeing guide in Texas, a nature center interpreter in Delaware, a summer camp program director in New York, a high school art teacher in North Carolina, an international trip leader in Thailand, and a wilderness instructor in Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, South Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Virginia.

kevin@gwynnvalley.com

Shelley Heath

Registrar and Office Manager

Shelley takes care of all the communication and paperwork required to register campers.  She keeps parents informed throughout the year and answers questions daily as she’s generally the first person to answer the phone.  She loves learning new things and spearheads many of our marketing projects.  She has experience in almost every role in the camping industry.  She worked 5 summers at Gwynn Valley beginning in 2003 as Farm Manager, Mountainside Logistics Coordinator, and Riverside Head Counselor.  Before her time at Gwynn Valley she also acquired job experience at other camps as a cabin counselor, outdoor trip leader, and archery instructor.  She also worked for years as a Qualified Mental Health Professional and even ran her own CSA farm for several summers.  Shelley is a native of western North Carolina and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Brevard College.  She is a talented artist and musician and brings a unique combination of creativity, insight, and organizational skills to our team. She and her husband, Jeff have a four year old daughter who can’t wait to be a camper!

shelley@gwynnvalley.com

Barbara Whitmire

Business Manager / First Aid Instructor

Barbara has worked with our camper families and alumni for over 25 years and is that cheerful voice at the other end of the phone who helps our parents and grandparents with any financial questions. She processes all tuition payments, processes the financial information, and oversees the business administration. She also leads a Wilderness First Aid course for some of our staff every summer.  Barbara grew up in Western NC and is an avid outdoors athlete who loves to run, bike, kayak, hike, and swim, having completed over 20 marathons.  She is a valuable resource not only in the business end of camp but also in her knowledge of the trails and outdoor areas in Pisgah and Dupont Forests. She loves camp and believes strongly in the growth that happens when connecting children with nature.

barbara@gwynnvalley.com

Dale Robertson

Site and Farm Manager / Assistant Director

For forty years, Dale has dedicated his career to managing and caring for Gwynn Valley’s beautiful site and  to the importance of sustainability and conservation practices. He is a licensed contractor and keeps all of our buildings in tip top shape. Having been raised on a farm, Dale pursued his education in agriculture at NC State University and completed his MS in Agriculture at Clemson University. His passion is farming and education. In 1982, Dale started the Farm program at Gwynn Valley and oversees its growth and management and is committed to introducing and teaching youth about agriculture and life on a farm. He is also responsible for renovating our 1890’s grist mill along with creating the mill program and its curriculum. Dale has trained, mentored, coached, and inspired many staff throughout the years in milling and farming!

dale@gwynnvalley.com

Jeff Heath

Site and Grounds Manager

Jeff works alongside Dale, the Site Manager to maintain all aspects of our site.  He insures our grounds are in pristine condition during the summer and orchestrates the parking and luggage process on Opening & Closing days.  Jeff is originally from Canada and began working at Gwynn Valley as a summer staff on the maintenance team in 2000.  Jeff’s innate talent for strategic thinking makes him exceptional in planning the vast array of projects that are done throughout the year and his strong sense of personal responsibility ensures everything is completed efficiently and to a high standard. He met his wife Shelley at camp and they have a four year old daughter.

JEFF@GWYNNVALLEY.COM

Ashton Powell

Chef and Food Service Director

Dining and good, fresh food are very important at Gwynn Valley. Our chef Ashton manages our whole foods kitchen, food service, and all aspects of the dining experience. He is a trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu of Culinary Arts in Atlanta with 20 years of of experience in the food industry 10 of which have been in camp food service. He is passionate about creating healthy and delicious meals for our campers and loves working with all of our fresh produce and food from our Farm program. The farm raises approximately 25,000 pounds of vegetables each summer which we love to help pick, shuck, and eat but it is Ashton who plans the menus, manages the staff, and trains our future chefs. He also oversees our special foods and diets making sure our campers dietary needs are met. He and Jessica, have two boys who are campers so Ashton is used to cooking for children and understands their pallets.

ashton@gwynnvalley.com

“Every time I return to Gwynn Valley, I find new inspiration to try my best at whatever I do, to appreciate the simple joys in my life, and to remember my sense of adventure.”