Val Elliott-Executive Director
Val began his camping career in 1989 as a camp counselor at Kanakuk-Kanakomo Kamps in Branson, Missouri. He served there for two summers as a camp counselor and then upon graduating from The Citadel in 1991 took the year round role of Program Director for Clemson University’s RM Cooper 4-H Leadership Center. In 1995 Val moved into the Center Director role at RM Cooper. In 2007, Val and his wife Elizabeth and five children (Emma, Lucas, Eliza, Ethan and Palmer) moved from RM Cooper to YMCA Camp Hanes as Val became the Executive Director of YMCA Camp Hanes. As Val enters his 26th summer camping season he is extremely passionate about giving children an incredible, safe Christian camping experience at YMCA Camp Hanes. Val served on the American Camping Association Southeast section board for seven years and has been an Accreditation standards visitor for over 15 years.
Jen de Ridder – Senior Program Director
Jen de Ridder began her YMCA camping experience in 1989 at Camp Kern. She met her husband during her years there and they have worked at five YMCA camps. Jen and her family have called Camp Hanes home since 2003. She has served a variety of roles at camp but now over sees all of our camp programs. During the year you will often catch her outside reading and spending time with her boys. She feels very blessed by her job/life in camping.
Robert Money– Food Service Director
Robert has been serving as Camp Hanes’ Food Service Director since 2013. He oversees all aspects of the food service operation from ordering food to preparing meals. Robert is a homegrown boy growing up and residing in King. Robert, and his wife Julie, have raised four children (Austin, Elizabeth, Jackson, and Saleen) and now enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren. He has served his community in many capacities, but mainly through youth and high school sports. He currently serves on the West Stokes Prowlers Board of Directors as President and Head Football Coach. Robert is also entering his 10th season as a member of the West Stokes High School football staff, winning a state championship in 2011. He also helps with girls’ softball in the spring and during the winter months; he is the varsity basketball game announcer and clock keeper.
Carmina joined YMCA Camp Hanes as Office Manager in 2014 with background in youth development and business administration and it’s no surprise that one of her spiritual gifts is administration… Since joining our team, Carmina has been the center rock in the office life of camp. Once you’re on the phone, she not only helps book your upcoming conference event, schedule your outdoor education visit, and registers your child for camp, she will share her passion and faith with you. Many scholars seek grades of excellence in the classroom; not Carmina. Her favorite letter grade has always been “F” for the love of family, the love of her church and ministry, and the love of singing. In fact she sings, she gives signals to musicians to play the in the key of “F” because she sings Free and those who accompany her must be Flexible because there will be times in which the Holy Spirit takes control and musicians may have Find her to keep up. She lives her life in “F” – full of faith, family, fellowship, and friends. Give her a call and let her welcome you into the family!
Amber Harris – Engagement Director of Development
Amber joined the YMCA Camp Hanes team in January 2018 as Engagement Director. Amber is passionate about community and nonprofit work. Amber hails from Floyd, VA, which gave her a solid foundation in valuing family, the outdoors, and community. She graduated from Bridgewater College in the Shenandoah Valley of VA and then earned her Master of Divinity at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. She has experience in youth and young adult ministry and development. Her journey has led her to Camp where she will use her gifts in community engagement, development, and ministry. Amber lives in Winston-Salem with her husband, Preston, and two sons, Dax and Branch. Her two dogs, Bertie and Gavin complete their family.
Amelia Johnson – Associate Director, Resident Camp
Amelia has been at YMCA Camp Hanes since 2015 and overall in love with camping from a young age. Amelia loved camp and what it could provide for people so much that she decided to get her degree in Recreation and Leadership Management which then led her the Y. She started her camping career as a counselor in 2009 and has worked in various positions and at various camps since then. This born and raised Michigan girl has been happy to make North Carolina her home and live in the NC heat rather than the MI cold. Because she has always loved the fresh fruits and vegetables she received at home growing up, her passion is gardening. She is not only excited to cultivate plants in the summer, but also loves and looks forward to cultivating the lives of the people she comes in contact with. So come on out and have a great summer with us!
Letha Lineberry – Associate Director, Outdoor Education and Day Camp
Letha has been working at YMCA Camp Hanes since the summer of 2013 as a counselor and as aquatics leader summer 2014. Briefly, Letha worked for Child Care Services at the Fulton Family YMCA in Winston-Salem. Letha has been in her full time position since 2015 and added her side kick, pet cat, Max to the team. Originally Letha is from Forest City, North Carolina, nestled in the Western North Carolina foothills, where her parents and sister still live. She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication.
Jared Causby – Associate Director, Conferences and Adventure
Jared has been at YMCA Camp Hanes since 2015 where he worked seasonally as an Outdoor Education Instructor. After working in Asheville, NC for a year he has returned in a full-time role! Originally Jared is from Weaverville, North Carolina, a small town outside Asheville. Because of his love for sports it led him to North Carolina State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management in 2011. In the fall you will catch him at a Carolina Panthers game or on top of a mountain with his furry friend Amos. Jared is a avid hiker and successfully completed an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike in 2013. Adventure awaits!
Seth Freeman- Property Director
Seth starting working for the YMCA 2010 and then took some time to work in other fields. In 2016 Seth rejoined the Y by joining the Camp Hanes property team! Seth loves spending his time working with good people and using his hands to keep camp running, so much that over time he became our Property Director! In addition to keeping camp in tip top shape you can find Seth on his free time fishing in our lakes and living the life of a outdoors-man.
Branden Chesser- Director of Adventure Guides
Branden has been at Camp Hanes since December of 2017, but has been in the camp field since 2011. Branden is from Louisville, KY and graduated in 2013 from Murray State University with a major in Recreation. Branden is always full of energy with a smile on his face. One of Branden’s favorite things to do at camp is to sing camp songs! You may see him walking around practicing camp songs or smiling because he has no voice from the Campfire the night before. During Branden’s free time in enjoys mountain biking, dirt bike riding, basketball and volleyball.
2017 Outdoor Education Staff
Spring Outdoor Education is in full swing and going great with this awesome staff team!