Our Directors and Executive Staff bring a wide variety of backgrounds and experience to ‘Camp’ Camp. Many of them have been part of our Staff for years. Most importantly, they share a love for ‘Camp’ Camp — and the collective ability to know just how to make sure you have the best time ever! And with many of them being part of the Transition Team tasked with ensuring our move to our exciting new location for Camp 2024 goes smoothly, you can be assured that your awesome & fabulous week at ‘Camp’ Camp remains awesome & fabulous, no matter our location!
meet our owners & directors
Kerry Riffle (he/him; Owner/Director, Woodville, OH) was severely traumatized by five days at Camp Storer during his sixth-grade spring break. However, the memory of his hunky cabin counselor and his inexplicable desire to see the state of Maine prevailed when he saw an ad for the very first year of ‘Camp’ Camp in The Advocate back in 1997. Kerry has held various positions at Camp since then, including Theatre Instructor (1997-1998), Rainbow Group Leader (1997-2000), Staff Training Supervisor & Programming Coordinator (2000-2004), and Assistant Director for Operations (2005). A member of Camp’s Steering Committee from 1999-2005, he was asked by ‘Camp’ Camp’s founder Bill Cole to assume ownership of Camp in 2006. So, while his dream was always to have his own theatre company, Kerry nonetheless has happily spent the past 19 years the proud owner of a fabulous LGBTQ+ summer camp instead! Originally from northwest Ohio where he was also a theatre major at Bowling Green State University, Kerry moved to Chicago in 1988 to pursue a theatre career, relocating to Boston (meh) in 1999 and New York City (loved it!) in 2001. Hoping that living somewhere with a more reasonable cost of living would allow him to focus more on ‘Camp’ Camp after years of juggling full-time jobs with Camp responsibilities, he left New York in 2016. After an extended stay in both Maine and Ohio, a friend’s offer of a cheap place to live in Hollywood enticed him out to California in March of 2017, allowing him to spend the worst of the COVID pandemic in all that glorious Southern California sunshine. When family matters called in late 2021, he returned to the small Ohio town where he grew up, concurrently (and ironically) finding himself remotely employed by the very same Manhattan law firm where he had worked for most of his 15 years in New York City. Camp 2024 will mark his 26th season with ‘Camp’ Camp, after also designing/managing two years of virtual Camp programming in 2020 and 2021. (Stupid COVID.) His 28-year tenure at Camp gives him the dubious distinction of being the only person left who has experienced ‘Camp’ Camp every year since its inception in 1997. He has seen and heard a lot. A lot.
Michelle Rediker (she/her; Associate Director, Framingham, MA) thrived as a camper at Girl Scout Camp Natarswi, at the Southern Gate of Maine’s stunning Baxter State Park in the ’80’s. Though she heard about ‘Camp’ Camp in its earliest years, Michelle kept denying the longing in her heart to return summer camp. (One of her life’s biggest life regrets.) In the summer of 2009, Michelle finally decided to take the plunge — and she’s only missed one year of ‘Camp’ Camp since then! As a Camper her first two summers at Camp, Michelle spent so much time in the lake, Camp’s Waterfront Director decided she might as well just hire Michelle as a Lifeguard if she insisted on being there all the time anyway. And thus it began: Michelle was a full-time lifeguard on Camp’s Waterfront Staff from 2012 to 2016, then split her time between the waterfront and Rainbow Group Leader from 2017 to 2019. She “retired” from the Waterfront Staff in 2022, when she served as both a Rainbow Group Leader and their Team Leader before being invited to become Assistant Director for Camp 2023. Michelle’s career outside of Camp centers on fundraising. After graduating from the University of Maine, she worked at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, starting as the receptionist and moving up through the organization in a variety of positions — pretty much doing everything but litigation! In her last role at GLAD, she was responsible for their annual fundraising events. After realizing she didn’t quite possess the Fabulous Gene such a position required and instead preferred the data side of fundraising, she acquired her Client/Server Certificate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After four years as a Programmer/Analyst at a 700-bed hospital, Michelle “got the call” to return to something more non-profity and took a job in 2006 at the Unitarian Universalist Association, where she eventually landed in the UU Funding Program in a position that beautifully combines the knowledge and skills honed throughout her career: fundraising, hosting and feeding panel members, community organizing, databases, and the workings of non-profits and foundations. It’s been a match made in heaven! When COVID-19 struck, Michelle – knowing the value of Camp as a community institution and being committed to Camp’s future – utilized her extensive fundraising background to organize a GoFundMe campaign that was instrumental in ‘Camp’ Camp surviving those uncertain days of no in-person Camp (translation: little revenue) but ongoing expenses. In her spare time, Michelle has mentored LGBTQ+ youth living in foster care and volunteers with the Swing Blue Alliance to fight for Democracy. She loves to travel, especially if it gives her the chance to go diving. In 2014, she traveled to Thailand for her UUA sabbatical, where she perfected her SCUBA skills and worked on a reef restoration project. Michelle and her wife, Sue, live in the bucolic farm and conservation land of Framingham with their Mini Goldendoodle, Buster.
Betsy Orr (she/her; Owner/Purchasing & Inventory Manager, Portland, ME) is a wicked-local, lifelong resident of Maine and is uniquely qualified to be a long-term owner of ‘Camp’ Camp: until her move to Portland in 2013, she could see Camp from her house — although she did have to travel to Boston Pride to find out about it. Betsy first came to ‘Camp’ Camp as a Driver in 2003 and later became a Rainbow Group Leader. When Kerry asked her to become his business partner in 2009, she said “Yes!” before she really had time to consider what she was doing, and she served as Associate Director from 2009-2022. Camp 2024 will be Betsy’s 20th summer at ‘Camp’ Camp, and, while she has loved every minute of the journey thus far, she’s excited that her most recent role as Purchasing & Inventory Manager will allow her to spend the week of Camp frolicking full-time with the other Campers. Having spent much of her youth at her grandmother’s camp, Betsy has always been well-equipped to spend her summers playing with a bunch of queers in the Maine woods. To know her is to know that she’s really just an overgrown kid. ‘Camp’ Camp founder Bill Cole gave her the nickname “Plays Well With Others,” which is a pretty accurate description, as her constant smile, quick wit, and colorful (ahem) language render her easily approachable at ‘Camp’ Camp. Betsy recently retired after many years of avoiding lesbian stereotypes as a PE and Health teacher, though she finds working with ‘Camp’ Campers to be oddly similar to working with the Middle School students she used to teach when ‘Camp’ Camp wasn’t in session. Betsy can always be heard before she is seen—which gives you ample notice to turn and run or to stop and talk.
meet our executive staff
Anne Diehl* (she/her; Executive Assistant/Registrar, Washington, DC) is happiest when she is surrounded by trees, grew up scouting and tent camping with her family, and comes from three generations of Eagle Scouts. Despite this background, she was too scared to ever attend overnight camp as a child. In her 30s and still low-key fascinated with what sleepaway camp might be like, Anne found ‘Camp’ Camp in 2019 by conducting a fortuitous Google search for something along the lines of “summer camp, no kids.” Her first year at Camp, she had an incredible time and fell for a fellow first-year Camper named Kate, who is now her wife. While Anne cannot guarantee that your future partner is waiting for you at ‘Camp’ Camp, she suggests you should probably come to Camp anyway, just in case. After enjoying Camp as a full-time Camper her first two summers, Anne served as Executive Assistant for Camp’s 2022 season — and is excited to now add Registrar to her duties as well, as she’ll be able to put her nerdy enthusiasm for databases and organization to productive use. Outside of Camp, Anne works in mental health research and her favorite activity is to crochet or embroider things, sitting with Kate in their neighborhood park.
Brett Auttonberry* (he/him; Transition Manager, Slaughter, LA) has worn his share of hats over the years. To name the more notable, he has been a professional operatic bass/baritone, Mariachi marimbaist, Jazz pianist, high school band director, cake decorator, U.S. Army Ranger “AIRBORNE!!,” box dancer, adult film talent, potter, horticulturist, and proud husband. And now he’s excited to be marking his 14th year at Camp by rejoining Camp’s Executive Staff. Brett first attended ‘Camp’ Camp in 2009 as Pottery Instructor, a role he held until 2015, then he served as Owner/Associate Director for three years before enjoying a few years as a Camper and returning on Staff last summer as Choral Instructor & Assistant Pottery Instructor. Brett lives in the village of Slaughter, Louisiana, just up the road a piece from the state’s capital, Baton Rouge, with his husband (and Camp’s Morning Dining Hall Manager), Darin, in their home, Serenity Cottage, c. 1886, with their 14 cats, 2 dogs, 2 foster dogs, 3 crawfish, and 50+ chickens, where they are known to village folk as “the boys with the beautiful gardens.” And eggs… So, so many eggs.
Kat Torres Radisic* (they/them; Outreach Manager, Boston, MA) initially snagged a free week at ‘Camp’ Camp as Camp’s 2023 Best Time Ever Giveaway winner — and now this self-proclaimed dynamo of fun is gearing up to rock their second year at ‘Camp’ Camp as Camp’s new Outreach Manager! Picture this: Kat, the summer camp aficionado of all things summer camp-related, didn’t ease into the camp scene as a camper but instead jumped straight into the action as a counselor and program director for four summers at a camp for people with disabilities in Wisconsin. Now, having discovered that there’s actually a summer camp for LGBTQ+ adults, they are seizing the opportunity to encourage more queers to embrace the ‘Camp’ Camp experience! When Kat isn’t busy advocating for accessible public transportation as a Community Organizer at a disability rights nonprofit, you can catch them pursuing their granola-human dreams outdoors or grooving to live music. Here’s a fun fact: Kat’s absolute favorite ‘Camp’ Camp activity last summer was the morning silent disco. Imagine starting your day with a dance party…?! Talk about setting the tone for a fantastic day (whether you’re at Camp or not)! Currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at Northeastern University, Kat is not just about their own growth. Their overarching goal is to bring more age and gender diversity to Camp, making it an even more vibrant and inclusive community for everyone. So, prepare to be uplifted, because Kat is on a mission to turn every moment at ‘Camp’ Camp into the Best Time Ever!
Kayla Pekkala* (she/her; Social Media & e-Commerce Manager, Chicago, IL) grew up near Portland, Oregon and started attending camp at age 11. Each year she would count down the days until it started (to be honest that hasn’t changed at all: she still counts down the days until ‘Camp’ Camp, but like who doesn’t do that?!) attending as a camper, then a counselor-in-training, and ending as a counselor until she started college. Since graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Art Institute of Portland, Kayla has spent the last 15 years in the design, marketing, social media, and e-commerce fields. She’s designed and developed toys & games that have been in several stores you’ve probably heard of, including Target, Costco, and Five Below, to name a few. Presently, she’s the owner and designer of Tiny Werewolves, a stationery and custom art business. However, as the years moved forward, Kayla has always felt there was something missing: the campfires and s’mores, the friendship bracelets, the late-late-late-night laughs, feeling like you just belong somewhere… and then after nearly two decades she (finally!) discovered ‘Camp’ Camp, attending as a Camper during Camp’s 2023 season. Once Kayla arrived, in true extrovert fashion, she wasted no time getting to know fellow Campers, both new and returning, and knew immediately she wanted to be more involved! She is very excited to bring her vast creative background, knowledge, and experience to Camp’s Executive Staff with great hopes that her fresh perspectives and ideas will help ‘Camp’ Camp continue to grow and thrive in the years to come. Back home in Chicago, where Kayla lives with her wife (whom you’ll never see at Camp, as it’s just not her thing) and their two adopted scruffy pups, Tater Tot (“Tate”) and Casserole (“Cassie”), she is known as the ‘mom friend’, as she’s always prepared for everything with the schedule and snacks in hand. She also gives great pep talks if you’re in need of some good vibes!
Kevin Joest* (he/him; Beverage Manager, Philadelphia PA) is a musician/composer, woodworker, poet, cook, amateur mixologist, and dreamer. He grew up in Kentucky, which he now feels is a good place to be from, and currently lives in Philadelphia, after stints in Nashville, Boston, and New York. Growing up, he never really went to summer camp, but his family went camping and sailing often, so he’s no stranger to the woods and what can happen in them. Now a city boy, he spends his days woodworking for a custom cabinetry company and his nights making board games and other wood art, composing music, cooking food, and traveling. His husband Marques is an opera singer (and sometimes member of Camp’s Dining Hall Team), and the adventures they have had together include helping push a Jeep out of a tank ravine on the Israel-Syria border, walking along what’s left of the Berlin Wall, biking on the waterfront in Montevideo, and participating as a team in the very first NYC SongSlam. Having spent many years waiting tables, bartending, and smiling at folks over great food and cocktails, Kevin was excited to put all that experience to use as part of the Camp Staff when he was initially hired back in 2017 as Camp’s first-ever Beverage Manager. Having exceeded Kerry & Betsy’s expectations for the position during his first three years, he (and his position) became the newest addition to Camp’s Executive Staff beginning in 2022. Kevin loves heading up Camp’s Beverage Team, leading the charge in helping to keep Campers hydrated during the day and feeling good at night. At Camp, if he’s not kayaking on the pond, you’ll usually find him behind the bar or in his short shorts filling up coolers in the beautiful Maine sun.
Richard Harmer (he/him; Transportation Manager, Sainte-Julienne, QC) currently teaches English and Business Communication in his adopted province of Quebec. A California native, he fell in love with the camp experience when he was 10 and attended Camp Bluff Lake in the mountains of Southern California. In order to go to subsequent YMCA camps, he sold candied peanuts door to door. He also attended religious-oriented camps where he performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. As soon as he found out about ‘Camp’ Camp in 2012, he couldn’t wait to attend. He first attended Camp as a Camper in 2013, then joined the Staff as a Driver when he next attended Camp in 2015. Richard continued as a Driver until 2019 when he first assumed his current role of Transportation Manager, tackling the tricky logistics around getting all Campers & Staff safely to and from Camp from the Portland’s airport and bus/train stations. When not huddled over his computer at Camp figuring out which Camper needs to be on which van, he enjoys making tie-die shirts each year, as well as attending cooking classes and meditation sessions. Sometimes called “Daddy Richard,” “Banana Richard” (don’t ask), or even “Sh!t Richard” (you can ask about that one), you’ll surely get to know him at least a little bit at Camp.
Robin Benton* (she/her; Risk Manager, Jamaica Plain, MA), an EMT, RN, and Professor of Aquatic Management at Salem State University in Massachusetts, has been providing aquatic and safety training to camps, schools, and recreation programs from Pennsylvania to Alaska for more than 25 years. She originally served as Hiking Instructor at ‘Camp’ Camp when she first attended in 2006, later moving into Risk Management and serving in her current position as Lead Risk Manager since 2009. An author, nationally recognized speaker, and expert witness, Robin has held numerous leadership positions with the National Recreation & Park Association, the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in Higher Education, Swingtime Boston, and other agencies. An avid outdoor and motorcycle enthusiast, Robin has ridden and camped through much of North America, so, while many people consider ‘Camp’ Camp to be on the rustic side, it always feels like a spa vacation to her! Basically, Robin is just a Camper with a day job. Her other passions include gardening, ballroom dance, and fostering dogs.
Scott Surette (he/him; Camp Store Manager, St. Petersburg, FL) was referred to ‘Camp’ Camp by a close friend, initially attending as a Camper in 2013 and 2014. His 17 years of experience in retail management came in handy when he was asked to serve as Interim Camp Store Manager in 2015, his first year as part of the Camp Staff. He’s worked as a Camp Store Assistant almost every year since then (2017 was sadly a Camp-free year for Scott), returning as Camp Store Manager again in 2022. Although Scott never went to summer camp as a kid, he always enjoyed camping with friends as a teen in his native New Hampshire. Like many of our Campers, Scott says it’s the great people he continues to meet at ‘Camp’ Camp that has kept him coming back for so many years. Currently a contact lens fitting consultant, Scott has also served on several committees for non-profits over the years, including MoveOn.org and The Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force. In his spare time, he enjoys attending concerts and writing and is planning to publish his first book this year.
* Transition Team member
Bill Cole (he/him; Founder, Colrain, MA) started ‘Camp’ Camp a couple of months after he came out at age 49 in 1996. His goal was to create a safe place for gay and lesbian adults (he didn’t know then about bisexual, transgender, and queer people, so other letters were added later) to enjoy the out-of-doors and a variety of activities just like the summer camps he wanted to like, but was never comfortable in, when he was a kid himself. He wanted to give people the luxury of time and the chance to get beyond first appearances to the possibility of real friendship. The first year of ‘Camp’ Camp, in 1997, 88 people attended—this in the days before most people had email and Facebook’s founder was in high school—and about two-thirds of them were part of the Camp staff! In 2006, Kerry and Susan “Clink” Clinkenbeard took over—with Betsy subsequently replacing Clink as Associate Director in 2009. Bill feels that founders may be overrated and says, “It takes a different skill set, but not a lesser skill set to continue to foster and grow a business. [Kerry, Clink, and Betsy] deserve enormous credit for all [they] have done to keep Camp thriving. I admire [them all] very much.”