Board Members

The OCA Board of Directors is full of talented, hardworking people who are passionate about camp!

Learn more about them below.

Heather Davidson (she/her)

President

Kidaca Day Camps

Heather had such a bad camp experience at the age of 6 that when her mother picked her up at the bus afterwards she declared “I’m never going back to camp again!” That, in a nutshell, is why she cares so much today about making sure that everyone’s camp experience is a good one. She didn’t go back to that camp again until she was in a position to lead it through a lot of big changes (one of which involved getting accredited with a little body you may have heard of – the Ontario Camps Association)

Heather has been a counsellor, a site leader, an administrative staff and a director during her camp and recreation life. Taking cues from a previous life in event management and brief stints in university as a bar manager, copy writer and journalist, Heather aims to be a cross between Mary Poppins and a magician and has yet to meet a spreadsheet she can’t make at least 12% more user friendly.  A life long learner, she’s very comfortable on most trivia teams and as an extroverted introvert can be very easily coaxed on stage for karaoke (good luck getting her offstage though)

Always ready to find the perfect gif or Tik Tok for any situation but even more ready to have an actual conversation about whatever strikes your fancy. Pull up a virtual stool and shoot her an email to chat camp, dogs, brewing, excel, comic books or baseball.  And if you’re too shy for that, she’s an open book on instagram @thefuzzymethod

Jeff Brown

Vice President

Camp Otterdale

Jeff “Capt.” Brown is the Owner/Director of Camp Otterdale. He started his camp career at age 6 and never looked back. He cut his teeth at Camp Kawabi where he spent many years as a camper, staff member, and member of the Leadership Team. After teaching school and serving in the Canadian Navy as a Mars/Clearance Diving Officer he landed at Otterdale. He is celebrating 26 years at the helm of Otterdale that he now directs with his partner Dana “Muskie” McDade.

Rachel Kent (she/her)

Vice President

Girl Guides of Canada

Rachel has a strong affinity for things that start with the letter C – camp, CrossFit, coffee, canines, and community. Building on over ten years of experience in a variety of camping and outdoor communities, Rachel most recently spent the last 6 summers directing overnight camps for Girl Guides of Canada including Camp Adelaide and Doe Lake Girl Guide Camp. She currently works for Girl Guides as the Coordinator of Member Risk. 

Rachel’s favourite parts of camp are outrageous costumes, creating new games with campers and quiet conversations. Rachel is an advocate for community, storytelling and creating space for growth. She believes we should listen before we speak and seek out others whose life experience differs from our own. Passionate about strengthening the camping community, Rachel co-hosts the Beyond Camp podcast exploring the intersection of camp and our lives.

Rachel began her involvement with the OCA when she checked the box on the final feedback survey of the conference that said ‘I’d like to be more involved’. She hasn’t slowed down since, including chairing the Equity and Diversity Committee and sitting on the Annual Conference Steering Committee. After completing her first board term, Rachel is excited to continue her involvement and engage more members in the work of the association. 

Rachel loves to travel with her partner Jess and their dog Orro, who is beloved by both campers and staff. They recently added a new four legged friend to the team, 6 month old Coco, who keeps everyone on their toes. 

Jesse Kronick

Secretary/Treasurer

Camp White Pine

Jesse has spent every summer of his life at camp. From his first summer at 6 months old he has enjoyed every moment, made lifelong friends and memories, and become the person he is today because of camp. Jesse is pursuing a career as a camp director to become the third generation in his family to run Camp White Pine to provide children with the same experiences he was lucky enough to have.

At camp Jesse loves it all, from water skiing to sing songs, camps plays to canoe trips, there is nothing he won’t get himself involved in. Outside of camp he has a passion for many sports, travelling and adventure. Jesse has degrees in engineering and business and loves math, finance and working with spreadsheets, making the treasurer role the perfect way for him to get involved in the OCA. Jesse is extremely excited to be a part of this board and the finance committee, to help the OCA and the Ontario camping industry to be the best that it can be!

Ali Nagthall (he/him)

Director

The Ivy

Ali was lucky enough to be able to spend most of his life in camping! He started attending camp at 3 years old and never left. Being a part of the camp world has shaped who he is. Ali credits camp as the experience that has given him the confidence to meet new people, try new things, and to challenge himself to improve. Ali feels privileged to have been given the opportunity to participate in the camping industry, which is what inspired him to be active within the OCA. Ali looks forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with the OCA, and help continue to make Ontario the best place to camp!

Prior to working full time at camp, Ali worked as a physical education teacher at the primary, junior, and intermediate level. He loves staying active whenever possible, and you can always count on him to root for Toronto’s sports teams! In the summer, if he’s not at camp, you can be sure to find him on the golf course.

Dave Newnham

Director

OCA Honorary Life Member

Dave brings decades of executive-level experience in the not-for-profit sector.  As a senior leader of a variety of high-profile public and private-sector organizations which focus on children on youth, Dave has helped elevate the impact of camp programs on youth and communities, build passionate communities of supporters and partners, and extend the reach of organizational services to an increasing number of youth.  Dave’s early camp career began with the YMCA in Hamilton, including many years as a camper and staff at Wanakita, culminating in serving as its year-round Assistant Director.  His career has included directing a wilderness adventure travel company in Toronto, managing programs in a children’s mental health context with the Kinark Outdoor Centre in Minden, serving as general manager of the Camp Chief Hector YMCA in Kananaskis, Alberta, and most recently completing 19 years leading the national network of Tim Hortons Foundation Camps as its President and Executive Director.  Dave is continuing to work within the camping movement currently as a consultant, and is an Honorary Life Member of the OCA.

Gord Dunlop (he/him)

Director

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

Since attending camp as an 8-year old at Camp Ponacka, Gord has been fortunate to spend every summer at camp, first working in seasonal roles, as a volunteer at Camp Ooch and progressing through different positions with the YMCA of Greater Toronto. He currently works with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka as General Manager of Camping & Outdoor Education and is responsible for Camp Kitchikewana, Geneva Park programs as well as 10 day camps throughout the Simcoe, Muskoka and Parry Sound regions. This includes a mix of day, overnight and family camps as well as outdoor education programs. Gord lives in Orillia on Lake Simcoe, and spends his time hiking, canoe tripping, boating, sailing, golfing, making maple syrup, and on various woodworking projects. Gord is honoured to serve on the OCA Board and looks forward to the work ahead of us.

Jennifer “JJ” Jupp (she/her)

Camp Wenonah

Jennifer Jupp (JJ) has been attending summer camp since 1977 at age 9. She has been working full-time as a Camp Director since 1996 and has dedicated her life to summer camp and outdoor education. In addition to camp, JJ has worked as a professional facilitator in the corporate and non-profit sectors focusing on diversity training, team building, and work culture transformation. This work has strengthened JJ’s ability to work with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds with varying values and life experiences. She has sat on the University of Guelph’s University Center Board of Directors, the Wanapitei Board of Directors, Central Public School Council (Co-Chair), and has contributed in the past to committees and projects with the OCA (Special Needs Resource committee, Conference Committee, and HR Committee). She has been an OCA Conference Co-Chair and a presenter many times. She is the current Chair of the Mentorship Committee with the OCA and is pleased to be in her second term on the OCA Board of Directors. Giving back to the OCA and doing meaningful work with smart, dedicated colleagues who are full of heart is one of many reasons that JJ is thrilled to be on the OCA Board. She plays a mean alto sax in a street band, gets seasick on backyard swings, is happiest in forests, and is addicted to learning and improving. When not at camp, JJ and her husband Woody (Eoin Wood) live in Guelph with their kids, Anna (17) and Charlie (10), their two dogs, and five backyard chickens.

 

Laura Bocking (she/her)

Director

Ponacka

Laura is a Director at Camp Ponacka working with her parents to continue sharing and growing the Ponacka story. Like many children of directors, she grew immersed in the camp lifestyle. From sealing envelopes as a 6 year old to mentoring staff and programming activities Laura understands deeply the day-to-day operations of a camp as well as the contributions these experience make on kids each and every year. Her past OCA role included working on the conference planning committee as well as serving a short Board term before her maternity leave. 

Prior to working for Ponacka full time, Laura worked as a Public Health Nurse for the City of Toronto. Working in Public Health as a Registered Nurse was a great experience and will certainly be helpful in the weeks and months ahead. Going forward, Laura hopes to help ensure Ontario camps can open safely and have the opportunity to offer the life changing experiences that are needed now more than ever.

Marika Chandler (she/her)

Director

Outward Bound Canada

Marika is thrilled to be on the OCA Board of Directors! She has worked within the non-profit industry for years, paddling along rivers with Boundless Adventures, building recreation programs for the homeless in Edmonton, supervising Girl Guide Camps in Ontario, and is currently at Outward Bound Canada (OBC) where for the past 5 years, she has served as the Ontario and Atlantic Director. She enjoys working at non-profit organizations, and is passionate about OBC’s mission;  ensuring everyone has access to both short and extended wilderness expeditions, to build community and to facilitate experiences where students learn just how much grit they have. Marika sits on the Fleming College Outdoor Adventure Program Advisory Council, has presented at conferences such as COEO and the Outdoor Collective, and has participated in international Outward Bound events.

Mike Sladden

Director

Pathfinder

Mike Sladden is director and co-owner of Camp Pathfinder, est. 1914, located on Pathfinder Island, Source Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario. He has owned the camp in partnership with fellow-alumnus Glenn Arthurs since 2000.

Since 1969, a third-generation Pathfinder camper and later a trip staff member, Mike has served since 1999 as fulltime residing partner at the canoe trip camp’s rustic island base in Algonquin’s interior.  He leads Pathfinder’s leadership development, wilderness tripping, scholastic outdoor education, and in-camp activity programs.

Mike received degrees in history and english literature from Connecticut College (’82), studied photographic at SUNY’s Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester (1983-‘84), and joined the curatorial staff of the International Museum of Photography and Film in 1986.

At Pathfinder, Mike started a comprehensive preservation of the historic camp as a low-technology, small-footprint community. He led the camp through a long-term refinement of its staff and wilderness guide training, and CIT leadership programs. He founded a biennial symposium, “Spruce Root” on wilderness youth leadership, to attract noted field-leaders for staff enrichment.

Mike has also established outreach programs at Pathfinder to welcome Syrian refugee boys and youth from indigenous communities of Ontario for Camp Pathfinder experiences supported by grant and scholarship.

He remains an active counselor as a Wilderness First Responder (WMA), Level II Instructor in Ropes Course leadership (CUI/ACCT), and ORCKA Canoe Moving Water. In 2012, Mike became a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Camp Directors.

Rankin Middlebrook (he/him)

Director

Harbourfront Centre Camps

Rankin first went to camp when he was three months old – you could say he grew up overnight and YMCA Camping. He has worked for the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, at Camp Kitchikewana and Geneva Park, for the YMCA of Kingston in their Day Camps, and the YMCA of Hamilton Burlington Brantford at Wanakita as the Summer Camp Director. He is  currently the Manager, Recreational Learning at Harboufront Centre in Toronto.

Rankin graduated from Queens University with a BA (Hons) in History and Religious Studies and wrote his honours thesis on the historical origins of camping in North America. He enjoys sailing, canoeing, and speaks Klingonese better than French! Rankin has been volunteering with the Standards and Standards Review Committee for several years, and is the Chair of the Standards Review Committee for the last year. Rankin looks forward to working with the board, and membership as a member of the Board!

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