The OCA Board of Directors is full of talented, hardworking people who are passionate about camp and outdoor education!
Learn more about them below.
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 and youth, Dave has helped elevate the impact of camp programs on youth and communities, build passionate 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 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 through his current role as Executive Director with Camp Maple Leaf. He is an OCA Honorary Life Member, and as the current OCA President he is honored to help build on the contributions of so many great camping leaders who have left a lasting legacy over 90 years.
Jennifer “JJ” Jupp (she/her)
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.
Kelly Mathews (she/her)
Kelly Mathews (she/her) is embarking on her second term on the OCA board, having served in 2017-2018 as a director. Kelly has a wealth of experience in public and private sector camping including day, overnight, not-for-profit and municipal. Kelly has managed camping programs with the City of Markham, Ontario Place, Diabetes Canada and for the past decade, King Day Camp and the Seneca Outdoor Education Centre with Seneca College, where she now serves as the Director of Communications.
Kelly served the OCA in many capacities including chair or co-chair of the annual conference from 2012-2018; multi-year mentor on the mentorship committee; host venue liaison for the health care conference; standards visitor; and was a member of the media committee during COVID. Kelly has twice received the OCA volunteer award and was recently recognized with the OCA Dorothy Walter Award of Excellence in 2022.
Kelly is a twice published non-fiction author and is currently working on her third publication. Kelly purchased a cabin in Minden in 2018 where she spends a great deal of time when she is not working from her home in Aurora. Her favourite smells are coffee and campfire and spends a great deal of her time on the trails or on the water. She currently holds the record for the fastest hike across the entire Oak Ridges Moraine Trail hiking the 300 km’s in seven days in 2018. Kelly is a member of the Aurora Badminton Club, the vice-chair of the King Township Heritage Advisory Committee and a member of the King Township Historical Society.95
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!
Dana is new to the OCA Board of Directors, but is a lifer when it comes to her involvement in all things camp! She started out as an enthusiastic 9 year old at Camp Kawabi in 1970, and carried on to become a Counsellor for many years. From there, Counselling became her calling….and her chosen career.
Dana graduated from the Institute of Child Study at U of T with a Master’s degree in Assessment and Counselling and promptly moved to the Maritimes. She continued counselling, teaching, and developing programs, workshops and courses in the field of Early Childhood Education, Case Management, Counselling, Emotional and Social Intelligence for the Government of New Brunswick. Her last job in Fredericton NB was the “Den Mom” Guidance Counsellor at NBCC in Fredericton before her life pointed her back to cabins and kids, to canoes and craft shops. Alongside her best friend Jeff Brown, Dana supportively leads staff and campers at Camp Otterdale in the pursuit of fun, friendship and star gazing.
Eva Peringer (she/her)
University of Toronto Engineering
Eva is passionate about raising the standard of what’s possible within a camp setting, and doing so while prioritizing access, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Eva is the Events and Administrative Officer for the Engineering Outreach Office within The University of Toronto, and Co-founder of Youth Theatre Online. Youth Theatre Online created in June of 2020 offers live, virtual, performing arts training to youth ages 4-18.
From 2017 to 2020, she held the title of Director of Youth and Community Programs at Ryerson University, following two summers as Assistant Director. In addition to her camp experience, she has taught performing arts to thousands of young people across the GTA as a co-curricular educator. Eva is Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Committee, and has helped plan the OCA Conference annually since 2019. She was a speaker at the 2020 Women in Camps Summit, and is an OCA Junior Standards Visitor.
Eva comes from the Ottawa Valley where she first fell in love with camp. She performed in her first summer camp musical at age five – Gertie Pie in Anne of Green Gables – with The Academy of Musical Theatre. There, she attended camps, volunteered, and held many roles including counsellor, head of wardrobe, head of props, workshop director, and more until moving to Toronto for University. Eva holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Acting from Ryerson University, 2016.
Evan has been affiliated with camp for 25+ years as a Camper, Counsellor, Activity Specialist, Unit Head, Program Director, Assistant Director, and Camp Director. Evan brings a contagious positive attitude and a wealth of knowledge, experience and skill to day and overnight camping. Evan is the Associate Camp Director at Crestwood Valley Day Camp. Prior to joining the Crestwood family he was the multi-campus Camp Director at The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp (Schwartz/Reisman Centre and Prosserman JCC). Evan was also the Assistant Director of Operations at Camp Northland-B’nai Brith – his camp home of 20 years. Throughout his career in camping he has honed his skills in operations, programming, camper care, budget and finance, and customer service. His enthusiasm for the potential of camp, and its power to shape and transform lives is infectious to all those around him and fueled by the belief “today’s campers and staff are tomorrow’s leaders.” Evan has served in several volunteer roles at the OCA. Since 2015, he has been a Senior Standards Visitor and a member of the Educational Programs – Annual Conference Committee. Outside of camping, Evan is a volunteer Chapter Advisor for BBYO, where he mentors teens to help them reach their full potential and grow into dynamic leaders. He is also a passionate Maple Leafs and Blue Jays fan, a Seinfeld expert, and a commercial aviation enthusiast!
Gord Dunlop (he/him)
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.
Mike Sladden is owner-director of Camp Pathfinder, est. 1914, located in Algonquin Park. A camper starting in 1969, Sladds went on to counselor, guide, alumni volunteer, director, parent and finally bought camp with Pathfinder pal Glenn Arthurs in 1999.
A former museum educator and curator, Sladds has led Pathfinder’s leadership development, wilderness tripping, scholastic outdoor education, and in-camp activity programs over 23 years. He founded the biennial symposium, “Spruce Root” on wilderness youth leadership, attracting noted field-leaders for staff enrichment.
Sladds also established outreach programs at Pathfinder to welcome at-risk high school students, refugee boys and boys from indigenous communities of Ontario for Camp Pathfinder experiences supported by grant and scholarship.
He remains an active counselor, OE instructor and first responder at camp, and serves on the OCA standards accreditation and standards review committees. In 2012, Mike became a fellow of the Canadian Society of Camp Directors.
Rankin Middlebrook (he/him)
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!