Board Members

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 Newnham

President

YMCA of Southwestern Ontario

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 continued his work within the camping movement through his consulting role with Camp Maple Leaf over the past two years, and is currently serving as Vice President of Camping & Outdoor Education with the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario.  Dave 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.

Kelly Mathews (she/her)

Vice President

Seneca College

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. 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.

Jesse Kronick

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!

Sarah MacPherson

Secretary

Camp Wenonah

Amy Wheler

Director

Madawaska Camp

Amy is new to the board and is excited for the opportunity to give back to the OCA. She has been working in the camping and outdoor education industry for 30 years having first started her journey as a camper and staff member at YMCA Wanakita. Amy learned early on, and continues to believe, that camp allows people to be the best versions of themselves. This, and a love of all things camp, led Amy to pursue an Honours Degree in Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism and a Bachelor of Education which have allowed her to volunteer and work within the camp and outdoor education field in various roles and settings including Northern Lights Leadership Camp, Geneva Park and Camp Muskoka. While Amy enjoys all aspects of camp life, she spent her early years in camp on the water involved in all things swimming and boating. She found a new home at Camp Walden and Camp Madawaska in the early 2000s and worked in various leadership roles with both camps which reside on the same site. Amy has been fortunate to be able to pursue a career in both camping and teaching and she currently works as Special Education Resource Teacher and as a Co-Director of Camp Madawaska. She and her husband, who also works in the camping and outdoor education field, are thrilled to have the privilege to raise their children at camp as proud members of the Madawaska family. Amy strongly believes in building community and in helping people grow into their best selves. She is excited to support members who do the same for children, families and staff at their respective facilities through her work on the board.

Cindy Benedek

Director

Camp Canada

Cindy Benedek brings over 25 years of experience to the Ontario Camps Association (OCA) Board, having been a part of almost every aspect of camp life ranging from camper to director. Her time at camp not only shaped her professional pursuits but has also fuelled her deep commitment to education and community service. Cindy began as a camper at age 7 and her love of camp ignited her passion for education and inspired her to pursue a career dedicated to the growth and development of children, adolescents, and young adults. Armed with a degree in Psychology and Early Childhood Education, Cindy has cultivated a robust career in formal and informal education. Beyond her professional endeavours, Cindy has enjoyed supporting the broader community. Serving on school and non-profit organization boards is her way of giving back to the places and people that have shaped her.
Everything in her life has led back to camp. As the Director of Advancement and Engagement at Camp Canada, the leader in International Staffing for summer camps, she is able to continue to promote an unparalleled opportunity for young people to engage in an environment that reinforces values, identity, and community. Beyond her professional pursuits, Cindy’s favourite moments involve hanging out with her three children and planning adventures with her husband.
She is beyond thrilled to become an OCA Board member and is excited to collaborate with other members and the OCA administration to foster a supportive environment and empower OCA camps in their mission of providing a space and place for everyone to explore, experience, experiment, and expand.

Evan Roth

Director

Crestwood Valley Day Camp

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)

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.

Matthew Bernardo

Director

Camp Wabikon

Michael Waxman (he/him)

Director

Waxman Counselling and Consulting

Wax first attended Camp Walden in the summer of 1993 and fell in love with the magic of camp during the singsong on that very first night. He went on to continue at Walden as a camper, staff, unit head, leadership team member and off-season office staff until 2015 when he left camp to advance his career as a social worker. During the off-seasons, Wax worked at Jewish Family and Child in Toronto as a School Social Worker and then Manager of the Child, Adolescent and Family Counselling Team before leaving in March 2022 to focus on his private practice.

This is Wax’s first term on the OCA Board, but has been involved with the OCA and its camps for a number of years as a trainer, speaker and consultant. Wax feels that he’s able to bring a unique viewpoint to camps with an understanding of child and adolescent mental health and also the inner workings of camp.

Outside of camp and mental health and 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy, Wax also loves binge-watching TV, going to the movies, discussing pop culture and raising his son Kai.

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!

Scotia Hutton

Director

Rotary YMCA Camp Presqu’ile

Scotia Hutton is a lifelong camper whose camping journey began at Camp Kawabi in 1996. She began her time as a staff in 2006 working at Camp Otterdale. She spent 11 summers working there and held several positions including Counsellor, Waterfront Director, Program Director and finally Assistant Summer Camp Director. When she wasn’t working at Otterdale she was either attending George Brown College in the Child and Youth Worker Program or working in the outdoor season at Camp Kandalore.

Scotia’s first full time role in camping was at YMCA Camp Pine Crest in 2016 where she started as the Assistant Director and eventually became the Summer Camp Director. From there she moved to Rotary YMCA Camp Presqu’ile where she has been the director since 2022. Scotia has re-opened Camp Presqu’ile after two years of closures due to COVID-19 and has worked hard to breath life back into a small but robust camp on Georgian Bay.

During her time working within YMCA camping Scotia has been the co-chair for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusions committee as well as the chair for the Training and Development committee within the YMCA Camping work group.

Scotia has a focus on community building and creating welcoming and inviting spaces for all. She hopes she can help to invite others to join the OCA community to get the most out of all they have to offer to camping professionals.

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OCA Past Presidents

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