A leader is a person with a magnet in his heart
and a compass in his head.
If (for some strange reason) you could only consider one factor in your choice of camps, you should look at the camp’s staff. Their qualifications and experience will dictate the quality of care and instruction a camper will get, as well as the level of safety which can be maintained.
We are fortunate to have a highly experienced group of counselors, many of whom return year after year (the average counselor has been here four to five years). The average age is about 25. The youngest is 18, and through a year of college. Most young counselors will have been campers with us in previous years. The overall camper-to-counselor ratio (not including maintenance, kitchen, administrative, etc.) is about four to one, which gives us a superb opportunity for individual attention.
Camp is a community of people who live, work and play together, and this is one of its greatest assets. Most counselors live in a cabin with four to six campers and teach an activity during activity periods. (Some counselors who are out of camp on trips a great deal do not have cabins.) The camp experience is one wherein adults have ample time to spend with youngsters, time to develop meaningful relationships, to talk, to listen, and to teach.
Mondamin was founded by Frank Bell, Sr., known as Chief, in 1922. He directed it for 51 years. It is still owned by the Bell family. Frank Bell, Jr. directed Mondamin for 41 years before retiring in 2013. Andrew Bell, Chief’s grandson, is now the director of Mondamin while Nancy Bell, Chief’s daughter, runs our sister camp, Green Cove for Girls.
Andrew grew up at Camp Mondamin. As a camper he spent time at most of the activities. Andrew learned to canoe at Mondamin and then trained with the US Canoe and Kayak team in high school. He has raced slalom C-1 and competed in freestyle OC-1 internationally. He graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Humbolt State University in California. During his time away from camp Andrew purposely worked at other types of programs to find new ideas. He has been on staff for over 20 years now working previously as a cabin counselor, trip leader, Linehead, Head of the Paddling Program, and Assistant Director. His background is that of an instructor and he now sees himself as a counselor’s counselor.
Andrew moved back to North Carolina with his wife, Sarah, in 2005. They have 2 fantastic kids who enjoy all parts of the camp experience. Andrew still likes to get out on the rivers when he can as well as bike, ride horses, sail, and just about anything else outside.
Mondamin’s year-round Program Director is Robert Danos, a Tulane graduate and Louisiana native who first came to North Carolina as a camper in 1979, and has been on staff for over 25 years. Before joining the year-round staff, Robert spent time both in teaching and child psychology. As Program Director, Robert is responsible for the smooth integration of the various activities at camp, ensuring that both 9 year old new campers and 16 year old veterans feel challenged and productive. He shares the responsibility for staff supervision and morale, and helps set the tone for camp in general.
Robert’s wife, Susan, spent eight years on staff at our sister camp, Green Cove, and they have two girls and a boy.
Bill Felder, age 58, from Dallas TX, but with a home in Tuxedo, oversees our sailing program; he spent four years as a camper (starting in the 1970s). Bill enjoys flying planes and fly fishing. He is a Wilderness First Responder and an Open Water Scuba Diver; his two sons have previously been on our staff, as has his wife.
Brian Burton, age 28, from Ocala FL is our head of mountain biking. He graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and Management.
Margi Woodbridge Gaffney, from Caye, SC is our head of riding. She was a riding counselor at GC for eight summers and a camper for 11 summers, and has taught riding lessons for 35 years. Margi enjoys gardening, biking and riding; she loves going to air shows; her son and daughter have been campers here.
Teddy Corwin, age 21, from Hickory NC, is our co-head of Mountaineering. He is a Leave No Trace Master. He attends Colorado College where he is studying International Political Economy. Teddy is a Wilderness First Responder and has taken a NOLS course in New Zealand; he loves to travel and has been to India, South Africa and Rwanda. Teddy plans to attend Engineering grad school.
Brent Nash, age 24, from Tabor NC heads our paddling staff; he was a camper for six summers. He attended North Carolina State University and plans to obtain his computer science degree.
Alex Say, age 21, from Baton Rouge LA heads our sailing staff; he was a camper here for five years. He attends Louisiana Technical University where he is studying Biological Sciences. He plans to attend medical school.
Quinlan Canary, age 23, from Tallahassee FL is our co-head of mountaineering. He graduated from Florida State with degrees in music and economics. He has climbed throughout the US and South America.