Staff Spotlight: Lecky Haller and Chapman Davis return for Mondamin Main Camp in 2024!

01d82b9e 6787 4ae6 bd5c 0dbf24e550df.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
87278d6e 2799 4b3e 9304 5f701ca8f37c.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

We are excited to report that two remarkable people who happen to be married to each other are returning to camp next summer for Main Camp, and we get the benefit of both their presences! Lecky Haller and Chapman Davis are exceptional athletes and, more importantly, exceptional human beings who bring a deep understanding of Mondamin’s mission and can share that with all the campers and staff they will be serving. They are lifelong teachers, which also means lifelong learners, and they share their love of outdoor activities as entry points for joyful play, personal growth, and adventure.

Bulleted lists can’t adequately describe them, but consider these brief bios and vita lists to get a better understanding of their overabundant qualifications, and you’ll begin to see why we are so happy they are coming:

Ms. Chapman Davis: Wise Woman at Camp

Chapman brings to camp a deep understanding of the physical and mental demands on young people in sports at the secondary and collegiate level, and combines that with the emotional intelligence that comes from serving in learning communities. She will be Administrative Director at Five Week Camp, handling the logistical demands that come from scheduling vans and trips from the camp nerve center of the Taj office. This central location is ideal for her seeing and knowing the emotional experiences of campers and counselors, to whom she brings her counseling and questioning insights. Camp will run better with her here. Here’s a brief listing of SOME of her accomplishments.

  • Bates College, BS
  • Springfield College, MS
  • Athletic Trainer @ Sewanee, 1990-2000
  • Head Field Hockey Coach @ Sewanee, 1990-2002
  • Director of Athletics, Spartanburg Day School, 2002-2005
  • Director of Athletics, Field Hockey Coach, Asheville School, 2005-2017
  • Psychology Teacher, Anatomy & Physiology Teacher, Asheville School, 2007-today
  • Dorm Dean, Asheville School, 2018-today
  • Lifetime School Professional
  • Has worked at Mondamin since 2018
  • Health & Wellness enthusiast

J. Alexander Haller, III aka “Lecky” Haller: A Force of Nature

Don’t bother with the cliched but understandable comment when you meet Lecky: “Gosh, Lecky, I hope I’m as fit as you are when I’m your age.”

You’re not as fit as he is now. With his mane of hair, unforgettable mustache, wild blue eyes, and a physique like big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, Lecky could be a little, well, intimidating… Except those wild eyes gleam with shared enthusiasm for what he’s doing at the moment: leading a Chattooga River trip, a bushwhacking point to point hike, or a traditional wood and canvas canoe trip up the Green River. He seeks adventures and you just want to follow. Campers love him and counselors want to be like him. He is a consummate “Waterman,” the ultimate compliment for great all rounders in Hawaii, where he has been part of an outrigger canoe team in the famous Molokai Channel open ocean race.

For all his athletic accomplishments, Lecky is also a thoughtful coach and teacher, and loves to connect campers with the traditions and the creators of them who have gone before. He’s a perfect person to be back at five week camp in 2024, helping shape the culture of the place into its second century. Check out this partial listing of what he has done:

  • Second generation Mondamin camper. His father, Alec Haller, was Mondamin counselor and his mother Emily was a Green Cove counselor in the inaugural year 1945 at Camp Rockbrook. Both parents were long time camp doctors. His father Alec made up the character of King Bora Bora and played the part in Luau for many years.
  • Brother Fritz was a Mondamin camper and counselor, and Lecky’s C-2 partner when they won the 1983 Slalom World Championships at Merano, Italy. Both sisters, Julia and Claire were campers and counselors at Green Cove. The bios of each of his siblings are as interesting and impressive as Lecky’s…
  • Both Daughters were GC campers!
  • One of a very few who will have worked for all four Bells (Chief, Frank, Jr., Andrew, and David).
  • A combined 34 Summers at Mondamin (camper/counselor in the 60’s and 70’s; Counselor in the 2000’s. 10’s, and 20’s).
  • 2 time USA Olympian in double canoe slalom (C-2) , World and World Cup Champion (C-2 Slalom) , 4 World Championship Medals, 15 times USA National Champion in C-1, C-2, and C-2M slalom
  • 20 Years on the USA National Team.
  • 2 time Collegiate All-American in College Lacrosse.
  • Lecky insisted that we include the bullet “Friend of Man,” which refers to the Mondamin character in Longfellow’s Hiawatha - the earth spirit who challenges and wrestles with youth.

He’s here, and he’ll be here to challenge, play with, and counsel the campers and counselors he will serve in 2024. Don’t miss the opportunity to come learn with him!

About Gordon Grant

I came to Mondamin as a 14 year old camper in 1969, and have followed what I learned here in adventure and academic education for 54 years: at Mondamin and Green Cove, Nantahala Outdoor Center, NC Outward Bound, Asheville City Public Schools, and UNC Chapel Hill. I still practice deep play in whitewater, rock climbing, and hiking, and am still working on my kayak roll…

I have worked closely with the Bell family in these years, from the founders of the camps, Chief and Calla Bell, through their son and daughter Frank, Jr. and Nancy Bell, and their grandchildren Andrew, Calla, and David. Each generation has taught me something.

My wife, Susan, is my partner of 40+ years; we have shared outdoor adventures around the world. Susan has headed canoeing at Green Cove. Our daughters, Rachel and Glenna, were Green Cove campers, and our granddaughter, Virginia Rugh, will be at August camp this summer. We intend that our grandson Grant will be at Mondamin in 2028. I am working with David Bell and the Mondamin staff to assure that he, and many other boys, will be having adventures on their personal frontiers at camp for years to come.

Gordon Grant