Wombat Camp Director
I first came to Woolman as a Semester School student in 2013. After falling in love with the pastures, ponderosa pines, and rustic living, I knew I had no choice but to apply to this "Camp Woolman" I kept hearing about. Nothing could have prepared for what a magical, loving, challenging, and truly unique experience Camp Woolman would become for me. I spent my first three summers working as a Wombat Camp counselor, and I will never forget how kind, compassionate, and accepting my very first cabin of 12 year olds was. A first I was quite intimidated by them, but they showed me right off the bat how truly unique the Woolman community is. They were patient, kind, and full of excitement as they taught me the inner workings and magic of Camp Woolman - from their perspective. They introduced me to campers of all ages, silly games and songs you will only find at Woolman, and they inspired me to be as open and vulnerable as I could be in this community full of support. This is how I can best describe Woolman, it is not just our staff that will put in every effort and kindness to make new faces feel welcome and at home, but this sort of accepting and celebrating love radiates from our campers as well. I found working in Teen Leadership Camp, both as a counselor and a Co-Director, equally accepting and loving. My teens taught me about facing your fears, relying on your community for strength, and channeling your inner goof ball as often as possible. I am excited to see what lessons and surprises are in store for me this first summer of being Wombat Camp Director.
A majority of my Wilderness Leadership skills were cultivated through courses with the National Outdoor Leadership School, Prescott College, and receiving my Wilderness First Responder certificate. I received my degree in Sustainable Design from Pacific University in Oregon with the intention of pursuing a career in sustainable architecture, but one week into my Masters program I got delightfully side tracked by Outdoor Education. I left Architecture School's dusty drafting studios behind and gleefully skipped into a wold full of exploring nature with children and teens. I spent 2 years working at Outdoor Schools in Colorado and Oregon, primarily teaching forest ecology, marine biology, wilderness skills, and team building. Perhaps I will be called back to architecture later on in life, but for now you may find me leading groups of kids through forests and meadows, examining the grasshoppers, returning the call of a bullfrog, and singing songs about chickens on a barn yard fence.
Teen Leadership Camp Director
When I found Woolman, I knew I had to apply and experience this community of like-minded individuals. I've dedicated my career to working in youth focused programming that develops leadership skills, a passion for service, and a sense of belonging. My passion for working with youth began when I completed an internship with Headstart for my B.A. in Sociology from Texas A&M University. After graduation I moved to Austin, Texas and spent time volunteering for various non-profits. After a few years of contemplation and soul searching, I applied to Peace Corps. I served for two years in Aranos, Namibia under the Community Health and HIV/AIDS Program. I had the privilege of creating and participating in several projects which included a women's empowerment cooperative, Life Skills classes for primary school learners, and a Youth Action Committee sponsored by the local town council. During this time, I learned a new language and embraced a new culture, practiced patience and acceptance, and even got to pet a cheetah. But more importantly, I discovered who I am and what I want in life! After completing my time with Peace Corps, I worked as a Community School Coordinator for a Title I elementary school outside of Washington, DC. In this position, I worked diligently to find affordable after school programming that would uplift and inspire our students. I am currently finishing my Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Child and Family Therapy at Simmons University and interning as a therapist at a local high school. As part of the Woolman community, I will bring with me my compassion, enthusiasm, and belief in the possibility of positive change.
I definitely do not consider myself an expert backpacker by any means, but I'm enthusiastic and eager to learn more from the counselors and campers at Woolman! I come from a family where staying on a lake in a luxury RV is considered camping. My love for being outdoors has developed later in life. After I finished my undergraduate degree, I moved to Austin and found myself lacking coping skills to deal with stress. One day, I decided to adventure out on the gorgeous trails for my first hike. My stress seemed to melt away as I absorbed my surroundings and took time to find my inner peace/strength. During my Peace Corps experience, I continued to enjoy outdoor activities and challenged myself to multi-day camping trips and hikes to some of the most beautiful spots in southern Africa. I’m ready to take the next step in my growth process. Summer 2019 will be an adventure for everyone involved and I cannot wait to experience this family that I’ve heard so much about. Although I may be new to Woolman, I feel like I've been looking for a place like it all my life!
Wombat Camp Assistant Director
Woolman has been an integral part of my life for over ten years as I grew from a camper, to a CIT, to a counselor, and now Assistant Director. Woolman has always been my favorite place in the world because of the magic that lives there. Every summer at Woolman is spent meeting people from all over the world all come to bask in nature’s glory and build a loving camp community of silliness and connection. Woolman changed my life as a camper by offering me a place where I was able to discover and be my true self in an environment that accepted and nurtured me. My goal this summer is to share that same magic, love, and light I experienced as a camper with all the new and returning campers I am able to encounter. It is a place where you are able to ground yourself once more with mother nature and allow her to truly release your inner self. I am looking forward to in depth talks about our world and all that we can do to preserve it. I'm excited to sing, to laugh, and to run around with all my new camp friends!
Teen Leadership Camp Assistant Director
I cannot wait to spend my first summer living and growing within the Woolman community! My biggest goal in life is to get outside as much as possible and to get others out there with me. Growing up in Vermont, I spent every moment I could exploring the trails and peaks of the Green Mountains. When I’m not in the mountains, I also love running, cross-country skiing, yoga, showtunes, and circus. These interests led me to spend a semester at Conserve School, a semester school deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Here, I developed backcountry leadership skills and a commitment toward protecting the natural world around me.
Currently, I am studying Environmental Studies and Human Health and the University of Vermont. I am interested in investigating the distribution issues that accompany environmental challenges and the ways in which we can build resilience as a community. Among many others, I was drawn to Woolman’s values of respect for nature and social justice. I truly believe that our world would be a much better place if we all spent a little more time in nature and hope to make it a space that is accessible to all. I am especially interested in work with children and youth as they are the changemakers of tomorrow! Five years ago I co-founded a camp for children that focused on circus arts, expressive movement, and creative play. More recently, I worked as a counselor at Petra Cliffs Summer camp as well as an expedition leader. Each week, with the help of one other co-counselor, I led a group of 10 children ranging in ages 7 -14 on incredible outdoor adventures. It was truly inspiring to see these young children face their fears and accomplish what they believed to be impossible.
This year, I completed UVM’s Wilderness Instructor Leadership Development Program (WILD) and now lead backcountry treks for young adults across New England with the goal of increasing diversity in the outdoors and providing opportunities for growth. I am beyond excited to be spending my summer on the other side of the country hiking, playing, and singing, with Camp Woolman!
Wilderness Director & Operations Manager
Matthew Murphy (Mappy)
I am thrilled to be returning to camp for my sixth summer at Woolman! I began my Woolman journey as a Teen Camper in 2014, and am so excited to be back as the Operations Manager and Wilderness Programmer for 2019. This summer, I’m responsible for making sure all our trips go out safe and sound, and are full of laughter and good memories! Originally born and raised in Oakland, I now spend my days at UC Davis as a double major in Gender Studies and American Studies. Fingers crossed, I will be graduating next March! Other than being late for class, and taking power naps, I work as the Public Relations Director at our community FM radio station, KDVS, and as the Wilderness Coordinator and Equipment Manager of the UC Davis on- campus outdoor program, Outdoor Adventures. This summer I can’t wait to spend my days playing jugs, climbing mountains, and singing my bones out. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and helping make camp as special to you as it is to me.
Wombat Camp Lead Counselor
This summer will be my twelfth summer coming to camp in some capacity—as a camper,
CIT, counselor, kitchen volunteer, and now as the lead counselor. Camp has been an influential
factor in my life, and I am ecstatic to be able to share the magic of Woolman with campers again.
Even though I live in a state as naturally beautiful and accessible as Oregon, I,
unfortunately, do not often find time to explore nature during the year. Camp Woolman, since I
was ten years old, has been my escape to the woods and has allowed me time to examine
critically my “normal” life. After all the campers have gone home at the end of the summer, I
always come home with a new perspective on my life, and I feel refreshed and ready for the
challenges of school and home. My favorite days of the summer are always the first of each
session because campers tend to bond and form friendships so quickly, and it’s always a
heartwarming thing to see.
I am currently a student at the University of Oregon, majoring in Latin American Studies.
However, I have a wide variety of interests, including public health and improvised comedy. I
joined Absolute Improv in winter of 2018, enjoying the childlike silliness that improv
encourages. Much like in improv, counselors and staff have to be ready for things to change at a
moment’s notice and to be able to find the fun in almost any situation. I can’t wait to bring the
wild fun and laughter of improv to Camp this summer.
Wombat Camp Counselors
Let me just say I love working at Woolman! I found Woolman online and began as a Counselor in Training, and then worked as a counselor last summer. In my time at Woolman my passion for the outdoors and for helping people experience them has grown. Working with kids makes me so happy and it is my goal every summer to help them have their best possible experience at camp! I completed a three month long wilderness program at True North in Vermont and a month long backpacking trip at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Wyoming. I learned a lot of wilderness survival and leadership skills. I have my Wilderness First Responder certification and my First Aid and CPR certifications. I go to school at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. I remember when I first came to Woolman it took me awhile to come out of my shell but now there is nowhere I would rather spend my summer! It is a beautiful, unique wilderness wonderland that can be home to anyone!
When I first found Camp Woolman, I knew I found a place where I could share my love for summer and the outdoors. I am an undergrad at UCLA. I am pursuing a degree in interdisciplinary studies between biology and social science. I am extremely passionate about the importance of spending time outside and protecting our precious natural surroundings. My love for the outdoors has brought me all over California from the Redwoods to Catalina Island and even the Andes and Amazon Rainforest in Peru. Over the past two summers, I was a day camp counselor at an Art and Science Camp in Ojai, California. I am looking forward to sharing my love for creating, learning, and trying new things with the next generation of campers.
I think the fact that I have traveled all the way from Sweden every year for the past 6 years to go to Camp Woolman says a lot. It is so refreshing to get away from my everyday life and spend time in the breathtaking outdoors of the Sierra foothills alongside the kindest and most supportive people I have ever met. Growing up in an American family in Sweden has made me able to appreciate the best of both cultures, and I hope to contribute to the social fabric of Woolman with this international perspective. Spending my summers in California is definitely a highlight of my year. Although this will be my first year as a counselor, I have 5 years of experience working with children as an ice skating teacher. Working with children is endlessly inspiring and rewarding as they are so curious and open minded. I absolutely love spending time in the great outdoors, whether it be hiking, cycling or scuba diving. Since Sweden isn’t exactly known for having great weather, this leaves time for competitive debating and studying. I will be entering my final year of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme this fall. I was introduced to backpacking during my first summer at camp Woolman and have since frequently ventured out into the wilderness with just a stuffed backpack and a couple of friends. The sense of freedom and renewed appreciation for the wonders of the natural world will never cease to amaze me. I am so excited to spend this summer at Camp Woolman, as part of the most nurturing and caring community I know!
Woolman has been a part of my life for 10 years and has truly shaped who I am today. Since I was nine, it has been a place I can fully be myself and over the years it has become home. Every year it gives me a chance to see who I am and what I want out of my life. Camp brings me love and deep connection with people and nature. I can’t imagine my life without it and I’ve loved seeing how camp changes as I grow. Next year I will start college which is a big transition, but this summer will help me ground myself in what is truly important. I come back every year because I want to make sure Camp Woolman can be a place where people have the opportunity to be fully loved and cherished for who they are. Being a counselor is surreal to me because I remember being a nine year old and looking up to and admiring the staff. I want to share my love for camp with others and make sure they get the most out of it. I love working with children because they bring such a bright light into every situation. I can’t wait to spend the summer in nature with people I love and I am so excited to make new connections.
WOMBAT CAMP & TEEN LEADERSHIP CAMP COUNSELORS
To me, the outdoors have always been a magical, spiritual place. Growing up in the Bay Area, I spent a lot of time hiking (especially on Mount Diablo, which is basically my backyard) with my older sister, who shares my love of the outdoors. I couldn’t help falling in love with the feeling of being totally immersed in nature!
I now go to Haverford College, which is a tiny college near Philadelphia that was founded on Quaker values, where I’m majoring in English and double minoring in education and environmental studies. My current plan is to become an English teacher, but I just might get lured into outdoor education...At Haverford, my love for nature has grown even stronger. Right when I got here, I joined the Haverford Outdoors Club (HavOC!) and found a supportive and adventurous community. In addition to backpacking with the club in Shenandoah National Park, I developed a new passion for rock climbing after our trip to Red River Gorge left me smitten.
Last summer, I interned at Philadelphia Futures, a non-profit that provides resources to first-generation-to-college students, serving as a mentor for my students. That summer, I also made use of our “Haverfarm” on campus. I realized that there’s nothing more satisfying than to cook (and eat) a delicious meal solely with ingredients you’ve grown yourself! When I saw that Camp Woolman had the same values of sustainability, acceptance, and social justice that Haverford emphasizes, I knew I wanted to work here. Being a counselor at Camp Woolman is the perfect combination of my love for education, the outdoors, and social justice, and I’m stoked to join the community!
Fun Fact: I like to pat trees when I hike past them so they feel loved and supported :)
Last year was my first year at Woolman after stumbling across it online and immediately falling in love with everything the community values. I was looking for a place where I could work with kids and be outside every day, but I found so much more love, friendship, acceptance and silliness than I could have even imagined. Growing up, my family went camping often but I was first introduced to backpacking in high school and ever since spending a month in the backcountry of the High Sierras, I have been hooked on the simplicity, beauty and peace it brings me. It’s just SO cool being able to carry all you need to survive on your back and that your only responsibilities are hiking, sleeping, eating and hanging out with the people around you! I love being able to share this with campers as the places we get to explore have some of the most stunning views and lakes I have experienced. Even though kids can find these trips challenging, it’s always inspiring to see them have fun and form friendships while accomplishing something they may have doubted they could do. I hear people use the word “magic” a lot when describing Woolman and spending a summer here really isn’t anything short of magical! I am currently studying at Western Washington University and even though I am so lucky to spend part of my school year frolicking around the great outdoors of Washington with my child-like group of friends, I still cannot wait to be back for another summer at Woolman and am so excited to be seeing new and familiar faces!
This will be my first summer working at Camp Woolman and am so excited! I I just graduated from Clark University in Massachusetts with a degree in Political Science and Human Geography. When I saw Camp Woolman’s commitment to nature, peace and social justice, I knew this the place for me. I started working with children as a tennis coach in high school and later as a counselor at Camp Granite Lake in Colorado. My love for the outdoors began much earlier. Growing up in New York City, the summers I spent as a child hiking and camping with my family showed me that the woods are the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life. As a teenager this developed into long backpacking treks and rock climbing. These two passions gave me the opportunity to explore myself in the grandest playground of all – the mountains. This has taken me from the Alps to South Africa, where I recently spent a semester as a foreign exchange student. At Clark, I led my fellow students into the outdoors on hikes, ski trips and a backpacking trek with the Clark Outing Club. When I am not in the mountains, I can be found picking up a ball and turning it into a sport – captaining my college Quidditch team is honestly one of my proudest life accomplishments. I cannot wait to share my energy and passion for the outdoors with all the wonderful campers at Woolman this summer!
Camp Woolman has been apart of my life for the past 15 years. I first started coming with my mom while she cooked in the kitchen and my sister was a camper. I would play with all the other kids and eat the incredible food. When I was 9, I started coming as a camper and would always stay for the first two-week session. I created so many amazing connections and friendships with other campers that year after year we would always come back to the same session just so we could see each other again. Camp Woolman was my introduction to the outdoors. Going on the 3-day backpacking trips each week was by far my favorite part. Going on from Wombat camp, I continued coming back for Teen Leadership camp when I was 15 and 16. I would stay for the whole summer these two year because I wanted to spend as much time at Woolman as I possibly could. My last year of Teen camp I got to go on two 10-day backpacking trips along the PCT, and this gave me a whole new understanding and awareness of the outdoors. When I was 17, I came back to be a CIT (counselor in training) for 2 weeks of camp, but then went back home to Mount Shasta to work for the Forest Service in their YCC program. This experience really gave me so much gratitude for all those wonderful people out there putting in hard work to keep all these trails cleared and maintained. This will now be my 3rd summer working as a camp counselor at Woolman and I truly couldn't be happier. The unconditional and priceless experiences I’ve had here, are absolutely unforgettable, and have honestly help me become the best version of myself today. I will also be going into my 3rd year of college next fall at CSU Chico State University. Moving away from home has really given me the chance to branch out and find what I really love, and that’s exactly what I did. I currently work for Chico State’s outdoors program called Adventure Outings. We provide student led trips throughout the semester for students, staff, and community members. I applied to work with them last spring because they truly have a strong desire to get people outdoors as much as possible and help their experiences in nature grow and be the best they can be, and that is exactly what I want to do. I want to share my love and passion for the outdoors with everyone who is willing to give it a chance. I think it is so important for everyone, especially the younger generations, to get out and get out and take advantage of opportunities like this and hopefully find their own love for nature. I can’t wait for camp this summer, getting to see all the returning campers and counselors is always a heartwarming moment, but I also can’t wait to see all the new faces that I can share my love for Woolman with!
Counselors in Training (CITs)
I have been going to Camp Woolman as a camper since I was 10 and this summer will be my first as a counselor (in training)! I spent the last year as part of a gap year program where we learned independence and leadership skills, as well as camping and backpacking all over the western United States. I have learned that backpacking is very painful yet rewarding and seen things like the sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park, wild tarantulas in New Mexico, and lots of foxes on the Channel Islands. In August I am about to start my first semester of college at Humboldt State University (right next to Redwoods National Park!) as a Marine Biology major. I am very excited to work with the campers and teach them random facts about everything and the linguistic value of puns, as well as help them form the same lifelong bonds and interests that I had the chance to as a camper.
Hey everyone! This will be my first time attending camp Woolman, and I am looking forward to meeting everyone and getting outdoors this summer. I happened to stumble across Camp Woolman online while looking for summer jobs and after reading into it, knew I had to apply to the CIT program.
Last summer, I attended the National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) through my local Civil Air Patrol squadron and was able to learn a lot of helpful outdoor skills and even become certified to participate in search and rescue missions as a ground team member. This summer, I was looking for something just as exciting to do, and I believe I’ve found it in the CIT program. I’m hoping I can bring some of the skills I learned through NESA to help me at Camp Woolman and am looking forward to the new challenges and experiences camp will bring--especially the backpacking trip!
A little about me: I’m currently a junior in high school, and will be starting my senior year come August. I’m a huge dog lover and after raising two guide dogs for the blind, I finally wore my parents down and was lucky enough to adopt my own dog, a wonderful Weimaraner mix named Lexi (you can see her pictured above). When I’m not out with her on walks or hikes, I also enjoy drawing, and am very busy with my high school’s marching band and wind ensemble where I play the clarinet, and picked up the trumpet this year (for everyone’s sake though, I probably shouldn’t be asked to play the latter). I’ve found my joy and passion in community service through my Civil Air Patrol squadron, and love all the outstanding opportunities and lessons it has providing me over the past two years. I hope to find myself outdoors in the future working as a Conservation Officer (ideally as a canine unit) after majoring in some sort of wildlife management degree.
I can’t wait to meet all the campers, counselors, and staff of sessions 3 and 4 this summer and truly experience everything Camp Woolman has to offer me.
This year will be my fifth year at Camp Woolman and every year it gets better. This will be my first year as a CIT and I'm very excited for the new role. I'm really looking forward to this new leadership role and teaching what I know about the outdoors to the campers. I grew up being in the outdoors, hiking and backpacking with my family, which is what originally drew me to Woolman. I immediately knew that Woolman was much more than just a backpacking camp. I have learned and grown so much in the short time I spend there each summer. Outside of camp I will be going into my senior year at Santa Cruz High School. I spend the majority of my time during the school year playing baseball or doing school work. The thing that I find very wonderful and unique about camp is that everyone is friendly and caring and that you make bonds with people you could not make any where else.
I am a big believer in saying yes as different experiences enter your life: by chance I found Woolman online and I felt inspired and motivated to be a part of this peaceful community in the middle of nature. Originally trained as a music teacher, I took a sabbatical from teaching to spend it hiking and living in intentional communities in Europe where I served in kitchens, gardens, and home care. In the past two years I spent two months in France, 5 weeks walking the Camino in Spain, and a year in Scotland working in community. I have spent a lot of time exploring since graduating college, and two years living in Istanbul. I feel motivated by learning as much as I can about the world and exploring more about myself through these experiences. I have a willingness and a passion to serve others and I love living in communities with children; they teach us how to be present in life and in nature. I hope to learn more about how to integrate natural settings into my own educational philosophy and grow my understanding of what it means to be in community with others. Having this opportunity is a true blessing, feeding and nourishing the camp through the kitchen is a perfect fit for me. I look forward to making meals with love and intention as well as share some ukulele songs around the fire.