The Chestnut Ridge Team
Nick Jeffries – Director
Nick joined the Chestnut Ridge Staff in the Spring of 2006. He is a South Carolina native who first moved to NC to go to college. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor degree in Sociology. While Nick once pondered the notion of becoming a professional bowler, he knew that God was calling him to other things. Nick graduated from Duke Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree. He is now an ordained deacon associated with the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. At camp, Nick enjoys leading summer camp activities, teaching outdoor education classes, and facilitating the challenge course. In the fall, he can be found at the Almost Gold tailgate prior to cheering on the Demon Deacons at every Wake Forest home football game. Nick and his wife, Miriam, were blessed with their sons, Levi in April 2009 and Samuel in Sept 2011. Read the Camp Director’s blog – “Top of the Hill”.
Chris Burtner - Equestrian Director
Chris joined the full-time staff as Garden Manager in 2009. Prior to taking the reigns of The Community Farm at Chestnut Ridge, Chris had been volunteer managing a community garden and teaching preschool and elementary children in Fuquay-Varina, NC. With an undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Virginia Tech and years of work experience in the veterinary medical field, Chris was well suited to take over livestock management in 2010. In 2011 Chris also added Equestrian Director to her expanding role at camp. Chris has over 20 years of riding experience and certification from the American Association for Horsemanship Safety. She and her husband Paul, are big Hokie fans and try to make it back to Blacksburg with their girls, Amy and Sarah for a football or basketball game each year. When she’s not playing in the dirt, or riding a horse, you can find Chris taking a walk or curled up with a good book. Chris looks forward to riding the horses with you through the beautiful woods of Chestnut Ridge!
Stacey Young – Hospitality Director
I’ve been blessed to be a part of this ministry since December 2007. My experiences in office administration in both the health care and child care fields have been invaluable to my administrative role here at camp. My husband, Todd and I live a few country roads over in Mebane with our daughter, Morgan and 2 sons, Keyston & Paul. Surf fishing on the coastal shores of NC is my favorite “decompression”. Besides raising a family, I enjoy cake decorating, crochet, singing and my 2 newest hobbies – tennis and raising chickens. I’m a “city-girl-gone-country” who somehow fits right in here at CR! One of my favorite passages is, “…stop and consider God’s wonders.” (Job 37:14) and each passing season at Chestnut Ridge has helped me have a greater appreciation for the truly marvelous works of God. I see Chestnut Ridge as a masterpiece canvas of nature, made more beautiful by the happy experiences of campers and retreat visitors. Then as a bonus, God brushes on sweet highlights through the devoted staff who come and go – and the ones who come and stay. What a wonder!
Beverly Benton - Program Director
Beverly joined the full-time staff as Program Director in January 2012. She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2009 with a degree in music education. Before coming to work here at camp she worked at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church as the Music Ministry intern, Parents Morning Out, and several camps in the area. She has worked with the Chestnut Ridge afterschool and outdoor education programs since Fall 2010. When she’s not at camp she enjoys camping, hiking and playing outside! Beverly says “I am blessed to have a job where I can do all my favorite things and spend time with amazing kids and wonderful staff here at Camp Chestnut Ridge!”
Amanda joined the Chestnut Ridge team in the summer of 2012 after falling in love with the camp and its staff as a “Camper Mom.” She lives in Durham with her husband, Shawn, and three young children, Reese, Maeve, and Beck. Amanda has always enjoyed working with children in some capacity. Before joining the staff at Chestnut Ridge, she managed a children’s birthday party & play facility. In the past, she has taught Kindermusik classes as well as horseback riding lessons to children of all ages. She relishes the energy, enthusiasm and joy children bring to any situation. Amanda says, “I am blessed God gave me a love of working with children, and I am able to fulfill that on a daily basis. I am excited to continue it here at Chestnut Ridge.” In her spare time, Amanda enjoys riding horses, reading, spending time with her children and hiking and camping with her family.
Emily Totherow – Food Service Director
Emily joined the Chestnut Ridge staff as the Food Service Director in August 2013 and is excited to continue the Camp Chestnut Ridge mission of supporting local farms and giving our campers healthy and delicious food.
She graduated from the Alamance Community College Culinary Program in 2012 and received the Outstanding Culinary Student Award for her time in the program. Prior to leading our excellent kitchen staff here at camp, she worked for the Carolina Alumni Club as the Assistant Pastry Chef. Emily and her husband Todd have three dogs and when she isn’t busy creating delicious food in our kitchen, she enjoys decorating cakes, reading, playing with her dogs and spending time with her husband.
Erica Romkema – Farm Manager
Erica grew up in the rural Midwest amidst dairies, lakes, cornfields, and combines. After completing a major in English, she became increasingly concerned about the family farm and the inequalities present in global agriculture, so she went on to earn an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Environment with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture. Erica has volunteered and worked on farms from Iowa to France, promoted field days and nonprofit events, put on farm dinners, and cared for a menagerie of animals. Her other interests include climbing, reading, horseback riding, and nearly anything related to water! She greatly enjoyed her years as a camper and staff member back in Minnesota, and is so excited for the opportunity to share her passion for farming, faith, and community at Chestnut Ridge. Read the “Down on the Farm” blog.
Joel Roberts - Maintenance Director
Joel has been a part of the Chestnut Ridge community longer than anyone can remember, and as such, he is somewhat of a historian regarding the history of the ministry at Chestnut Ridge. As part of the maintenance staff, Joel continually amazes everyone with his ability to fix just about anything. When he is not repairing buildings, driving the tractor, or deftly wielding a chainsaw, Joel is always ready with a fascinating story to tell. As a world traveler, Joel has taken adventures to places both near and far. He has survived -40 degree temperatures in the Utah mountains, climbed narrow shafts in the Egyptian pyramids, and avoided a coup attempt in Zimbabwe. To the amazement of all, Joel shares these stories, and imparts other life lessons to all the campers at Chestnut Ridge.
Bruce Thomas - Facilities
Bruce joined the team at Chestnut Ridge in 2003. His primary responsibilities include the care and housekeeping of all of the facilities. Working mostly behind the scenes, Bruce carefully prepares the camp facilities with great attention to detail before the arrival of retreat groups or campers. When not at Chestnut Ridge, Bruce is a fixture at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro where many people know him as the “Dancing Man.” Campers enjoy dancing with Bruce at Chestnut Ridge as well, and are attracted to his enthusiasm and outgoing personality. When not dancing, Bruce’s other interests include music, tai chi, yoga, and meditation.
Jennifer joined the Chestnut Ridge team as Garden Coordinator in February 2012, after spending a year volunteering as a garden member at The Community Farm at Chestnut Ridge. While managing the garden, she expanded the children’s play area, added an herb garden, and wrote and received a grant to install plants that attract beneficial insects. While she has loved being at the farm and working with volunteers and summer campers, Jennifer has shifted positions to become the Preschool Programs Director. Rachel Carson’s A Sense of Wonder includes one of her favorite quotes: “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” With a Master of Arts in Teaching, many years working in the classroom, and much time spent exploring the woods and growing gardens with her own children, she brings passion and vision to the new preschool programs.
Christine Peckman – Outdoor Education Coordinator
Christine originally hails from the Northeast, but has called NC home for many years. Christine loves teaching kids about science; especially programs containing to nature, animals, and the outdoors. Christine lives on her own little farm, where she has many animals, including her prize winning goats that you can see at the State Fair. In addition to teaching at a local Community College, Christine works with all of our local teachers to plan wonderful field trips to Chestnut Ridge.
Jana Murdock - Equestrian Specialist
Hey y’all. I’m so excited to be returning for my 5th summer at camp, and my 3rd year as the Equestrian Specialist! I graduated from Elon University in May 2011 with a degree in Anthropology, but I’m also interested in sustainability, the outdoors, animals (especially horses), and traveling. If you can’t find me down in main camp, look out in the horse pasture or the community farm….or in a comfortable tree, where I might be lost in a (hopefully!) good book. Being from Texas, I’m a cowgirl at heart, and I can’t wait to share that passion with everybody at camp! Here’s to old and new friends and a spectacular summer
Jemima Knox – Program Specialist
Hey, I’m Jemima and I’m delighted to be working at Chestnut Ridge again and this time for the whole year! I’ve worked as a Camp Counselor at Chestnut Ridge in 2007, 2010, 2011 and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every summer. I come from the far off land of Australia and love my country but I also love hanging out and having fun with the kids of NC at camp! I’m up for anything: zipline, high ropes or just mention ‘chocolate slip and slide’ and I’m there. In my time off I enjoy hanging out in the woods, enjoying my friends company and a warm cup of tea or anything at the beach: surfing, running or making a sandcastle! Looking forward to seeing you at Chestnut Ridge in 2013.
Will Wood - Program Specialist
Hey ya’ll! I’m so excited to be coming back to Chestnut Ridge! I’ve been working at CCR for 4 years as a counselor and now I am in my 2nd year as a program specialist. I graduated from NC State in 2011 and am now looking forward to spending most of my time outdoors helping everyone have fun at camp trying out new activities and working with the other staff to put a new spin on some old ones. When I’m not working I love to hike, fish or paddle around a lake in my kayak. I love the outdoors, and now I have a job that will help me enjoy it and share that love with you. I can’t wait to see ya’ll here this summer, it’s going to be the best summer yet here at Chestnut Ridge!
Hello there my name is adam and I’m from a place called Newcastle in England. I am currently on my gap year and will start studying biology at Newcastle univeristy in September. I love nature and the great outdoors and can’t wait to have the best time at Chestnut Ridge with everyone this summer!
Hi everyone! My name is Allison and this is going is my first summer working at Camp Chestnut ridge. I am from a small town called Franklinton here in North Carolina. I am a rising senior at South Granville High. I enjoy being outdoors and playing soccer, volleyball and softball. In my free time i enjoy drawing, working with animals, and music. I am very excited and looking forward to a wonderful summer. See you soon!
Hey y’all, my name is Amanda! I spent many summers as a camper at Chestnut Ridge and I am excited to be returning for my second summer as a counselor! I am finishing up my junior year at UNC-Wilmington where I am a nursing major. When I am not in class you can find me at the beach or hanging out in my hammock. Some of my favorite camp activities include the challenge course, hayride to the farm, and making s’mores! I am counting down the days till summer! See y’all soon!
Hey everyone! My name is Amia. I am from Greensboro, NC and I will be a junior at UNC Chapel Hill in the fall studying biology. I used to swim for 10 years so I really love to swim, but some of my other hobbies include playing sports, traveling, and being outdoors. This will be my first summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge and I can’t wait! See you soon!!!
Hi everyone! I am Andy from Cambridge in England. This summer is my first time in America so i am very excited! I am currently on my gap year and have done a bit of traveling, including volunteering in Tanzania for 3 months. I am very keen on sport and love most sports, my favourite being football (soccer). I will study Sport at University, at a place in England called Bath in September. I can’t wait to get to America and get to know everyone.. see you soon!
Hey everyone! This is my first summer working at Camp Chestnut Ridge, and I am very excited! I am a senior at East Carolina University (Go Pirates ARRGG!) studying Health Fitness, training to become a Health Fitness Specialist. I love being outdoors and being active! My hobbies are dance and exercise. I have been dancing for 16 years, and I am currently teaching dance. I love working with children and youth, and I love going to work to see happy smiling faces. I look forward to an amazing summer with some amazing people. See you soon!
Hey everyone! My name is Annie and this is my first year working at Camp Chestnut Ridge! I’m a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill and my hobbies include sports and games, reading, swimming, and making people laugh. I currently live in Wake Forest, NC, but I’ve also lived in Florida, Virginia, and Arkansas. I absolutely LOVE being active and being outdoors, so I’m really excited about working at such an amazing camp-summer can’t get here fast enough!
Hi everybody! This will be my first summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge and I am so excited! I’m a rising sophomore at Appalachian State University where I am studying Elementary Education. Some of my favorite things to do include hiking, running, reading, singing, and dancing. My parents both worked at Camp Chestnut Ridge when they were in college, so I can’t wait to carry on the family tradition! Summer just can’t come quickly enough! See you soon!
Camp time again! My name is Aubrey and this will be my 3 summer on staff at Chestnut Ridge. I am from Raleigh, NC and I am a rising sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill studying Environmental Health Science. CCR has always been one of my favorite places so I feel so lucky to be able to work another awesome summer at camp. I love traveling, going on mission trips, and really anything that allows me to get outside! I love all of our camp activities and cannot wait to start learning even more this summer. Hope to see everyone soon and can’t wait!!
Hi everyone! My name is Benjamin; please feel free to call me Ben. I am from Hertfordshire, England. This will be my first time at Camp Chestnut Ridge or any other summer camp for that matter. I graduated from University in 2012 with a degree in Marketing with French (I must say, with lack of practice my French is a bit rusty). During my degree program I had the opportunity to study at the University of Toledo, OH for a year, an experience which I thoroughly enjoyed! Some of my interests include football (soccer), volley ball, swimming, photography and basketball, just to name a few. I am a big fan of the outdoors and enjoy many outdoor activities. I look forward to spending the summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge and making new friends!
Hello campers! My name is Blake and this is my first year as a camp counselor. I am from the town of Pantego, NC and am currently a rising sophomore at Campbell University. I love soccer, playing guitar, and skateboarding. I’m always up for learning new skills (preferably outdoors) and sharing them with others. See you at Chestnut Ridge!
Hello there! My name is Bonnie and this will be my second summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge. I cannot wait for this summer and the adventures it awaits us! I may or may not have a count down, (sshhh, don’t tell!) Currently I am a sophomore at Hollins University in Roanoke Va. But I am originally from a small town in the Mountains of North Carolina. I have a passion for horses, hiking, and soccer. At camp you will most likely find me playing gaga ball, working on my archery or exploring camp on horseback. I hope you will join the rest of the wonderful CCR staff and I this summer! See you soon!
Hey everyone! My name is Brittany and I can’t wait to spend my first summer at Chestnut Ridge! I am from Knightdale, North Carolina and a rising sophomore at East Carolina University. I love anything outdoors like running, playing sports especially basketball and soccer, and just having fun. In my spare time I also enjoying volunteering and working with kids. I am so excited for my first summer here and to meet all of you, it’s going to be a summer to never forget. See you soon!
Hey, my name is Carly Collette. I am from Chapel Hill, NC and am a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill. This is my second summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge, and I can’t wait for a summer full of GaGa ball, lake toys, and capture the flag! Being a counselor is my favorite job because I get to play with awesome campers, work with my amazing family of counselors, and, of course, wear Chacos all summer. When I can’t be at camp, I spend my time traveling the world, volunteering in my community, and counting down until I can come back to Chestnut Ridge. I’m looking forward to a summer full of fun, and I can’t wait to meet everyone!
Hey Everyone. My name is Chris, and I am on my way back to North Carolina for another awesome summer with all you super cool campers at Camp Chestnut Ridge. I come from a couple of islands in the pacific ocean called New Zealand (which by the way is the most beautiful country in the world, I think) and for the last wee while I have been working for an arborist AND as a waiter on the weekends. When I arrive at camp you are likely to find me down at the high ropes course, on the farm or telling the mud puppies never ending tales of adventure. If I’m not at camp you can find me saving the world with my guitar, backpacking in the wilderness, telling people about the benefits of sustainability or taking my 3 legged dog for a run. I can’t wait for this summer to begin and I am looking forward to having a blast with everyone. BRING IT ON
Hey! My name is Ciera and I will be a junior this fall at Appalachian State University, where I am double-majoring in Psychology and Political Science. This summer will be my fourth as a counselor at camp, and I am most excited for the challenge courses, the lake toys, and camping out for Home in the Woods! It is definitely going to be another amazing summer, and I can’t wait to see everyone at camp!
Hi everyone! My name is Claire and this will be my second summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge! I’m from a wee town called Invergordon in the bonny Highlands of Scotland and I’m going to University to study ‘Computing for Graphics and Animation.’ I have a passion for Photography and love to explore new places with my camera. I will be serving as the Media Specialist this summer taking photos and making awesome videos. I’m so excited for the summer to come and can’t wait to meet everyone!
Hi, everyone! My name is Emily and I’m overjoyed to be back at camp for what will be my third summer working at Chestnut Ridge. I’m currently a freshman at the University of North Carolina Wilmington with an intended marine biology major. I love spending as much time outside as possible, whether I’m playing or just relaxing. Some of my favorite things to do at camp are play on the lake toys and go down the zipline. Chestnut Ridge is by far one of my favorite places in the world and I can’t wait to spend another summer having fun and praising God!
Hi, guys! My name is Haley and I am a rising senior at Orange High School. I’ve lived in Hillsborough my whole life, and have been coming to camp since I was 12 years old. This summer will be my 2nd summer as a Junior Counselor and I am stoked to be back! I love camping, kayaking, being outside, and playing with kids! See you this summer!!!
Hola niños y niñas!!! I will be coming back to for my 4th summer on staff at Camp Chestnut Ridge. I am so excited to be coming back once again to enjoy all of camps activities it has to offer. I am a rising Sophomore at Wake Tech and will be transferring to NC State in the Spring to study Criminology. I love being outdoors, playing soccer is one of my big time favorite things to do, swimming, and of course the lake toys. I love all of camps activities but there are to many to name. I can’t wait for summer to start, hope to see you there!!!
Hey there! My name is Jordan and I am from Cumberland, Maryland. I am a May 2012 graduate of Frostburg State University in MD with my bachelors in Business Administration. This will be my first summer at Chestnut Ridge but I am so excited to be able to spend the summer in NC! I currently work with middle school youth as an in school and after school mentor for the YMCA. I enjoy being outdoors, swimming, hiking, sports, trivia, games, dancing, singing, traveling, and cooking! I cant wait to spend the summer at Chestnut Ridge growing and enjoying all that summer can offer! See y’all soon! Cheers!
My name is Joy and I am back! After two hot summers in Texas I am proud to say that I have graduated from Baylor University. I think this will be my fifth summer working at camp and I am very excited to act like a big kid before I go off to grad school. I like to dabble in a little bit of everything at camp from arts and crafts to dominating in capture the flag. I am very excited to see old and new faces. See you soon!!
Well hello everyone! My name is Keairr Butts and I’m honored to say that I will be working with Chestnut Ridge camp for the first time this summer and I can’t wait!
I will be entering my 2nd year at Wake Tech Community College where I plan to study Fire Protection Technology and EMS. I’m originally from Memphis TN and I love to play any types of sports or fun activities, you name it lets do it! I enjoy working with kids and can’t wait to meet you all! See you soon!
Hi, I’m Lee! I’m so excited to be back for another summer at Chestnut Ridge! I recently accepted a full time position here and I’m so happy to be at a place where I love to work! I’ve kept many positions here, but by far my favorite is being camp counselor In May of last year I graduated from NC State with a bachelor’s in creative writing. In my spare time I write fiction and read about movie and tv production. I love being here at Chestnut Ridge and can’t wait for summer to start. I will be working in the kitchen in the mornings, but every afternoon I will either be doing Waterdog electives or Duskie majors. Can’t wait to see all of you!
Hey Everyone! My name is Matt and this will be my 13th summer at Chestnut Ridge, 3rd as a counselor! I’m from Hillsborough, NC. I will be graduating from Durham Academy this spring and I will be attending the wonderful University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall, Go Heels! I cannot wait to come back this summer and meet all of the new and returning campers! I love, running, playing frisbee, getting dirty and just being out in creation. Camp is a place that feels like home to me and I know it will to you all too. June can’t come soon enough!
Hey everyone! My name is Matt and this will be my fifth summer of having fun at Chestnut Ridge. I love spending time at camp where my favorite activities are the zipline and high ropes, as well as anything that involves just running around and having fun. I will graduate from college in May and soon get ready to enter the “real world” where I am excited for the adventures that await. In my free time I like to run and play different sports and anything else outside. I can’t wait to get back to camp and have lots of fun with you! See you soon!
Hey y’all! This will be my 6th summer at Chestnut Ridge, my 3rd summer as a counselor. I will graduate from Eastern Alamance High School in June and will be attending NC State University in the fall. I love everything about camp, especially getting to hang out with all of our amazing campers! My two favorite things at camp are WATER and HORSES! So, if you need me just check the pool, the lake, or up at site 7 where the horses are. I look forward to a summer full of singing, dancing, swimming, riding, playing, and the numerous other activities we do at camp and hope you all are just as excited! See you in June!
Hey Ya’ll! This is my third summer here at Chestnut Ridge and I am super excited to be back for another amazing summer. I’ll be a rising sophomore at Appalachian State University. I love to swim, hike and anything to do with the outdoors. At camp, you’ll probably find me anywhere near the lake or pool since I love to be around water. I also love the zipline and anything to do with ropes. I love spending time with kids and just having fun! I can’t wait to be surrounded by everyone at camp and God’s love. See ya’ll soon!
Hey everybody! My name is Nicole, and I am so excited to be working at Camp Chestnut Ridge for the first time this summer. I will be a Junior at UNC Chapel Hill this coming fall, and I am currently a psychology major. I love being outdoors, singing, smiling, playing card games, hiking, and swimming. I love working with youth, and I am so excited to have a wonderful summer with you guys!
Hi everyone! My names Oliver but you will probably just know me as that tall one with a funny accent. I’m from Birmingham (not Birmingham Al), which is England’s second biggest city and I am currently on a gap year trying to see some of the world. This summer will be my first time in the states so I am really looking forward to experiencing everything that comes with that. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see all of you and make loads of new mates, see you in the summer!
Hey I’m Ollie. I’m from Hertfordshire, England an
Hey Everyone! My name is Rebecca. I am super excited for my second summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge! I am a Junior at Clemson studying Microbiology and English. English is my favorite because I get to read and talk about books. I love to dance and act, and I hope you will join me doing them this summer. I also love every kind of animal! So you will find me petting every animal at the farm. I seek adventure through hiking, rafting, and spelunking. We are going to have a great summer and I can’t wait to get to know all of you! See you soon!
Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Ham and I’m a rising senior at Green Hope High School in Cary, NC. This will be my first year as a junior counselor at camp and I couldn’t be more excited!! I can’t wait to meet all of the you as we enjoy our summer making new memories and friendships! I love to sing, dance, travel, and hang out with friends. Don’t be surprised to see me “bust a move!” We are going to have a ton of fun hiking, singing, laughing, and worshipping together. See you this summer!!
Hey everybody, my name is Seth and this is my 2nd year at Chestnut Ridge! I am a rising junior at Appalachian State University and I am studying biology. My hobbies include fishing, hiking, ping pong, and generally anything outdoors or sports related. It is such a blessing to be able to return to Camp again and see all the familiar faces, as well as meet new ones too! I am looking forward to camp, hope to see you there!
Hi guys! My name is Thomas, and this will be my first year on staff at Camp Chestnut Ridge. I’m from right here in Mebane North Carolina, and some of my favorite things to do are martial arts, spending time with good friends, singing, eating, and laughing. I’m really looking forward to being outdoors and getting to be with you all this summer!
Hi everybody! This will be my first summer at Camp Chestnut Ridge working on staff, but I’ve been a camper here for ten or so years. I am a rising senior at Panther Creek High School, over in Cary. Some of my favorite activites include Colorguard, listening to music, hanging out with my friends and having fun. I’m super stoked about being on staff this summer, and can’t wait to have a blast at camp with your kids. See you soon!
Hey campers! My name is Zach, and this is going to be my first summer at Chestnut Ridge as part of the staff and I am so excited! I live in Chapel Hill but I am going to be a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School. I have been taking martial arts since kindergarten and love anything competitive. I also really like traveling, art, and especially anything that has to do with the outdoors: hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing. I can’t wait to get back to camp and have some fun. See ya there!