July 05, 2023 Category: Our Programs Meet Fresh Air

Leadership and Commitment: Meet The Fresh Air Fund’s Summer Camp Directors 

Summer is a special time at The Fresh Air Fund’s camps – sunny days are filled with children jumping in the lake, conquering the ropes course, singing songs and maybe even catching their first fish! Summer adventures at camp are an opportunity for kids to experience the joy of being outdoors and create new connections with peers and counselors.  

Each camp has an incredible and committed camp director that oversees a team of counselors and program staff that work together to ensure all our campers have a fun and safe summer. As we countdown to the first day of camp, we asked our camp directors what they’re looking forward to this summer! 

Roberto Gil – Director of Camp Tommy  

For me, camp is a home-away-from-home. Since I was 18 years old and took a bus from Austin Texas to NYC to work at Camp Tommy, then called Camp Pioneer, The Fresh Air Fund has been a part of my life. While I am not a Fresh Air alum, I have always said I became “a man” at camp. My first real job where I was responsible for another person, many people (campers). To do this day, some of my closest friends I met through camp.  

I’m excited for summer 2023 because I get the chance to try to stand in Richard Williams shoes and direct the camp that means the world to me. I just hope and pray I do him justice and all the staff who have also learned and grown in his shadow.  

My favorite part about being a camp director is building lasting relationships with both staff and campers. I want to see campers become staff, and staff become future camp leaders. I welcome the day when a camper takes my job. 

Kanston McIver – Director of Camp Hidden Valley  

Summer at The Fresh Air Fund is special because individuals can really explore and reflect on who they are as an individual but also take time to reflect on who they want to be.  

One thing that I’m looking forward to this summer is starting fresh and creating a new vision for Camp Hidden Valley!  

One word I would use to describe camp is irreplicable. I believe that camp is such a special place and the only way to truly experience the magic of camp is to live it. No matter how hard you try to recreate the experience elsewhere it will never feel the same as being at camp! 

Bentley Gordon – Director of Camp Hayden-Marks  

One word for me to describe camp is – it’s an adventure! Every day we spend at camp we are faced with something new – new experiences, new challenges and new connections. Camp is a space where learning is everlasting.  

My favorite thing about being a camp director is fostering an environment where youth can come and express their true selves without judgement or pressure from the world around them.  

Byllye Taylor – Director of Camp Mariah 

One word I use to describe camp is community. We are close knit but also a vast community that is inclusive and wants to see everyone succeed. It is a welcoming community full of people who fully embody the melting pot of New York City. I am very happy to be a part of this community.  

This summer, I am excited to see the kids back at their camp home after another year. I am ready to see how much they’ve grown over the school year. I’m ready to make new memories this summer! 

My favorite thing about being a camp director will always be my interactions with campers and staff and seeing their growth throughout the summer. Looking back and remembering where I started out as a camper and to see how I’ve grown over the years – I am so happy to be a part of the growth in our campers returning as CIT’s to counselors and all the way to leadership. 

Check back soon to meet more of our camp directors! 

Learn more about The Fund’s summer sleepaway camp program!