Believe in the Magic of Camp
Meet our Leadership
Our Directors run the operations of camp and ensure that the week runs smoothly. They put in countless hours, both in camp and at home throughout the year. What's more important is that, just like the Counselors and CIT's, they are entirely made up of volunteers All monies brought in by donations go to our foundation to help kids not to pay our staff! They do this for their hearts, not their pocketbook.
Hello my name is Ron Clear and this coming year 2023 will make my 61th year in camping, my 59th year in camp; and my 49th of them directing and running camp. I don’t know where I would be without camp today.
My mother died when I was 15-years-old and I wound up on my own. It was the love, support, understanding, and patience I received at camp that helped me get through those difficult years. The staff helped me to stay on the right path, and with their support I remained in school.
When I was 21 and struggling to find myself after having graduated from college, camp once again came to my rescue. Camp helped give me direction and helped me build the value system that is now the foundation of my life.
When I was 23 I found the love of my life through camp. My wife of 46 years is my strongest supporter and also believes in helping others in need and who are less fortunate. We believe in promoting healthy lifestyles, building strong families, and creating a positive environment for all children. We both believe in the sentiment of building a healthy mind, body, and spirit, through values taught at camp. We are living proof that it can happen.
I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams, with the majority of my blessings coming from my camping life and my wife. I would never have accomplished what I have without the values taught to me through camp. I would never have become the man I am today without the love and support of my wife. Without camp, I would never have come to know such great people who I call my some of my closest friends. You see, the campers who became my CIT’s, and then grew up to become my Counselors (a few of whom went on to become my Directors) are all my extended family. Each of them has given back hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to help children, in the same manner they were given help and support themselves as campers. I could not be prouder of each of them, and I am honored to have them as staff.
Below are a couple of examples of the type of great leaders I am talking about and with whom I am privileged to work and call my friends, partners, and extended family!
Assistant Camp Director
My name is Michael Dobyns; 2023 will be my 29th year in camp. I grew up in Villa Park, CA and started attending camp at 10 years old by the recommendation of a friend's older brother. Looking back now, I could not have imagined the way camp would transform my life spiritually, mentally, and physically. After graduating college, I found myself trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life and camp helped guide me to my passion; leadership and youth. Currently I am the Activities Director at Corona Del Mar Middle/High School. I wouldn't be there today if it wasn't for the values & experiences I learned at camp.
I am a product of camp; I went through the Counselor in Training Program, became a counselor, and have been a director since 2006. Each year of camp is unique and every year camp serves as a way to rejuvenate myself & reflect on my previous year down the mountain. Camp is a place where everyone can be their true authentic self without judgement of others. Camp has influenced me in my professional & personal life and has made monumental differences in my outlook on living life to the fullest, believing in myself, being vulnerable & present, and preserving and appreciating the natural world. Camp has helped shape me into the person I am today by teaching me values, self-confidence, & how to treat and lead others. In addition, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for through camp. I am so thankful that I have been able to be a part of the magic that is camp and hope to pass the tradition on to those campers that choose to join us each year.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my wife and dog, traveling, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking, camping, and attending concerts. I look forward to many more years with Camp4Kids and providing the most memorable experiences for campers of all backgrounds
Senior Program Director
Heather Lyall Hallman
Hi, I'm Heather Lyall Hallman, and 2023 will be my 23rd year in camp. I began attending camp at 9 years old and never looked back. As a camper, I counted down the days until camp every year because it was a week away with my best friends in the place where I felt the most free and most myself. My camp family laughed with me in my silliness, celebrated with me in my victories and cried with me in my sorrows. Being in the great outdoors at camp taught me the brilliance of nature and beauty of quiet.
At 17, I became a Counselor-in-Training, and soon after, a Counselor. These roles allowed me to grow as a leader and understand the humbling joy of being able to positively affect the lives of children. I was able to join the directing staff in 2010, and feel so privileged to be a part of the team. My tenure as a camper and on senior staff shaped my spiritual and moral values. Today, I work for a global nonprofit that works in some of the world's poorest places because of the ways camp shaped me to be compassionate, empathetic and service-oriented.
In my free time, I love to spend time with my husband, one-year-old daughter and dog. I love yoga and getting outdoors as much as possible, and I travel every chance I get. Yet again, I'm counting down the days until camp... I hope to see you or your child there!
CIT (Counselors In Training) Director
Hi there, my name is Nikki Pham. 2023 will be my 16th year in camp. I started as a shy, nervous 11 year old. Having never been away from home, or from my parents even for a night...I had my doubts. Those doubts didn't even last through the first day; I was hooked. As with my fellow Directors, I would not know where life would've taken me if not for camp. I could've never imagined becoming a part of an organization that has taught and given me so much. Throughout my adolescence and even into adulthood, camp has been a pillar and my guiding light on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level.
From a camper, I went on to become a Counselor in Training and then a counselor. Both of these positions built my confidence, challenged me, and showed me that even having the potential to make an impact can humble the mind and warm the heart. Joining the Directors this year has been such an honor. Every director on this team has been integral to my life, in and out of camp. Becoming the CIT Director has been such a fun and humbling experience. My own CIT experiences were some of the best times of my life and were crucial in showing me who I could and wanted to be. Those years built a foundation of confidence and taught me how to be a vulnerable, selfless, and effective leader. I strive to bring these skills into my new role, and I hope to give our next generation of CITs the best experiences as well.
Currently, I am an agent at Western Insurance Marketing Corporation. Camp has fueled my passion for non-profit, and I am also hoping to follow in Ron's footsteps to start my own non-profit as well (partnering with Camp4Kids, of course). Camp has shaped me, and I can truly say that camp has enlightened every part of my life. Camp gave me purpose, love, and a sense of belonging. Through camp, I met some of my best friends, I met my fiance, and most importantly, I met myself.
Program Development Director
Summer camp has always been an invaluable experience for me. The sense of belonging, unlike anywhere else, offers a place to be yourself: a rare chance to love without limits or labels. Camp is a place for kids to step back from the normal routine and realize your passions, life importance and a sense of self. I started going to camp when I was 10 years old. 2023 will be my 22nd year up at camp. I graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, specializing in Child Development, with the emphasis in Special Education. I always knew I wanted to work with children, and also dreamed of being a director for Camp4Kids, someday. I am now an accounting manager for a promotional advertising company and am an esthetician at Massage Envy. I enjoy helping my clients feel good about themselves, and that has come from the life lessons I learned from camp.
Both of my parents grew up going to summer camp, so I always looked forward to the day I would be able to go too. Throughout the years, I have built friendships that are true to the soul and have helped me grow in so many ways. Camp taught me the invaluable attributes of determination, perseverance and leadership.
In a distracting digital world, camp offers valuable space where one can slow down and connect with themselves and with nature, away from the pressures, labels and social structure of school and work. The tangible experiences I had at camp helped build my foundation to help me lead others, show empathy, navigate through difficult group dynamics, value the differences in everyone, and give for the benefit of others.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, especially my husband, our daughter and French bulldog, Mystery. I enjoy getting up to the mountains, as much as we are able, to enjoy the great outdoors. I also enjoy going to concerts, making skin care products, and tending to my garden. Looking forward to another great year at camp!
Greetings everyone, my name is Gary Nelson Fish! This coming year (2023) I will be 33 years old, because time flies. Camp started 23 years ago for me, when my parents sent me with a friend whose family had heard some amazing things. Safe to say the things they heard were absolutely right! It gave me the chance to flex my independence while introducing me to new activities that I probably would have not been exposed to down the mountain. Now, for a little over a decade, I have been a part of the leadership team who passionately volunteers countless hours to ensure these kids will have the same priceless experience as I did growing up.
Camp is an extraordinary amount of fun, but the importance reaches far beyond the zip line or some bows and arrows. In my opinion, camp is about disconnecting from the everyday social media, and reconnecting with yourself and others on a truly personal level. In a judgement free environment, camp allows you to be yourself while giving you the confidence to try things you never knew you were capable of. Due to the invaluable lessons I've learned just one week out of each year, I will forever feel in debt to camp.
In my personal life, I am currently a property manager who is working on opening and operating a comic book store. In school, I studied business and film which pulled me in creative directions. I have been a part of various organizations over the years, but Camp 4 Kids tends to be the most gratifying of them all. Helping others become the best version of themselves can be very enlightening, and I'm grateful to have the opportunity. Thank you to anybody who gives camp a chance!