2018 Summer Staff

Meet Our Full Time Staff


 Brad Cripe -Executive Director

  • Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Lived and worked in 3 states and 4 different countries!
  • Degree or experience:
    Bachelors in Recreation Management-Emphasis on Children and Adult programs
    21 years in the industry
  • Favorite past experience working with young people:
    Over the course of 20+ years I have found that each year is its own experience with laughter, smiles, and learning opportunities. When you see the sparkle in a camper’s eye because they discovered something new about themselves or nature–I feel accomplished knowing that I helped provide the opportunity that allowed such a discovery.
  • What you like about working for LGFAA:
    The Campers!! The staff!! The culture that we have created of being an inclusive, understanding program that is able to help all of our participants no matter where they are in life. I appreciate the autonomy to be able to do what is RIGHT for our campers and staff. This models the attitude that we want our campers to adhere to throughout the entire agency.
  • Future Plans:
    My plans for the future include growing the LGFAA! Id like to be able to serve more amazing kids, while having programs and a facility that our campers can be proud of. Keep watching… there are big things to come.
  • Random facts:
    I love Rock Climbing, Hiking, Camping, and having adventures! Hobbies also include building cars and Starwars.When I was a counselor my Camp name was “TOAD” and I still have Toad decorations all over my office!

 

Kayla Wilkin – Camp Director

  • Hometown: Fulton, Illinois
  • Degree or experience:
    I graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration with a focus in Therapeutic Recreation. I minored in Psychology and Sociology. I started working at Holiday Home Camp and OWLS straight after college and have been here ever since!
  • Favorite past experience working with young people:
    My favorite memory is seeing a camper out and about in the community. I was visiting a school in Kenosha when a camper spotted me; he ran up, jumped in my arms and gave me the biggest hug ever! It was an awesome moment for the both of us and it was very obvious camp had touched his life in a positive way.
  • What you like about working for LGFAA:
    I love working for the Lake Geneva Fresh Air Association for many reasons. First of all, I LOVE the kids!  I’m really just a kid myself, stuck in an adults body.  Also, we’re definitely a family here and I love that. I also love that for 3 months out of the year I get to wear a tie-dye t-shirt and chacos to work every day.
  • Future Plans:
    My future plans are to continue to develop in my role as the Camp Director and continue improving the programming at HHC. In my personal life, I’m looking forward to traveling the world and starting my own family.
  • Random fact:
    In my free time I enjoy anything adventurous: skiing, kayaking, boating, fishing, hiking with my dogs, hula-hooping, camping, and playing any competitive sports. If I’m not outdoors or doing something to get my adrenaline pumping, you can find me and my puppies snuggling on the couch binging a Netflix show or reading a book.

 

Linda   Garant – HHC Registrar

  • Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
    Lived in Monmouth Il, Mississippi, Lake Geneva and Delavan
  • Degree or experience:
    Have over 50 years of experience in the customer service industry! I have done purchasing, accounting, payroll, etc. I am happily to have been with LGFAA for 4 year and really like being able get kids to camp.
  • Favorite past experience working with young people:
    Working with all of the parents and being able to see the kids smiles is a great experience. Being that previous jobs involved more numbers and less kids – I am excited to be able to get out of my office and interact with the kids during their camp activities.
  • What you like about working for LGFAA:
    I love getting kids to camp. I also really enjoy being able to go and visit the kids in their schools and in the community. I like that we always have dogs in the office and it’s a fun place to work.
  • Future Plans:
    Keep setting attendance records and getting even more kids to camp!
  • Random facts:
    I am the oldest team member here at LGFAA and I am the only one that has been skydiving. I was the very last zip line rider on the old OWLS course. I was the Killer Bee mascot for the Lake Geneva Rugby team and dressed as Frosty The Snow Man for the Lake Geneva Xmas Parade.

 

Mark Feldman – Training & Programs Director

  • Hometown: Buffalo Grove, Illinois
  • Degree or experience: I have a Bachelors in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management from George Williams College of Aurora University. I have had 7 years in the industry. I am also a certified Challenge Course Manager as well as a Red Cross Life Guard.   
  • Favorite past experience working with young people: I absolutely LOVE seeing people do something for their first time. Whether it is learning to throw a ball, getting to ride a boat, catch a fish, or fly down the zipline. The look on their face and the feeling of joy that they have is infectious and facilitates the same reaction in myself.
  • What you like about working for LGFAA: Creating connections with people from all walks of life is incredible. Interacting with staff, participants, donors, volunteers, and community members keep things exciting and fun. When I go home at the end of the day and ask myself “Did you have fun today?” 99 out of 100 days the answer is “YES.”
  • Future Plans: I am hard at work improving my leadership and management skills so I can set my self up to become a well rounded executive director in the future.
  • Random fact: I am a rabid fisherman! In the past I spent 4 years working at Bass Pro Shops as the de facto Master-Guru of Marine Electronics. If you need anything fishing or boating related I am the man to go to!

 

Gary “Big Dog” Cwidak -Keeper of the Flame & Guest Appearance Facilitator

  • Hometown: South Bend, Indiana
  • Degree or experience:
    Undergraduate Degree Indiana University – BA in Psychology
    Graduate Degree: University of Wisconsin Whitewater – MS in Counselor Education
  • Favorite past experience working with young people:
    Working with ten 8th grade boys who had every difficult label the school could put on them. We co-created an amazing, heartfelt experience that left the school counselor and me in tears of joy by the end.
  • What you like about working for OWLS:
    Professional staff, high quality programming, and diverse clientele.
  • Future Plans (post-OWLS):
    What? Big Dog leave OWLS? Shame on you! ½ way there semi-retired
  • Random fact:
    The nickname “Big Dog” not only reflects my nature, but after a day of bicycling, I really smell like a big dog.

2018 Facilitators


OWLS Staff ACCT Certifications

Justine Hanson Level II Challenge Course Manager (CCM)
Big Dog Level II; Challenge Course Manager (CCM)
Eseban Colon Level II; Challenge Course Manager (CCM)

Joey Gierke Challenge Course Manager (CCM)