Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff: Bridget Hutchens

Bridget Hutchens, Equestrian Director

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

College & degree: St. Andrews University, Laurinburg, NC: Equine Business Management (BA)

Camp experience (camper or staff): 4 summers as Assistant Director of Riding at Rockbrook Camp for Girls in Brevard, NC (’06-’09)

Favorite camp activity: Pony Paddling! (swimming with the horses)

Favorite camp meal: Macaroni & cheese with broccoli!

Pets: Dog- Layla, Horse- Tennie

Other non-horsey interests: Philadelphia Phillies, March Madness-college basketball, my niece and 2 nephews


Welcome to Camp Horizons, Bridget!



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Devin Hall’s Words About Camp

Staff member, Devin Hall, works at the EMU newspaper and wrote this article about camp. We thought it was worth sharing!

It’s just something about cheesy songs, warm campfires, cool star-filled nights that brings out the best in me. I am a summer camp counselor. For the past 8 summers, I have had the enormous privilege of making a difference in a child’s life. Whether it comes from singing silly songs like the Princess Pat or telling ridiculous stories about old women in supermarkets, I have made a difference. Camp is a very special place. It is a place where you can be who you really are. You don’t have to worry about how you look or how you dress; you don’t have to wear a mask at camp. People get to know you for you. Not the cool you, the school you, the depressed you, the you that you are. Because of camp, I have been changed for the better. I have truly become a better person because of camp. Camp has opened so many doors to someone like me, a southern small town resident where the only diversity you could find was perhaps at the local Mexican restaurant. I was introduced to a world far greater than I could have ever imaged. My first year at camp broke me out of my shell and I have never returned. I met people from all walks of life and from around the world. It opened my eyes for the very first time. After that first summer at camp I felt alive; like there was more to the world than just my small town; there was a world of adventure. Camp changed me as a person, made me more confident in my life and developed my self-esteem. Camp made me feel valued and irreplaceable. Some of my best friendships were made at camp. It’s just something about living with people every day for about 3 months in what I call the “camp bubble” that bonds you tighter than any other friendship I have ever known. You see people in a different light at camp. I would say that camp is a magical place. Camp is a safe place where an individual can grow and develop without fear. I always get emotional when I talk about camp, in fact I am fighting back the tears as I type. I couldn’t imagine my life without my camp experience. It has made me who I am today. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have been a camp counselor. Anytime I travel, I have a place to stay because I have friends all over the world. Because of camp, I have friends on every continent except for Antarctica. Because of camp, I am who I am.

-Devin Hall

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Meet the Staff: Jessi Gower

Jessi Gower, Counselor

Hi! I’m Jessi Gower and this will be my 10th summer at Camp Horizons (my 3rd as a counselor). I’m from Alexandria, Virginia and I attend VCU in Richmond. My major is Mass Communications and I have a concentration in Radio Broadcast Journalism. My passion for radio started in the Camp Horizons radio room! This summer, I will be in Performing Arts, mainly radio but doing a little bit of everything. Over the ten years I have spent there, Camp Horizons has truly become my home away from home. It is the perfect place to have amazing times with incredible people. Nearly all of my closest friends are from camp and I’ve formed friendships there that will last a lifetime. In addition to great friendships, camp also provides kids with super fun opportunities they typically wouldn’t get the chance to experience otherwise. Caving? Check. Scuba diving? Check. Horseback riding, tubing, running a radio show? Check, check, and check. And not only can campers do all these fun things, but they can do them while being truly themselves. That is probably my favorite part of camp. Every camper and staff member is free, and encouraged, to be totally themselves and they know they’ll be accepted and loved for who they are. I am beyond ready to “check my cool at the gate” and get summer 2012 started!

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Meet the Staff: Liz Heilbronner

Hey y’all! I’m Liz Heilbronner and I am from Charlottesville, Virginia. This will be my 13th summer at camp, and my fourth on staff.  This year I will be doing sports and aquatics and I am SO excited  about coming back for another fantastic summer! I currently am a  junior Communications Major at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, and I  have a passion for creative writing and anything sports-related! Camp Horizons has been  my home since I was 7, and I can’t imagine a better place to spend my  summers. Some of my best friends are from camp, and I have even traveled to England to see some of them. The best part about camp is that anyone can come and have a fantastic time. Camp Horizons is a place where you can be yourself, try new things, and make the best friendships ever. I think everyone should have a chance at going to camp because it is just such an incredible place and you get to experience things you never thought you could do like caving, scuba diving, and even movie making! Each summer brings something special, with new activities, staff, and campers with tons of different ideas on how to have fun. I am so excited about this coming summer and June needs to hurry up!!

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Meet the Staff: Roy Macias

Roy Macias, Visual Arts Leader

This summer will be Roy’s third year on staff and he will be our Visual Arts Leader. We recently asked Roy what he has gotten out of his experience as a counselor at Camp Horizons. He told us that his answers are all summed up in a video he made for a staffing agency company while he was here at camp. Check it out!

Work and Travel: The Extravaganza

When asked why someone new should apply to be a camp counselor, Roy said that if he had to choose just one reason, it would be being provided with the opportunity to start lifetime friendships with staff members and campers from all over the world. Roy came from Mexico to work as a camp counselor and thought the chance to live with such a diverse group of people and learn about their cultures in just one summer was one of the greatest benefits that camp provided.

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Ross’ Story

Ross McDonald was a part of our camp family in 2004 and 2005. He is from Leicester, England and is currently teaching English in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea. Here is his reflection on his time spent here as a counselor at Camp Horizons:

Some people say that the human brain is capable of remembering events that cause intense fear and intense enjoyment in minute detail. A defense mechanism of sorts, they say. A gift that our evolution has given us to keep those experiences close, and to carry them with us for use in the future. Well, for me a few years back, the fear was getting onto a plane from London to New York, and then travelling several thousand miles alone to a job. A job that yes, I had seen on paper, but in reality had not the slightest idea of what to expect. The memory is so clear; I can even remember the films I watched on the flight. As for the enjoyment…that was the entirety of the eleven weeks that followed – that year and the next one.

When I hopped off the coach and met two of my co-workers, an idea of the kindness and generosity of the people I was working with was given when they immediately took me to a place to eat, and refused all offer of payment. As a socially awkward 19-year old, this was my first insight into the mind of someone who works at a camp like this.

I came to Horizons at night, so I couldn’t really appreciate the place until the following day…but the following day I took it all in, and what it spoke to me most was uniqueness. A place possibly familiar to others, but like no other I had ever seen. I had arrived. I was a Rocketry instructor. And from that moment on, I was sucked into the miasma of intensity, action, and downright fun of what is called ‘camp life’.

From directing the cars or standing by at the villages while the campers arrived, to helping them pack their gear to head home once again. From the alarm clock buzzing early in the morning to lights-out at night. From opening a package full of rocket kits, to watching and helping the campers build them, to launch day. From thinking of a song, to playing and singing it at the talent show with the whole camp buzzing, singing and dancing with you. From the introduction campfire and “The Big Blue Frog” to the final one and “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and the emotion it would stir in everyone.

It was a rollercoaster of work, play, effort, and fulfillment. And I loved all of it. So much so that as soon as I left, I was thinking about the following year.

True, the intensity is sometimes too much…sometimes you feel like you’re going to burn out. But the people you work with – your co-workers, your leaders, your Horizons family – keep you going. And that was another truly special part of the whole thing – spending a summer in a very tight knit community of very different people, but knowing that you had all come to the same place, all wanted the same thing, and were ready to help each other, whenever, wherever. The true definition of the word friend.

The things those two summers taught me are too numerous to mention, but my growth as a person from working at Horizons was clear and considerable. And that growth was a direct result of a fulfillment I got from the two summers working there. That gift, as well as the gift of enjoyment that gives me such clear memories of camp, will be one I cherish for a very long time.

And from those memories, I now select a few to finish with:

  • I remember…playing cards on the first night I arrived there.
  • I remember…the first campfire, and the moniker “Rocket Man.”
  • I remember…the first rocket launch and a rather spectacular fireball.
  • I remember…winning on penalties in the football [soccer] match at the first Color War.
  • I remember…all-you-can-eat pizza with friends at Cici’s in the town.
  • I remember…the sunset over Lake Philippa and the sunlight between the trees walking from the dining hall to the villages.
  • I remember…knowing which day it was by the food that was served for lunch.
  • I remember…singing at the Talent Show.
  • I remember…the final campfire and the tears that I couldn’t hold back.

I remember…so much more than this, but most of all I remember the place. A place that took a lot out of me, but gave so much more back. A place far away from where I was born, but a place I could call home for two summers.

A place I did call home. Camp Horizons.

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Meet the Staff: Stan Jones

Stan Jones, Sales Manager for Horizons companies

Job: Sales Manager for Horizons companies, involved with Leadership Program

Years at Horizons: 4.5

Family: Wife Bonni

Where were you born? Hagerstown, Md.

What is your favorite vacation spot? Snowshoe Resort during the 4th of July

What do you like to do in your spare time? Read and exercise

What is your favorite food? Seafood

What is your favorite book or movie? Books, anything by Greg iles

What is something people probably don’t know about you? I’m more sensitive/emotional than people would think.

Did you go to camp as a child? No

What is your favorite camp activity? Hiking

What is your favorite camp food/meal? The salad bar

Favorite camp memory? Every day being here

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Meet the Staff: Steve Herrmann

Steve Herrmann, Director of Horizons Hospitality & Executive Chef

Job: Director of Horizons Hospitality & Executive Chef

Years at Horizons: 4.5

Family: Wife- Sue and daughter- Cheyenne

Where were you born? Green Bay, Wisconsin

What is your favorite vacation spot? Kawaii, Hawaii

What do you like to do in your spare time? Cook and hang out with my family

What is your favorite food? I don’t really have a favorite- I like it all!

What is your favorite book or movie? Shogun

Did you go to camp as a child? Only once to Boy Scout camp

What is your favorite camp activity? Wet Willie Waterslide

What is your favorite camp food/meal? Chicken curry for International Night

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Meet the Staff: Kenny Betts

Kenny Betts, Facility Manager

Job: Facility Manager

Years at Horizons: 10 Summers

Family: wife Kim, Director of Administration, and 3 kids (ages 5, 3 and 7 months)

Where were you born? West Islip, NY

What is your favorite vacation spot? Disney World

What do you like to do in your spare time? Watch sports (especially Mississippi State and NY Giants football), play softball, work on my house and play with my kids.

What is your favorite food? Tacos

What is your favorite book or movie? “Better off Dead” (80’s comedy w/ John Cusack)

What is something people probably don’t know about you? When I was an intern for the Long Island Ducks minor league baseball team, I occasionally worked as the mascot, Quackerjack.

Did you go to camp as a child? Yes, I went to Boy Scout camp (Camp Aquehonga, near Narrowsburg, NY). It was very different from Horizons; we lived in platform tents and cooked all of our ownmeals.

What is your favorite camp food/meal? Steak & Cheese sandwiches

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Meet the Staff: Chris Coventry

Chris Coventry, Explorer Program Director

Job: Explorer Program Director (2010-2011), Sunset Head Counselor (2009), Activity Coordinator (2008), Outdoors (2007). In the off-season I work in marketing at Smaller Earth in Liverpool, England. Smaller Earth is a cultural exchange program offering internships and volunteer opportunities around the globe.

Where were you born? Liverpool, UK

What is your favorite vacation spot? The Island of Lesvos in Greece

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hang out with friends or read a good book

What is your favorite food? A roast dinner (English tradition)

What is your favorite book or movie? Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

What is something people probably don’t know about you? I can play the bassoon

Did you go to camp as a child? Sadly, no

What is your favorite camp activity? Talent show, Horizons Games, Closing Campfire

What is your favorite camp food/meal? Chicken stuffed with broccoli!  YUM!

Favorite camp memory? There are too may… July 4th, 2011 was a pretty AWESOME day!

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