Camp Fire Central Oregon | Light the Fire Within

About

Camp Fire creates safe spaces where young people can have fun and be themselves.

We do this through a variety of powerful youth experiences and programs customized to meet the needs of youth, their families, and their local community. 

The common thread woven through all our programs is relationships. 

This is how we support young people as they navigate the challenges of growing up in the world today and learn the life skills they need to thrive.

Our Vision

We envision a world where all young people thrive and have equitable opportunities for:

Self-Discovery: All young people find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are;

Community Connection: All young people find, build, and contribute to their community; they develop meaningful relationships with supportive adults and peers; they feel seen, heard, accepted, supported, and affirmed for who they are today, and who they will be in the future;

Engagement with Nature: All young people experience the power and awe of the outdoors; they learn to respect, love, and care for our world.

Our Mission

Camp Fire Central Oregon connects young people to the outdoors, to others, and to themselves.

Meet Our Staff

Kecia Kubota, standing arm-in-arm with her husband and two children

Kecia (she, her, hers) has returned to her passion for youth development work after 20 years in the business sector. She holds a Masters degree in International and Intercultural Management with an emphasis in Training and Human Resource Development.

Previously she has been a Creative Business Coach: helping entrepreneurs and small business owners discover how to make their passion a viable, sustainable, and profitable venture. Prior to that, she spent 10 years in the photography industry working alongside her brother to grow his business from three people in the garage to a 25-employee multi-million dollar company.

Kecia is enjoying applying her business expertise to Camp Fire Central Oregon to breathe new life into the organization and revitalize and grow its programs and outreach in the community.

Melanie Feltmate, standing on a windy beach with a rainbow above, smiling with delight

A native New Yorker, Melanie (she, her, hers) found her calling—informal education and capacity building for non-profit organizations—while living in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She traded in warm, turquoise, ocean water for cold, green, river water when she moved to Colorado for a stint as a whitewater rafting guide, and the river is what eventually led her to Bend. Melanie is committed to community and environment, working non-stop to inspire positive behavior changes in those around her in order to create a world rich in nature, well-being and culture for the future.

Melanie spent many years building up Camp Fire's teen programs before stepping into the role of Program Director. As Program Director, she is focused on program quality and youth safety across all programs. In addition to guiding program improvement plans, she strives to create a workspace where all staff feel welcome to be themselves and are encouraged to grow both professionally and personally. She is a strong believer that when staff and youth feel safe and supported, they are able to lead, learn and ultimately thrive.

When not at Camp Fire, you will find her indulging in her various sparks: yoga, rafting, SCUBA diving, tarot card reading, telling bad jokes, puzzles and blowing bubbles.

Joey Hamilton sitting on the high rocky summit of South Sister surrounded by snowy peaks.

Joey (he, him) has over two decades of marketing and development experience spanning global food and beverage brands, finance, professional sports, travel & tourism, and non-profit work. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies and Art from Colgate University and completed his MBA at the University of Oregon.

Having had adult mentors when he was younger, Joey knows first-hand the value of programs and adults in your life that help you find yourself and your passions so you can thrive. Working to tell the story of Camp Fire Central Oregon’s inclusive programming creates a higher calling in his daily work.

Joey brings a diverse perspective to his work from a unique life journey. He has taught middle school special education, pursued the Olympics, lived in other countries, and coached world champions.

When he's not at work, you can usually find Joey traveling the world and doing things before the sun comes up, like fly fishing on a lake, hiking to photograph the sunrise, or paddling out to surf. Joey gets creative inspiration from being outdoors, and takes lessons from the natural world and applies them to all aspects of his life. His best time is spent connecting with his beautiful family.

Cece Valceschini, paddling a kayak while wearing a bright yellow life vest

Cece (she, her, hers) is an energetic, down to earth mother of three who loves camping, adventures, and candy sales! In 1991, she started at Camp Fire and has been a guiding force to all young participants ever since. Before that, she was a leader for over five years, which means that she has over 30 years of combined Camp Fire experience, making her a valuable resource to all participants who are looking to earn emblems, find their sparks, and embark upon a journey that helps them to thrive!

One of the things Cece loves most about Camp Fire is seeing the same kids come back, year after year, watching them grow, have fun, gain self-confidence, and become positive role models for the next generation. Tumalo Day Camps are her pride and joy, and she works hard every year to ensure everyone has a fun and safe experience.

As the longtime Tumalo Day Camp lead, Cece has had her work cut out for her. There is always something to plan, learn, and be excited about. She takes everything on with a smile and has a great sense of humor, which makes her a fun person to work with and get to know.  

Javier Leiva wearing red running shoes and standing in front of a banner that says Maker Faire Eindhoven

Javier (he, him, his, ell, él) has worked in education since 2006 and has experience working with children and adults, both in-person and online. At Camp Fire, he coordinated the STEM programs and coached robotics for around three years after a brief period teaching Spanish at CFA. He has additional skills in digital technology, research, information retrieval, and project management, all of which he tries to put to work in his current role to help the Camp Fire team run smoothly.

He was born in Catalonia, where he grew up and spent part of his life, before moving to Bend with his family in 2019. He's also lived in France and different parts of Spain. He has visited 34 countries, for vacation or work, and loves traveling because he believes being exposed to different people and cultures is one of the greatest sources of learning. He loves hiking, running, and playing tennis; he has run three full marathons and completed the 60 mile Intermon Oxfam Trailwalker fundraiser race, as part of a team called "Wacky Walkers."

Katie Roberts, smiling kindly and leaning on a deck above an expanse of water

Katie Roberts (she, her, hers) grew up primarily in Pensacola, FL. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of the South, she moved west to Colorado and earned a master’s in journalism and mass communication from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She’s worked as a television reporter, magazine editor, nonprofit executive director and owner of her own freelance writing/communications firm.

Katie grew up going to a number of camps as a youth, plus worked as a summer kindergarten assistant and program youth director in Tennessee when she was in high school. Having had positive experiences with youth mentors who inspired her to believe in her abilities to accept challenges and hit goals, she has huge respect for the power behind the camp counselor-camper relationship.

In her role at Camp Fire Central Oregon, Katie brings us her love for people, connection, relationships and community, along with her professional communication and leadership skills. She’s excited to be contributing to an organization that supports and lifts up today’s youth, positioning them for current and future success.

Outside of work, she and her husband have two children and a crazy cute corgi named “Honey.” Katie loves to get outdoors, skiing, hiking, paddle boarding, and floating rivers in Central Oregon’s beautiful back yard!

Kia Lo, standing on a tree-lined pathway and wearing a Hmong dress

Kia (she, her) grew up amongst the giant redwoods in Northern California. She is one of eight children and spent much of her time with her family on the river swimming, crabbing on the pier, and cooking with her family. When she was not traveling with her family or at the beach, she was an active member of her community. She attended Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, CA, and got her bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management; she is also a certified EMT-B. After graduating, she moved to beautiful Bend to be able to experience all four seasons.

Kia hopes to create an environment similar to the one she grew up in; one where youth can be themselves and discover what they are passionate about, while also learning to create a sense of connection to their community and surroundings. She looks forward to creating lifelong memories at Camp Fire and having fun with youth and staff!

Kia’s interests include travel, karaoke, cooking, and puzzles. When not at work, she enjoys playing the piano and ukulele, learning a new recipe, and being out in nature.

Liz Diether-Martin, smiling contentedly, covered in snow, and leaning on her ski poles

Liz (she/her) loves to play outside and facilitate effective and efficient communications. Raised in rural (beautiful!) New Jersey, she enjoyed the soggy, lush environment and hilly bicycle commutes of western Washington for decades. But mold got old, so she and her husband moved to Bend to be closer to the plentiful cross-country skiing, hiking, and biking in Central Oregon—and to be closer to the sun and their grown daughter who lives in San Francisco.

Liz's multifaceted career has always focused on communicating with clients, understanding their needs, and addressing those needs. She has been a horseback riding instructor, technical writer, usability tester, interface designer, massage therapist, and a web content developer.

She joined Camp Fire Central Oregon to ply her information organization skills in support of youth enrichment programs. Camp Fire instills exactly the qualities that she hoped to nurture in her daughter: confidence, courage, leadership, cooperation and a thirst for exploration. (It worked!)

Logan Betts, a young woman with fair skin and long hair hiking by a Central Oregon river

Logan (she, her, hers) grew up outside of Nashville Tennessee, spending a lot of time on the lake with her family. She attended The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

Her love for the outdoors grew when she met her husband; they spent six years exploring the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and on the Tennessee River before deciding to continue their adventures out west. In Bend, her long list of hobbies grew to include skiing, rock climbing, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Logan knew from an early age that she wanted to work with kids and in education. She taught third grade for five years and is passionate about working alongside youth, helping them discover new things, and connecting them with the world around them. She wants all kids she works with to know that they can do anything they set their mind to!

When she’s not working with kids and coding robots, you can find Logan exploring Bend with her husband and her dog, with her head in a book, drawing, or trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.

Mary Bowker, ready for adventure in a brimmed hat and fuschia jacket

Mary (she, her, hers) has spent most of her working life in education, in both formal and informal settings. With a bachelor's degree in physics, she has spent over 10 years teaching middle and high school math and science, as well as facilitating life experiences for students outside the walls of the classroom.

Through teaching in traditional or outdoor schools, guiding and participating in various adventures, or leading teenagers on international service adventures, Mary has seen the power of adventure, nature, and community foster personal growth for all ages.  Her personal adventures and interests often include riding bicycles, skiing, climbing, roller skating, sailing or any other activities that allow her to be outside or to travel to exciting places.

Mary sees Camp Fire as an opportunity for Central Oregon youth to build the confidence and courage that will inspire them to recognize and pursue their biggest dreams. As Camp Fire's Grants Manager, Mary hopes to help build the organization's capacity to reach more youth who will do just that.

Nadia Kelem, smiling, sitting in a rock crevice above the high desert

Nadia (she, her, hers, ella) started working with youth as a school garden educator, combining her passions for food, health and wellness, gardening and teaching. She holds a B.A. in Global Food Systems and has been working in school food systems for most of her career (making school lunches better and building school gardens!). Since 2020 she has worked for nonprofits doing outreach, marketing and program coordination. She has served 3 years as an AmeriCorps FoodCorps service member.

Nadia has worked as a kids dance teacher, youth snowboard coach, creative arts instructor, and summer camp nature specialist, and loves creating fun, safe, inclusive spaces for youth to engage with nature and with their own creativity.

Born on California’s central coast, Nadia grew up surrounded by ocean, mountains and redwood forests and loves spending time outdoors with her dogs backpacking, paddleboarding, taking road trips, and identifying plants.

Sam Ward on a paddleboard and looking off at a mountain sunset

Sam (she, her, hers) grew up spending her early childhood in the mountains of Idaho and has had a passion for environmental studies from the start. She has explored 15 countries (and counting!) while holding a wide range of jobs. After leading educational butterfly tours in Laos, volunteering in Mexico, leading river trips in Ohio, and finally building trails and teaching outdoor education in Oregon, her path landed at Camp Fire. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder and is currently studying biology.

Sam’s hobbies include collage-based art, climbing, surfing, backpacking in the wilderness, cooking outdoors, painting with watercolors, traveling, and collecting plants! She is passionate about creating learning environments where kiddos can be themselves—and find their own personal sparks—while learning to communicate and connect with their community. Sam’s camp name (RAAAAA!) encompasses the enthusiasm and fun she loves to have with the groups of youth she works with!

Zafiro Larsen, standing on a beach at sunset and grinning widely

Zafiro (she, her, hers, ella) is a Tucson, AZ native who has pursued adventures around the world as an English teacher in the USA, Italy, South Korea, and Spain, and an outdoor trekking guide and teen program leader in Peru, Nepal, India, and Australia. She has a Master’s degree in Bilingual and Multicultural Education and is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Zafiro’s sparks include playing with her baby boy Mateo, hiking, camping, rafting, singing, performing, tasting as many different types of cheese that she can get her hands on, puzzles, escape rooms, and reading.

Zafiro’s philosophy is that youth thrive best when they are encouraged to learn in a fun and creative environment. She looks forward to bringing this philosophy to life in SummerKids, Teens, and No-School Day programs!


 

Board Members

A white woman with long, blonde wavy hair, wearing a demin jacket

Jessie has spent most of her career of 25 years in the outdoor industry working with middle and high school aged youth in outdoor education and therapeutics. For the past 13 years, she has served as faculty for the Outdoor Leadership program at Central Oregon Community College, preparing the next generations of outdoor educators, guides, and therapists. Through her years working with others in the outdoors, she has seen first-hand the influence spending time in the outdoors can have on one’s ability to connect with nature, community and self. One can often find Jessie playing outside and traveling, having adventures to connect with humans and different environments, often with a backpack on or bicycle under her. The experiences she has had in her professional and personal life influences her belief in the Camp Fire vision.

A selfie photo of Devin Barclay, a white man wearing a bicycle helmet and standing on a mountain bike trail

Devin Barclay grew up in Annapolis, Md., where his mother was head of a school, which cultivated in him a passion for teaching, coaching and, ultimately, sports. An avid athlete, Devin played football for THE Ohio State University during college and also played Major League Soccer for five years. Today, he’s working as a sports marketing manager at Nike. In this role, Devin serves as the connection point between brand/story and athlete—a natural fit, given his experience in both playing sports and coaching athletes. Outside of work, Devin loves spending time with his family, anything related to football (global as well as American), skiing, hiking, travel, mountain biking, dogs, music, innovation and creativity. He says that as a youth, he took family trips out West, and these formative experiences got him hooked on nature and outdoor recreation. That invariably sparked his appreciation for youth programs and camps like Camp Fire Central Oregon, which strive to connect youth to the outdoors, others and themselves.

Rui Cruz smiles broadly in a portrait photo

At the beginning of 2021, Rui Cruz and his wife came all the way from Portugal to Bend, following their thirst for adventure and the desire to embark on a new direction in life. Rui currently works at Lonza in Bend and is involved in the development of new and repurposed pharmaceutical drugs. Super curious and very committed to learning and his community, Rui regularly enjoys reading, observing, listening to very different perspectives related to politics, philosophy, world history, science, pop culture and even conspiracy theories! He loves team sports as well as exploring the central Oregon region, which has helped inspired him to commit to a nonprofit that supports youth in getting outside and their own connection to the great outdoors. He is very proud to be serving on the board of Camp Fire, which he says is the ideal organization to help children find their place in our world, bettering themselves and, by extension, all of us.

Alex Edwards smiles broadly in an outdoor portrait photo in winter

Alex Edwards has lived his entire life in Oregon on both sides of the Cascades, never residing more than 8 miles from the Willamette or Deschutes Rivers. A software engineer by trade, he spent 10 years working in the aviation industry building navigation systems for single engine airplanes. Since then he has dedicated his career to solving climate change, most recently in the forestry industry as the head of engineering for a startup with the goal of restoring native biodiverse forests around the world. In his personal time Alex enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, bouldering, curling, reading, and exploring the world with his son. His familiarity with nature - both recreational and professional - and his experience raising a child have shaped his passion for Camp Fire’s mission.

Adam Foster smiles broadly in a an outdoor photo in a kayak on a river

Growing up in West Michigan attending summer camps every summer for most of his childhood, becoming a counselor, and eventually a year-round employee, Adam is no stranger to the transformative power of spending time with a community in nature. Chasing a more adventurous path in life, he landed in Central Oregon by way of full-time van life, traveling the country in a 1982 Volkswagen Westfalia with his wife. He was lucky to spend a year at a Camp Fire camp up in Washington and fell in love with the organization’s mission. Having spent time living full-time at a Camp Fire Camp, being a brand new dad, and having over a decade of building and marketing brands through a strong sense of community, he brings a unique perspective to the board. When he isn’t at work you can find Adam out in the forest running pop-up pour-over cafes with his Hush Hush Coffee community, mountain biking, playing disc golf, or discovering anew how amazing rocks and plants are out in nature camping with his toddler and wife.

“Melissa Greenwald smiles broadly in a headshot photo

Melissa Greenwald moved to Bend 2 years ago from the east coast in order to spend more time outdoors. Melissa began her professional career as an elementary school teacher in Phoenix, Arizona before moving to Philadelphia to work at an environmental charter school as a third grade teacher and then math coordinator.  She now works for the Math Learning Center, a Salem based non-profit, as a Professional Learning Developer where she supports educators in their mathematics teaching. Melissa is also committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion work particularly in education settings. Outside of work, she loves to hike with her dog, read, camp, and cook.  She is excited and proud to be serving on the board of Camp Fire, whose mission and values she feels deeply connected to and looks forward to supporting the youth in Central Oregon connecting to outdoors and their community.

“Connor McCullough smiles broadly in a headshot photo

Connor has lived in Oregon most of his entire life. He grew up in the Willamette Valley (Tualatin, OR) during the golden age of outside living. As a young person, Connor enjoyed playing tag, touch football, hide and seek, and basketball, among many other things.  When he wasn’t at school or doing homework, he was outside getting sweaty and dirty. Connor studied Mathematics and Physics at The University of Oregon, graduating in 2018, and has been in Finance for the last 6+ years.  He is the owner and operator of a financial planning firm that serves clients nationwide.  In his free time, he loves to hike, bike, play sports, read, and spend time with family and friends. Growing up, Connor’s mom ran an in-home daycare instilling in him the importance for kids to have safe spaces to learn and grow. The combination of his support for programs that help kids thrive and a love for the outdoors has shaped his passion for Camp Fire’s Mission.

“Portrait of Maxim Ranzuglia in a gray t-shirt looking into the camera

Maxim is the youth representative to our Board of Directors. He has been working and participating with campfire for 7 years, and it has been a large part of his life and how he interacts with his community. Maxim loves going on hikes and is an avid mountain biker - rain shine, or snow you can see him biking to school. Maxim is passionate about the environment and he’s doing his best to make Central Oregon a little bit better. 

 

 

Join our volunteer Board of Directors!

Serve as a voting member of the board with the authority and responsibility to develop policies, procedures, and regulations for the conduct of Camp Fire Central Oregon. Help shape the direction of the organization and contribute to its financial sustainability. If you're interested in applying for a position on the Camp Fire Central Oregon Board of Directors, please contact us for more information.

Job Opportunities

Looking to gain experience in the youth development field AND have a ton of fun!? Come join our team of awesome role models, motivators, educators, caregivers and spark champions. See our current job opportunities on the Jobs page.

Our Promise

Young people want to shape the world.

Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.

In Camp Fire, it begins now.

Light the fire within