Board & Staff

The board of campfire! is passionate about vision, good governance, and leading a successful team. Directors meet once monthly or as required.

2019 Board of Directors

Jerry Vink – Chair

Peter Vlaar – Vice Chair

Anita Poort – Treasurer

Carina Ploeger – Policy

Rebecca Blocker –  Summer Camp Liaison

Brenda VanGrootheest – Property Liaison

Jason Hart – PR Liaison

Erica Heerema – Fundraising Liaison

2019 Staff

Director – Marise DeVisser a.k.a. Zazu

Hi everyone! My name is Marise de Visser and I again have the privilege of serving as DIRECTOR at Campfire this summer.  At camp, you can call me Zazu.

As the director, I am responsible for making sure that camp is running smoothly every week. I try to ensure that the rest of staff, and the chaplains, have everything they need in order to do their work well. I also get to meet everyone who visits. This is one of my favorite parts of the job, and if you are planning to come, I look forward to meeting you!

I am looking forward to the summer at Campfire for many reasons. I love the people (campers, volunteers, fellow staff members) and property (the porch and sunrise, the trees, stars, pool, etc)… Most of all though, I love camp because we get to sing praises to our Lord God and learn more about Him every day. He is always good, and His tender mercy endures forever! Daily chapel is a special time, and I love that we get to sing praises to our God throughout the day.  What a privilege to spend the summer in this way!

During the rest of the year, I work at Heritage Christian School in Jordan, ON. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am also currently enrolled in the Masters Program for Special Education and look forward to my new position as Head of Special Education in September.  I also enjoy being outside, and I especially love exploring waterfalls and hiking trails.

Assistant Director – Kevin Wattel a.k.a. JAIRO

Hey, hey everybody! My name is Kevin Wattel and I am very excited to be coming back to Campfire with a new role: Assistant Director! I could not be more excited to get this opportunity to work at Campfire again. Just like last year, my camp name will be JAIRO [ JÝ-ŘÖW ] JAIRO means “God enlightens” and “one who enlightens”. This sums up my mission this summer. God has shown His light in me and I want to reflect it to everyone I interact with.

I am very thankful to be given the opportunity try a new position at Campfire. As assistant director my scope has broadened to oversee the camp as a whole. I look forward to building closer relationships with the campers, chaplains and volunteers and sharing the love of Christ with all those that join us this summer.

When I’m not at campfire I attended Western University for Classical Studies as well as Hebrew and Greek. During the week I like to get out and attended student ministry, Bible studies and meeting with friends. I have found that I’m becoming slightly introverted and more and more you’ll find me reading a book or strumming a new song the guitar.

There’s pretty much nothing I don’t like about Camp. I love the outdoors, I love being filled with non-stop adrenaline infused craziness, I love the singing and chapel sessions, I love the fellowship and relationships you get to build with other Christians, I even love the food! Most of all though, I love the way in which the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of those involved to further the Kingdom of God. Campfire is more than a spiritual high. Many of the lessons and Christian life principles I learned years back at camp I still hold close to this day. Working at camp gives us as staff a front row seat in what God is doing in so many kids and young peoples lives. Time after time we are humbled by the fact that it isn’t about us, it’s all God. He is good, all the time!

Head Counsellor – Emily Wildeboer a.k.a Remy

Hey friends! My name is Emily Wildeboer, but you can call me Remy! I actually respond to many variations of Remy, including Rems, Remster, Remilicious and Remelemedingdong! I chose this name for camp because Remy (from Ratatouille) loves food almost as much as I do. And because if you accidentally slip up and start to say “Emily”, you can play it off as “Emi-remily”! I’m super excited to come back to camp this year as the Head Counsellor! My job is the best because I get to recruit, train and support the incredible counsellors who come to camp.

On my break from camp, I study psychology at Western University in London, Ontario. I love spending time with my 5 adorable nieces and nephews, reading, playing games, journaling, exploring God’s beautiful world and eating tacos.

My favourite thing about Campfire is all the incredible people who make it such a special place (though Taco Tuesday is a close second). I’m excited to meet and reconnect with all the campers, counsellors and other volunteers that come to camp. I’m excited to be stretched and challenged in all the best ways and see how God works in and through me to be a light to everyone at Campfire. I’m especially looking forward to singing around the campfires at night, playing Capture the Princess, crafts, swimming and praising God in His wonderful creation. Can’t wait to see you there!

Assistant Head Counsellor – Naomi Tigchelaar a.k.a Meraki

Hey everyone! My name is Naomi Tigchelaar, but at camp you can call me “Meraki” [mah-rah-kee]! This funky sounding name means to do something with soul, creativity, or love; or when you leave a piece of yourself in your work. I’m thrilled to do this very thing this summer as Assistant Head Counsellor! I’m so excited to be working with the wonderful Remy—recruiting and training counsellors so that they are prepared to help everyone have the best camp experience!

When not at camp, I reside in the small town of Vineland, in the beautiful Niagara Region. I live on a strawberry farm, which, as you can imagine, is pretty sweet😉

I am currently studying French and Music at Brock University. You can frequently find me teaching or playing piano, or playing violin to accompany choirs or other events. Music is a huge part of my life and one way that I love to serve God! I also love spending time with my family and friends—playing and singing music, playing sports, games, and enjoying God’s beautiful creation.

I have always loved serving at camp as a counsellor— the fun and energy of the staff and counsellors, the amazing chapels, the kids excited to learn and have fun have all contributed to my passion for camp. There is nothing more encouraging than singing your heart out to the Lord surrounded by so many others—feeling an amazing unity that we look forward to being perfected in heaven. I love seeing so many campers, counsellors, cooks, and others being on fire for the Lord and growing together in their love for Him. Camp is an amazing place of love, with loads of energy, and tons of fun! I can’t wait to serve at Camp this summer! See you there!

Program Director – Josina Bouwman a.k.a. Presto

My name is Josina Bouwman and I’m so excited to be coming back to camp this summer as the Program Director. My camp name is Presto! – a musical term that means “at a quick tempo.” I chose this name because it matches the energy and fun of running the program! At camp it is easy to be quick with a laugh and a smile.

One of my favourite things to do is play the piano and strum the occasional chord on the guitar. I share my love of music with seven little piano students! I’m currently studying social psychology and mental health at McMaster University. I typically can’t get enough sunshine, but I’ll always dance in the rain. I love big words, bigger sweaters, and tea.

There are so many joys that come from serving and loving all of the people who came to camp, and joys that come from seeing them serve and love others. I love seeing joy and zeal for the gospel come alive in people’s eyes, again or for the first time. I love meeting all the campers and counsellors, staring up at the stars while standing around the campfire, singing in chapel, and embracing the crazy, the silly, and the ridiculous. I can’t wait to spend the summer with my fellow staff and my trusty megaphone, Phoebe (pictured above ;))

God works in amazing ways through camp, answering prayers, speaking through chaplains, working faith in little hearts, strengthening it in others; in the giggles, the tears, the songs of praise, and through the constant prayers we bring to him. I am so excited to be part of his work at camp this summer, and I can’t wait to see you there!

Assistant Program Director – Deanna Herbert a.k.a. Jazz

Hello friends! My name is Deanna Herbert, but at camp, you can call me Jazz! Music plays a big role in the way we praise and worship God, especially at camp, so it felt natural to choose a musical name for Campfire. Jazz is a style of music that heavily relies on improv and “breaking the norm” of musical rules, which I think is a pretty solid description of camp. Campfire requires tons of improv, not just in the frequent skits and songs, but also in the ability and willingness to go with the flow, and work with whatever God decides to send our way. Campfire also breaks the norm. As Christians, we are called to take on servant hearts, love both our neighbors AND our enemies, and think of others before ourselves; and at Campfire, there are countless opportunities for all of these to be practiced. To a society focused on “self-love” and “self-esteem” the notion of putting ourselves last in order to help others and our Saviour FIRST is absolutely anything but the norm.

I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to serve at camp this summer in the role of Assistant Program Director. Basically, this means that it will be my full-time job to bring on the FUN, and make sure that everybody has a blast!

Outside of camp, you can find me either jamming out on piano or guitar, going for long and arduous hikes with my amigos, or chilling at home with my nose in a paperback. I’m a huge fan of coffee and fellowship, and often tend to dabble in way too many hobbies. Currently I am residing in downtown Toronto whilst in school at George Brown College for Fashion Techniques and Design. Afterwards, I’m hoping to work in the wardrobe department of a theatre, and then eventually either create my own clothing line and/or alterations business.

Campfire, to me, feels like a small taste of what Heaven will be like. Every summer I’m amazed at how quickly everyone forms connections. Scripture refers to the Church as one body, one family, one tribe – and by the end of just one week at camp, everyone really does begin to feel like family. Another picture of Heaven is the constant worship at camp. When “one more song” quickly turns into three and nobody wants to stop; when the tears are flowing, and hands and voices are simultaneously raised; even when the rain begins to tap on the chapel roof and the wind blows through – I always see a glimpse of what’s yet to come. Campfire is an imperfect, earthly glimpse of a perfect, Heavenly reality.

I can’t wait to meet you all at Camp!! See you soon!

Head Media – Mark Wattel a.k.a. FIEVEL

Hey everyone, my name is Mark Wattel and I am super excited to be coming back to camp as HEAD MEDIA!! My camp name is ‘FIEVEL’. My inspiration came from the little mouse starring in the legendary, ‘An American Tail’ and its sequel ‘Fievel Goes West’: Fievel Mousekewitz. He was my childhood hero, while his courage and character still inspire me today. Digging a little deeper, Fievel also derives from Greek origin, meaning light, or shining.

When I’m not at camp, I’m usually dreaming about how I wish I was at camp. Camp is such an amazing place to me: a place of wonderful experiences, remarkable people, and incomparable worship! It’s an awesome opportunity to be able to be involved in a place like Campfire where the central focus is to glorify God in all our words and works.

If you don’t know this about me yet: I love to have fun. Whether playing games, singing in chapel, or hanging out with campers and counsellors, I love to spread joy and laughter. I also love music, sports, balancing things on my nose (upon special request), and the great outdoors. Oh, and I’m pretty much always up for trying something new! I currently live in the quiet, rolling hills of Kerwood, and recently graduated from my studies of Architecture. JAIRO is my jai-BRO, and just like last year, I’m stoked to be part of a sibling dream team on staff!

I look forward to another summer of wonderful experiences, remarkable people, and incomparable worship, we couldn’t do it without all your support and prayer. Hope to see you there!

Head Nurse – Chevon Kok a.k.a. pneumo

Hey all! My name is Chevon Kok and I am glad to serve as Head Nurse at camp this summer! I promise to do my very best to make sure your time at camp is happy, healthy, and safe. I am so excited to praise God with you all summer and learn more about how good He is and how much He loves us – what a great time! Camp has a very special place in my heart – I am sure it does for many of you too. I love campfires, stargazing, CPDs, sword drills, singing all the songs, counsellor devos, a good game of Huckle Buckle, and of course, WASAGA!!! If I had to choose, I would have to say that my favourite time at camp is definitely chapel. I love to learn more about our good Saviour, and I love love love singing and dancing and praising God with other people!

When I am not at camp, I enjoy my job working as a Pediatric Nurse at McMaster Children’s Hospital. It is a privilege to help resilient children get healthy and strong so that they can go back to their normal lives. When I am not at the hospital, I spend most of my time with my husband Dave (you might know him better at camp as Big Red). We love to play sports together, eat great food or try new dishes, and travel to see God’s big world whenever we get the opportunity. My favourite pastime is cooking – I love to try new recipes and gain new skills in the kitchen. And I love enjoying the results with friends and family – YUM!

I look forward to meeting you all at camp this summer! When we are there you can call me pneumo . Pneumo means air or breath, like the kind you fill your lungs with. Breath is so important to everything we do! Breathing helps us live and move and praise our God! “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150:6) I am so excited to breathe in the fresh Markdale air at camp this summer and use my breath to praise Him every day! I hope to see you there!

Head Cook – Jess Broersma a.k.a. chazaq

Hi! My name is Jessica Broersma, but you can call me chazaq! which is the Hebrew word that means “to be strengthened.”  I feel like this name fits the atmosphere of camp as each time I spend time at camp, I leave encouraged, renewed and strengthened.  This will be my second year as the Head Cook and I couldn’t be more excited!

When I am not at camp, I have the privilege of being a teacher’s assistant to two kindergarten classes at John Calvin School in Smithville.  At the end of summer, I will be, the Lord willing, the new kindergarten teacher at John Calvin!  I am looking forward to this new opportunity.  I also am an assistant at L’arche Hamilton, a group home for adults with disabilities.  Both of these jobs combined keep me very busy though in my spare time I love spending time with my nieces and nephews.  I love to play soccer and to read a good book!

Camp has been a part of me for as long as I can remember.  There is so much that I love about being at camp.  I love the feeling that you get when you drive down the driveway, the feeling of serenity and peace.  I love being able to look up at the sky and see all the stars at night reminding me how great is our God.  I love the singing around the campfire, the Bibles open and the eagerness to learn more about our God.  But what I really love is being in the kitchen with all of the cooks.  If you have never been in the kitchen at camp, you are missing out.  It’s an experience that is difficult to put into words but one that has been an immense blessing each time that I have been a cook.