The most important consideration in choosing a camp is its safe environment and qualified staff. At O-AT-KA we understand this and have worked hard to build a strong leadership staff.
With decades of camp expertise, our leadership staff strives to provide a caring, supportive and safe environment for every camper. The boys at Camp O-AT-KA are supported and nurtured, as well as challenged and held to a high standard. Accomplishing both of these together is a skill we have refined over decades of guiding boys on their path to being men.
Camp O-AT-KA enjoys a healthy diversity in the backgrounds of our staff. Just like the boys that spend their summers here, our staff come from all over the nation, as well as foreign countries.
Read on to learn more about our leadership staff, and to hear what parents have to say about our boy’s summer camp.
Executive Director — Heather Plati
Heather Plati joined the O-AT-KA staff in 2015 as the first full-time Director of Advancement and became the Executive Director in June of 2017. From the time she joined the O-AT-KA family, her focus on fundraising, as well as bringing alumni and parents together for events, communications, and volunteer opportunities has translated seamlessly in the area of enrollment, staff development, and executing a long-term strategic vision for O-AT-KA. Heather has extensive experience in the world of development, most recently spending 10 years in key alumni relations and development roles for Saint Joseph’s College. She is also an active volunteer in her community. She and her husband Josh – who is also part of the O-AT-KA staff as the Dennen Week Director – live in Windham, Maine with their two children Molly and Nate. Heather holds a BS in Marketing from Bentley University.
Assistant Director — Annie Bowe
Annie Bowe joined the O-AT-KA staff in September of 2016. Annie’s role as the Assistant Director manages the camp’s various marketing & communication efforts including the camp’s social media, website, advertising as well as camper recruitment, retention and development. Annie previously worked in the Advancement department at Saint Joseph’s College and has experience working in development, alumni relations, and event management.
In her earlier years, Annie developed a love for camp as a longtime camper and counselor at Chimney Corners Camp in Becket, Massachusetts. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art at Connecticut College and continues to pursue her passion for art when time allows. Annie, her husband Josh, and their two children Sawyer and Elizabeth live in Sebago (right down the street from camp)!
Summer Director — Charles Donovan
As a key part of the leadership team and our captain of the summer experience , Charles works closely with the unit heads and program staff to carefully plan each summer, manage operations, and ensure that every camper has a safe, fun, and educational experience. He joined the Camp O-AT-KA staff in 2001, having worked in the summer camping industry since 1991. He has served as a cabin counselor, assistant unit head, and craft head, and program director. When not at camp, Charles is a science teacher and head coach of the speech and debate team at Loyola Blakefield High School in Maryland. Charles is a graduate of Stanford University and has an MBA from Loyola University.
Program Director — Karina Carlsson
Karina joined the camp staff in 2018 as the Summer Office Manager and now serves in the role of Program Director. As a long time supporter of camp through her involvement in work weekends, on the Centennial and Friends Weekend Committees, and as a member of the corporation, Karina looks forward to serving camp in a role that directly impacts the development of boys.
Karina is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Music Education. She teaches beginning instrumental music in the Bonny Eagle School District and is the past president and a member of the Casco Bay Wind Symphony. Karina is also a life member of the Girl Scouts having served as a leader of troops as well as a regional coordinator for events and adult training.
When not at camp or in school, Karina enjoys hiking, gardening, and, in her daughter, Erika’s words, “Learning new things.”
Chief Financial Officer/Business Manager — Stu Tuthill
After graduation from Penn State University in 1972, Stu went to work for Johnson & Johnson and spent his entire career in the health care industry. His responsibilities over the 40+ years that followed included virtually all aspects of business operations at both Fortune 100 companies as well as two Boston-area start-ups.
Stu attended Camp O-AT-KA as a camper from 1959 through 1965. He and his wife Anne live in Newbury, MA, and he became involved with O-AT-KA once again when his son, Bailey, began his camp career in 1996. Stu became a member of the Corporation in the late 1990s and subsequently served on the Board of Directors.
Senior Unit Head — Chris Kohl
Chris Kohl has worked at Camp O-AT-KA since 2001. Chris is currently the Senior Unit Head and the Staffing Coordinator; and has previously been the Athletic and Program Directors. When not at camp Chris is the Chair of the Wellness Department, assistant boys tennis coach, and a title-winning women’s soccer coach at Thornton Academy in Maine. He is an undergraduate of Gettysburg College, and has earned both a Masters and Doctoral degree from Springfield College.
Middle Unit Head — Craig Castle
Craig first came to O-aT-KA the summer of 1976 at eight years old from Arlington, Texas and spent the next six summers as a camper. Craig’s father Paul spent five years as a camper in the 1950’s. Craig is now very happy to have his son Crance continue in the tradition of attending O-AT-KA. Craig and his wife Jessica live in Albany, Georgia raising four children. Although distance has kept him away from camp for many years, it has always had a very special place in his heart. He feels camp helped prepare him well for each phase of his life. He is looking forward to joining the staff this summer as the head of the Middle Unit. Craig’s favorite activities at camp include: tennis, riflery and sailing.
Junior Unit Head — Andrew Nickerson
Andrew Nickerson, from Worcester, Massachusetts, returns to camp for his 16th summer. Camp has been a huge part of Andrew’s life since he was very little – Andrew was baptised in St. Andrew’s Chapel! He has spent nearly every summer of his life as an O-AT-KA camper, counselor, Dennen Week volunteer, CIT Director, and now Unit Head. As a recent graduate from Clark University in Psychology and Education, Andrew is very excited to continue his studies at Worcester State University this fall working on an Ed.S. in School Psychology. Andrew is thrilled that he gets to spend his summer on Sebago Lake working with campers and staff to create a fun and successful summer. Andrew’s favorite activities at camp include: campcraft, boating, swimming, and “the best craft at camp: track.”
Chaplain — Roy Heller
Roy Heller has been at Camp O-AT-KA since 2007. He is the Chaplain in charge of Sunday services in our camp chapel. Roy is a great resource for all of our staff with interpersonal relationships. Roy is also the guidance and organization of the Order of Sir Galahad. The Heller family has been greatly involved at Camp. Roy’s wife, Amy, has worked at camp alongside Roy and with their son, Noah, who is a cabin counselor. Their daughter Annie has also grown up here at O-AT-KA. Roy and his family live in Dallas, Texas where Roy is on the faculty of Southern Methodist University and teaches the Old Testament.
Service Master Emeritus— Bob Courtney
Bob Courtney has spent more than 50 summers at Camp O-AT-KA. He joined the staff as a Junior Unit counselor and has held numerous positions including Unit Head, Head of Work Crew, Head of Commons, and now Service Master. Bob is a retired Head of the Math Department at Baker University in Kansas. Bob’s wife Marlene, a retired high school Home Economics teacher, has been at camp almost as long as Bob. Bob and Marlene have spent many years working to keep the facilities at camp running smoothly.
Director of Facilities — Peter Powers
Peter has worked at Camp O-AT-KA since 1999. He has extensive knowledge of all of the systems at camp and during the summers is always busy maintaining them in smooth operating order. During the non-camp months Peter stays active at camp working on every kind of renovation and maintenance issue.
Caretaker — Ken Berndt
Ken Berndt, great grandson of founder E.J. Dennen, has been involved with camp all of his life. Ken is the right-hand man of camp and spends four seasons tending to the maintenance and preservation of the buildings and campus. Ken also leads groups (camp and others) that come to Knights Cove – a oceanside site owned by Camp O-AT-KA in South Bristol – for camping, kayaking, and Maine coastal exploration.