Erin ”MamaKat” Walker – Executive Director
After growing up as a Camp Fire Samish club member and attending Camp Kirby, Erin made the decision to commit her career to serving youth. She grew up in Burlington, received her Bachelor’s degree from WWU, and then attended graduate school at NYU. “Mama Kat” became our Executive Director at the close of 2007 after many years working for Girl Scouts and serving as a volunteer leader for her own two daughters, Kathryn and Krista. Erin lives with her husband Jack. Though she spends most of her time enjoying work, Erin does find time to travel and spend time with friends and family, including her two grandchildren… plus one on the way!
Direct Line | (360) 255-7554
Email | email@example.com
Kathryn “KitKat” Deshaies – Camp Director
Kathryn, otherwise known as “KitKat”, has more than fifteen years of experience working at Camp Kirby. She attended as a 2nd generation camper and as a counselor before taking on the role of Camp Director in 2014. Kathryn and her husband, Aaron (“Olaf”), and children, Keith (“Wiggles”) and Kelly, live in the Gatehouse at Camp Kirby. They share their home with their three cats, Basil, Sage, and Sassafras, and dog, Leroy. Kathryn has a BAE in Exceptionality and Disability from Western Washington University, and loves working for an inclusive organization. When not busy with Camp, you can find Kathryn traveling throughout the United States with her family, playing board games, or spending the day at the Zoo.
Direct Line| (360) 255-7765
Email | firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa “Digit” Elliott – Finance Director
Melissa is a Northwest native and recently moved to Bellingham from the Seattle area. She attended Seattle Pacific University where she studied Business Administration. Melissa has worked in Finance for more than 15 years; most recently supporting the financial needs of individuals with disabilities. Melissa looked forward to attending camp every year as a child and believes that the connections made and skills built really helped her find her “spark”. In her down time, you will find Melissa outdoors (even on rainy days) canoeing Lake Whatcom, hiking the trails around Mt. Baker, and exploring Bellingham with her husband and son.
Email | email@example.com
Communication & Office Staff
Cindy “Pixie” Katzenberg – HR & Office Manager
Cindy moved from Arizona to Bellingham in 1980, when Bellingham was still a small town. She and her husband opened a cafe near the Old Town section of Bellingham and immediately felt at home. Over the next 15 years, she and her family moved back East, yet always returned to Bellingham where she’s stayed for over 20 years! Cindy spent most of her professional life as an office manager, restaurant bookkeeper, and working at the Farmers Market selling organic dog treats, fun doggie collars, and cat toys. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys long walks and hikes with friends in and around Bellingham. But mostly, she loves spending time with her children and grandchildren… eight of them! She was a Blue Bird and Camp Fire Girl, and her mom was the group leader! She went to Camp Fire camp in Arizona and remembers how impactful that was in her life. Cindy feels so fortunate now to work for a non-profit, working to support those who are changing children’s lives.
Email | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kendra “Mushroom” McConnell – Communications & Marketing Manager
Born and raised in Skagit Valley, Kendra attended Western Washington University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Management. Some of her sparks are macramé and jewelry design and she often finds herself inspired by nature, the 1970’s, and houseplants (she owns over 50, and even named her cat ‘Cactus’). With a wide variety of business, event planning, and creative skills in her toolkit, she has come to put them to great use in her work here at Camp Fire.
Email | email@example.com
Camp Kirby Staff
Aaron “Olaf” Deshaies – Facilities Manager
Aaron is a recent transplant from Bellingham and lives in the Gatehouse at Camp Kirby with his wife, Kathryn, son Keith, daughter Kelly, their three cats, and dog. He attended Camp Kirby as a camper and returned in 2012 as a staff member. He has filled many roles at camp since then, from Archery Specialist to Head Cook to Director of Operations. He still fills in the occasional crack during the summer as well as tending to the maintenance log. His values are strongly rooted in integrity, self-worth, and being as ridiculous as possible.
Ian “Shipwreck” Shipley – Maintenance Assistant
Ian was born in England and raised on a small dairy farm in Devon. In 1980, after a five year spell as a professional soldier in the British Army, he emigrated to Canada. His journey took him north, where he was employed as a smokejumper, fighting wildfires in the Yukon and Northern Territories. During Ian’s time off, he sailed tall ships and ended up emigrating again. This time to the United States! He has resided in this country since 1994, and worked as an able seaman in the merchant marines for twenty years. He likes to think of himself as “semi-retired“. Ian, an avid outdoorsman, and his wife Julie now live in Anacortes. He is a USCG recognized survival instructor and his wife, “Unruly Julie” works as a deckhand on the Guemes Ferry. Their hobbies include canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and camping
Corporate Board of Directors
Tracy Osborn – President
Tracy started Camp Fire in Kindergarten, in 1985, when she became member of Sparks. Her Mom was her group leader and Tracy loved making new friends, being outdoors, and doing all of the arts and crafts that were included in the meetings. Her group then moved up to Bluebirds and Tracy was in her Camp Fire group until she was in the 7th grade (around 7 years). She grew up in Bothell WA and moved to the Bellingham area to attend Western Washington University. There, she received a Communication Degree with a minor in History. Tracy now works as a Senior Training Specialist for Peoples Bank and enjoys training and teaching her fellow employees different aspects of Banking. When she and her husband had their daughter, Taylor, Tracy could not wait to join another Camp Fire group so that her daughter could have the same fun experiences herself! Going to Camp Kirby is now one of the highlights of their year! She joined the Camp Fire Samish board in 2020 and is excited to share her Camp Fire experiences with the Camp Fire family as a whole.
Alice J. Sigurson – Vice-President
Dr. Sigurdson retired to Bellingham, WA in 2015 from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD after a research career as a radiation epidemiologist. She has a doctoral degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health. She was raised on a Whatcom County crop and beef farm and graduated from Ferndale High School in 1974. She was a member of Camp Fire in the 1960’s. In college, she became a resident summer camp counselor, which introduced her to the wonder of camp life. Subsequently she supervised summer forest work in the Youth Conservation Corps. She believes that both these early experiences shaped her future life in positive ways. She is honored to be a member of the Board of Camp Fire Samish. It is her goal to help continue and facilitate Camp Fire Samish’s important work with youth. She readily volunteers her time, energy, resources, and training in any capacity that furthers the mission of Camp Fire Samish.
Kayla Hemmingson – Treasurer
Kayla graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in Accounting and is currently testing for the CPA exam. She is a staff accountant at Archer Halliday, PS in Bellingham and a member of both the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Washington Association of Accounting & Tax Professionals. Kayla grew up in the Pacific Northwest with enthusiasm for all outdoor recreational activities. You can find her camping, fishing, kayaking and riding motorcycles in her free time. She loves being involved in the community and spends time coaching & managing adult league recreational sports such as softball and volleyball. Kayla is honored and excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Camp Fire Samish family!
Bonita Haggith – Secretary
Bonita grew up in Whatcom County with her four siblings. She graduated from Ferndale High School in 1974 and then went on to earn her nursing degree. After working across the Western US and traveling around the world, Bonita returned to Whatcom County to work as an emergency room nurse at St. Joseph Hospital and then a flight nurse with Airlift Northwest. She has been transporting patients in the skies above Western Washington for over 30 years. Bonita lives in Birch Bay with her husband. She has one son and a daughter who lives in Seattle. Bonita enjoys spending her free time on the water in the beautiful Salish Sea, traveling, scuba diving, reading, and skiing. She is excited to serve her community as a board member of Camp Fire Samish and support empowering youth through connecting to others and this beautiful land on which we live and play.
Erik Johnson is a 3rd generation member of the Samish Island Brant Club. He has lived in Mount Vernon most of his life except for College at Montana State. Erik is a Sales Rep in the Outdoors industry where he covers Washington, Oregon, and Alaska for several fly fishing and hunting brands. He has always looked forward to Brant season and now his 5-year-old son loves going out to Camp Kirby and spending time on the beach, in the blind, in the cabin eating cookies, and spending time with the other members. Erik will work to represent Camp Fire Samish, the Brant Club, and its members to the best of his abilities.
Olea comes from a family of artists and was raised with an emphasis on the importance of living a balanced life. She formerly had the privilege of working for Camp Fire Samish and fell in love with the focus on letting children have a childhood. She has worked with children off and on throughout her life; from teaching horseback riding at a summer camp on Orcas Island to running a floor at a Residential Treatment Center in Orem, UT. Olea is currently an Accounting Assistant at Seeking Health, but has a background in Cosmetology, and helping run the family art business. You can find her jumping on the trampoline with her 3 kids or helping her husband work on their little stretch of property by the beach. They love riding bikes, surfing, swimming, and watching movies.
Ann is retired from a career in health care where she contributed as a Registered Nurse and a Nurse Practitioner before moving into hospital administration. She has a masters in Hospital Administration from the University of Iowa and worked in the Midwest before moving to Skagit County with her family in 1989. Locally she has worked for all three hospitals in the Skagit Valley as well as SCCA in Seattle and OHSU in Portland. Ann has many fond memories of camp experiences as a youth at Camp Ondessonk in Ozark, IL and as a volunteer nurse at Camp Sabra in MO. She appreciates the values of teamwork, leadership and social responsibility that are encouraged and practiced throughout camp activities. Ann and her husband have raised three children in the Skagit Valley and reside in the Bayview area.
Spencer grew up in Mount Vernon and spent most of his youth exploring Skagit Valley. He has a deep love and appreciation for everything that has made this amazing place into what it is today. He has lived on a farm most of his life, which has given him a strong work ethic combined with a “can do” attitude. He loves living in the Pacific Northwest, and there is no place he would rather call home. He is an avid outdoorsman and goes out on the water or hiking and skiing up in the mountains. He is a real estate agent with Windermere Real Estate/Skagit Valley, and he is also involved as a Rotarian with Skagit Rotary.
Jonathan always strives to get his clients the best outcome and has successfully represented hundreds of individuals who have suffered personal injuries. Jonathan graduated Magna Cum Laude from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2011. Jonathan has also been an active member of the larger community. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, Washington State Association for Justice, and Skagit County Bar Association. Jonathan has also worked for the United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington and Superior Court for Snohomish County. Jonathan, has a passion for the greater Skagit and Whatcom communities. Jonathan was born and raised in Skagit County and met his wife in Whatcom County when he was attending college. Jonathan also has passion for giving back to children. In fact, Jonathan and his wife raise four kids and support many family oriented non-profit organizations.