Many leaders of today were raised by television and video games rather than good old-fashioned Pennsylvania black bears. Peter Swift is an exception, having been adopted by a pair of Ursus Americanus at a young age. They taught him all he knows about the outdoors and Machiavellian office politics during his formative years living under logs and rocks in the Allegheny Mountains.
This upbringing prepared Peter for the rigors of gaining a Philosophy degree at Grove City college, and landing a career in sales, marketing, and eventually operations for an rock-climbing and outdoor gear distributor until finally moving on to his current non-profit leadership role. Despite routinely missing out on hibernation, he still manages to find time to serve as executive director of Camp Susque.
When he isn’t helping to lead Susque’s ministries, he can be found scrounging for grubs and berries or watching college basketball with his wife Lindsey, twin daughters Audrey and Nora, son Isaac, and dog Sawyer.
David Vest, Camp Susque’s Program Director, started as Year Round Staff in 2020. Having been a counselor in 2012 and serving in various seasonal roles since then, including Trek Leader and Staff in Training Director, David is no stranger to camp culture. Add to that his experience as a high school music teacher for 5 years, he is ideally suited to serve as Susque’s Program Director.
His love for music has even taken him to places like Dublin, Ireland, where he has been known to walk around the city singing (and having the sheer joy of citizens of Dublin joining in)! He has always loved music. In fact, when David was a kid, he didn’t get in trouble much except for when he would sing during class. When he was 11, he started teaching himself how to play guitar and has played ever since. His skill in music and his love for Community and Creation makes him the ideal person to lead worship at so many of Susque’s events.
In addition to leading worship, David directs programs in a variety of ways throughout the year, including things like organizing or purchasing equipment, running Youth Summits, directing winter camps, attending college fairs to recruit summer staff, recording/editing podcasts, doing teambuilding with retreat and rental groups, teaching SOD classes, interviewing potential staff, training summer staff, overseeing summer camps/wilderness trips, meeting with summer leadership, or singing a silly song around a campfire.
When David isn’t directing programs at Susque, you may find him catching up from all his lost sleep thanks to early mornings and (occasional) late nights. One day you may even find him traveling around Europe with his wife, something that’s on his bucket list! David has a heart for family and finds it his perfect day off when he gets to drink coffee, read, and converse with his wife, Cynthia, and play with his two children, Josiah and Aravis.
Davis Swift, Camp Susque’s Operations Director, started as Year Round Staff in 2016. Having been a camper in 1999, Retreat Staff in 2005, and Summer Staff in 2007, Davis is no stranger to camp culture. Add to that his experience in working with summer staff, teaching how to do a skill, and driving tractors, Davis is ideally suited to serve as Susque’s Operations Director. His love for tractors and his skill for mentoring colleagues in the office, cutting down trees, teaching rappelling, and coordinating building projects makes him the perfect person for this role. Working closely with the facilities, hospitality, program, and School of Discovery departments to make sure everyone works well together is one of his many strengths.
When Davis isn’t teaching how to do a skill or driving tractors all across camp at Susque, you can find him turning to his dearest mentor, YouTube, to learn new skills and creating videos for his D-Swizzle YouTube channel for pure fun. You may even find him building campfires or finding new #secretplacesofsusque, although Moss Run remains his favorite! Davis has a heart for family and finds it his perfect day off when he gets to hike and build a campfire with his wife, Kelsey, and two daughters, Evie and Piper.
Shawna Hakes, Camp Susque’s Office Manager, started as Year Round Staff in 2003. Having been a church secretary for 5 years before joining Susque; her experience in payroll, accounting, and managing the Trails End Camp Store; and her years of being a part of the camp ministry here, Shawna is ideally suited to serve Susque in this role. Her listening skills and heart for team building at Susque make her the perfect person to manage the office. She’s great at remembering the things we forget and keeping us all organized.
When Shawna isn’t answering phones, helping parents sign up campers, or as the CampMinder guru, answering our questions about the application process at Susque, you can find her leading the Widows Ministry at Lycoming Valley Baptist Church and writing for “A Widows Might” (AWM) online and Facebook ministry. As a widow herself, Shawna has a heart to help other widows through their grief journey. She recently received recognition for her work with widows this past fall when she was nominated for the 2022 YWCA “Woman of Excellence” Award for Advocacy.
School of Discovery (SOD) Coordinator
Colleen Zehr, Camp Susque’s School of Discovery Coordinator, started as Year Round Staff in 2020. Having taught 3rd-6th grades for 4 years and at a nature school for 2 years, Colleen is a great fit to the team. Add to that her experience in the outdoor recreation field formerly working at Liberty Mountain, and having studied Inclusive Childhood Education with a concentration in Intercultural Studies/minor in TESOL from Houghton College, Colleen is perfectly suited to serve as Susque’s School of Discovery Coordinator. Her joy for teaching owl pellet dissection and aquatic pond studies and her heart for Childhood Education makes her the perfect person to head up this Educational Programs coordinator role.
When Colleen isn’t coordinating SOD classes at Susque, you can find her in her garden digging in the dirt and watching her flowers and veggies grow from seed each Spring. You may even find her singing as a little known fact about her is that she loves to sing! Colleen and her husband, Isaac, are parents to one son, Leo, with another child on the way.
Food Service Coordinator
Alyssa Smith, Camp Susque’s Food Service Coordinator, started at Camp Susque as Summer Staff in 2013 and moved onto Year Round Staff in 2018. Her favorite camp memory as a child was going on the Adirondack Adventure Trek. She loved being a camper and wanted to keep coming back. Alyssa is well versed in Susque camp culture and is great at helping new support staff learn the ropes, teaching them hospitality skills that makes campers feel like they’re home dining in Hemlock Hall family style.
With a B.A. in Sociology from Grove City College, Alyssa is perfectly suited to serve as Susque’s Food Service Coordinator. Her strong work ethic and kindness to all those she works with makes her a great hospitality team player.
When Alyssa isn’t planning menus, buying food for upcoming camps and retreats, or scheduling support staff at Susque, you can find her visiting cool places like Zion National Park or hanging out at Moss Run. You may even find her untying knots as a little known fact about her is that she is really good at that! Alyssa and her husband, Ethan, are an established part of the Camp Susque family.
Many creatives of today were raised by social media and iPad video games rather than good old-fashioned adventures in the forest. Lois Jea is a free spirit, having grown up with a pair of pioneer parents, who when she was 2 years old, took Lois and her older sister West on a train from Connecticut to Nebraska, to seek better pastures there. From a young age, her parents taught her much of what she knows about Quiet Time with God, storytelling, honesty, and grit. Her dad taught her not to quit when he trained with her the season she ran on the boys’ cross country team in High School. Her mom taught her the value of drawing away to a quiet place in the forest to dwell with God.
This upbringing prepared Lois for the challenges of a nomadic military family lifestyle, homeschooling her daughter, building entrepreneurial businesses along the way, and finishing a Journalism degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which led to freelance gigs in storytelling, photography, and journalism for numerous small business owners until finally moving on to her current non-profit communications role. Despite being new to Susque and camp culture, she still manages to find time to share the story of Camp Susque through our calendar, postcards, college fairs, social media, and camp photojournalism coverage.
When she isn’t helping to communicate Susque’s ministries, she can be found out on a trail somewhere in the forest, on a roadtrip with her Jeep exploring, or building her upcoming Storytime with Nonna brand. She’s a mama of one daughter, Jasmine, and a Nonna of two grandsons, Oliver and Brodie.
Nate Dittmar, Camp Susque’s Groundskeeper, started as Year Round Staff after he graduated High School at 19. Having grown up at camp as the co-founder’s son, he worked many summers. Nate is no stranger to camp culture. Add to that his experience in mowing the grass, shoveling, moving rocks, and doing all kinds of support work, Nate is ideally suited to serve as Susque’s Groundskeeper.
Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and raised in Perryville, Pennsylvania, Nate used to give staff rides around camp on his old Kawasaki motorcycle. He also liked to ride a Scorpion snowmobile to smooth cross country skiing trails at Susque Far Field until one day when it was really snowy and icy, and he flipped the snowmobile down an embankment when he was trying to turn around.
When Nate isn’t helping to clean lodges for retreats, doing his mousetrap patrol, or refrigerator/freezer temperature checks, you can find him mowing, something he really likes to do especially when it’s the self-propelled mower which pulls him really fast and makes him feel like the 6-Million Dollar Bionic Man. You may even find him shopping for used Classical, Bluegrass, or Sons of the Pioneers music CDs or books at local area yard sales or flea markets! The music reminds him of good memories with his parents and the special talks and trips to the Rockies and Banff Lake they had together.
Nate’s best superpower is remembering people’s names.
Assistant Facilities Manager
Nicholas Entingh, Camp Susque’s Assistant Facilities Manager, started as Year Round Staff in August 2022. Having worked as a SIT at Susque in 2014, Nicholas is no stranger to camp culture. Add to that his experience in carpentry skills formerly working at a custom home builder for 7 years, and having worked construction since the winter after he graduated high school, Nicholas is perfectly suited to serve as Susque’s Assistant Facilities Manager. His love for carpentry and his skill for fixing things that are broken, building new facilities structures, and handling tasks related to camp prep makes him the perfect person for this role.
When Nicholas isn’t building shelves or tractoring things all across camp at Susque, you can find him diving into a math project for pure fun. You may even find him painting, blacksmithing, or swing dancing! Nicholas has a heart for family and finds it rewarding on his day off to visit family or friends he doesn’t see very often.
Monique Reinsel, Camp Susque’s Treasurer, started as Year Round Staff in August 2014. Starting with her first real job at a 5/10 cent store, Monique entered the world of numbers and continued into doing accounting work for over 20 years now. Her experience in balancing Susque’s monthly bank accounts, ensuring the taxes are paid, and initially writing most of the grants shows that Monique is perfectly suited to serve Susque in this role. Her ability to assess problems well and come up with solutions makes her the perfect person to oversee Susque’s finances.
When Monique isn’t bringing us snacks at staff meetings, “porching” at Hemlock Hall in the summer mornings before staff devotions, or connecting with a summer staff member, you can find her gardening, painting a picture, or “toodling” with her family. You may even find her dreaming of going to Ireland someday with her husband, Bill. Monique is a mom of 5 adult children and grandma of 2 grandchildren.
Connor Bujno, Camp Susque’s Retreat Coordinator, although our newest Year Round Staff starting his role in January 2023, is no stranger to camp. Having grown up attending camp starting as a camper in 2006, a SIT in 2015, and Summer Staff in 2016, Connor is well versed in camp culture that is unique to Susque. Add to that his experience in the field formerly working Customer Services roles at Liebenzell Retreat Ministries, and having studied Camp and Outdoor Adventure Leadership with a double minor in Youth Ministries and History from Liberty University, Connor is perfectly suited to serve as Susque’s Retreat Coordinator. His penchant for fun and his heart for camp ministry makes him the perfect person to head up this hospitality role.
When Connor isn’t coordinating retreats at Susque, you can find him coming alongside other departments and serving as kitchen staff and counselor for our many camps and events. Outside of work, you’ll find him starting the day slowly by sleeping in, having some coffee, or pursuing his dream of visiting all the Major League Baseball stadiums.