Meet Our Staff

Thomas Doherty

Executive Director

Tom came to Camp Ketcha in 2006 with 23 years of experience in non-profit leadership. His experience is well matched to the diverse characteristics of our 107 acre facility. Tom has worked in youth camping since 1983 and has run day camps and tripping camp operations. In several previous organizations, he has enhanced summer camping programs by using the program facilities and staff year round to meet community identified needs. Tom has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. He serves on the Boards of Directors of the Scarborough Chamber and the Maine Youth Camping Foundation. Tom lives in Portland with his wife and two boys who love Camp Ketcha.

Liz Tully

Director of Operations

A native of Scarborough, Liz has worked at Camp Ketcha since the summer of 2000, first as a counselor, then working her way up to Camp Director in the summer of 2004 and then moving in the Director of Operations. She is a member of the American Camping Association and formerly served on the American Camp Association New England Standards Committee and the Emerging Camp Professional Committee.   Liz is passionately committed to youth development and public service. She has worked with children in a variety of capacities throughout her career, including as a nanny, a volunteer with the Special Olympics, and as a summer camp counselor. Liz began her work with non-profits leading the United Way’s Youth Engaged in Service group and participating in the Day of Caring as a Youth Site Supervisor.  She holds undergraduate degrees in sociology and criminology from the University of Southern Maine in Portland.  Liz continues her camp professional development through courses, training, and conferences held by the American Camp Association. She lives in South Portland with her husband and three children, who all love Camp Ketcha summer camp and school vacation camps!

Kate Connolly

Director of Education & Behavioral Health

Kate combines over 25 years experience in outdoor education and program leadership. She developed and directs our popular nature based preschool program ensuring that our youngest explorers are outdoors to play and learn throughout the year. For our summer campers Kate leads our educational program areas including farm and garden, art and crafts, outdoor living and environmental education. Kate believes that quality nature based education provides children with essential enrichment for emotional development, creative expression,confidence and connection to the natural world.

Kara LaRochelle

Camp Director, Youth Development Director
Kara started at Camp Ketcha in 2014 as a senior camp counselor (she was also a camper when she was in elementary school). After graduating from UNH with a degree in music education in 2015 she stayed on with us in the summers as a head counselor and spent 4 years working in the Portland Public Schools as an ed-tech and music teacher. We welcomed her on year round in June 2018 as the Director of Youth Development. In this role she runs our summer camp, after school, vacation camp, and adventure challenge programs. When Kara is not at camp she can be found hiking, climbing, or running with her dog, Casco.

McKenzie Larson

Assistant Camp Director

McKenzie started at Camp Ketcha in 2016 as a Senior Ropes Course Facilitator on the Adventure Challenge course and transitioned to the role of Waterfront Director in the summers that followed. She begins this summer as the Assistant Camp Director and is excited for a fun filled camp season! She recently completed her Master of Arts in Teaching degree at the University of New Hampshire and is looking forward to beginning her career teaching elementary music in the Fall.

Billy Murdock

Facilities Manager and After School Care Lead Teacher

Billy began working at Camp Ketcha during the summer of 2018 as the Archery Instructor. He grew up on Peaks Island, ME and holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from UNCW. Billy has worked at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and in Connecticut’s Diadromous Fisheries Program. In his spare time Billy enjoys running, traveling, and learning how to play the banjo. During the school year he has been helping to maintain the facilities and teaching in the After School program. And this summer he will be the Environmental Educator at camp!

Mary Ellen Nisbet

Camp Registrar

Mary Ellen began working at Camp Ketcha in 2006 as the part-time Camp Registrar.  In 2010 she took over as the Facility Rentals Director.   She enjoys helping each and every bride & renter make Camp Ketcha a special place for their event.  Mary Ellen can often be found washing windows & dusting while answering summer camp questions and calls! Mary Ellen lives in South Portland with her husband.

Christie VanKanegan

Events, Marketing, and Program Innovation

Christie began working at Camp Ketcha as a Ropes Course Facilitator on our challenge course in 2016 while completing her Master’s in Outdoor Education and Social Work at the University of New Hampshire.  She joined with Camp Ketcha full time in April 2019 to assist with fundraising, marketing, and event planning.  Christie is also a Clinical Social Worker and is working on developing Adventure Based Therapeutic Programming at Camp Ketcha.  Christie believes that the natural world serves as a powerful resource for learning, growing, and healing and is thrilled to help Camp Ketcha grow the reach and depth of their programs.  When Christie is not at camp she can be found hiking, running, or gardening.

Jo Bell

Business Manager, Rentals Coordinator 

Gary Fontaine

Business Manager Ameritus

Gary Fontaine has been volunteering with Camp Ketcha since his son came out to camp.  Gary started out helping us mow our grass and then his true talents in accounting has ensured that he now comes every day!   Gary lives in Scarborough with his wife & can see Camp Ketcha from his back door.

Kendra Gorham

Barn Manager

Ainsley Judge

Portland Gear Hub Shop Manager

Ainsley began working with Camp Ketcha as the first Portland Gear Hub Shop Manager in 2014.  Ainsley brings a wonderful working knowledge of first hand outdoor adventuring!  Working in community bicycle shops from Minneapolis, Michigan, and now Maine!  Ainsley brings a wealth a technical skills in how to patch a tent to repair a second hand bicycle.  You can stop in at the Portland Gear Hub and she’ll help you fix your bike or teach you how to fix one of ours!  Ainsley lives on Peaks Island.

Emma Dixon

Preschool Teacher, Summer Arts Director

 

 

 

The Camp Ketcha Staff

Our staff members are hired for their enthusiasm, creativity and ability to provide a nurturing, caring and fun atmosphere. We provide thorough training including: child development, risk management, curriculum planning, emergency procedures, and waterfront safety. All personnel undergo a background check and are First Aid and CPR certified. We are known for our high-quality staffing and low staff to camper ratios.

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