TRAINED, CARING STAFF
We call our highly trained staff and volunteers Spark Champions. Their mentor-like support is key to supporting your kids, helping them thrive, and unlocking these critical life skills. Youth need people in their lives who challenge growth, provide support, share power, and expand possibilities. By providing this support and challenge, Camp Fire’s leaders serve a foundational role in building youth’s ability to thrive. Youth also see Camp Fire staff as their spark champions. In a 2016 survey, 83% of youth said adults in Camp Fire encourage them to explore the things they are interested in, and 82% of youth said adults in Camp Fire help them solve problems instead of telling them what to do. We’re experts at what we do, and we care about developing thriving, successful youth!
Gayle Orange has been a youth advocate for her entire career. Since July 2004, Gayle has served as CEO for Camp Fire West Michigan 4C, having previously served in various leadership positions (program services & Human Resources) for 10 years. Gayle served as a board trustee for Grand Rapids Public School for 12 years. She graduated from Cornerstone University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Management and has spent 37 years in advocacy efforts for children, youth and families.
Dave Gross is our CFO. He has served at Camp Fire for almost 20 years. He served as a member of the Camp Fire’s Board of Directors for 4 years prior to joining the staff in April 1999. His volunteer activities span thirty years including service as chairman of several school district millage committees; president of a local PTA, and president of the Michigan PTA. Dave was appointed the first executive director of the Michigan PTA. As a trustee of the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education and Grand Rapids Junior College for 5 years, he served as treasurer and chairman of the finance committee. He graduated from Aquinas College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Business Administration.
Director of CACFP
Shelly Vondale is the current Director of the Child and Adult Care Food Program and has worked for the agency for almost thirty years. During this time she has served in HR, education and training and in the child care resource and referral department. Shelly has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and believes that we serve no better purpose than to work towards a better future for all children.
Director of Education Services
Born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Kristen is a proud "Yooper"! She is a graduate of both Northern Michigan University and Western Michigan University. She has a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and Bachelor's degree in Pre-School and Family Life.
Kristen has a passion for teaching children and teaching those that work with children. Her career started at a young age as a camp counselor. She has since spent time working for Head Start and the public schools before coming to Camp Fire West Michigan 4C where she has been the Director of Education since 2013.