Meet The Team
Whitney Beaird is from Frog Jump, Tennessee! She prefers to be called Frog Jump or Froggy. She graduated from Austin Peay State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a double minor in African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies. She was a Resident Assistant for three years in two different halls and very active with the women’s rights group on campus. She is the Assistant Director in the summer at Camp Gregory in New York and has worked at camps across the US for over six years. Froggy loves to travel and has studied abroad in Mexico. Her favorite colors are blue and yellow. She loves to read, cross stitch, draw, and all things involving Alice in Wonderland. Froggy has worked at the OEC since the Fall of 2013 and is excited to work and play with all the kids coming to the OEC.
Michael Frederick graduated from Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois in November 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science. In 2013, he spent a year working at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Maryland, teaching middle and high school aged students about ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay. He is passionate about animals, and has experience caring for all different types of species. He also enjoys spending his free time playing running, playing basketball, and participating in a variety of different outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and fishing. He started working at the OEC in the spring of 2017.
Ben Loiselle is from Old Saybrook, Connecticut. He started at the OEC in the fall of 2015. Ben attended the University of Maine, where he studied Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. He is an Eagle Scout, and is very experienced in camping, outdoorsmanship, and wilderness survival. Ben worked for many years as a summer camp counselor, and most recently worked as an Environmental Education Instructor at the Maria Mitchell Association in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Maura McCallister is from Tampa, Florida. This is her first year at the OEC but she has been working in outdoor education for over a decade. She has a masters in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from the University of Florida. Maura has lived in Spain and once drove from Canada to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. In her free time she loves backpacking, kayaking, and birdwatching. She loves our National Parks and is working on her collection of Junior Ranger badges. She started working at the OEC in the spring of 2017.
Megan Nelson hails from Blair, Nebraska. She recently graduated from Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska and majored in religion, philosophy and history. In her spare time, she likes to golf and hike around national and state parks. This is Megan’s first season at the OEC and she is happy to be here.
Gary Reynolds (ROV pilot / instructor) is married and enjoys camping, hiking, photography and working with young people. He is a Vietnam veteran who retired from the military after 26 years of service. While in the Air Force, Gary taught photography. Gary has been a Boy Scout leader for over 20 years. He worked for the State of Illinois for 35 years in Multi-Media.
Stephanie Smith is a graduate of Gull Lake High School and Elementary Education at Grand Valley State University. She aspires to be a kindergarten teacher. She is a ski instructor at Bittersweet Ski School for the past six years and has also jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. She started working at the OEC in the spring of 2016.
Zoë Stehouwer currently attends Western Michigan University. Some of her favorite activities include watching professional wrestling, hiking, eating food, working out, and napping. Her favorite animal is a Gerenuk. She is a master at Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud. She started working at the OEC in the spring of 2017.
Braedon Young is from Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in 2015 with a degree in Cognitive Psychology and is a certified WFR (Wilderness First Responder). After working indoor jobs for too long, Braedon is stoked to spend his time sharing his love of the outdoors. In his free time Braedon climbs rocks, reads, and walks in the woods. He started working at the OEC in the spring of 2017.
Pat Doran provides lifeguard protection for the OEC canoe activities. She has a teaching certificate and a graduate degree from Western MI University. Pat’s real love lies in water activities: both “soft” water as she trains lifeguards, teaches swimming, windsurfing, and sailing and “hard” water as she teaches skiing, snowboarding in western resorts in the winter. Her Shetland companions are certified in Search and Rescue (SAR) and therapy dog work. When she is off the water, Pat teaches dog agility classes and coaches a sponsored competition Agility team and her new love: Dog dancing.
Abby Laubaugh is back for her second summer working as the waterfront lifeguard and kitchen staff at the OEC. She graduated from Hastings High School in 2015 and is currently attending Northern Nichigan University. Abby is studying Nursing at NMU and loves the outdoors that surrounds the university. When she is not working, Abby enjoys rock climbing, running, hiking and downhill skiing.
Lora Swenson is the Night Health Officer. Since returning to Michigan in 2008 she has spent summers teaching sailing, spring & fall guide for schools groups through stations at the Muskegon Nature Preserve and Kasey Hartz Nature Trail at Muskegon Community College. In the winter she enjoys playing on Lake Michigan ice floes and shoveling snow. Lora likes to fix up older homes in the Nelson Neighborhood in downtown Muskegon, garden, tutor elementary students in math and teach kids about safe water play in Lake Michigan. She graduated from the Habitat Environmental Institute in 1975, where students apprenticed on environmental projects in the Boston and Atlantic coastal areas. She was the medical officer for the Boy Scout's Prevailing Winds sailing camp and trained in crisis intervention with Community Mental Health. She has her Red Cross Health Officer Certification.
Judith McMillen is a wife, mother and grandmother. Her husband’s name is Dan and they have been married for 40 years. She enjoys camping, canoeing, quilting and reading. She is just “living the dream” working at the Outdoor Ed Center!
Kimberly Burandt Foster has been married to her husband Doug Foster for 20 years. Kim is the proud mother of 2 sons and a daughter. She has 5 amazing grandchildren Jayliana, Maliya, Kaliyah, Skyler, and Hailey. Kim enjoys golfing, swimming, living on a lake, and spending time with friends and family. Kim is proud to be part of the OEC and its awesome kitchen staff.
Robin Girrbach retired from Hastings Area Schools in January 2015 after working 35 years in the maintenance department. For enjoyment she spends time with her horses, dogs and girls. Abby is a high school junior and Breanna has just relocated to Hastings for work. Robin has one son Tommy who is married and lives in Chicago.