Shady Oaks Staff
Each year young men and women from all over the world (15 countries in 2017) come to work at Shady Oaks Camp. The staff range in age from 18-30, many of whom have never had experience working with someone with a disability. Most of them come with drastically different cultural, educational, religious, and family backgrounds. Despite these differences, they do have one thing in common, and that is the need to want to help make a difference in the life of someone other than themselves.
Shady Oaks is run by an Executive Director, Camp Director, Assistant Director, and a cast of support staff. Each support staff member has a specific position at camp and assists the Director in the supervision of the counselors. Counselors work directly with the campers in each dorm. Each counselor is responsible for one camper a day, which ensures that the campers will receive individualized attention.
A training period is provided before the campers arrive to help prepare new staff for life at Shady Oaks. Because of this orientation, experience with working with someone with a disability is a plus, but not a requirement. More importantly an ideal S.O.C. staff member is someone who is caring, a good listener, and willing to learn. The ability to be oneself and a good sense of humor are also very important.
Every summer many positions at camp are available. All staff at Shady Oaks are required to live on camp grounds for the entire camp session (10 weeks). Each staff member is given a salary, room and board, and 8 days off during the summer. Some require specific certifications, others do not.
2018 Support Staff
Scott Steele- Executive Director
Scott will be returning to camp for his 26th summer. He started out as a counselor in 1992 and returned to camp every summer until he graduated with a Bachelors degree in education with a emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Southern Illinois University in 1997. In 1998 he worked at Lovelton Academy in Elgin, Illinois as the Therapeutic Recreation Supervisor. In 1999 Scott was hired as Executive Director of Shady Oaks Camp and currently holds this position. Scott was born and raised in Chicago, IL and currently lives in Michigan City, Indiana with his wife and 2 children.
Associate Camp Director-Amy Johnston
Amy is from N.Ireland and will be returning to camp for her 5th year. Amy holds a Bachelors Degree in Creative Expressive Therapies and a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. Amy currently works as a Recreation Specialist in Dementia Care. In addition to this Amy facilitates Therapeutic Art workshops for adults and children with learning disabilities and Autism on a 1:1 and group basis. Amy is looking forward to her new role as Associate Director this Summer.
Associate Camp Director-Nikki Dunne
Nikki is from Dublin, Ireland and will be returning to camp for her 5th Year. Nikki graduated ICFE with level 6 qualifications in Advanced Childcare and Education in 2013 and Level 6 Special Needs assisting in 2016. She currently works in Setanta Special School in Stillorgan, Dublin as a special needs assistant in a school that caters for 12-18 year olds on the Autism Spectrum.
Gary Schaid-Assistant Director
Gary lives in Woodstock, IL. and will be returning to camp for his 27th summer. Gary brings a unique prospective to our staff. Because Gary himself has cerebral palsy, he is able to relate to campers and staff on a level most staff can not. Gary serves as a great liason between staff and campers. Gary started at camp “just looking for something to do for the summer” in 1991. “From the minute I arrived at Shady Oaks I knew what a special camp I was a becoming a part of and was doing what disabled people only dreamed of doing. The atmosphere created at SOC back in 1991 was the same as it is today.” “If you are a camper or staff member you will never forget your time at SOC. Shady Oaks has change so many lives around the world, campers and staff alike. Anyone looking to work at Shady Oaks for the summer is in for the best and most memorable summer of their life”
Lucy Morel-Med Staff
Lucy is from Bedford, England and is returning to camp for her second year. She is a qualified learning disability nurse and works in a special needs school. This is her second year as the camp med staff and she can’t wait to get back!
Jessica Herries-Head Dorm Counselor Dorm 5
Jess is from Leicestershire, England. She is currently studying Occupational Therapy at York St John university. Alongside university she is also working in a care home for the elderly as a care assistant. Jess is really excited to be returning to SOC for her second summer!
Rebbeca Cooper-Head Dorm Counselor Dorm 7
Rebecca is from Belfast, Northern Ireland and is returning to camp for her 3rd summer. Rebecca is about to graduate in Geography and Education at Ulster University, is a gymnastics coach and is a supervisor in a supermarket. Rebecca is going to study a masters in primary and special education in September. She is so excited to be with the campers this summer.
Hollie Hockley-Head Dorm Counselor Dorm 13
Hollie will be returning for her fourth summer at Shady Oaks! She is from Adelaide, Australia and is studying a double degree of Education and Disability Studies at Flinders university. Hollie also works at an outside of school hours care centre, for boys aged 5-12, and is a careworker and SSO (student support officer). Hollie is really excited to be working back at SOC for the summer.
Marie is from Derry, Northern Ireland and is returning to camp for her 2nd summer. She is a graduate of Ulster University in product and furniture design. She is currently working to save to return to school to complete a course in art therapy so she can put her degree to use in designing art and creative spaces for those with disabilities.Marie is really excited to be a programmer this summer and to hang out with all the campers and counsellors
Orla Johnston is from County Down, Northern Ireland. She is currently a student in Liverpool John Moores University studying Education with Special Inclusive Needs and hope to become a Special Needs teacher. She is so excited to join the team at Shady Oaks Camp and meet both campers and counselors.
Katie Clark-Acorn Camp Programmer
Katie is from England and works in a care home for elderly patients with dementia and is currently working toward her NVQ in care. This will be her third year at shady oaks and she cannot wait for another fun filled summer.