Directors and Staff
The Kassels, the sixth Directors in the history of Belknap, carry on the esteemed Belknap tradition of family headship. The Kassels have been the Directors of Belknap since 2013, having completed their 5th summer this year.
As Directors, the Kassels are honored to be an integral part of the Belknap community. Originally hailing from Amherst, Massachusetts, Seth began his Belknap career as a Middler in 1992. He was an Honor Camper and was awarded the Colin Brown Award as a member of the Leader Corps. He advanced through the Belknap leadership system, serving as Middler Division Head in 1999 and concluding as Program Director in 2005.
Prior to his start as Director, Seth held several entrepreneurial positions in the field of renewable energy, including serving as a co-founder and VP of a utility solar energy company.
Stephanie (“Steph”) currently is a Family Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing. As a specialist in the field of pediatric diabetes care and research, she has worked with some of the top diabetes centers in the country and has multiple publications including the New England Journal of Medicine. Steph attended overnight camp in her youth as well as professionally leading and directing wilderness trips. Steph first visited Camp Belknap in 1999 and shares Seth’s passion for its spirit, culture, programs, and natural beauty.
The Kassels met as undergraduates at Colorado College and both earned advanced degrees from the University of Colorado. They are avid hikers and campers and have led numerous youth-group back-country expeditions. Their two sons, Noah (age 8) and Tobin (age 6), bring joy and energy to their home.
The Kassels reside at Belknap year round. They are active members of the Tuftonboro/Wolfeboro community where they both sit on boards of local non-profits and coach youth sports teams.
Dave Irwin is the Assistant Director/Leadership Director at Camp Belknap. In this capacity, he is Acting Director when Seth and Steph are out of camp and he is the head of Belknap’s celebrated Leadership Program. During the summer, Dave works closely with the leadership to provide feedback and help them grow as Leaders.
He has completed his 25th year at Belknap. Dave was previously a Cadet Leader from 2000 through 2002 and served as the Middler Division Head for 2003 and 2004. He was then a member of the Program Staff from 2005 through 2013, acting as Program Director during 2005-2012.
In the “offseason”, Dave is the Co-Director of Secondary School Counseling at The Fenn School in Concord, MA. He received his B.A. in American Literature and Civilization from Middlebury College and he attended Harvard University to receive his Ed. M. in School Leadership.
Dave lives in Concord, MA with his wife, Mandy, and their daughter, Willa.
Chris Thurber, known as “Thurbs”, is an Executive Advisor for Camp Belknap.
Chris has served Belknap for 37 years. After three years as a camper (1980-1982), Chris returned as an LC, LIT, leader, and Middler Division Head (1989-1992). He served as Waterfront Director from 1989 to 2013.
Chris received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University (’91) and PhD in psychology from UCLA (’97). He is a psychologist and instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Chris has written widely in the academic and popular press on issues related to youth development, homesickness, and leadership. In 2000, Chris co-authored (with Belknap alum and Belknap Board Member Dr. Jon Malinowski) the best-selling Summer Camp Handbook, a preparatory resource for new camper families. He also designed and hosted the American Camp Association’s homesickness prevention DVD, called The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success.
Chris lives in Exeter, New Hampshire, with his wife Simonida, a chemist and musician, and his boys Dacha and Sava. Both boys love their time as Belknap campers each summer.
Geoff Masland is the Advancement Director at Camp Belknap. In this role, Geoff is the key liaison with the Belknap community to fulfill the vision of Belknap’s Strategic Plan of protecting, preserving, and strengthening camp for years to come.
Geoff returned to Belknap after a decade of work in sales, marketing, and growing companies. Most recently, Geoff was CEO and co-founder of Oxbow Brewing Company, which Geoff grew to a staff of 25 employed at multiple facilities throughout Maine. The businesses that Geoff helped launch continue to thrive.
Geoff received a BA from Colorado College.
The summer of 2017 was Geoff’s 16th at Belknap. Starting as a Cadet in 1990, he was a camper in every division before becoming a Leader, Middler Division Head, and Leader Corps Director in 2003 and 2004.
Geoff and his wife Dash reside in Yarmouth, Maine, with their sons Griffin and Lyle, future campers. The Maslands live at Belknap during the summer months, bringing spirit and energy to the Belknap family.
Kyle John is the Operations Manager at Camp Belknap. He takes care of everything from handling all procurement, IT, operating the camp store, keeping camp up to date with permits, and program duties. He also runs the Belknap Online Store during the holidays.
Kyle just completed his 25th summer at Belknap. He began as an eight-year-old camper in 1993, was a Cabin Leader in the Cadets and Middlers from 2004-2008, and served as the Junior Division Head in 2009. From 2010 through 2014, Kyle was part of the Program Staff and was Program Director for 2013-2014.
Kyle is currently pursuing a degree in Information Technologies at Southern New Hampshire University.
Kyle lives in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
In addition to serving as camp’s year-round Communications Manager, Tom Wraight acts as Waterfront Director in the summer. As Communications Manager, Tom handles alumni outreach, fundraising initiatives, publications, and Belknap’s social media presence. In his waterfront role, he oversees the operation and maintenance of all aquatics-related programming and activities, including swim lessons, sailing, and General Swims. During the pre-season, he helps train all of Belknap’s staff on waterfront safety.
He has completed his 17th year at Belknap. Tom was previously a Cabin Leader in Middlers and Seniors from 2007-2011. He served as the Middler Division Head in 2011. Since 2012, Tom has been a part of the Waterfront staff, first as the Co-Waterfront Director from 2012 through 2013. He has been the Waterfront Director since 2014.
Tom is the Assistant Coach of the Oyster River Otters swim team in Durham, New Hampshire. He swims and competes in triathlons in his free time, and enjoys playing music both in camp and at home.
He is currently pursuing his B.A. in Secondary English/Language Arts Education at UNH-Durham. Tom lives in Dover, New Hampshire.
Linda Gonya is the Registrar/Administrator for Camp Belknap. In this role, she manages and coordinates the main office, providing assistance to the Co-directors and family relations with registration and check in/out process. She has completed her third year at Belknap.
Linda is a qualified Medical Assistant/Health Administrator and holds an Associate of Science degree from Hesser College.
She is no stranger to camp life, having spent more than 10 years with The Boy Scouts of America as a Leader and Committee Chair where she held registrations, kept records of awards/achievements of scouts, planned outings, and coordinated fundraising.
Linda has a son who has been both a camper and leader for 9 years.
Linda is a mother of three sons and lives in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
Nate is the Facilities Director at Camp Belknap. He is responsible for the upkeep and improvements of camp’s physical plant and property, which can be as simple as moving a rock or as complicated as making sure water keeps flowing through camp.
He spent seven summers under the pines as a camper, concluding in 2003.
Nate received a BS in Oceanography from the University of New England.
Nate spent nearly 3 years in Saudi Arabia, at first building, then managing the operation and maintenance for an Oceanographic Research Center’s Aquatic Life Support System.
He resides in Tuftonboro, NH with his wife, Sunnie, and his daughter, Serenity.
Paul Moore is the Property Director of Camp Belknap. He takes care of many tasks, but is happiest when in the woods with his trusty chainsaw.
He completed his 16th year at Belknap. Paul came to camp during the winter of 2001 to help take care of winter storm damage and he has been here ever since.
Paul graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Business Degree in 1978 and then finished his Accounting degree at New Hampshire College in 1979.
Before coming to camp, Paul owned and operated a vending company for 12 years, was the manager for Funspot at Weirs Beach, NH, and was the Inventory Control Manager for MacNeil Engineering, the largest manufacturer of sports cleats in the world.
His grandson, Tucker, is currently a camper at Belknap.
Paul lives in Wolfeboro with his wife, Karen.
Annie Gillespie is the Nurse Manager at Camp Belknap. In addition to taking care of our campers and staff members, she helps coordinate work and schedules with the rest of the nursing staff, and is in charge of training our staff before camp officially starts.
Annie has completed her 4th summer as a staff member at Belknap.
Annie became a Registered Nurse in 2004 and has worked with patients across the age spectrum. She has been a Hospice Case Manager since 2011.
She was familiar with Belknap long before joining the Belknap staff. Two of her sons spent many summers at Belknap as campers and now has a grandson currently attending.
Adam is the Co-Waterfront Director at Camp Belknap, overseeing the safety and enjoyment of all activities on the water.
Adam spent seven years under the pines as a camper starting in 1992 and another seven years in the leadership. He was a leader in the Middler and Senior Divisions and was the Besserer Division Head. Adam also spent time on the program staff and was an Assistant Waterfront Director in 2005.
Away from camp, Adam is the Athletic Trainer at Burke Mountain Academy. He works with alpine and nordic athletes, preventing, evaluating, and rehabilitating athletic injuries. Adam lives in East Burke, Vermont where he loves to be active and outside with his wife Alexandra, their daughter Mabel, and son Bo.
Mandy has been at Camp Belknap since 2011. This summer, she will continue providing administrative support, helping to run the camp store, and expanding her role to include work with the nature program and coordination of institutional sustainability efforts at camp.
Mandy has spent the last ten years teaching at independent schools during the academic year including Middlesex School, Cardigan Mountain School, and Deerfield Academy. She earned a BA in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder and continued her education at the University of Melbourne in Australia and Boston College, where she earned graduate degrees in Education.
At camp, Mandy lives in the Pequod with her husband Dave, daughter Willa, and their lovable Golden Retriever, Ellie.
Nick Nowak is currently the Leader Corps Director at Camp Belknap. During the summer, he oversees and guides the 24 boys who are a part of the Leader Corps, the first level of Belknap’s Leadership Training program.
He has completed his 16th summer at Camp. Nick was previously a Cabin Leader in Besserers and Seniors from 2009 through 2011. He served as Besserer Division Head in 2012 and Senior Division Head in 2013. Nick has been the Leader Corps director since 2014.
Outside of camp, Nick is a History Teacher at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, New Hampshire and serves as the Dean of Student Life. He was previously a member of the History Department at the Hyde School in Woodstock, Connecticut.
Nick received his B.A. from Colby College and is currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Studies from UNH.
Nick lives in Canaan, New Hampshire.
Rory Germain currently serves as Camp Belknap’s Program Director. He oversees all land activities, schedule coordination, and equipment in camp.
He has completed his 19th summer at Belknap. Rory was previously a Cabin Leader in Cadets from 2008 to 2011 and served as the Cadet Division Head in 2012 and 2013. He was then part of the Program and Waterfront staff in 2014 before becoming Program Director in 2015.
Outside of camp, Rory works as a Swim Coach in Attleboro, Massachusetts and attends Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.
Rory lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Brigham Burlingame is the Trips Director at Camp Belknap, where he coordinates and leads most of the daily Trips that Belknap campers may elect to take. This can be a hike in the White Mountains, or, a canoe trip to an island on the lake. In addition, he helps coordinate all the cabin campouts.
He has completed his 15th summer at Camp. Brigham was previously a Cabin Leader in Cadets from 2011 through 2013. He served as the Cadet Division Head in 2014.
Brigham is a NOLS graduate and has spent the past few years working on farms around the world, including Walnut Farm in Motueka, New Zealand, Valley Farm in Wisconsin, and White Gate Farms in Tamworth, New Hampshire.
Brigham lives in Boulder, Colorado.