EXPERIENCE SUMMER THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE
It’s going to be so fun. Your new friends are waiting for you. You are going to become a part of a band of brothers. You will have stories your family will listen to but not fully understand. You will find a new, better version of yourself on Cobbossee’s sports fields, in its forest, on its lake. Mostly, it’s going to be so fun!
When I was fifteen years old, my parents grudgingly allowed me to go work at a boy scout camp in the mountains of Idaho. I was out there for 10 weeks of pure heaven. That was it. That was 28 years ago. I’ve held pretty much every position you can at a camp, from archery instructor to waterfront director, from kitchen staff to director of the camp. In between I was a collegiate athlete at Wabash and Willamette University, a high school and college teacher, and a high school swimming and soccer coach. I have a BA from Willamette University, an MA from Washington State, and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. But summer camp has always been the calling. The “why” part is not complicated for me, and it’s the most true at Cobbossee than at any camp where I’ve worked: you come to Cobbossee, you change for the better. Your son comes to Cobbossee, and he will change for the better. This Cobbossee family will really see him, help him, understand him
While in the Department of American Studies at the University of Texas, Josh became fascinated by alternative approaches to education (like camp!). He began systematically studying the institutions and culture of educational movements like the Waldorf system, Montessori, and finally Outward Bound. He discovered that the founder of Outward Bound, Kurt Hahn, also started a series of year-round schools in the 1960s as an answer to looming global violence in the form of a possible World War III.
In 2011, Josh moved to the only one of these schools in the United States, the United World College of the American West near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and spent 2.5 years executing an anthropological study of the international residential high school, the larger movement, and the effect that both had on the UWC-USA students.
In other words, through his academic studies, Josh discovered, recorded, and interpreted a phenomenon that he’d already seen at summer camp: that people can change dramatically when given the proper context and program.
Josh’s research was based on Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn. You can read more about Hahn here:
Katie grew up at a premier sleep-away camp in New England alongside her three siblings. After 11 years of camp life, camp is in her blood. Katie holds a BA from Trinity and a Masters of Education in Youth Development from Vanderbilt. After Trinity, Katie went to work for WE, a large international children’s organization that empowers young people all over the globe, where she worked with hundreds of youth and adults overseeing safety, volunteer and youth programs. At Cobbossee, Katie works with Josh to keep our campers safe, happy, and loving life.
In his 24th year in camping, “Heward” is a huge reason the social and emotional lives of our campers are so great! He is a school counselor at a school district in the Pacific Northwest, and brings years of formal counseling experience to Cobbossee. Heward’s tireless personal attention to campers helps them develop meaningful connections to each other and their counselors. His amazing wife Heather and their three children: Tank, Scout, and Luna, all join us each summer at Cobbossee. Famous for mind-blowing evening activities, Heward knows more camp songs than almost anyone alive.
Marisa grew up at sports camps and Girl Scout camps, so it’s no surprise Cobbossee feels like home. As Cobbossee’s Program Director, Marisa makes sure each boy finds the balance he’s looking for in his summer schedule. She’s also famous for her good cheer and huge smile. She holds a BS from Texas Tech, a Post-Bac degree in Elementary Education from LCU, and a Masters in Community Development from Vanderbilt. When not at Cobbossee, Marisa does program development and evaluation for a youth empowerment program in Nashville.
When not making sure every trip, bag, program supply, and basketball is arriving, departing, or being stored or prepped at the right time and place at Cobbossee, Ryan teaches music in Houston, TX. He also holds a Masters in Educational Administration. As the Director of Operations, Ryan throws himself into any and all camp activities with joy and an infectious energy. He can be found organizing a camp-wide game of capture the flag, writing award winning Color War and Tribal Games songs, or organizing unbeatable MTV night skits.
Matthew "Jonesy" Jones grew up hiking, camping, and adventuring with his family in England. He made his way across the pond 4 years ago to pursue an opportunity to use his experience in Outdoor Education and BS in Geology. The culture of Cobbossee is what hooked Jonesy and he now reigns as Head of Adventure and will be continuing full time as Staffing Director. For Jonesy, his part in the development of the boys and the brotherhood created is what makes this place like no other.
James' years as a competitive swimmer led directly to his rise through the ranks of the Waterfront. A graduate of Waterfront Leadership School, James runs the entire waterfront at Cobbossee, from fishing to swimming to wakeboarding and waterskiing. The safety of each boy is paramount to James. Also center in his focus is that the waterfront is a place of warmth where boys feel comfortable learning new skills.
Nate joins us as a certified carpenter from Australia. With a business degree in tourism and a plethora of experience working with children in the foster care system, building relationships is at the forefront of Nate’s practice. The many years of experience as a builder that he brings to Cobbossee allows Nate to teach new skills to the campers within a fun, supportive and safe atmosphere.
Griff just retired as the head coach of Men’s Basketball at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was the winningest coach in program history. With 30 years of coaching experience and 50 years in camping, Griff is our steady hand at the tiller. He makes sure our sports are outstanding, well-organized, and played with passion and grace. Griff also oversees our legendary color war and camp traditions.
Lloyd has lived and breathed tennis and Cobbossee for 24 years, informing Cobbossee's program with his experience with Tennis Jamaica as the national school's program coordinator and assistant to the Jamaican National coach Doug Burke. Lloyd also coached the Jamaican Junior National Squad and was a white-badged chair umpire. Lloyd is certified by many tennis entities including Tennis Jamaica, the International Tennis Federation, the Mexican Tennis Federation and the US Professional Tennis Registry.
In his 10th year at Cobbossee, Tom Donahue has brought decades of head coaching experience to our baseball program. Playing both baseball and football in college, Tom coached in the minor leagues for 12 years. He now coaches high school baseball and football in Lynn, Massachusetts when he isn’t at Cobbossee. His baseball team won a state championship in 2015 and his football team made it to the state finals in 2016. In addition to all of this, Tom invented the world-famous game of Awesomeball at Camp Cobbossee!
A true student of the game of football, Jimmy Woods hails from the hills of Tennessee. He coaches high school football in South Carolina at a large AAAA school. Jimmy’s coaching resume is remarkable, having coached at the Division I level for South Carolina, as well as on many teams that contended for state championships. He is well-known at Cobbossee for his precise drills and his ability to draw life lessons from sports. He comes to Cobbossee with his wife, Laura.
Coach Miller is in his fourth year at the helm of Cobbossee’s soccer program. A seasoned coach at many levels, Jamie holds a Provincial B License and has won a Canadian national championship with his U-14 team. Jamie is a teacher and high school coach in Calgary, Alberta, and also holds a Master’s degree in Sports Management. Jamie is extremely passionate about soccer. This focus stems from his own experience as an elite player in Canada (a Provincial All-Star and a national champion himself at 17) but also from the development he sees each day on the pitch. He loves sharing this passion and experience at Cobbossee. Joining Jamie at camp are his wife Anna, and daughters Amelia and Molly.
Stephen "Birch" Birchfield joins us from Brewton-Parker College in Georgia, where he is the Associate Head Coach during the school year. With a BA from the same school, 6 years coaching experience at High School level, and experience playing basketball in College, his passion for the game has fueled his career. Birch believes that working with young boys is the most rewarding as he can help refine their skills early. He brings great energy to his practices and games on the court and is happy to be in a place that matches his own values of sportsmanship and importance of community.
THE BEST KIND OF COMPETITION
At Cobbossee, we compete, learning to handle wins and losses with grace. Our boys receive top flight instruction from superior coaches of deep experience. In four weeks our boys improve as athletes, but also as people. Because our sessions are such a blast, our boys hardly notice they are learning!
IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE
Offering great sports is hardly the end of our program. We send our young men out into Maine’s woods and onto its waters in search of adventure. They learn to camp, make fires, sail, mountain-bike, throw tomahawks, canoe, climb, shoot bows, and fish. And, just as they do while playing sports, our boys grow closer to each other in the process.
We sometimes find it hard to put the beauty and magnificence of our camp's grounds and facilities into words. We also find it hard to put it in a regular ol' map, so we built a 360 experience that we feel does a much better job of bringing our grounds to life.
THE BEST FOOD IN CAMP ANYWHERE
Cobbossee has nothing less than the best food in camping. Chef Louis is the reason. In his 31st year at Cobbossee, Louis brings love and immense skill to each meal, making almost everything from scratch. The food is so good, one of the few things Cobbossee boys argue about is what meal is the best. Louis comes from Gainesville, Florida (Go Gators!) so his southern food is even more legendary than the rest. His fried chicken is a secret family recipe. Our boys eat with their counselors at lovely wooden great tables that are bunk-sized.
When you have the chef that we do, you need to give him great ingredients. That’s why we built a massive organic garden! Louis and his staff take the produce right off the vine and present it on our salad bars and in his recipes and our boys help! The end-result is a camp full of super active boys being fed food made with love and with ingredients grown a few feet from our gorgeous dining hall.
OUR STAFFING PHILOSOPHY
You, the counselor, are going to be the most important person in a camper’s life for four weeks. You must have great judgment, a high skill level in one of our activity areas, and a deeply-felt compassion for and interest in young people. Most of all, you must be ready to be selfless. Do that, and the most transformative summer in your life awaits you.
THE BEST JOB IN THE BEST PLACE
Over and over, we hear it: “This was the best job I have ever had. This is the hardest job that I have ever had.” We aren’t going to pull any punches: being a Cobbossee counselor or staff member is no joke. We have high standards and higher expectations of your abilities, effort, integrity, and patience. We have these standards because parents have placed their sacred trust in us and we, all of us, will deliver. And for you? Well Cobbossee will change your life. From your first interview to the last day of Cobbossee our system will help you become your best self. That is not something one forgets. And our campers will never forget you, either.
Our leadership staff helps you get ready for the campers in an intense staff orientation that will develop and increase the skills you already have. You are educators and leaders – just like the coaches and teachers that changed your own life when you were younger. You will learn our safety protocols, best practices, and get tools and techniques from the best of the best.