Camp staff

We know that a great camp experience starts with caring, mature staff members, and our staff is made up of adults who are committed to providing guidance, encouragement and an unforgettable summer of fun.  At Go West we hire the cream of the crop.  Our counselors go through a rigorous hiring process and are selected based on their experience, knowledge and skills in specific camp activity areas, and their ability to create positive relationships with campers and fellow staff members.  Every individual contributes to the spirit and culture of camp, and we highly value including counselors from diverse backgrounds and experiences.  

Preparation is everything.  All of our staff members complete a thorough training before summer begins, continually attend in-service trainings and are evaluated throughout the summer.  Our series of trainings includes, at a minimum, First Aid, CPR and certifications in specific program activities.  Staff members also go through state and federal criminal background checks. To ensure the safety of our campers, Go West maintains a 1:6 staff to camper ratio. Additionally, each activity is supervised by staff members with previous experience leading that activity.

 

Meet THE GO WEST Staff

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ANDREW VANDERWEGE

OWNER & DIRECTOR

Camp is Andrew’s life’s work.  He grew up at resident camp where his parents, Dave and Kathy, were on staff.  He went on to become a Camp Counselor, Day Camp Director, Director of Camping Services, Resident Camp Director, and now Owner and Director of Go West Camps.  Andrew has been involved in professional development in the camp industry, serving as the Education Chair for the American Camp Association. Andrew has served as a volunteer board member with the Pikes Peak Children's Museum, Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, Bike Colorado Springs and the American Camp Association Local Council of Leaders. Andrew’s favorite part of camp is challenging kids to step outside of their boxes, meet new people, and explore the possibilities.

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ARIANNE VANDERWEGE

OWNER & DIRECTOR

For Arianne, the best parts of camp are the supportive community,  the implementation of creative ideas, and endless opportunities to inspire kids to have a positive impact on their world.  She constantly strives to develop innovative programs that nurture families and inspire future leaders.  Arianne has 15 years of experience in public education, working in Community Schools with Boulder Valley Schools and the St. Vrain School District.  As a Resident Camp Director, she has partnered with principals, teachers and families to provide valuable educational experiences for children.  After many years in camping as a Unit Director, Day Camp Director, and Resident Camp Director, Arianne, along with her husband Andrew, founded Go West Camps.

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KAYLIN LARKIN

SUMMER PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Kaylin is in her fifth summer on staff at Go West. Kaylin graduated from UCCS with a B.A. in Psychology. She hopes to continue a career working with children. She has a love for the great outdoors and has always been passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of children. Camp has given her the opportunity to combine both of these passions while also helping children find what they are passionate about, learn more about the environment, and lead overall happier, healthier, and more positive lifestyles

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LOGAN GOCZA

LOGISTICS COORDINATOR

This is Logan’s third year on staff at Go West, and his second year as the Logistics Coordinator. Logan recently earned his Master’s Degree in Special Education and is now a full time elementary school teacher. His passion for educating others goes into every aspect of his life, including outdoor sports, and he loves seeing others grow and develop in those activities and as individuals. Logan can usually be found playing hockey, riding his bike, hanging out with his wife, or spending time outdoors. Logan’s favorite camp activities include mountain biking, paddle boarding, art and cooking. He believes in the power of the outdoor lifestyle and getting others outside and experiencing all that Colorado has to offer.

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Kaitel Kron

CAMP NURSE

This is Kaitel’s second year on staff at Go West. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from UCCS and works full time as a nurse. Kaitel has always had a love for children, and has experience as a behavior technician for children with autism. When she’s not working, Kaitel can be found hiking, practicing yoga, and playing board games with friends! She is also a Colorado native who loves the outdoors. She is excited to provide a healthy and safe camp experience for kids.

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Kara Peete

TRAILBLAZERS UNIT DIRECTOR

This is Kara’s second year on staff at Go West. She loves being around children. Babysitting and working in her church’s childcare has given her plenty of experience. Taking a break from college, she hopes to have new experiences and build new relationships. Go West will will help her to do just that and looks forward to an adventure filled summer.

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natalie roberts

TREKKERS UNIT DIRECTOR

This is Natalie’s fourth year on staff and she’s convinced that Go West is the best place to be during the summer. She's even been known to say that she wishes summer camp would last year-round. Natalie has worked with school age children and people with developmental disabilities since 2009. She is currently attending UCCS, pursing a Bachelors degree in English with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Writing along with a minor in Visual Art. In her spare time, Natalie loves exploring and creating art. She is excited to share her knowledge of art and nature through hands-on activities.

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BOBBY JONES

ADVENTURERS UNIT DIRECTOR

This is Bobby’s first year on staff at Go West. He is an avid rock climber, hiker, fly fisherman and camper and enjoys instructing, molding and guiding. There isn’t much outdoors he hasn’t tried. He enjoys spending time with his fiance and his dogs, Whitley and Tod, and working with livestock. Bobby has had a variety of experiences, including serving as a Medical Instructor and Program Director in the Army. He is an NCO Veteran and a Purple Heart recipient.

Ben Lopez

TREKKERS UNIT DIRECTOR

This is Ben’s third year on staff at Go West. Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, Ben is experienced in numerous outdoor activities that the Rocky Mountains have to offer. Ben recently graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a Bachelor of Science and Major in Exercise Science, Health Promotion and Recreation. He is also licensed to teach Physical Education (K-12). When not at work, Ben loves spending time with his Wife and twin boys.

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francesca baines

COUNSELOR

This is Francesca’s second year on staff at Go West. She has previously worked as a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor and leads stand up paddle board activities at camp. She is currently a student at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina where she is studying to become an Elementary Teacher. She has been swimming since the age of 5 and is currently a collegiate student-athlete. She values friendship and loves to explore the great outdoors. When Francesca is not in the pool, she likes to spend her time hiking with her friends and taking morning walks with her family. Francesca believes it is important to help children reach their potential.

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payton le doux

COUNSELOR

This is Payton’s second year on staff at Go West. He is currently attending Western State Colorado University. He is currently studying Exercise Science with an emphasis in K-12 Physical Education. In the future, he hopes to become a teacher, helping kids find their passion for an active lifestyle and enjoying the outdoors. His free time is spent being active and doing outdoor activities including mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking and so much more. He is excited to be able to share his passion for outdoor activities with kids and enjoys providing leadership to the mountain biking program at Go West!

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Christina selinger

COUNSELOR

Christina is a Health and Exercise Science major at Colorado State University, with plans to go into physical therapy. She enjoys rock climbing, yoga, and being outdoors in her free time. She believes that it is important for kids to have a strong connection to nature and exposure to outdoor activities and is excited about joining the Go West team.

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casey michel

COUNSELOR

Casey has a love for all things outdoors and is looking forward to a great summer at camp. He will be graduating this May from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with his degree in Business Administration. Casey has been a referee for two and a half years, so he knows how to handle tough situations under pressure and make the right decisions. His favorite pastimes include mountain biking, hiking with his dog, Cooper, and playing the drums and the guitar. He hopes that he can create a great impression on kids so that they can, too, find their passion for the outdoors.

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THOMAS MEREDITH

COUNSELOR

Thomas feels at his best when he’s got his hiking boots on, a bag full of snacks and a long trail ahead of him. His love for travel has inspired him to live in the Himalayas, explore the jungles of Swaziland, hike the Appalachian for two summers at Camp Akeela Vermont, and worn a hole in the front of his passport. When he’s not out hiking or climbing you can find him tucked away in a library studying for his degree in English Literature. He believes the outdoors is the best classroom for teaching teamwork, resilience and an appreciation of how lucky we are to live on this fantastic planet! Thomas comes to us all the way from the UK.

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jessica powers

COUNSELOR

Jessica spent her childhood in summer camp settings, seven of those years as a counselor. She currently works in behavior intervention as a Para Educator at Manitou Springs Elementary. She went to college to study art, and traveled the country, working on farms, before settling in Colorado. 

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SUZIE TAYLOR

COUNSELOR

Suzie grew up picturesque Alaska, where she developed a love for the outdoors. She graduated from Colorado College with a Neuroscience major and Biochemistry minor. She has worked at Vail as a children’s ski instructor and has coached ski teams and led group lessons. She has previously worked at Roundup River Ranch as a program specialist and Camp Akeela as a hiking specialist. She believes when you bring high energy and positive reinforcement to a task, it can build a supportive environment in which children can feel comfortable pushing their boundaries. In her free time this summer you can catch her hiking 14ers, going on adventures, and babysitting. 

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amanda crispell

COUNSELOR

This is Amanda’s second year on staff at Go West. Amanda studied child psychology in her home state of Arkansas. She is currently working with children on the autism spectrum. Her interests include, but are not limited to, creative high-fiving, running like a dinosaur, and eating ice cream.

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ANDRE OGREN

COUNSELOR

As a native Coloradan, Andre has a love for the outdoors and a strong passion for educating youth and adults in fishing and other outdoor activities. Andre is a senior at Kansas State University and is pursuing a degree in Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management. He plans to use this degree to promote conservation and teach people how and why conservation is important. Andre is very enthusiastic about joining Go West Camps and is excited to share his love for the outdoors with the campers.

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JUANNA WITTENBACH

COUNSELOR

Juanna is a Colorado native who enjoys all of the many treasures Colorado has to offer. She grew up in the small mountain town of Granby/Winter Park. Juanna loves to be outside skiing, camping, fishing, hiking, rafting, and being at the lake. Her love of children started when she became an after school leader for elementary age children throughout her high school years. She is currently working in an elementary school as a campus assistant and 4th grade after school teacher. She has plans to pursue her elementary education degree in hope's of being a teacher. She enjoys making a positive impact on children and their futures. 

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alison o’neal

COUNSELOR

Alison is a science and nature enthusiast. She has earned a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Education and is a proud licensed Science Teacher at the secondary level. Alison enjoys working with children because of their endless energy and drive to try new things. Born and raised in Florida and recently relocated from California, she is new to Colorado and excited about new hiking and backpacking opportunities ahead of her. Alison is excited to work at Go West because she looks forward to sharing her passion for the outdoors and making a positive impact on today's youth!