Mike Stillson (aka Otter) – Executive Director
I have not missed a summer of camp since I was 4 years old. You may even say that I am addicted to the camp experience. I am the person that I am today because of camp. I have formed some of my closest relationships at’ camp and have been shaped by my counselors that I had as a camper, and the campers and staff that I work with as a camp professional.
Every summer I see how camp plays a strong part in our camper’s lives. To say that camp changes our campers in a positive way would be an understatement. I watch our campers grow through our activities and see how the intentional programming develops life skills, critical thinking, communications, self-confidence and so much more. Our campers are not just having “fun” at camp, but they are becoming more well-rounded individuals and better people.
There is truly no substitute for the camp experience. I believe that we offer a safe and secure program where campers are able to explore, grow, and develop into confident individuals. I look forward to seeing the smiles on their faces, and hearing their conversations and their memorable stories of their adventures with their camp friends and staff.
I have been the Executive Director of Valley Trails Summer Camp for the past 21 summers, and a professional in camping for over 31 years. I hold a BS in General Studies, and am the President of the WAIC (Western Association of Independent Camps) and a former member of the Southern California Section of the ACA (American Camp Association) Board of Directors. I also serve on the board for CCFY (California Collaboration for Youth) and advocate on legislative issues that affect youth and the camp industry. I am involved in all stages of planning, training, and leading of the programs on a year-round basis.
Lettuce – Program Director
When I first started working as a Senior Leader at Valley Trails Summer Camp in the summer of 2015, I had no idea camp would feel like a second home. Uncontrollable laughter, sock tans, and unforgettable memories are only a few things each summer brings here at VT Ranch. I could not be more lucky that my “job” feels nothing like a job at all. This year, I am excited to be taking on a new role: Program Director! In addition to my AA in Communication, the excitement continues as I will have earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Communication from California Polytechnic University Pomona in June of 2018. In the future, I plan to continue my education by earning my master’s degree. I am thrilled to greet new and returning campers this summer and can’t wait to make new memories that will last a lifetime!