Josh started his camping career in 1997 at Camp Foster on summer staff. This was followed by teaching in South Dakota, being a YMCA Program Director in Nebraska, and serving in our U.S. Military as a paratrooper. Josh has been back at Camp Foster YMCA as the executive director since 2008. Josh claims to be the luckiest man in the world. He gets to do the things that make him happy and calls it a career. Those things are based around serving others, providing children opportunities to learn in the greatest classroom setting available (the great outdoors!), and enjoying the variety that each new day brings working for the YMCA.
Abbie joined the team at Camp Foster in 2013. She and her two younger brothers spent many summers at Camp Foster and Abbie is proud to serve the organization that gave them so many fond memories! Originally from Fort Dodge, Abbie attended Iowa State University, graduating with a degree in communication studies and animal ecology. She fell in love with the camping industry after spending three great summers as a camp counselor and has made it her professional career since 2007. Her goal is to provide every child with an outdoor experience in a safe environment where they can learn and grow side-by-side with caring adults. Abbie is a nature nut and spends most of her free time walking her two furry mutts, riding a bike, traveling, and hiking. Abbie is excited to help you and your camper have an amazing experience!
Born and raised just a mere 5 miles up the lake shore and in the hospitality business with his folks owning a motel, Kevin has witnessed an evolution in the Iowa Great Lakes and at Camp Foster – including the doubling of Camp’s size in 1986 ( 107 acres to 214 ). His career at camp began in February of 1981, becoming only the second caretaker of the property. His full time year-round duties have seen the remodel or construction of most of the buildings, facilities and installation of municipal utilities ( A-Men ) in his 4 decades at the camp, including winterizing of many of the buildings for off-season use. There is likely not a pipe, outlet or building that he hasn’t had his hands on. Kevin is also an Eagle Scout and former scoutmaster in Spirit Lake. His many years of experience makes him a valuable asset and historian for the camp.
If you think Val looks familiar, you are right! Val was the Office Manager for Camp Foster from May of 2011 to December of 2017. Val has lived in the lakes area since 2005. She resides with her husband, daughter, and many furry friends on an acreage outside of Spirit Lake. In her free time Val enjoys camping, hiking, and the great outdoors. Val is happy to be back at Foster and is ready to help you out with all of your camper questions.
Born and raised in Spirit Lake, Brian started going to Camp Foster when he was a mere four years old, and never really left–spending time as a camper, staff, and volunteer. He left camp and was away for almost ten years, but never forgot the magic of Camp and is excited to return with his family after living in Huntsville, AL. He loves the outdoors, especially climbing, watersports, and hiking. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and their three children.
My name is Emily Walden, but the majority of people in the camp world call me Nemo! I became “Nemo” my first summer on staff at Camp Foster in 2012 and never looked back. I spent 6 years on staff at Camp Foster and after a brief hiatus working for other YMCA Camps, I am excited to serve as the Day Camp Director at Camp Foster as of February 2020!
Andrew has been with the YMCA movement since 2005 when he began working for the Ottumwa Family YMCA in Ottumwa, IA. In 2007 Andrew joined the Bedell Family YMCA where he served the organization in various capacities until being named the CEO in December 2016. Andrew his wife Rachel and their daughter now enjoy spending time together enjoying the Iowa Great Lakes.
Kyle Struve is the Communications Director for the YMCA of the Okobojis. A native of Sheldon, Iowa, Kyle has been familiar with the lakes area his entire life. He received his B.A. in Graphic Communications from the University of Northern Iowa. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, as well as hunting and fishing.
Amanda moved to Okoboji from Omaha, NE, where she worked for 6 years in public accounting with Deloitte. She earned her BSBA and MPA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and holds an active CPA license. Originally from Sioux Falls, Amanda spent much of her childhood visiting family in the lakes area, so she is excited to be back full time as the Y’s Chief Financial Officer.
Cindy grew up around the Marshall, MN area and enjoys spending time with family. Cindy has spent her career working for the YMCA in a variety of capacities at locations in MN, OH, and now IA. Cindy is excited to join the team and help support all of the wonderful things happening through the YMCA of the Okobojis!