To meet our 2018 Summer Staff, click here!
Bud and Isabelle Brown, Founders
Friendly Pines Camp was founded in 1941 by Bud and Isabelle, better known as “Uncle Bud” and “Brownie” around camp. The camp has grown tremendously since their first camping trip here with their children and several of their little friends, and now stands as a monument to their life’s work. Three generations of Arizona youngsters have benefited from their inspiration and devotion.
Bebe May, Owner and Senior Director
Bebe Brown May now carries on the family traditions that she and her late husband, Jack May, so carefully nurtured since assuming the ownership of the camp from her father and mother back in the early 1960’s. Jack was a Certified Camp Director (ACA), and brought to Friendly Pines a business background of over 20 years; an education in one of England’s finest schools, and four years active duty as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force. With Bebe, the daughter of Uncle Bud and Brownie, and a former teacher and counselor (M.A., Arizona State University) fluent in Spanish (M.I.M., Arizona Graduate School of International Management) as senior director, every phase of the camp operation receives her scrupulous personal attention. Rosemary (May) Taylor, as well as Christopher May, M.D. and his wife Barbara, remain involved in promotional and other activities. The fourth generation is represented by Chris and Barb’s daughter and son, Megan and Nicholas, as well as Rosemary’s two boys, Collin and Brock.
Kevin Nissen, Director
Kevin was a first-year counselor at Friendly Pines in 1978. He returned each summer thereafter until he graduated from Arizona State University. After half a dozen years of being a high school English teacher, Kevin returned to Friendly Pines with his family during the summer breaks. He eventually was hired as our year-round director in 1990. Kevin works with all phases of camp management where he offers his creativity, energy, and sense of humor.
Megan May, Assistant Director
Camp is truly in Megan’s blood. Starting at age 5, Megan enjoyed 10 summers as a camper before becoming a CIT and then an Assistant Counselor. In 2011, Megan was the Co-Head of the PhotoJournalism activity and the camp photographer. After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2014, Megan rejoined the FPC staff in 2015 as one of the Assistant Program Directors. In the fall of 2016, she became a year-round staff member. As the Assistant Director, Megan is in charge of hiring summer staff and developing meaningful programming for camp. As the great-granddaughter of Uncle Bud & Brownie, Megan is also a fourth generation family member of Friendly Pines camp.
Jonathan Pierson, Rental Director
Jonathan originally joined the Friendly Pines Camp staff in 2012 as one of the prep cooks in the Kitchen. We were graced with his efficiency and professionalism for three summers before he left to pursue other endeavors in the restaurant industry. In 2016, Jonathan joined us again as the Assistant Rental Director. He worked hard and proved himself and his attention to detail. During the 2017 summer season, he was promoted to Rental Director. As Rental Director, Jonathan has the responsibility of caring for all of our off-season rental groups; he is our main point of contact with the various school, church, and other groups that use our facilities during our ‘off-season.’
David Wangerin, Director of Food Service
David is originally from Minnesota and is a tenacious Twins fan. He relocated to Arizona and has been heading up the kitchen efforts of Friendly Pines Camp since 2000. David spends many long hours making sure that the kitchen is running smoothly and everyone is well-fed with delicious, wholesome food. Our food is one of our greatest attractions at Friendly Pines, and it is because of David’s hard work and determination.
Jason Blazer, Assistant Director of Food Service
Jason joined the FPC staff in the Spring of 2017. He was born in Washington D.C., but grew up in Prescott. After high school he served eight years in the military, during which he was able to travel around the world (and even lived in Japan!). After leaving the service, Jason followed his heart and graduated from the Arizona Culinary Institute. He then moved to Oregon to study holistic nutrition. The only thing Jason loves as much as cooking is the outdoors; he was lucky enough to work for the National Parks Department as a backcountry chef in Yosemite. Nothing makes him happier than bringing smiles to others through food.
Scotty Bryant, Equestrian Director
Scotty has been helping with the Friendly Pines Camp riding program since 2016. In 2017, he took over managing our riding program during the summer and off-season. Scotty is responsible for training our riding staff, overseeing lessons, and monitoring the health and well-being of our nearly 60 horses in the summer. Scotty is originally from Cheshire, England, but holds dual citizenship in England and the US. In his free time, Scotty enjoys radio & media arts and is a member of the local fencing club.
Matt Gilmer, Challenge Course Director
Originally from the flatlands of Chicago, Matt moved to Prescott in 2010 to pursue a career in Adventure Education studying at Prescott College. Matt started working at Friendly Pines in 2016 and has served as our Assistant Challenge Course Director over the last two summers. In 2017, Matt became our full-time Challenge Course and Outdoor Education Director. Matt believes in the subtle lessons the Challenge Course and natural world can bring its’ participants and is committed to provide a safe, fun space for participants to learn and grow together. In his free time, Matt enjoys rock climbing, scuba diving and soaking in the natural beauty of Prescott.
Tracy Nissen and Carmen Stevens, Registrar and Bookkeeper
Tracy has long history with Friendly Pines Camp. She has served as the bookkeeper, has taught pet farm and jewelry, and has worked in the summer camp office for several years. In 2015 she took over the Registrar’s duties with the retirement of Sharron Goligoski.
Carmen began her time with Friendly Pines Camp in 1998 as a part-time office assistant. She is now our full-time Bookkeeper, and spends much of her time managing accounts. Carmen is a recent first-time grandparent, and hopes little Larissa will be able to join us soon.
Javier Gonzalez and Stever Speirs, Maintenance
Stever and Javier are camp’s resident maintenance men. They are always ready and willing to get their hands dirty with any projects or improvements around camp. Stever has worked for camp for the last five years, but was preceded by his father who worked for camp during the ‘90s. Both of Stever’s children attended Friendly Pines Camp, and his daughter even met her husband here. Stever is proud to have his oldest granddaughter at camp in the summer. Javier has been at Friendly Pines since 2003, and we quickly recognized his woodworking talents. Among many other things, Javier can be credited with the creation of a new totem pole displayed in the center of camp. Chad Newcomb is our most recent addition to the maintenance team. Chad has impressed us all with his careful, quality work.