Meet the Founder:
Stan Oken, Coach
As an educator and continued owner of River Way Ranch Camp, Coach, has devoted his life to ensuring every child experiences all that summer camp has to offer. The Oken family has owned and operated River Way Ranch Camp since 1967. With over 100 years combined experience, the Oken family continues to provide a stable, fun, and educational summer adventure for children. Recipient of the California Family Business Award in 2000 and 2008, River Way has also been featured on the “Today” show. The Oken family, along with year-round staff, devotes the entire year to the planning and organizing of the upcoming summer.
Meet the Staff:
Jerry Reid, Mahoney
Chief Operating Officer
Mahoney came to River Way in 2007 with decades of experience as a former Parks & Recreation Director and past member of the State Board of Directors for California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS). A BS in Recreation Administration and a Master’s in Public Administration ensure River Way is successful year round. Mahoney’s abilities as a Certified Lifeguard Instructor, Ropes Course Facilitator, Class B driver Instructor, make him an excellent leader for River Way’s staff. But it is his hands on approach and ease with our campers that make him a natural Director.
Phil Slaton, Mr. Phil
Associate Camp Director
With decades of education and camp experience, Mr. Phil is the glue that holds the River Way family together. Since 1999, staff and campers alike, credit Mr. Phil with enhancing their camp experience. As he oversees the daily operations, Mr. Phil is never too busy to give a smile, a pep talk, or advice.
Hayley Botwin, Sparkle
Sparkle began her River Way experience as a Buckaroo more than 15 years ago. A graduate of Boston University, Sparkle joins the Camp family in a full-time capacity. Sparkle brings with her the experience as a camper, CIT, JC, Counselor and most recently the last 3 years as one of our Camp Moms.
Dean Kendall, Fox
Co-Director/International Program Director
Fox started with us in the summer of 2001 and returned to River Way for 7 summers, making special appearances for his 8th and 9th years at Family Camp. In 2005 and 2006 Fox spent 2 summers gaining experience working in his home country working British summer camps. Starting as a counselor he worked his way up as the Outcamp Director, Senior Boys Division Leader, Assistant Camp Director, Human Resource Director and Family Camp Director. In 2013 he will become our first full time international staff member, living outside the U.S., overseeing our River Way Abroad program. His drive and commitment is second only to his desire to see camp grow and develop in new and interesting ways. Always looking for ways to improve on the old and bring in the new. Fox is well placed to oversee our new program.
Andrea Montross, Little
Director of Enrollment
Little joined the camp family in March 2010. With experience as a high level administrative assistant and a strong customer service background, Little immedidately contributed to our office team. A mother of two, Little relates to our River Way parents with ease, and with a husband as a pilot, she is a pro when it comes to camper transportation. Little has added a new dimension to our camp office with her personnel and organizational skills.
Jason Rich, Squirrlee
Human Resource Director
Squirrlee joined the River Way family in 2006. He has been both waverunner and ski staff during his tenure at camp and has also been one of the most requested counselors by campers in his years with River Way. Squirrlee is a natural when it comes to motivating campers to try new camp activities and his spirit and energy make him a perfect fit as our top staff recruiter.
Simon Cundall, Maui
Family Camp Director
Maui is one of our longest serving international staff member hailing from Christchurch New Zealand. Since graduating from the University of Canterbury, he has 7 years of experience with us in a variety of positions. He has served as the Ranchero Division leader, Assistant Boys Director, Special Events Director and in 2012 taken on the duel roll of Senior Boys Division Leader as well as being the Wonder Valley Family Camp Assistant Director. He has a passion for the summer camp industry and works hard to ensure that all campers, counselors and families who attend River Way and Wonder Valley have the best experience possible.
Director of Client Services
Crash first came to us in the summer of 2006 spending two summers on the ski and waverunner staff. She then took a couple years off to complete her BA Degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing from California State University, Long Beach. After graduating in 2010 she returned to camp and stepped up her role helping with the senior girls division and heading the adult evening programs for Family Camp. She now joins our full time team and with that brings her fashion flare, customer service experience, and previous knowledge of camp.
Lacey Oken, Slowpoke
Director of Promotional Design
Slowpoke is 3rd generation family with an eye and creative knack for the arts. Slowpoke, who has been in camp her entire life, is passionate about making sure all campers enjoy the camp experience to its fullest, but it’s her guitar and vocals that bring joyous tears at the close of each session’s campfire.
Heather Hardy, Dutch
Dutch grew up in the foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada’s near Tahoe and has always been a lover of the outdoors. She is an avid traveler with a passion for learning new languages and understanding cultures from around the world. She graduated from San Francisco State with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Dutch worked for two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA helping to bring family strengthening programs and resources to her hometown community. Through this she also helped facilitate a Summer Day Camp for at risk youth and saw what a difference it made in each and every child who participated. She is excited to bring both her passion for camp and her background in administrative support and customer service to the River Way Ranch Camp family.