Meet Our Camp Staff

KIDS for the BAY’s environmental education staff LOVES leading our Summer Camp!

Our Camp Leaders are year-round KIDS for the BAY staff members who teach our school-based programs in local elementary schools, lead nature-based field trips and train classroom teachers during the school year. Additional Camp Leaders also join us each summer. KIDS for the BAY’s Camp Leaders are all college graduates and have multiple years of experience teaching environmental education in various settings. We also hire several Summer Camp Assistant Leaders each summer. Please click here for current positions open.

The summer months provide the opportunity for KIDS for the BAY staff to do what they love the most — be in the outdoors with campers! Please read below to learn about each of our amazing Camp Staff members for summer 2021, and to find out why they love what they do.

LAUREL SEBASTIAN
KftB Education Manager
Summer Camp Leader

“Scientific studies always begin with a curious drive to answer questions about the world around us. KIDS for the BAY camps provide the perfect opportunity to ask, explore and answer countless questions about our diverse environment. I’m excited to guide campers through this process and help develop wonder and an insatiable quest for knowledge in each camper.”

Laurel is excited to share her passion for environmental stewardship with the KIDS for the BAY community, to lead our program staff team and to deliver the Watershed Action Program to our partner schools. Before joining KIDS for the BAY as a Summer Camp Leader in summer 2019, Laurel taught environmental education and conducted field research with Mountain Studies Institute for two years in Colorado. Her favorite project was establishing a citizen science program in the National Forest to monitor stream and forest health with local school students. Laurel grew up exploring Bay Area ecosystems with her family and from an early age she led environmental action groups in school. Laurel has researched plants in Mount Rainer and Yosemite National Parks, and loves identifying plants and animals in her free time. Laurel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Colorado College. Laurel speaks conversational Spanish and has traveled in Central and South America.


JAMIE BALL
KftB Program Manager
Summer Camp Leader

“I believe inspiring and teaching campers about the environment is key for future environmental conservation worldwide. It is so important to encourage our campers to be curious and explore their surroundings, because the learning possibilities are endless! Many environmental leaders have inspired me, and now I really enjoy being an environmental leader for KIDS for the BAY campers!”

Jamie is thrilled to teach and inspire campers about environmental stewardship with KIDS for the BAY! She grew up in both the Canadian Rockies and the San Francisco Bay Area, which has allowed her to explore different environments and engage in natural sciences from a young age. Jamie has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies and Geography as well as a certification in Permaculture Design from the University of Victoria, Canada. She loves working with children and teaching them about the great outdoors. Jamie has been very fortunate to spend time abroad in Paraguay and Nicaragua teaching school students about environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture. In her spare time, Jamie loves to backpack, ski, run, paint, and explore tide pools!


SHAY HART
KftB Lead Program Manager
Summer Camp Leader

“I am so excited to finally get back outside in nature with children, and spend our days exploring all of the unique ecosystems in Tilden Park!”

Shay is very excited to join the KIDS for the BAY team and to continue her career in environmental education in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area! Shay has also had the pleasure of teaching children environmental education in Las Vegas, Reno, Florida, and Indiana. She is passionate about connecting people with the environment in order to help them develop a deep love and appreciation for their local environment and the natural world. Shay has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Ecology, as well as a Masters Degree in Environmental Education. In her free time Shay enjoys hiking, swimming, cooking, music, and nature photography. She also loves bird watching and can’t wait to find some new species by the bay!


VIOLETA ABARCA
Environmental Educator
Summer Camp Leader

“I am excited to work with children in a beautiful natural environment, and grow and learn from those around me. I can’t wait to have some fun and get the summer started!”

Violeta has a Bachelor’s Degree in Latinx Studies, with a minor in Education, and she is currently working toward her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Screenwriting. She is bilingual in Spanish and English, and has taught English to children of all ages, and to adults. She has also previously worked in an outdoor recreation summer camp. Violeta grew up in a lot of places including the San Francisco Bay Area, New Mexico and even Massachusetts. All of this moving around has made her a compassionate and easy going person, as well as caring for others. Violeta has volunteered in urban gardens and is always learning about the environment and how to care for it. In her free time, you can find Violeta studying, reading, or exploring new hiking trails around the bay.


YULISSA ESPEJO
Environmental Educator
Summer Camp Leader

“My name is Yulissa, also known as Yuli. I am so excited to get back to teaching summer camp and make the childrens’ summer one to remember! I’m also really excited to get back outdoors and explore the beauty of nature with all the kiddos! I can’t wait to be adventurous and help our campers discover that you don’t need to travel very far to find adventure and beauty in nature!”

Yulissa has been teaching in summer camps and schools for the past three years. She loves to teach young children about everything from nature to science, to simply having fun! She believes there is always something new to learn as well as to teach. Yulissa recently graduated from the University of California, Merced with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She is working towards pursuing a Master’s Degree in education. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, nature and the outdoors have always been a part of Yulissa’s life and experiences. She enjoys going to beaches and lakes, and especially enjoys exploring new areas. Yulissa can’t wait to lead groups of campers in exploring the beautiful Bay Area, and to teach them to love and enjoy it as much as she does! Fun fact, Yulissa is bilingual in Spanish & English.


MAX SWINDERMAN
Environmental Educator
Summer Camp Assistant Leader

“I am very excited to work with kids who are ready to explore in nature this summer! I believe that now more than ever, it is crucial that we teach our campers the importance of sustainability, as well as the wonder of the various ecosystems that make the Bay Area so special. In times where technology can take over too much of our free time, showing our campers the ecological beauty of our environment will only lead to curiosity and hopefully will inspire our campers to become the environmental stewards that we need in our world!”

Max is beyond excited to share all his experience with nature and to inspire campers to learn about the importance of the environment in all our lives. He is very eager to share the “learn by doing” motto of Cal Poly, where he is currently studying Environmental Management, and to contribute to countless informative, and most of all fun, environmental experiences for campers. As a Bay Area native growing up in Alameda, Max loves the different and unique environments that surround the San Francisco Bay, and cannot wait to explore them with the campers. While working on his Bachelors of Science Degree in San Luis Obispo, Max has been lucky enough to explore beaches, hills, and mountain ranges to study plants, go rock climbing and  skiing, and explore in nature as much as possible!


SOPHIA MCDONALD
Environmental Educator
Summer Camp Assistant Leader

“Growing up in the Bay Area, I have had the opportunity to explore the abundant environments that surround this unique ecosystem. I am excited to share my love of the environment and sustainability with the campers. I think it is so important that children are exposed to nature so they become inspired to be the environmental stewards that this world needs!”

Sophia’s passion for the environment started at a young age, while spending time outside and exploring the unique environments that surround the San Francisco Bay Area. Her passion for teaching kids about the environment grew when she became involved with the Earth Team program in high school, which focused on educating elementary school students about the importance of the three bin system for sorting waste. Sophia is a senior at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Washington, majoring in Global and Environmental Studies. In her position at school as a Resident Assistant, she always focuses on environmental sustainability when developing student programs. Sophia enjoys her time on the American Lake with the PLU rowing team, where she can see the beautiful Mount Rainier from the lake. She is excited to explore the outdoors with KIDS for the BAY campers and help them learn to love and respect the environment!