Forest Lake Camp Director and Owner Team
Gene and Lilly Devlin, Directors
Gene is responsible for our day-to-day operations, marketing, recruitment and alumni development. Gene was a teacher and administrator for 15 years in the private boarding school world prior to working at FLC. He most recently served as the Director of Admission at a boarding school in New England and was before that the Director of their Wilderness School, where he led students and families in the outdoors for over 8 years.
Gene possesses a wealth of knowledge in working with children and families and has years of administrative experience. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1996 with a degree in Education and English with a minor in outdoor education. Gene also holds a Master’s Degree in Organization and Leadership from The University of Antioch New England. Pictured here with his wife, Lilly, their youngest son George, and FLC campers, Skyeler and Camden.
Why do I return to FLC every summer: “For me camp is a place of community, renewal and self-discovery. I return each summer because I take great pleasure in seeing our campers make new connections and discoveries about themselves through relationships and their environment.”
Lilly is responsible for staff hiring and training and curriculum design. Lilly began her own camping days at an all girls’ camp in Maine at the age of 10. She returned every summer until the age of 22. She worked as a CIT, counselor and eventually held a head counselor role. During those formative years Lilly developed a deepened commitment to the impact that a summer camp experience can have on each child’s development. Over the past 13 years Lilly has actively been involved in education, in the classroom and in wilderness settings. She has worked with elementary age children up to high school, as well as with families.
Lilly’s high energy, creativity, compassion and understanding of young people is a true value to the Forest Lake community. Lilly not only brings to Forest Lake her quality of character but also a deepened knowledge and vision of the camping world.
What excites you about being a member of the FLC family:“When I am asked what I look forward to most in my role at Forest Lake, the word family consistently comes to mind. I have always felt as though there is no greater environment outside the immediate home than a camp family. Family, to me, means feeling connected, taking time to listen and share. It means encouraging, challenging, and supporting one another. Family is having fun. Forest Lake brings all of the same values.”
Geoff Blanck, Owner/Associate Director
A second-generation alumnus of Forest Lake Camp, Geoff spent 6 years at FLC in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. His brother Rob Blanck also spent several years at FLC over that time and his father Bob Blanck spent many many summers on ‘the hill’ in the 50’s and 60’s.
Geoff is a graduate of Hobart College and Babson Business School, has lived and worked in London, traveled extensively in New Zealand and now resides in Waterbury, Vermont. Pictured here with his wife, Shalagh, an alumna of the Brown Ledge Camp for girls in Colchester, Vermont, and campers Emma and Annecy.
Owning FLC is a dream come true for Geoff and his family. A highlight of his summer is leading the old Indian rain chant ‘Flee, Fly, Flo’ at campfire every Sunday night to ward off the clouds for the upcoming week.
Why do I return to FLC every summer: “It is both invigorating and surreal to own the camp that has been part of my life since I was 7 years old and part of my family since the mid 1950’s. I returned to FLC for the beauty and tranquility and the ability to positively shape a child’s life.
When I was at FLC I learned how to make friends, what it means to be a leader and experienced things that I never would have had the chance to experience otherwise. Having the opportunity to provide that to a few hundred children every year is exhilarating. I am proud and eager to continue the wonderful traditions of FLC and seeing the smiling faces of campers every day makes me a very happy camper myself.”
Tobin Kelly, Owner/Associate Director
Tobin is an alumnus of Camp Tohkomeupog in Madison, New Hampshire where he spent 18 years as a camper, counselor and Head Counselor in addition to leading the alumni association for ten years. He has spent many happy days hiking and canoeing in the White Mountains and has been discovering the Adirondack High Peaks during his time at Forest Lake! Tobin is a graduate of Harvard College and Babson Business School. He has spent most of his career in the education and training field when not at camp. Pictured here with his wife, Margaret, Lower School Admissions Director at the Fessenden School in Newton, Massachusetts, his son, Quinn and daughter Kenzie, who is a current camper at FLC.
Why do I return to Forest Lake each summer?: “Growing up, summertime meant going to camp where I could enjoy the outdoors, camaraderie and spirit of a traditional summer camp. The friendships I formed have been lifelong and the experiences so special that I was even married at camp! When I had the opportunity to get involved with Forest Lake, it was and is the continuation of a dream come true.”
Forest Lake Camp Administrative Staff
Elyse Rubchinuk, Girls Head Counselor
This summer will be Elyse’s 4th summer at FLC. Elyse was born and raised in New Hampshire and is currently finishing her junior year at Bates College in Maine. Elyse is majoring in Environmental Studies, with concentrations in philosophy, psychology, and education. Elyse has brought these passions with her to camp and among many things, has been actively involved with camp’s composting system, recycling in the cabins and a part of FLC’s 16 year old LIT (Leaders in Training) program. Elyse is a lifeguard at camp and for the past two summers was an active participant and leader in the wilderness program. Of the many sports Elyse coaches at camp, her favorite one is basketball. Elyse shares, “I love being able to work with a team of girls to prepare for a competition and to see their progress throughout the summer.” Last summer Elyse had the pleasure of spending time at the stables helping the horsey girls with lessons. “Riding is a special place for campers to try something totally new that they may not get the chance to do at home. Some of my favorite camp moments happened in the riding ring.”
2016 brings new adventure for Elyse as she joins the leadership team as one of Girls’ Camps Head Counselors. Elyse’s knowledge of camp, her passion for tradition and her creative spirit, combined for her deep devotion to the camper experience, will make her a strong member of the team. Elyse is looking forward to making new memories with old campers and staff members, as well as meeting new members of the FLC family and creating bonds that will last a lifetime. She continues to be excited to support the LIT program and to watch the girls grow in many ways throughout their leadership experiences this coming summer. This summer she plans on bringing her love of sports as well as her willingness to try many new things. That is what camp is all about!
Why do I return to FLC every summer? “I return to FLC because I have the privilege of seeing growth in all of the campers throughout their time at FLC. Camp is a place where you are able to be yourself and not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone through trying new things. I am very excited for this new role at camp, and I look forward to the exciting challenges it may bring.”
Nicolette Wesly, Girls Head Counselor
Nicolette comes from Bloomington, Indiana where she has devoted her early adult years to helping others, both in the classroom as well as in summer camp communities. She strives to support her staff, her students and her campers in overcoming challenges and in reaching new and exciting heights in their learning and growth. Nicolette recently graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN with a Bachelors of Arts in Speech and Hearing Science with a minor in Sign Language. She hopes to apply to grad school in either Audiology, Elementary Education or Mental Health counseling. She is keeping her options open as she holds many passions!
The sense of family is what drew Nicolette to FLC. She loves that FLC is not only a camp where she will work but a place that she will hold in her heart and call her home away from home. The FLC Promise is particularly exciting in Nicolette’s mind, as she deeply values the opportunities for campers to achieve independence and to grow as people. FLC’s Promise encourages campers to reach for their best each day.
Nicolette enjoys working with people, especially children and loves to stay busy. She supports her clients with disabilities, advocating for them and helping them to be as independent as possible while encouraging them to engage and build positive, healthy relationships. She loves art and enjoys painting, ceramics, attending art fairs, music festivals, musicals and plays. She also enjoys cooking and going on walks with friends and family. Camp will be the perfect place for Nicolette! Nicolette is excited to share her creative energy with her campers and staff, her lively personality, her positive attitude, and her spirited optimism. Nicolette believes that a bad day or situation can be turned around with the right attitude and with the ability to look on the bight side of things. Camp is her passion.
What I am looking forward to this summer?
I am looking forward to being at CAMP and to helping make FLC a fun and memorable summer, with endless laughter, jokes, tears of joy, trials and triumphs. I hope to build friendships that will endure seasons and years to come. I hope to make this a summer to remember that will leave campers, staff and myself with something to look forward to year round. I look forward to my personal growth as a leader and as a person, not only through the things that will be successful but also through the things will present challenges. I look forward to being a positive role model and to encourage campers to believe in themselves and to encourage, support and empower them. I look forward to thinking of FLC as my family and to feel the biggest smile on my face each time I think of it.
Ben Nicols, Boys Head Counselor
Ben is excited to spend his 3rd summer at Forest Lake Camp this summer. Though he grew up just down the road, Ben did not arrive to Forest Lake Camp until 2014 when he had the pleasure of joining the FLC family as our waterfront director. Ben made a huge impact down at waterfront, sharing nonstop fun and laughter to all ages. He may be most notably remembered for epic counselor vs. camper beach volleyball tournaments. Fishing derbies and greasy watermelons are of the many traditions that came back into camp life during Ben’s tenure as waterfront director. Waterfront director is a coveted position at camp and Ben thought he had the best job of anyone. Not only does the job come with swim lessons, paddle boards, kayaks and sailing, but it also earned Ben the best tan on staff and first in the water each day!
Summer 2016 brings new excitement and opportunities for Ben as he takes on the role of one of Boys’ Camp Head Counselors. Ben is looking forward to helping keep the amazing FLC traditions alive while at the same time trying to help improve experiences for campers summer after summer. Ben is a key team player at FLC and we look forward to the many moments where he will continue to help campers reach their potential. His patience, ability to connect with all campers and staff and his deep appreciation of individual differences and strengths makes him a valued member of FLC. We are excited to see Ben on Boy’s Hill this summer and know he will continue to make a lasting impact.
Why do you return to FLC each summer?
I return FLC because it is an amazing opportunity to observe growth in adolescents in a compact time frame. Being able to watch campers challenge themselves, and overcome personal obstacles, whether it be at the climbing wall, on a hike, or at the waterfront, provides the staff of FLC with a huge sense of satisfaction. Many parents of FLC campers have seen huge amounts of growth take place in their children while at FLC, and being able to watch those changes occur first hand is what keeps me wanting to come back to FLC.
Jamie Kerrigan, Boys Head Counselor
This summer will be Jamie’s 3rd year at camp and he feels each one gets more unbelievable then the next. Jamie has an undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in Physiology, and biomechanics and will be starting a PGCE and a second masters program in September. Jamie has worked in schools his whole working career from Special Educational schools to mainstream schools, covering ages from 8 straight through to adults. His experiences in the classroom and out in the filed with students, combined with his passion for the great outdoors are what led Jamie to FLC, and are of the many things that make Jamie such a strong part of the FLC team.
During Jamie’s time at FLC he has played several diverse roles; most notably a rugby coach, soccer enthusiast, life guard, trip leader, and rock climbing instructor. Some of Jamie’s favorite experiences of camp have been taking groups of boys on hiking and canoe trips and creating lifelong memories. Jamie feels these types of experiences bring the FLC family even closer together. Jamie will be joining the leadership team at FLC this summer as one of our Boys Head Counselors. Jamie’s commitment to young people and his time in both traditional and nontraditional settings is a giant strength that he brings to our camp community.
Jamie returns to FLC with enthusiasm, drive and determination to give every child the summer of a lifetime and something they will never forget.
Why do you return to FLC each summer?
There is nowhere else on earth I would rather spend my summers. I get to spend 8 weeks making new friends, seeing my FLC family and working with awesome campers day in and day out. I have people around me who I can rely on and who want to join me in creating an amazing summer for our campers. Every year at the end of summer I am asked to sum up FLC in one word. I spend hours thinking about this one word and I think it is an impossible task. FLC cannot be simply summed up in one word, the experiences we have here cannot be put into one simple phrase. FLC and the experiences we have are too vast and too great to be summed up. It is a place I long for and a place I miss when I am gone. It is a home away from home for so many of us. This is why I return to FLC.
Brett Booker, Waterfront Director
Brett first came to camp as the soccer specialist in 1990 and returned for 4 consecutive summers. After an 18-year break (which Brett considers his sabbatical) he returned as Head Counselor in 2012-2015. This summer Brett will take on the role of FLC’s Waterfront Director. Brett is often seen enjoying a game of dock-out down at our waterfront or teaching a camper how to roll a kayak. Brett is instrumental in maintaining many of FLC’s deep traditions as well as offering new and spirited life down at our waterfront. Brett brings much laughter every week to Campfire, values the opportunity to share camp life with his boys, and is often seen in festive attire during camp events. Brett met his fiancé and FLC alumna Sadie Ball at FLC.
Why do I return to FLC every summer?: “I have 2 small boys who I must ensure experience the FLC factor and working at camp allows me to help make that legacy possible. Forest Lake is a magical place that allows for a degree of personal growth unlike anywhere else I have ever known. The relationships and bonds between fellow staff members and campers and indeed campers and staff are bonds that, speaking from experience, last a lifetime. At camp I am able to really develop and use skills that are only really applicable at Camp. Where else can I teach people about communication skills and personal development and then take part in a campfire Skit with Custard Pies? With the current ownership and director’s mission to make FLC the best camp it can be, I feel I am truly part of an exciting legacy.”
Sadie Ball, Program Coordinator
Sadie started her career at FLC as a camper in 2001 and progressed through the roles of CIT, junior counselor and counselor. In 2010, Sadie became the Program Coordinator and continues to fulfill that role. She enjoys instructing archery and was recently certified as a Level II Archery Instructor. Sadie looks forward to improving the program and contributing to activities at the archery range. Sadie currently works with middle school aged children at the Saratoga Regional YMCA. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2010 and The London School of Economics in 2011.
Why do I return to FLC? “My twin sister, Remy, and I both fell in love with camp in our first summer despite attending separate summer camp sessions. After 2001, we insisted on returning as 8-week campers as one month was just not long enough for either of us. I continue to return to camp because it is home and the Forest Lake community is my family.”
Bob Duffy, Activities Director
Bob has been with FLC since the year 2000. He has filled a number of roles at the camp including Coach, Lifeguard, Program Director and Head Counselor. This summer he is looking forward to continuing to take campers whitewater rafting and helping out with athletics. When not at camp Bob is a special education and phys. ed. teacher in the town of Lake Luzerne. Originally from Brooklyn, Bob has fallen in love with the beauty of the Adirondacks.
Why do I return to FLC every summer? “When I was looking for a camp for my daughter I was looking for a safe, exciting, enriching place for her to spend the summer. On my first visit to FLC I was impressed by the fact that so many counselors had been former campers and by the fact that so many campers had been at FLC for multiple years. This told me that campers built a love for this place and each other. My daughter was lucky enough to spend three years at FLC and I have been lucky enough to work and play at this camp for more than ten years. Enjoying the great outdoors with a great, big camp family has been a life enriching experience.”
Olivia Ridge, Trips Director
Olivia lives in Minnesota and first came to work at Forest Lake Camp in 2013. At Forest Lake Camp she found a place to combine all of her passions: canoeing, photography, and adventuring in the woods. Her favorite thing about camp is sharing her joy of hiking and camping with her campers from different cultures and backgrounds. Being in the wilderness is part of who Olivia is and she hopes to bring that out in all of her campers.
My passion for the wilderness began on canoe trips in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. I grew up paddling and camping with my parents. It has always been a part of my life. In my childhood, sometimes it felt like something my parents made me do. Then I went to a camp where I got to go on extended canoe trips in remote areas. It wasn’t until camp that it became my own, something that I truly loved. Working outdoors all summer at Forest Lake Camp makes me never want to go inside again.
Why do I return to FLC every summer? “FLC is my center. All year, I dream about camp and find myself always drawn to the Forest Lake Family. Camp is a true Utopia of creativity, personal growth, learning from people of all ages, and breathing in fresh mountain air on sunshine days. Here, we find our best selves and delight in sharing our gifts with others. The most amazing part for me is discovering the Adirondacks with the campers. The mountains are my second home and the campers inspire me in exploring all of the beautiful wilderness surrounding camp. Our trips through FLC are all unique and equally special to me. I look forward to meeting so many new mountains and faces this summer!”
John Cullen, Senior Administrator
In the course of 20+ years at FLC, John has been a junior camper, intermediate camper, senior camper, CIT (counselor-in-training), and a JC (Junior Counselor). He was the captain of his color war team (1969 – they won, and yes his name is on the plaque in the mess hall). He has been a Cabin Counselor, taught archery, taught waterskiing, and taught golf. John’s FLC experience has also included Trip Director, Waterfront Director, a Head Counselor, and even some years has had loosely defined responsibilities, that mostly revolve around making sure everyone has a good time at camp. John is also the master of ceremonies for our weekly Sunday night campfire.
John’s family now has 100+ summers of experience attending or working at FLC. John’s wife, Kelly has been FLC’s camp nurse since 1998 and all of the Cullen children have gone to FLC and all of those who have been old enough, have worked at camp during their college years.
Why do I return to FLC every summer? “My family and I come back to camp every year for the things that haven’t changed since long before I was even aware that FLC existed: the natural beauty of the lake, campus, and the Adirondack Mountains. Meteor Showers and Aurora Borealis in August, hot days, and cool nights. Learning from experience that anything cooked over an open fire has to taste better. Camp is where so many have had the opportunity to take the first steps towards learning to make their own decisions; what to wear, what activities to enjoy, what new things to try, talking to someone you don’t know, and making friends with people you probably wouldn’t get to know at all except for camp. It’s the friendships that most of all have defined my FLC experience.”