Camp Runoia is an authentic, down to earth, caring sleepaway camp.
A member of the Runoia staff since 1995, Alex Jackson originally hails from northern England and now lives in Maine. She first encountered American summer camps while studying for her BSC in Physical Education and Sports Science. After completing her teaching certification, Alex worked with youth, both in the classroom and outdoors, with an emphasis on experiential education. Alex also holds a Masters degree in Camp Administration and Leadership from Touro University. With twenty-five plus summers at Runoia and over a decade as a Director, Alex is a dedicated camping professional.
During the “off season,” Alex is leading and guiding the year round team, connecting with families and navigating camp infrastructure upgrades and program design. Working closely with the Assistant Directors (Colleen O’Malley, Jai Cobb Kells, and Jen Dresdow), she pays great attention to all of the details of operating one of the premiere camps in Maine.
Alex still finds time to be hands-on teaching campers on the ropes course or at the lake. As an American Camp Association Standards Visitor, Alex takes a keen interest in the safety of all our program areas in and out of camp. Alex is a member of the Maine Summer Camps board and also sits on the Maine State trip leaders committee.
Alex is dedicated to upholding camp tradition with a progressive approach and leading Runoia with the goal of longevity and excellence.
Colleen works as an Assistant Director of Camp Runoia in collaboration with Alex and Pam year-round, and works with our summer administrative team to lead and support staff, connect with parents and campers, and help our community by leading Runoia’s communications.
While she recently celebrated the milestone of one year on the year-round team, Colleen is no stranger to Camp Runoia. She started at Runoia in 2018 as a counselor and returned in 2019 as a Wilderness Trip leader. In 2020, when we were all sequestered at camp, Colleen supported staff in our Head of Cabin position and as a leader on the waterfront, Evening Programs and daily program in camp.
Colleen is now typically the first face and voice to greet our newest families and serves as a key point of communication for first-time Runoia parents leading up to and during the summer season. Communications are Colleen’s favorite way to support the Runoia mission – she is often behind the keyboard connecting with families and staff, pulling together important messages, and managing our social media and blog.
Colleen holds both a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in teaching from Binghamton University. She previously taught high school biology for three years and is an avid outdoors woman. In the ‘off season,’ Colleen enjoys the beauty of Colorado from her home in Denver. She loves to make the grand return to Great Pond each June to experience a Maine summer on the water.
Jai Cobb Kells
Jai Cobb Kells returns to Camp Runoia for her second decade! After having been a long-time camper, Jai returned to help lead camp in 2012. Jai brings her enthusiasm for Camp Runoia, and is also a wilderness trip enthusiast, a fitness guru, a cook, and a mother of three. Her three daughters attend camp and her husband Jesse Kells joins the family frequently during the summer. Jai is the 5th generation of Cobbs in camping – the Cobb family has been in Maine camping since 1890.
As an Assistant Director, Jai is a summer parent liaison, works with resident counselors to help support them in their roles, and is Head of Cabin for Junior End. Jai’s belief in the importance of camp enables her to support and inspire Runoia’s counselors to do their best. Jai grew up in Cambridge, MA, attended Valencia College in Central Florida, and obtained her Medical Assistant degree in New Hampshire.
Jai’s passion for people and camp shines through in her connection with campers, staff and families. She is available by email anytime email@example.com
Jen Dresdow joined the Runoia team in 2010 and took up the reins of the riding program. As an Assistant Director at Runoia, she oversees the camp food service while continuing to supervise our equestrian program. She works on transportation and logistics, program planning, special events, and more. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in psychology and currently resides in the Washington, DC with her husband, Weston.
During the winter months, Jen works in the DC public schools and actively attends a variety of horse shows as a spectator or jump judge. Jen has been coaching IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) teams since 2013 and has severed as a regional president for the past 5 years. Jen started riding at age 10 at a local barn near her childhood home in Indiana. Over her teen years, she won several regional, zone, and national titles with her horses. Prior to Runoia, Jen worked for camps in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia as a both a generalist and riding instructor.
Over the past decade, Jen has crafted the equestrian department at Camp Runoia into a top notch program with riders of all levels excelling. She carefully selects horses and ponies for the program and finds them winter homes in collegiate(IHSA) or IEA programs. Jen is a certified instructor with the American Association of Horsemanship Safety, a USEF & USHJA member, and specializes in hunter seat equitation.
During the summer, you’ll find Jen not only at the barn sharing her passion for horses with campers, but also supporting the kitchen team and making her famous butter chicken. In addition to running our food service, Jen and Alex work together on transportation. Jen can often be found at the Runoia gate on arrival and departure day, ensuring camper travel is a safe and successful experience.
If you have any questions about the riding program, feel free to reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
April Marini works with Jen as the Assistant Director of Equestrian Programs. She has worked at Runoia for more than 5 summers. In the winter/school season she teaches mathematics in an Ohio charter school. She enjoys eventing with her horse, Phoebe.
After nearly 40 years of working to carry forward and nurture Camp Runoia’s legacy, Pam became Director Emerita in the fall of 2022. Pam continues her work with the mission-driven Camp Runoia Alumnae Organization (CRAO), championing Camperships and the Diversity Advisory Committee. She also will stay connected to the Maine camp community, including as a board member of the Maine Youth Camping Association and as a member of Maine Summer Camps, Maine Camp Experience, and a member of a long-standing camp director’s round table group. Pam and Mark will relish being the camp grandparents to not only their own camper grandchildren but all campers in camp during the summer! With director Alex Jackson and the Runoia leaders supporting the day to day operations, Pam and Mark can enjoy the camp summer helping with sailing and waterskiing and other activities around camp.