YMCA of the Pines is led by a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors.
The Board is charged with ensuring we are financially healthy, mission oriented, and strategically driven.
In her professional career, Lynne is a Technical Writer, ASRC Federal (for the Federal Aviation Administration). She currently serves as the Board Secretary; Chair of the Fund Development Committee; Member of the Strategic Planning Committee; and Member of the Master Planning Committee.
Her previous experience at YMCA of the Pines was a camper, seasonal staff member, camper parent and Alumni volunteer.
“It is a privilege for me to be a volunteer for YMCA of the Pines, because I feel strongly about the importance of giving back to an organization that gave so much to me and four generations of my family. My experiences at camp enhanced my life in a profound way, and I would like to play a part in helping others have that same experience.”
Lynne said that the most valuable thing she bring to her position is her passion for the benefits that a camp experience has to offer children and teens, as evidenced by her own camp story. “Professionally, I come with a background and expertise in quality assurance, process improvement, and technical writing for the medical industry and the federal government.”
The most impactful part of camp’s mission, in Lynne’s view, is developing healthy, confident, and community-involved children. “In so doing, we ultimately make the world a better place.”
The current staff at YMCA of the Pines comprises young, bright leaders who bring a modern, diverse view to how summer camp can enhance the lives of children and families in this always-changing world. Most importantly, they understand and value the importance of keeping many of the beloved traditions on which the camp was founded.
Lynne points out that her Grandmother, Lillie Brown, was a counselor at Camp Matollionequay in its inaugural year, 1937. “My extended family has been represented at one of the camps in every decade since.”
Board Vice Chair
Joe Michiels became a board member in the Fall of 2017 and has been assisting with the finalization and progression of the Facility Master Plan.
“I joined the board to help promote YMCA of the Pines, and facilitate the design, permitting and implementation of the master plan for future improvements – in an effort to enhance current, future and returning camper and visitor experiences,” Joe said.
Joe is a Project Manager with HAKS Engineers, Architects & Land Surveyors and Professional Civil Engineer in New Jersey. A 2003 graduate of Rowan University, Joe has worked throughout South Jersey on development projects, while promoting sustainability through design. In 2009, Joe started working as the Camp Civil Engineer and has been performing design, inspection and permitting for any construction projects that have occurred since. Since joining the board, Joe has been performing regular inspections, maintenance recommendations and upgrades to both the Stockwell and Andy Daley Dams.
“I also have a love of nature, hiking and camping and I try to use that care and knowledge when planning future projects that will enhance the grounds of YMCA of the Pines,” he added.
Joe said he was particularly inspired to become involved on the board, because of the benefits provided to the surrounding community through the use of the YMCA of the Pines property and outreach programs.
“As a board member, I’ve learned about the many benefits that YMCA of the Pines provides to the public – things that I had been unaware of,” he said. “Learning about the impact of these programs really opened my eyes as to how critical YMCA of the Pines is to the local community. Furthermore, working on the upgrades that are currently planned makes me excited to see how camp is going to be enhanced for future generations.”
As a child growing up in Medford, Joe said he was fortunate to get to attend camp. Later, in volunteered regularly during high school and college. “The times I spent at Camp Ockanickon helped me grow my love of the outdoors that I have today,” he said. “I was brought back to the property while working as the Camp Civil Engineer on a consulting basis in 2009, performing dam inspections and repair recommendations, building upgrades and improvements to the overall property. My wife has also worked as a Matolly nurse and with the School’s Out program in the past. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past number of years working as the Camp Engineer, as I get to spend time there on a regular basis and get to give back to a place that is so important to me.”
When Kristi Howell joined the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce (BCRCC) as its president and CEO in December 2002, she became only the second executive in its 27-year history. Since then, the Chamber has grown and evolved through her focus on membership, programming, annual budgeting and staffing. Committees now available to BCRCC members as a result of Ms. Howell’s vision include: Women in Business, the Military Relations Council, the Young Professionals Network, Employment Practices, the Hospitality & Tourism Council, and the Healthcare Issues Council.
An active member of the Burlington County community, Kristi serves on numerous boards and committees including YMCA of the Pines, which she joined in 2017. Her most recent board appointments are with the American Cancer Society and the South Jersey Tourism Corporation. She also serves on the following organizations’ boards and committees:
- River Route Advisory Committee (appointed by Burlington County Board of Freeholders)
- Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) District Advisory Council
- BCIT Foundation Board
- Soul Connect Advisory Board
- Burlington County Sheriff’s Gang-Prevention Task Force
Ms. Howell is a founding member of Chambers of Commerce United for Business Growth, a statewide coalition of regional and local chambers. She co-chairs the Joint Base Open House Foundation, which raises funds for its Annual Open House & Air Expo at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL). Another commitment in Kristi’s JB MDL portfolio is the Honorary Commander’s Program.
Kristi Howell is a longtime resident of Burlington County (over 30 years). She holds a Bachelor of Arts (in Government and Politics) from Widener University. Prior to joining the BCRCC, Kristi worked with NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Acting Governor/NJ Senate President Donald DiFrancesco at the State House in Trenton.
Pat Begley has been a board member at YMCA of the Pines since 2017 and serves on the Financial Development Committee. She joined the board so that she can help insure the camp has all it needs for a solid future and is here for years to come.
“I have raised two children successfully and had to make summer program selections with them,” Pat explained. “I know what they were looking for at the time and what we, as parents, wanted from the program.”
Pat is a successful business executive and brings more than 35 years of experience to the board. “The most important point is that I am passionate about children’s welfare and want to do everything possible to give them the best chance to have meaningful lives.”
The most important part of camp’s mission, according to Pat, is the commitment to serve as many children as possible. “I am thrilled that no child is turned away and I look forward to learning more about the youth leadership programs as that can be so important for their future.”
The future of camp looks bright, Pat says, “because the staff is so passionate and has the children’s best interests close to their hearts.”
Pat and her family have lived across the street from camp for more than 10 years and only took her first tour of the 800-acre property in 2017, the year she joined the board. “I was amazed with all that the camp offers and the beautiful setting that is somewhat hidden. I would like to help change the ‘hidden’ aspect, so that more people know about us.”
Nicki Bodenstein of Medford joined the board of YMCA of the Pines in 2017. She is a member of the Human Resources Committee, co-chair of the Opioid Awareness Committee and chair of the Board Component of Annual Campaign.
Asked why she was inspired to join the board, Nicki explained: “The camp had a huge positive impact on my son’s life. I got to see him grow from camper, LIT, CIT, director of Archery, to developing a music program for summer camp. I’m at a point in my life where I would like to give back and I wanted to offer my volunteerism to this wonderful organization.”
Nicki has years of experience in HR and has connections to the medical community. She has lived in Medford for the past 35 years and raised three children in the township. “I love educating the community and I love being a part of offering camp experiences to children who could not afford to do so on their own.”
Nicki said teaching the four core values to as many children as possible is the most important part of camp’s mission. “It makes me proud to provide camp experiences to children who may only have inner city experiences, and I love that camp gives children the opportunity to grow in ways they could not even imagine.”
She said that since joining the board, she’s been very impressed by the passion, creativity and knowledge base of the directors, the CEO, the CVO and the board officials. “Their ingenuity and drive makes the future of camp look bright to me.”
Nicki’s favorite thing about camp is the impact it has had on her son. “Meeting all of his camp friends from working at Lake Stockwell for so many summers has been wonderful,” she said. “Gary Graham, the former CEO, was also my neighbor for many years and I learned a lot about what the camp offered through his friendship.”
Merle Brown of Shamong joined the board in 2018 and also sits on camp’s Governance Board.
As part of her job, she regularly works with non-profits, which is how she learned about the good work at YMCA of the Pines. “My professional life requires me to work with many non-profits across Burlington and Camden counties,” Merle explains. “As I got to know the camp and the staff, I recognized the impact that camp has through its programs on children, teens and families. Many of the other non-profits I work with are touched by this camp through outreach to the community and scholarship programs that allow children to experience camping and the outdoors. I also grew up in the area and camps Ockanickon, Matollionequay and Lake Stockwell are a mainstay in the community. It’s an honor to be a part of the organization.”
Merle is Director of Corporate Giving and Financial Literacy for Beneficial Bank and the Beneficial Foundation. “I have the opportunity to interact and volunteer with non-profits and I believe this provides me with a unique insight and perspective into our community’s changing needs and how other non-profits are responding. I have worked with senior high youth and guided them on mission trips and watched as they step outside their comfort zones and witnessed the growth that always occurs. The Y Camp provides that same experience.”
She believes every camper will experience something that pushes them beyond their fear or their perceived limitations. “Going to camp here provides them a safe and supportive community where they can step out and not be afraid of failing,” she said. “I also know that the year-round programming for children, teens and families is having an enormous impact in our communities.”
Merle is particularly impressed with the dedicated staff of innovative leaders who routinely demonstrate their willingness to change and adapt to the changing needs of the communities we serve. “My fellow board members bring an incredible amount of experience and leadership to the table as well. And to a person, staff and board members, each one is singly focused on the children, teens and families we serve.”
Asked if she has a favorite camp story, Merle responded: “Well, truth be told, I was not fortunate enough to be able to attend camp as a child here or anywhere for that matter. However, in full disclosure, I did trespass here regularly as a young person and can attest to the camp’s many wonderful attributes!”
Robert T. Egan serves as a member of the board’s Governance Committee at YMCA of the Pines.
“I truly respect and admire the organization’s mission, and want to be of help as best as I can,” he said.
Bob brings a wealth of experience to the board; he’s an attorney who has for years worked with various non-profits and community service organizations in the Medford area.
“I’m particularly proud that YMCA of the Pines provides outdoor opportunities to disadvantaged children.”
The future of the organization looks bright, Bob said, because of the “solid, dedicated management team.”
Rich Lewis has been a board member since 2014 and serves (or served) on the following committees: Strategic Planning, Diversity Inclusion and Global (DIG), and Ad Hoc Marketing Committee.
“This camp is an amazing gift to the community. The ability to teach the Core Values of the YMCA in the natural environment of the New Jersey Pinelands is unique and irreplaceable. As a board member, I want to help guide and expand the reach of this amazing asset.”
Rich, who is president and owner of Burlington Press, has more than 25 years of business management experience. He is also a strong advocate for the preservation of the Pinelands and a strong believer in the YMCA’s mission.
He is particularly proud of the way YMCA of the Pines connects children to the natural world while developing a strong sense of values and self-esteem.
“The future of camp looks bright because we are a unique organization in a unique place, our staff and leadership is experienced and dedicated, we have a strong and dedicated board and a well thought out strategic plan. We are also financially sound.”
Rich grew up with a passion for the outdoors. After joining YMCA of the Pines’ board and visiting while summer camp was in session, he learned first-hand how the camp experience influences the lives of young people while making them comfortable with the natural world around them.
Miles Powell II
Miles Powell II joined the board at YMCA of the Pines in 2019. “I had two reasons for joining; I feel it is important to give back to the community and the organization made a great impact on my daughter’s life.”
Miles has a background in business and marketing, and earned an MBA from Rutgers University. “I have 22 years of experience in the New Jersey governmental relations business.”
As a member of the board, he is particularly proud to be helping children find their way and teaching them life skills.
“There will always be a need to impact future generations,” Miles said. “Times change, but the basic premise of growing into an adult don’t.”
Miles was inspired to get more involved with YMCA of the Pines after he witnessed personally the impact that the organization has on children. “My daughter Madison had cancer surgery two weeks before she went to camp for the first time,” he explained. “The staff was so accommodating (even making her special meals) and it completely brought her out of a dark period into light.”
Robyn Rusinski is a member of the board of director’s finance committee at YMCA of the Pines.
“I joined the board because I want to use my accounting expertise to help YMCA of the Pines accomplish its mission and goals. I’m a CPA, licensed in New Jersey. I also perform audits, reviews and compilations of many non-profit entities in the area.
Robyn feels that the most impactful part of camp’s mission is helping people become the best version of themselves. “I believe camp creates an environment where children can feel comfortable to be themselves without judgment and can build confidence to help grow into the best people they can be.”
“It’s exciting to be here,” she added. “The future of camp looks bright due to the passionate and dedicated staff led by Mark Dibble and the committed board members. In addition, I’m very excited about the capital expansion plan that will make the campers’ experience even better.”
Marni Schatz serves on the Fund Development Committee and the Fall Fundraiser Committee of the board of directors.
Her reason for joining the board and for giving of her time and talent so passionately? “I love camp!” is her enthusiastic response. I’ve had many years of fundraising experience for various non-profits and I really love this organization and want to help out where I can.”
She also has a long history of connection to the organization. “My father and brother went to Ocky and I went to Matolly,” she explained. “From the time I was 10 until I went off to college, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends were spent with family and friends at camp. I’m here to stay!”