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 Parent Corner




 Meet the Staff



Dimitri Stankevich, Camp Orkila Director 

Dimitri has been Director of Camp Orkila since March 2005, following ten years as Executive Director of YMCA Camp Collins in Portland, Oregon.  Dimitri holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Western Washington University.  He lives at YMCA Camp Orkila with his wife, Lorena, who is a teacher, and their teenage daughter, Daria.  When he is not at work, hauling horses for his daughter or cheering for her at her basketball games, Dimitri plays trombone in the Orcas Horns & Orcas Island Community Band and tuba in the Turtleback Brass Quintet.  He has just completed a 3-year term as a Trustee of the Orcas Center and currently serves as a trustee for the Orcas Island Community Foundation. 


Dave Affolter, Senior Program DirectorDave.jpg

Going into his 20th year at Orkila - 7 years as a camper and 13 years on staff - Dave loves and lives Orkila!  You might catch him saying "hello" to the LDI campers on President Channel, cooking food with the elves in the Enchanted Forest, or singing The Jellyfish Song at line-up.  Dave loves smiles, laughing, high fives and hearing what’s going on with you!


Dom-Final.jpgElise Newhouse, Summer Program Director

Elise is excited to join the Orkila team year-round, having filled various positions at camp over the years, such as cabin counselor, ropes course facilitaror, intern director, transportation director and assistant director of teen leadership and expeditions. Originally from Portland, Elise loves the PNW, and feels most at home breathing in camp's fresh air, admiring the ocean, singing songs at campfire and laughing until it hurts. She has a twin brother, two older sisters, likes hot dogs, and thinks she is really funny (and hopes some campers do too)! 



Maya.jpgdiana-final-2.jpgMaya Webber, Summer Program Director

Maya is going into her 6th summer at Orkila and loves everything about camp! Besides epic Gaga Ball tournaments, dock jumps, and smelling the horses, Maya likes to run around camp with her trusty pal, Diana the Dog.  They both love high-fives, veggie-burger lunch, and Campfires!


Jordan Bright, Summer Program DirectorJordan-final2.jpg

This summer will be Jordan's 15th at Camp Orkila. Starting as a camper back in 2000, he has been a cabin counselor, photographer, unit director and expedition leader. He has also worked as an instructor with Orkila's Outdoor Environmental Education Program. Jordan will be starting his new role this year as a Program Director and will work hard to support another summer of Teen Expedition instructors and students.  Jordan loves 9:00 radio checks, setting up "perfect camp" and brainstorming new recipes for expedition participants - ask him about his dutch oven enchiladas, tuna chowders or bread pudding french toast (all of which he made while leading trips for Orkila).

Alyssa Flaherty, Teen Program DirectorAlyssa- final.jpg

Camp has been a big part of Alyssa’s life since she was 10 years old. When she’s not jumping off the dock, singing around a campfire, or looking for nudibranchs in the salmon tank, she throws a pretty sweet dance party in the lodge while getting ready for a meal. Alyssa (or Flaherty, as you might know her) is quite the “punny” gal, so feel free to tell her your favorite joke!



Chris Dalla Santa, Conference & Retreat DirectorAlyssa- final.jpg

Chris Dalla Santa has been staffing camps for over ten years between Camp Orkila, the Boy Scouts of America, and several private camps. His passion for working with youth and adults in the outdoors led him to get a Bachelors and a Masters in Environmental Education from Western Washington University. Chris is excited to work with Orkila in a year-round capacity, providing memorable camp experiences for all of its participants. When not running the lodge or riding his bike around camp, you might find Chris singing silly songs at the campfire pit or taking a mud bath in the swamp.



Haley Winchell, Site Director for OEElaura-final-2.jpg

Haley started her Orkila career as an Outdoor Environmental Educator in the spring of 2012. She flew in from Wisconsin fo an intended short stay in the PWN, however, she fell in love with the Orkila spirit and never left! Now you'll find her at camp playing games, singing songs, laughing a laugh and ensuring a rockin' experience for visiting campers AND adults. Haley loves to play; no matter the activity, she just loves to play. "I often think how wondeful a job teaching OEE is because I get to combine teaching kids and playing outside!"

lynda-final.jpgLynda Sanders, Orkila Office Manager

Lynda has been the Office Manager at Orkila since 2008 but her favorite role is camp mom!  She says, "I love having so many kids, it keeps me young and honestly I get so much more than I give!" During the slower seasons, Lynda loves to spend time with her family and would love to have her own TV show on the Home and Garden Network.


Interested in hearing more about our counselors and staff for this summer?  Check out the Orkila Blog, where Staff Spotlights will be listed as staff are brought on for the summer.  Staff Spotlights focus on one staff member and highlight his or her camp history, favorite camp game, song, and meal, and his or her passions and strengths.  



Camp Orkila's carefully selected staff are the heart of our camp.  All program staff who run camp activities have individual areas of expertise to share with campers and visitors.  Staff are selected for their experience working with children, judgement, maturity, and their fun and caring attitudes.  We have one staff member for every five campers.  We recruit staff who serve as proper role models for campers by demonstrating strong leadership skills that reflect the core values of the YMCA of Greater Seattle.  Through role modeling and by creating challenges that foster individual and group development, we provide campers with the opportunity to leave Orkila with a better understanding in the values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring. 

All staff must complete the application and interview process as outlined by the YMCA of Greater Seattle.  They must have current First Aid and CPR certifications, and pass a National Background check.  Phone interviews are conducted with two references.  Leadership & Expedition applicants are also required to have complete 24 or 80-hour Wilderness Medicine Training.  Summer staff are required to complete nine days of training upon arrival at camp.  All directors complete a six-day "Director's Training" in addition to "Counselor's Training."  Topics include: child behavior management, positive discipline techniques, all camp activities, games, age appropriate programming, emergency procedures, values-based programs, bully prevention, and health and safety management.


 Orkila History



YMCA Camp Orkila has been serving youth and families for over one hundred years! The YMCA of Greater Seattle set up its first permanent camping home in 1906 on a property on Orcas Island, starting what would later be named “Camp Orkila.”  The property was owned by the Colman family, who founded Orkila’s sister-camp, Camp Colman, several years later.  Its first summer, 30 boys spent four weeks on the property.  In its early days, the camp was structured as a “city government,” in which the boys elected a Mayor, Council, Chief of Police, City Engineer, Judge, and Prosecuting Attorney, and a month of camp cost only $35.  Old Orkila.png

Until the early 1920s, campers would travel to camp on steamer ships from the Colman dock in Seattle.  Campers transferred to smaller launches for the trip between Anacortes and Westsound and hiked the last six miles to the property.  Regular ferry transportation to Orcas Island was established in 1923, and has been the primary form of transportation to and from camp ever since.

In its first 20 years, the camp grew quickly.  In 1927, the YMCA Annual Report noted that 441 boys and 40 leaders had attended the property for six sessions that summer – a huge leap from the mere 30 boys that the camp had started with.  In the 1930s, Ruth Norman and Ed Kilbourne created the name “Camp Orcila” while adapting the words to a popular campfire song.  Orcila was misspelled so frequently, however, that the spelling was changed to “Orkila” in 1937. 

Kenneth Colman gifted the property title to the YMCA of Greater Seattle in 1938.  In 1939, developments began and volunteers were asked to raise $3,140 for capital improvements – the most exciting of which was electricity.

Advertised as “A Training in Self-Reliance – A Godsend in Wartime,” a 10-14 day session in 1943 cost only $15-$20.

In 1947, Robert Moran and Laurence Colman donated the Twin Lakes Property to Orkila, donating the rest of the surrounding land to make what is now Moran State Park.  In the same year, Camp Orkila also purchased the 107-acre Satellite Island for $10,000.  Both properties are still used today to give Orkila campers special "out-of-cabin" camping trips and by Orkila’s many expedition groups. 

Larry Norman Memorial Lodge was built in 1953 and dedicated in memory of Larry Norman and the nearly three dozen other past campers who perished in WWII.

It wasn’t until 1965 that the first session of girls attended Camp Orkila.  Only a few years later, in 1968, the Camp’s facilities were in such bad shape that Orkila nearly didn’t open for the summer.  Volunteer work parties and dedicated camp staff managed to fix up the property in time to open for the summer.  This wasn’t the end of Orkila’s rough patch, however.  In the late 60s and early 70s, the recession brought the camp close to closing again when the YMCA considered selling the property to bolster programming in the urban areas.  Once again, Orkila was saved by its passionate volunteers, who worked to keep the camp open that year and for future generations.  Under the leadership of Don Anderson, Orkila focused on character-building and values education.

In 1970, the first co-ed camp session was offered, and in 1973, all sessions became co-ed.  Orkila soon acquired the farm property, which provided space for sports fields, the barn and horses, the demonstration farm, and high ropes course.  Outdoor Environmental Education programs also became an increasingly important and growing part of programming.  Orkila continued to develop quickly – including the building of the craft shop in 1976, the Dederer Family Conference Center, the launch of the Patsy Collins Adventure in Leadership for Girls of Promise program in 1997 (now called Girls LEAD), and the construction of the Marine-Salmon Center in 2002.  In 2006, Orkila celebrated its Centennial and welcomed 16,000 visitors to camp that year. Since the Centennial, Orkila has grown and prospered – adding the Alumni House and the Challenge Tower and Zipline to its many wonderful facilities. 

While Camp Orkila’s been through a lot of changes in the last 100 years, our dedication to strengthening community has been unwavering.  The Colman family was rooted in nurturing the potential of youth, promoting healthy living, and fostering social responsibility, and these same goals still drive our Y staff and volunteers every day at Camp Orkila.  Continuing to build on such a strong foundation, we look forward to serving our community long into the future.

Child on mom's shoulder FC.jpgropes circle.jpgTheo Ork Climbing Tower 2011.jpg






Are you an Orkila alum?  We'd love to hear from you!  Join the Camp Orkila group on Facebook and stay in the loop with what's happening at Orkila now on the official Facebook page.  Interested in finding out more about alumni events - join our Alumni Registry!

Please contact Magill Dickerson-Lange, Branch Development Director (and proud Orkila alum!) at or 206.839.8916 with any questions, stories, ideas, feedback, etc.


 Contact Us



counselor dancin.jpgAdministration and Registration Office:
YMCA Camping Services
909 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

P 206.382.5009
P 206.382.5001
F 206.382.4920

M-F, 8-5

Please contact the Camping Services office regarding registration, Health & Safety Packet, and program questions.

Orkila Mailing Address (USPS): 

YMCA Camp Orkila
PO Box 1149
Eastsound, WA 98245

Orkila Physical Address (UPS/FedEx):

YMCA Camp Orkila
484 Camp Orkila Rd
Eastsound, WA 98245 

P 360.376.2678
F 360.376.2267

Please feel free to contact the following staff with questions and comments:  


Lynda Sanders - Camp Orkila Office Manager & Day Camp Registrar

David Affolter - Senior Programs Director
206.382.5009 x4508

Dimitri Stankevich - Camp Orkila Director
360.376.2678 x111

Melissa Kessell - Administrative Director

Meredith Cambre - Overnight Camps Executive Director

Chris Dalla Santa - Conference & Retreat Director
360.376.2678 x105

Christy Shiers - Director of Environmental Science Programs
C 206.949.9825

Haley Winchell- Site Director for Outdoor Environmental Education
360.376.2678 x103 

Kim Toombs - Food Services Director
360.376.2678 x132 

Steve Miller - Facilities Director
360.376.2678 x108

Parent Corner | YMCA Camp Orkila