Our Volunteers and Staff
Each year, hundreds of volunteers and staff from all over the country and around the world come to work at YMCA Camp Hi-Rock. Many of the staff and volunteers are returners, and often will go to great lengths just to come back to camp. In addition to the summer camp staff and seasonal volunteers, there is a core group of staff who work here year-round.
Board of Managers
YMCA Camp Hi-Rock is governed by our board of managers that consists of volunteers from throughout the northeast. Board members are focused on creating lasting personal and social change for our community and our world.
- Susan Buckwalter, Board Chairperson
- Marc Romanow, Finance Committee Chairperson
- Emily Tice, Immediate past chair
- Rick Bailer
- Timothy Cha
- Sandra Fischer
- Michele Hendricks
- Charles Hirsch
- Merritt Hopper
- Holly Johnson
- Marcus Mardirosian
- Anna Marsland
- Caitlyn McNerney
- Henry Mitchell
- Maureen O’Brien
- Kelly O’Grady Ross
- Meghan O’Hara
- Jake Pinkston
- David Sanford
- Rick Shorin
- Jonathon Smith
- Marla Strickland
- Tulika Verma
- JoAnn Ward
- Kyle Worell
- Timothy Young
Executive Director – Jessica Speer-Holmes
Jessica Speer-Holmes attended Camp Hi-Rock as a youth and served in Counselor, Unit Director, and Program Director positions and, for a short time, as the interim Executive Director in 1997. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Prior to her role as the Executive Director at Camp Hi-Rock, Jessica worked with the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA serving as the Associate Executive Director of the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA and the Bridgeport YMCA. Jessica lives at Camp Hi-Rock in the summer months and in the local town of Great Barrington for the rest of the year with her husband Alistair and three daughters. She serves on the boards of directors of the Great Barrington Rotary Club, the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Crocus Fund.
Facilities Director – Paul Duffy
Paul Duffy was originally an art student from Birmingham England who thought a summer in America would be fun. Twenty-plus years later, Paul is the Facilities Director at camp and has been for many years. He met his wife Rochelle while working at Camp Hi-Rock. He enjoys playing golf with his brother, riding his 4×4 ATV around camp addressing maintenance problems, and sharing his Hi-Rock stories with all who will listen. Best of all, he loves Camp Hi-Rock because “there’s not a nicer place in the world”.
Assistant Facilities Director – Forrest Wood
Forrest and their family first arrived at Hi-Rock in 2003 to attend a volunteer work weekend and immediately fell in love with Plantain Pond and the surrounding property. For several years afterward the Woods attended family camp and sent the kids to resident camp. After their LIT year in 2010, Forrest took a brief 7-year hiatus from Hi-Rock, developing their skills as a carpenter, welder, artist, and creator, earning a degree from BU’s College of Fine Arts within the discipline of Theater Production. In 2018 they decided to “take a break” from living in NYC, came to the Berkshires, and never went back. They’ve worked as the Waterski Director and on the maintenance team for several seasons, earning Paul Duffy’s trust along the way. Now, they’re hoping to leave their mark on camp by helping to facilitate some ambitious rebuilds, repairs, and restorations. While they’re not working, you can catch them enjoying the outdoors through rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, biking, hiking, talking to trees, and foraging wild foods.
Administrative Director – Tanya Gaudette
Tanya lives close to camp with her husband, son, and daughter. She has lived in the beautiful Berkshires her whole life. Tanya has managed the office for many years and continues to enjoy every minute of it. She has a deep love and respect for Hi-Rock and is grateful to be a part of this community and have her children welcomed into the Hi-Rock family.
Senior Camp Director- Alison Irwin
Alison is very excited to be joining the Camp Hi-Rock team! Having grown up in the YMCA, she fell in love with overnight camp in 2006, and has not missed a summer since. In her time in seasonal overnight camping, Alison has been a camper, counselor in training, counselor, trip leader, and unit director. Prior to her move to Hi-Rock, Alison served full-time as the Assistant Camp Director at YMCA Camp Mohawk for 5 years. She holds a degree in Literacy, Learning and Leadership, with a Community Education emphasis, from the University of Arizona. Alison, and her rescue dog Basil, are thrilled to be a part of this community, and can’t wait to connect with all of you!
Wilderness Camp Director- Mackenzie Morison
Mackenzie has been a YMCA Camper since 2012 when she attended her first camp in Northern Michigan and fell in love with wilderness trips. Since then she has been a trip leader for six summers at YMCA Camp Hayowentha and graduated with a degree in Recreational Therapy and Outdoor Education from Central Michigan University. She’s excited to be joining the Hi-Rock team, but when she’s not at camp you can usually find her playing with her dogs or enjoying a great cup of coffee.