Staff

Kim McKearnan

Executive Director

Years at Camp: 1.5

“I am grateful for the opportunity to call Camp 'work.' As a health care provider, it is a gift to see survivors and their families outside of the hospital environment. Being witness to their laughter, triumphs, friendships, courage, creativity and resiliency is a privilege. It is all I need to fuel my passion for making Camp the best it can be. Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, 'Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.' Camp is definitely great work. It is beyond satisfying. For me, it is a work of love.”

Kim returned to Montana after living abroad in Qatar where she helped open a much-needed children's hospital. She earned her Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Washington and has nearly 25 years of experience in pediatric health care. She started with bedside clinical care and progressed to organizational leadership positions.

Beth Jones

Camp Director

Beth is on far left in the photo.

Years at Camp: 11

“One of the things I like most about working at Camp Mak-A-Dream is the people ... I get to spend each day that I wake up at Camp with some of the most generous, funny, kind and inspirational people one could ever hope to meet. Over the last 12 years I have met thousands of campers, volunteers and supporters who have changed my life. I am thankful for each time I have been brought into a conversation or shared a memorable moment; my favorites include reaching the top of the butte that overlooks Camp with someone who didn't think it was possible. I am often told that I have a great job and I couldn't agree more!”

Beth joined Camp Mak-A-Dream as residential director in 2006. The following year she moved into the position of camp director. She first became acquainted with Camp as part of the staff at the Missoula Children's Theatre that presented workshops with campers. Beth received a Certificate in Public Health from the University of Montana and is currently working on her master's.

Shirley Hummer

Camper & Medical Center Manager

Years at Camp: 22

“I remember the day I crossed the bridge to Camp in the summer of 1995 and I was so nervous about being a volunteer at a cancer camp. In the last 22 years, I have had the honor of watching over 7,000 campers cross the same bridge with the same fears. Being part of building new programs and meeting all the campers, camper families and volunteers has changed my life. One of my favorite things about camp is some of the campers I met when they were 6-10 years old are now returning to be part of our professional, volunteer and core staff.”

At Camp from our very first summer in 1995, Shirley started as a volunteer cabin counselor and has held many positions through the years. She really does still remember walking across the Bridge of Dreams her first time. Her husband, Bob, has also worked at Camp.

Jennifer Benton

Program Manager

Years at Camp: 22

“Since first volunteering, then joining the staff in 1995, I’ve been fortunate enough to hold several different positions and witness countless milestones and special moments here at Camp. Whether it’s watching the growth and success of our annual RATPOD cycling event, or welcoming former campers back years after their cancer to serve in a volunteer capacity, or sending someone down the zip line for the first time, magical moments happen day after day in this land of dreams. I feel fortunate to play some small part in helping those who come to Camp make memories, build confidence and form lifelong friendships.”

Jennifer began as a volunteer with Camp our very first summer in 1995. The next year she joined our team full time. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Ovarian Cancer Survivors Foundation based in Helena, Montana. A graduate of Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Jennifer immediately discovered Camp after moving out West.

Jake Wood

Property Manager

Years at Camp: 15

“My favorite thing about working at Camp is meeting all the great people and the view never gets old!”

A Montana native, Jake first started as a groundskeeper and maintenance assistant at Camp in 2002. He was promoted to property manager in 2006. Jake quite literally keeps the wheels on the bus and the roof over our heads.

Sam DiFrancesco

Assistant Property Manager

Years at Camp: 4

“During our camp season, it is hard to find someone with a negative point of view. It is always full of passionate and happy people who truly love Camp and what it stands for. To me it is a very humbling place to work as you see so many people with such uncertainty in their lives yet they come to Camp and can enjoy the experience with smiles on their faces. I am just glad to be a part of it and enjoy the outdoors while working!”

Sam grew up in Deer Lodge, right down the road from Camp Mak-A-Dream. He studied at the Missoula College of the University of Montana for two years after high school before returning to his hometown and began working at Camp. He joined our staff full time in 2014.

Jen Emendorfer-Wade

Program Administrative Assistant

Years at Camp: 2 (plus years as a volunteer!)

"My Camp journey started years ago when I volunteered as a concierge at Winter YAC. Camp quickly became one of my happy places and opened my eyes to what I wanted to do when I 'grew up.' I knew someday I wanted to find my place within the cancer community, helping others find their way to resources and the support they needed to make a difficult time a little easier. Thanks to a twist of fate, that place ended up being the same one that started me on this journey. I was offered a position as the Program Administrative Assistant in 2016 and have loved every minute since I emphatically accepted!

"I have the pleasure of helping campers with their application paperwork and answering questions to prepare them for their adventure. I get to be among the first to greet out-of-state campers when they arrive at the airport, and one of the last to say goodbye as everyone prepares to fly home. I love chatting with everyone at the end of their week, seeing the friendships that formed or grew in only a few days, and hearing about what made Camp special for them."

Jen volunteered in our foundation office in Missoula in 2001 and went to Camp her first time as a concierge for the 2002 Winter Young Adult Conference and returned for subsequent summer and winter programs for two years. A graduate from the University of Montana with a bachelor's degree in psychology, Jen is delighted to work closely with our program staff.

Shelley Cooper

Business Manager

Years at Camp: 7

"I came to Camp Mak-A-Dream in 2011 with a lot of excitement and because I wholeheartedly enjoy working for an organization that has a focus of helping children and families in need. Whether it’s in the office or getting to help at the airport or camp, it’s amazing to be part of this organization."

After working at Community Medical Center in the Pediatric Specialty Clinics in Missoula for nine years, Shelley joined Camp Mak-A-Dream in 2010. After growing up in Montana, she attended college in East Texas with a focus in business management. Shelley is passionate about helping others and has found her niche at Camp after returning to Montana to raise her children.

Kathleen Cotter

Executive Administrative Assistant

Kathleen is second from the right in the photo.

Years at Camp: 7

"To me Camp is about the relationships that develop overnight that will last a lifetime. I made friendships when working on core (summer) staff that changed my life. And now, as part of the foundation, I enjoy helping others make those bonds that last forever.”

Kathleen was born and raised in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana with her bachelor's in English literature and creative writing. She served as seasonal staff at Camp for four years starting in 2010 and then transitioned to working at our foundation office year-round.

Roger Coulter

Camp Chef

Roger is second from the right in the photo.

Years at Camp: 2

“I love Camp because knowing the campers makes for amazing stories and great friends.”

Roger is a professional certified chef. Though his passion for food came late in life — after the tragic loss of his teenage son — he has explored numerous styles and cuisines. He's cooked everywhere from a fine dining French bistro to a country bar and grill. His lust for adventure and desire to make a difference brought him to Camp.

Claire Steinberg, RN, CPN

Health Care Coordinator

Years at Camp: 1

“Each session, new medical providers from around the country — with varying specialties — bring their expertise together with enthusiasm. They tirelessly support the diverse health needs of our campers and staff. It is a gift to see the bonds that are created between the medical team members and between the team and participants by the end of a session. I love hearing the gratitude and awe expressed about their time at Camp. The inspirational experience refreshes many medical providers and refuels their compassion to care for others.”

Claire is a registered nurse, certified in pediatric nursing by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, a member of the Society of Pediatric Nurses, an American Heart Association Pediatric Advanced Life Support instructor, and a pediatric chemotherapy and biotherapy provider certified by the Association of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Nurses. She joined Camp in 2016 as a medical volunteer and became permanent, year-round staff the following year.

McKenzie Kramer

Housekeeping Supervisor

Years at Camp:

“The reason I work at Camp is pretty simple: it changes people's lives. Not just the campers', but ours too. I feel so fortunate to be part of such a positive organization.”

After high school, McKenzie began nursing degree studies at the University of Montana but decided to take time off after her daughter was born. She has her CNA certification in Minnesota, where she grew up, and has two children, ages 5 and 1.