You Won't Believe What I Did At Camp Today

What makes camp at Valley Trails so special?  

Our Leaders!

Other camps hire "Counselors."    Anyone can be a "Counselor."

At Valley Trails, we only hire

"Leaders, Role Models, and Super Heros!"

At Valley Trails, our leaders are specially selected and trained in ways to create a positive experience and a rich interaction with campers. Our Leaders are vastly different than teachers. Leaders don’t keep score or grades, they are role models and individuals that help shape the lives of our campers. The best camp memories come from the interaction between Leaders and campers. Valley Trails understands how important this is and only selects Leaders with that passion. All staff go through a nationwide background check and overnight staff training programs.

Camp Leadership

Mike Stillson (aka Otter) , Executive Camp Director

I have not missed a summer of camp since I was 4 years old.  You may even say that I am addicted to the camp experience.   I am the person that I am today because of camp.  I have formed some of my closest relationships at’ camp, and have been shaped by my counselors that I had as a camper, and the campers and staff that I work with as a camp professional.

Every summer I see how camp plays a strong part in our camper’s lives.  To say that camp changes our campers in a positive way would be an understatement.  I watch our campers grow through our activities and see how the intentional programming develops life skills, critical thinking, communications, self-confidence and so much more.  Our campers are not just having “fun” at camp, but they are becoming more well-rounded individuals and better people.

There is truly no substitute for the camp experience.  I believe that we offer a safe and secure program where campers are able to explore, grow, and develop into confident individuals.  I look forward to seeing the smiles on their faces, and hearing their conversations and their memorable stories of their adventures with their camp friends and staff.

I have been the Executive Director of Valley Trails Summer Camp for the past 18 summers, and  a professional in camping for over 28 years. I hold a BS in General Studies, and am the former Southern Section Vice President for WAIC (Western Association of Independent Camps) and currently serve on the Board of Directors, and a former member of the Southern California Section of the ACA (American camp Association) Board of Directors. I am involved in all stages of planning, training, and leading of the programs on a year-round basis.

Amanda Kirchhoff (Emu), Director 

There’s nothing I believe in more than the power of Summer Camp. I’ve learned that camp is truly a place to grow, learn kindness & patience, to challenge your fears, and to just be a kid! It is hard to believe how much a camper can change from the start of summer to the last tearful day of camp. Each year I am able to watch every camper grow taller, smarter, more confident and mature.

At Valley Trails, your child will have a summer they will remember forever! They will always remember learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, making new friends or belly flop contests at the pool. But what they will take away are the life-long memories of when they conquered their fear of heights on our ropes course, getting to lead their group at team building activities or helping a fellow camper make new friends. The power of Summer Camp is not in the fun activities they get to do, but in the way a Camper will gain the skills they need to use later in life.

The campers have been a constant enjoyment in my camp life, and it is them who have taught me the most. I look forward to an amazing Summer 2017 building last memories with all of our Campers!

I have been the Camp Director since 2012, and previously worked as a Camp Leader with Valley Trails for six summers.  I work year-round facilitating programs and Outdoor Education Trips, planning retreats and coordinating our Gold Rush Field Trips.  My favorite part of summer camp is working with our amazing staff and seeing the growth in campers year after year. I am a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno (Go Dogs!) where I earned a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in ABA and a B.A. in Geography with an emphasis in Cultural Geography. 

The Valley Trails Leaders is comprised of directors, specialists, and group leaders, all of whom have a strong desire to make a positive difference in a child's life. Our staff are selected based on strict criteria, and go through professional background screening. Our staff are rigorously trained prior to and throughout the summer by the Valley Trails leadership team. All Leaders are trained in first aid and emergency procedures.

Chef Anthony

Valley Trails is proud to feature an amazing menu and daily camp lunches prepared by Chef Anthony.  Anthony takes immense pride in preparing delicious and nutricious meals for our campers and staff.  


Contact the Camp Director.