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Vanderkamp Staff & Board of Directors

Year round staff members


Bill & Penny James – Executive Directors 

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Penny grew up in Preble, NY and describes her Christian education as eclectic. She was baptized Methodist, grew up attending Sunday School and Church services at Baptist and Congregational Churches, and became a Presbyterian, upon meeting and marrying Bill. Penny has taught Sunday School and served as a Deacon.

Penny has two children from a previous marriage, a son, Chris (now 30), who has a daughter, Gabrielle “Gabby” (age 6) and a daughter Heather (now 29), who has a son, Brycen (age 3). Bill and Penny were married when Chris and Heather were ages 4 and 3 respectively and raised them together. The children grew up and attended school in Homer. Today Penny and Bill’s children and grandchildren continue to live in the Cortland area.

Bill grew up in Lansing, NY; attending the First Presbyterian Church in Dryden, NY. He attended church camps through the Susquehanna Valley Presbytery at Watson Homestead and in the Adirondacks. Bill has served as an Elder and chair of a church property committee.

Penny and Bill recently celebrated their 25th year of marriage in July 2014. They met taking an evening course in American Literature at Onondaga Community College. At that time Penny worked as a Life Insurance Underwriter for Mutual of New York Life Insurance Company and Bill worked as an electronic test technician for M.S. Kennedy. He also worked as a carpenter for 5 years prior to marrying Penny and another 10 years afterwards, doing residential and light commercial new construction and remodeling including owning his own business.

Since that time, in addition to raising a family, Penny has obtained three degrees: (a) a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent development as well as a minor in Sociology with a concentration in juvenile delinquency; (b) a M.S. in Recreation and Leisure Services with concentrations in camp and conference center administration, outdoor and environmental education, and outdoor leadership; and in May of 2014 completed  (c) a Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. The first two degrees were from the State University of New York College at Cortland (SUNY Cortland) and the latter from North Carolina State University (NCSU).

Having not attended organized camping as a child, Penny began her career as a Camp Director during the pursuit of her Master’s degree. Vanderkamp is the 4th summer camp program with which Penny has worked and the 3rd where she will have served as the Director. Camp is Penny’s “happy place!” Penny has also been involved in academic research related to camping and has been a member of the American Camp Association for more than 12 years. She has taken and taught ACA’s Camp Director course for her alma mater, SUNY Cortland.

Coinciding with Penny’s camp experience has been the teaching of outdoor education, environmental interpretation, and adventure leadership for people ranging in age from pre-school to seniors and from a variety of backgrounds and abilities. Most recently, before turning all of her attention to the completion of her dissertation, Penny served as the Director of Youth Development for the Bloomington-Normal YMCA in Bloomington, IL where her duties again included directing a summer camp program.

Since their marriage, Bill has completed two degrees: (a) a B.S.Ed. in Recreation and Leisure Services with concentrations in camp and conference center administration, outdoor and environmental education, and outdoor leadership; and (b) a M. S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. The former was obtained from SUNY Cortland and the later from NCSU. While at NCSU, Bill held a Graduate Assistantship with their Campus Recreation Outdoor Adventure Program that led to being hired as a full time Coordinator and then later Assistant Director, before moving to Bloomington Illinois to be the Assistant Director for Campus Recreation’s Adventure Program at Illinois State University.

Though they have enjoyed their adventures over the years and the wonderful friends and colleagues they have met, Penny and Bill had recently begun praying for a way home to be closer to their families now that all of their educational endeavors were completed. Their prayers were answered when they received the Lord’s Call to Service at Vanderkamp. Having this opportunity to return home and work together doing what they love most is a blessing beyond measure.

Email Bill  or Penny at:


Board of Directors

Michelle Coe

Janet Griffiths

Jeff Kane

Jill Kilts

Beth Krauss

Heather Nunneker

Gary Onyan

Mark Peters

Megan Wolling


Email the Board of Directors at:


Want to talk to anyone in particular? Call the office at 315-675-3651.




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