Meet the Team

Jen Mckay, Camp DirectorJen Mckay

Hello there! My name is Jen McKay. I graduated from KSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2005. I am married and have 2 kids. I have taught 1st grade, 4th grade, and am currently teaching Kindergarten at Village Elementary here in Emporia, KS. This is my 7th year at Camp Alexander. It is a very rewarding job watching all the campers learning through play, making new friends, as well as making memories in the great outdoors.

Juan Ramirez, Program Director

My name is Juan Ramirez and I am a teacher at Village Elementary in Emporia, Kansas.  I graduated from Fort Hays State University with a degree in elementary education. I also have an endorsement in Spanish and an ESL endorsement from Newman University.  I started my teaching career back in 2000 and have been teaching since. My teaching career started in Dodge City, Kansas but I have been teaching in Emporia since 2005.

During my free time, I enjoy playing sports and spending time outdoors. My favorite sports are soccer, basketball, and football. I also enjoy coaching my son’s soccer and basketball teams.

As an educator, I enjoy working and teaching young students. I believe successful students stay active and continue to learn throughout the year.  I think Camp Alexander provides great opportunities for students to continue developing skills throughout the summer that will help them be successful in the classroom at the beginning of the new school year. I look forward to the opportunity to work with past, present, and future students through Camp Alexander.

Carla Fessler, Camp Coordinator

My name is Carla Fessler and I am the Off-season Camp Coordinator.  I keep busy assisting the Board of Directors with fundraising, grant writing and day to day operations at camp. I am the main contact person from September to May, and I am always happy to assist you with any questions you may have about camp.  I served as the Camp Director from 2013-2016.

I graduated from ESU with a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in ESL, an MS in Curriculum and Instruction, and an MS in School Counseling. I am currently a counselor at Riverside elementary.

My husband Wayne and I feel very passionate about Camp Alexander and hope that each summer more children from our community get to experience what the outdoors and Camp Alexander have to offer. My husband and I are lifelong residents of Emporia.

Israel Alvarez, Camp Counselor

My name is Israel Alvarez.  I have lived in Emporia for over 15 years.  I’m an Emporia High and Emporia State graduate, and I spent 8 years in, both the Army and the Navy.  I also work for the Emporia School district as Ana 6th grade ELA teacher.  I graduated with my Masters degree in Elementary Education from Emporia State and I also have my bachelors degree in graphic design from Emporia State.

In my free time, I love spending time with my daughter. We enjoy going out to the movies and going out to eat.  I also like to video edit and mingle with photography once in a while.  I also play disc golf with friends. Since I have 4 dogs, during the summer we like to go out to the lake to cool down.  I’m a huge Dallas Cowboys fan and enjoy going to the occasional Royals game. This will be my second year working at Camp Alexander and I look forward to the opportunity to work with your kids this summer.”

Walker Ayers, Camp Counselor

My name is Walker. I graduated from Emporia State University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. I have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from ESU. I stay active playing basketball and working on vehicles. I love being outdoors and look forward to a fun filled summer.

Marcus Cornelius, Camp Counselor

My name is Marcus Cornelius and I have taught fourth and fifth grade at Village Elementary School. I am currently a math teacher at Emporia Middle School. I grew up in Alaska and joined the Army in 2000 for 5 years serving at Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart all in Georgia and Camp Stanley in Uijeongbu, South Korea.  After the Army I found my way to Pittsburg, KS where I graduated in 2011 with my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in English for Speakers of Other Languages. I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Emporia State University.   Even though I have a degree from ESU… I will always love Pitt State!  Go Gorillas!

In my free time I love to travel, camp, read, and run, mixed with a good amount of couch time as well.  I have visited 99 National Parks and Monuments in my travels and I will hit 100 this summer!  I love watching the Kansas City Royals and Duke Basketball!  I know that is not the most popular around here but… go Duke!  The counselors that work here are a great group of people and educators that care a lot about our community and the students here.  Thank you for giving me the chance to work with your children in the summers!

Trenna Hanlin, Camp Counselor

My  name is Trenna Hanlin.  I graduated from ESU with a bachelor’s degree in  Elementary Education and Area of Concentration in Early Childhood.  Over the past 22 years, I have taught children from one to twelve years of age.  I have been part of the Timmerman Elementary school family for the past 13 years. I will start my 9th year as a 4th grade teacher there.  Outside of teaching, I volunteer many hours to 4-H.  I am a certified rifle instructor and plan, organize and carry out BB, air rifle and smallbore rifle disciplines for 4-H with other trained instructors. I have been an archery adult helper for the past 9 years with 4-H as well.  I look forward to assisting Camp Alexander with the opportunity to provide campers the experiences with shooting BB guns and archery.

Sarah Hill, Camp Counselor

My name is Sarah Hill. I graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s in elementary education. I have taught 4th and 5th grade for 12 years. I am currently teaching 5th grade at Village Elementary. I am looking forward to the sunshine and the great outdoors!

Amanda Jantz, Camp Counselor

My name is Amanda Jantz. I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. I am currently a senior studying English Education at Emporia State and have enjoyed living in Emporia these past few years. This summer I will be starting a Masters in Special Education- High Incidence at Emporia State. I am looking forward to teaching after graduation! I also work with individuals with disabilities in a group home setting and substitute teach during the school year. In my free time, I enjoy reading, lifting weights, baking, and going out with my dog Frank!

Karalyn Karjala, Camp Counselor


Tanner Meinholdt, Camp Counselor


Alex Vahsholtz, Camp Counselor

I am Alex Vahsholtz and this is my first summer out at camp, but my kiddos have been coming for years! I am a teacher at Village Elementary in Emporia, KS! Next year will be my 13th year at Village! My husband Chris and I are busy raising two kiddos, Cooper and Oakley! We love being at the base field, traveling, and family movie night! I am looking forward to a wonderful summer at camp!

Camp Alexander Board of Directors

Annette Legako, Chair
Gary Bacon, Vice Chair
Alicia Redeker, Treasurer
Kathyrn Whitcomb, Secretary
Kevin Ogle, Maintenance Director
Jaffar Agha
Mike Alpers
Corey Bacon
Steve Blocker
Wayne Fessler
JC Mock
Al Slappy
Scott Smith
Tracy Edwards, Financial Advisor

620-794-1830  •  1783 Road P5  •  Emporia, KS 66801