Camp Board

Our Camp Ernst advisory board is made up of dedicated volunteers who care about strengthening community through the powerful work of a camp experience.

YMCA Camp Ernst Junior Board

The YMCA Camp Ernst Junior Board is made up of a few dozen enthusiastic high school students who love camp and want to give back to the community! You can find them planning fundraisers for camper scholarships, on social media (Twitter @campernstjrb and Instagram @cejuniorboard), and constantly thinking of new ways to make their summer home even better. Email David (Teen Director) to get involved.

YMCA Camp Ernst Board of Directors

The YMCA Camp Ernst Board of Directors is a dedicated group of volunteers who work hard behind the scenes to promote camp in the community. Email Executive Director Eli Cochran if you’re interested in serving in this capacity.

Jon holds a BS, Applied Engineering, Eastern Kentucky and an MBA from Xavier. With 30+ years of diversified manufacturing experience, acquired a non-destructive testing distributorship in 2016.

He married into the camp family and fell in love with camp after coming to a family reunion with his then-girlfriend (now wife). Now their sons, 4th generation campers, enjoy summer camp and many other camping activities throughout the year. Jon is famous for saying he’ll make any excuse to come to camp and wishes he could enjoy the camper experience! He’s excited to help fundraise for camper scholarships and to find new untapped funding opportunities.

Melanie Horel has been working for the past 14 years as an Occupational therapist in the Greater Cincinnati area for geriatric population. She graduated college at Eastern Kentucky University.

Melanie’s love of camp Ernst started at age 7. She attended camp every summer as a camper until she was a member of the first Crew session at the age of 15. Following that she was a junior counselor and life guard. Next she graduated to a senior counselor and eventually a Unit leader for the teens. Every summer was full of joy and love for camp and the campers. Now She is so excited to give back and be part of the board for such an amazing organization such as camp Ernst.

Melanie is the mom of two campers-now staff members!

Professionally, I’m most proud that I spent 12 years working for the same company, steadily progressing and gaining additional certifications. I worked at Fidelity Investments from 2001-2013. I started as a service representative and decided to leave in 2013 to dedicate myself to raising my family full-time.

I hope that as a member of the Camp Ernst Board of Directors I can raise awareness of the wonderful camp resource we have right in our backyard. I would like to act as an ambassador of the camp’s core values: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. Additionally, I hope to ensure the camp’s continued fiscal sustainability and adherence to the camp’s mission to build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all so many more generations are able to enjoy all that Camp Ernst has to offer.

I believe in camp because I have seen for myself how camp provides enrichment for children and builds their confidence. They learn how to accomplish tasks and activities on their own and also through teamwork. Before I had my own family and career, I spent a summer as a counselor at another YMCA camp in Connecticut. I witnessed the bonds the campers developed with each other and with nature. My husband and I take our two children to family camp twice a year, and it has become a treasured tradition – one we hope they continue when they have their own children. I’ve seen my children gain self-worth and resiliency through the activities they do at camp. It’s amazing to see them accomplish a little bit more with each camp we attend.

Eric left his profession to become a stay at home dad for his three boys 12 years ago. As a result, he has three beautiful, polite young men at his house. As a new board member he is excited to use his experience with grant writing to help camp realize its next level of development. He has a personal interest in making camp better camp with two boys who attend. He went to camp for seven years as a camper, and says it changed his life completely.

“Some of my best friends to this day come from my experience at camp.”

Mark has an eclectic background with a BA in psychology and an MBA with a concentration in information systems. He has a unique talent for integrating those two fields which he has been doing for over 13 years as IT Manager at Pilot Chemical Company. He responsible for the development and maintenance of Pilot’s global infrastructure, providing both ubiquitous technology tools and new tools that move the organization forward.

He recognizes that IT is about the people, not the tools. Mark has over 25 years of experience in IT with 18 years managing manufacturing environments. He specializes in Infrastructure, Networking, Security, Enterprise Resource Planning, Acquisition Execution, and Cost Accounting. Mark has a B.A. from the University of Dayton, an MBA from Xavier University, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati.

As an Advisory Board Member, he really wants camp to continue to grow and increase its impact on the community, making our “good” even better! He believes the camp experience is transformative as he seen in his own life as a family camper and his kids’ lives as they’ve come to Camp Ernst. He sees it enabling kids to build confidence and lifelong passions. For instance one of his daughters wants to be a farrier due to her experience at camp.

He prides himself on maintaining a good work-life balance and helping his children to grow to be helpful members to the community and make a positive impact on society. And just for fun he likes to video all three of his kid’s basketball games while announcing them. The kids help make up parody sponsors and the videos are all published on YouTube.


Erica currently works as cosmetic chemist at KAO. With a passion for running, she did over 45 events in 2018. In 2019 she looks forward to a race in Paris. As a child at her summer camp she discovered camp was a place to escape and find out who she was. She learned what she is capable of.

She has passed that same experience to her daughter by sending her to Camp Ernst. She sees it as a place that has shaped her daughter and provide values. She is beyond proud of her daughter’s accomplishment of Honor Camper. She hopes to help provide this same experience of summertime adventure to other kids in the community by serving on the Camp Ernst Advisory Board.

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