Grace started working at Camp Ernst in the summer of 2015 and became full time in 2017. She graduated from William Woods University in Missouri (her home state) with a degree in Equine Administration. Grace and her horse Pebbles love trail rides, especially on the Yellow Trail. She enjoys teaching campers and staff random horse facts as well as useful ones. Her favorite day of every summer is the Opening Campfire for week 4, when she gets to wear her 4th of July-themed costume and decorate the horses in red, white, and blue. Grace is a talented artist and has mapped out all the miles of our camp horse trails!
Jim has worked his magic at Camp Ernst since 1997. Prior to that he was a carpenter at a local winery. Jim enjoys working outside and can often be found cutting down trees, chopping wood, and keeping camp neat and tidy. His favorite part of his job is teaching the crew how to build things. Over the years they have built trash can sheds, fences, picnic tables, friendship benches, Adirondack chairs, and much more. His favorite place at camp is the swimming hole at Gunpowder Creek and he enjoys reading, bicycling, hiking, and ice skating.
Jake was a camper at Camp Ernst and worked as a counselor in 2007. He graduated from the Ohio State University, moved to California to work at YMCA Camp Whittle, then spent several years as a professional public speaker before coming back to camp to work full time at Camp Ernst in 2017. Jake loves being around the horses and has a keen eye for making sure activity areas are safe. He runs the facility at one of our local branch YMCAs but stays in touch with us at camp to support our maintenance needs! One of his favorite movies is “A League of their Own” so be sure to remind him frequently, “There’s no crying in baseball!”
David started working at Camp Ernst in 2019 after having grown up in Alabama, graduating from Auburn, and working at several other camps around the country. His favorite thing to do at camp is “hammock” (yes, it’s a verb) and outside of camp he loves listening to music. He looks forward to meeting new teens every summer and helping to mold them into great leaders. He loves pizza and Italian food.
Elizabeth “Eli” Cochran is passionate about helping young people find achievement, belonging, and relationships at camp. She loves talking to camp families about the benefits of camp, raising money, coming up with crazy innovations, making baby steps in Inclusion work, and riding her bike around to visit program areas. She serves as a member of the YUSA Overnight Camping Cabinet and American Camp Association Ohio Local Council, Co-Chair of the Not-for-Profit Council of the American Camp Association, and is a Certified Praesidium Guardian for child abuse prevention. At home she is mom to twin camp counselor-college student sons and teen/professional camp director’s kid, Kara. Eli and her extremely supportive husband Cameron met as camp counselors in the 90s and have made Camp Ernst their family’s home since 2003.
Derrick started working at Camp Ernst in 2019. His role as head of the property team is to make sure that all the parts and pieces of the 50 buildings and numerous program and natural areas are always looking good and in working order. Derrick enjoys all the people he encounters at camp as well as the challenge of juggling multiple projects. He lives in Campbell County with his family and has played basketball his whole life. He is fully-dedicated to University of Kentucky sports so be sure to try out your best Wildcat trivia on him.
Megan started out as a camper, has been working at Camp Ernst since 2004 as a counselor and unit leader, and came on staff full time in 2013. Prior to that she taught kindergarten and second grade and still has a soft spot for children’s books and the hilarious things kids say. Megan is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and has learned to keep her office stocked with M&Ms and juice boxes for performing one of her many superpowers: counseling and pep talks for the camp counselors. She loves hanging out with campers and staff in the summer and giving back to the place where thousands of kids find their spark every summer. Her all-time favorite movie is “A League of their Own” and favorite place to vacation is Disney World.
Bryan (known to many camp alumni as “Lincoln”) is a good sport in the joke that he’s been at camp since its founding in 1928, when in reality he has worked summers at Camp Ernst since 1973, with a brief hiatus in the 90s. He spends the school year teaching English at NKU and then moves out to camp each summer, where he enjoys early morning runs along all the camp roads. All year long he researches camp history and keeps camp’s documents up-to-date for our American Camp Association accreditation. His favorite place at camp is the Temple of the Trees. Bryan wrote our 90th Anniversary History booklet in 2018 and continues to research our past while giving monthly presentations at the virtual “Camp Alumni History Nights” via zoom. He is working on the 100th Anniversary book for 2028, so send him your camp stories and pictures!
Emily has worked at Camp Ernst since 2015, waking up each day to help kids learn about hard work, compassion, and patience through working with the horses. She graduated from NKU with a degree in Psychology and previously worked as a veterinary assistant. Her favorite parts of working at camp are creating equine education programs and getting to know our camp families, especially at family camp. Emily loves to stay busy and lives for camp lunches in the dining hall, especially Dino Nugs Day! Emily is quick to laugh and has never met a stranger, so please stop by the Rockin’ E Ranch and say hello!
Javier grew up in Mexico City and came to the United States more than 30 years ago. He famously ran “Javier’s Mexican Restaurant” in downtown Cincinnati, where his mole sauce and friendship were second-to-none, and also was a cook with Cincinnati Public Schools before joining our camp team in 2019. He loves working with the crew in summer and has taught hundreds of teenagers how to wash dishes! Javier has a son and a daughter in college, plus a Chocolate Lab named Coco. Javier enjoys staying active playing soccer and taking walks around camp. He’s got a story for everything so he fits in perfectly here!