Debra Deal, Executive Director
As Executive Director, Debra works closely with the CBC board to develop the vision and philosophy of camp and has overall responsibility for developing camp programs and infrastructure, managing the budget and fundraising activities, and supervising personnel. In collaboration with staff, board, and other organizations, she plans to expand year-round programming and to realize the full potential of Camp Beech Cliff’s location and facilities.
Debra has more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, managing programs at camps, outdoor education centers, and other recreational programs for youth and adults. For the five years just preceding her joining the CBC team in 2006, Debra served as Director of Camping and Recreation Services for AHRC, one of the largest social service agencies in New York City. She has also directed camps and an outdoor education center for urban, disadvantaged youth in Washington, D.C. and on Long Island, and helped to start a new camp in Rhinebeck, NY for girls from 20 different countries to promote multi-culturalism. She earned her B.A. from the University of Richmond, Virginia, and her Masters in Education from Harvard.
Debra has vacationed on MDI for years and now lives there with her husband, Rogier van Bakel, a freelance writer and photographer, and her three daughters.
Sylvie Piquet, Camp Director/Director of Programs
Sylvie has been at Camp Beech Cliff since 2006. She began as a challenge course counselor and made the transition into the administration as the Lightning Camp Coordinator (2009), CIT/Staff Coordinator (2010), and Camp Director (2011). Sylvie’s passion for people – especially kids – and the outdoors finds a natural home with CBC. Sylvie is also the training coordinator for Mindful Life, a program that teaches educators how to incorporate mindfulness activities into the classroom. Sylvie graduated from Bowdoin College in 2008 and is a Registered Yoga Teacher. When Sylvie is not at camp you can find her hiking, swimming, and stand up paddle boarding.
Owen Cassidy, Director of Outdoor Education
Born and raised in Maine, Owen has years of experience in the outdoor education and recreation world. He is a Registered Maine Guide for Sea Kayaking, Whitewater Rafting, and Outdoor Recreation as well as certified by the American Mountain Guide Association as a Single Pitch Instructor and SOLO of Conway as a Wilderness First Responder. He is passionate about sharing his love of the outdoors and adventure with teens and adults to teach healthy risk taking and leadership skills.
Michele Marks, Director of Development
You may have had the pleasure of meeting Michele Marks this past year at CBC events or while touring the CBC campus. We are pleased to welcome her full-time to our senior management team as our Director of Development. Michele brings a broad range of abilities to this position with 19 years of experience in the nonprofit sector including positions at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Kennedy Krieger Institute. She moved to Mount Desert Island in 2002 with her husband David. During the ensuing 12 years she has built philanthropic relationships and helped facilitate collaborative partnerships in the community, both fundraising for MDI Alcohol & Drug Abuse Group and as the Director of Development for Acadia Family Center. Michele sees the transition to camp as a natural progression saying, “I believe in the inherent strengths of all individuals. Children may need help to recognize those strengths. The camp experience does just that by providing mentoring, role-modeling, meaningful participation, high-expectations, and pro-social bonding. And this ultimately strengthens our community by fostering resiliency in our youth.” Asked about this challenging position, Michele said, “Donors want to make a difference in the world they live in. I am honored that I get to build lasting relationships with our donors, learn about their dreams and wishes for our island youth, and help them fulfill their aspirations.” Michele is a certified grant writer, certified fundraiser, and is preparing for her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) exam and certification.
John Brown (aka "JB"), DIrector of Finance
JB spent much of his youth on the slopes of Sugarloaf and rivers of Maine as a canoe guide for youth. JB comes to Camp Beech Cliff with a Bachelor’s Degree from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. JB has spent the last 30 years in finance and technology management and most recently sharing his Director of Finance roles between the Abbe Museum and Camp Beech Cliff. JB believes not-for-profit accounting deserves to meet the highest of standards and thus honor the public trust imposed on not for profit entities. JB has spent the last 40 years as an MDI resident. JB currently lives in Somesville with his wife Emily, a local nurse practitioner. His son is a long time returning CBC camper. In his free time he enjoys gardening, hiking, skiing, boating, and running with 20 finishes of the MDI half marathon!
Jim Daigle, Director of Facilities
Jim grew up in the area and has been camping and enjoying outdoor sports in the state of Maine since he was young. You may spot him hiking the trails of Acadia with his wife, young daughter, and his dog, and paddling his kayak around the bay. Jim graduated from the Maine State Fire Academy in 1998 and has worked serving the community as a volunteer firefighter on MDI for over ten years. He has also been in the construction trade for 15+ years. Jim has the responsibility of keeping the buildings and grounds operating smoothly. Asked about this challenging position, Jim said that he “looks forward to maintaining the beauty and function of our newly renovated camp and holding the vision of those who made it possible.”
John Izenour, Camp Registrar / Office Manager
After 40 years of visiting Hancock County every summer, John, his wife and two children decided to make Mount Desert Island their home. John came to Camp Beech Cliff after many years as an office manager at an architecture firm in Philadelphia. His family split their time between a home they are renovating in Southwest Harbor and an old farmhouse in Franklin.