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Tom VanHammen is the Center Director. Tom’s main focus is finances, but he oversees the whole operation. Tom first came to Circle Pines in 1985, for the Great Lakes Bioregional Congress. He returned the following spring as Physical Plant Manager. He worked at Circle Pines for 7 years as part of a Management Team. Tom was also Summer Camp Co-Director for five of those years. After leaving the CPC staff, he was elected to the CPC Board, where he served for 11 years. He returned on staff in 2005, as Facilities Manager and became Center Director, with his wife Kat, in 2007. Kat stepped down after 3 years, to focus on her art. Tom has a BA from Michigan State University in Interdisciplinary Humanities. Prior to coming to CPC, Tom did solar heating work in Lansing, MI (Solar & Insulation Co-op). In between stints at CPC, Tom worked in the Traverse City area for two years and owned and ran a residential remodeling business (Abode Building & Remodeling) in Grand Rapids for 10 years. He also volunteered at the Grand Rapids Community Media Center, as a “DJ” on community radio station WYCE for 10 years. Tom enjoys listening to music, pruning fruit trees, making maple syrup, hiking, cross country skiing, ice skating, roller blading, kayaking, playing Ultimate Frisbee and cooperating.
Isabelle Stamler-Goody, Summer Camp Co-director has been around Circle Pines Center since 2003, where she started as a camper, and has been on staff for the past 5 years as a Counselor and the Nitty Gritty Coordinator. She has returned year after year due to her love for the CPC community and her passion for the mission. Living in co-op houses throughout Ann Arbor, she has carried this enthusiasm for cooperation throughout her life. Her degrees in Russian Language and Screen Arts and Culture are what originally brought her to Ann Arbor, but her love for co-operative living is what keeps her there. Isabelle is excited to work with Sonya as co-director, folk dance all summer long, and make summer camp a wonderful and safe place.
Sonya Ochshorn, Summer Camp Co-director was raised in Brooklyn, singing songs from the Circle Pines songbook. Her mother and three uncles has all been campers and counselors at Circle Pines. Years later Sonya became a camper herself and has been back every summer since. Sonya has a multidisciplinary BA with a focus on Visual Arts, Media, and Anthropology. When she is not at Circle Pines, Sonya has worked at a handful of museums in New York City. She will be attending Bank Street College of Education in the fall to pursue a Masters in Museum Education. She is looking forward to after-lunch singing and in her free time she likes to paint pictures of chickens.
Patrick Irving, Grounds Coordinator, first came to CPC for the action camp in 2014 and was hired on to work in the camp kitchen that summer. A strong advocate of anti-oppression, truth, liberty, and the non-agression principle, he has stayed on to work at CPC year-round, doing mostly maintenance tasks and being an ambassador for CPC. Patrick says “I immediately fell in love with Circle Pines and want to do everything I can to help it thrive”.
Mike Evans, Fund Development, Marketing & Buttermilk Coordinator, has joined the year-round staff in a part-time, yet vital role. Mike has been a neighbor to Circle Pines for 15 years and has served on the Buttermilk team from year one. Prior to coming to Circle Pines, Mike worked for seven years at Hastings Public Library as Community Outreach Coordinator. In that role, in the first LEED Gold Certified Libary in Michigan, he created an annual Sustainability Month that launched with the library anchoring our region on the National Solar Home Tour, continued with environmental programming that led up to the Traverse City Bioneers Confernece in mid-October. In 2011, Mike, who owns a pottery studio with his wife Christyl, gathered a collaborative of local folks to create a backroads tour of art, food, and farms called Arts & Eats. Soon after, the library bacame a co-sponsor of the Sustainability Conference at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Mike has volunteered for a number of years for Local Futures at the International Confernece on Sustainability and attended TEDxGrandRapids for a number of years. It was through all of this work that Mike became a student of leadership, philanthropy, and cooperation that supports the ecosystem of sustainability. Mike and Christyl have three goats (including Widget-formally of CPC), any number of chickens, a cow, and a daughter named Jonah. All are humanely raised.
Danielle Hoskins-LaJoye, Buttermilk General Coordinator, first came to Circle Pines in 2010 as a First Aid Instructor for the Summer Camp staff and fell in love (with CPC). She has continued to offer safety trainings for staff in the summers, and has been an integral part of the Buttermilk planning team since the very beginning. For many years, she has been part of festivals and events throughout Michigan, as an attendee, volunteer, and an organizer. She also spent many years working with the YMCA as an Aquatics/Watefront Director, and shares with CPC her expertise with risk assessment, licensing, and waterfront operations. Passionate about music, summer camp, and CPC, and with experience and enthusiasm for running events, Danielle has become a valuable resource, as well as a welcoming smiling face with the Buttermilk Jamboree. She lives locally with her husband Tony, and her son David, raising dairy goats, pigs, turkeys, and chickens. She is currently woking on her Masters in the Practice of Teaching in Early Childhood with Western Michigan University. Danielle enjoys kayaking, working with animals, swimming, lifeguarding, watching David play soccer, camping, playing the trombone, and making jewelry.
Iris Frerridge, Kitchen Coordinator, first came to Circle Pines in the spring of 2015 after finding a flyer for CPC at the East Lansing Food Co-op. Iris fell in love with the people on her first visit. Iris and her family live in Haslett, MI, near Lansing. She runs the CPC kitchen as a volunteer for most of our events. Iris is a skilled chef and has a background in both nursing and police work. She enjoys running, dancing, and crocheting.