Forest Lake Camp Director and Owner Team
Gene and Lilly Devlin, Directors
Gene is responsible for our day-to-day operations, marketing, recruitment and alumni development. Gene was a teacher and administrator for 15 years in the private boarding school world prior to working at FLC. He most recently served as the Director of Admission at a boarding school in New England and was before that the Director of their Wilderness School, where he led students and families in the outdoors for over 8 years. Gene possesses a wealth of knowledge in working with children and families and has years of administrative experience. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1996 with a degree in Education and English with a minor in outdoor education. Gene also holds a Master’s Degree in Organization and Leadership from The University of Antioch New England. Pictured here with his wife, Lilly, their youngest son George, and FLC campers, Skyeler and Camden.
Why do I return to FLC every summer: "For me camp is a place of community, renewal and self-discovery. I return each summer because I take great pleasure in seeing our campers make new connections and discoveries about themselves through relationships and their environment."
Lilly is responsible for staff hiring and training and curriculum design. Lilly began her own camping days at an all girls' camp in Maine at the age of 10. She returned every summer until the age of 22. She worked as a CIT, counselor and eventually held a head counselor role. During those formative years Lilly developed a deepened commitment to the impact that a summer camp experience can have on each child's development. Over the past 13 years Lilly has actively been involved in education, in the classroom and in wilderness settings. She has worked with elementary age children up to high school, as well as with families.
Lilly’s high energy, creativity, compassion and understanding of young people is a true value to the Forest Lake community. Lilly not only brings to Forest Lake her quality of character but also a deepened knowledge and vision of the camping world.
What excites you about being a member of the FLC family:“When I am asked what I look forward to most in my role at Forest Lake, the word family consistently comes to mind. I have always felt as though there is no greater environment outside the immediate home than a camp family. Family, to me, means feeling connected, taking time to listen and share. It means encouraging, challenging, and supporting one another. Family is having fun. Forest Lake brings all of the same values.”
Geoff Blanck, Owner/Associate Director
A second-generation alumnus of Forest Lake Camp, Geoff spent 6 years at FLC in the late 1970's and early 1980's. His brother Rob Blanck also spent several years at FLC over that time and his father Bob Blanck spent many many summers on 'the hill' in the 50's and 60's. Geoff is a graduate of Hobart College and Babson Business School, has lived and worked in London, traveled extensively in New Zealand and now resides in Waterbury, Vermont. Pictured here with his wife, Shalagh, an alumna of the Brown Ledge Camp for girls in Colchester, Vermont, and campers Emma and Annecy. Owning FLC is a dream come true for Geoff and his family. A highlight of his summer is leading the old Indian rain chant 'Flee, Fly, Flo' at campfire every Sunday night to ward off the clouds for the upcoming week.
Why do I return to FLC every summer: "It is both invigorating and surreal to own the camp that has been part of my life since I was 7 years old and part of my family since the mid 1950's. I returned to FLC for the beauty and tranquility and the ability to positively shape a child's life. When I was at FLC I learned how to make friends, what it means to be a leader and experienced things that I never would have had the chance to experience otherwise. Having the opportunity to provide that to a few hundred children every year is exhilarating. I am proud and eager to continue the wonderful traditions of FLC and seeing the smiling faces of campers every day makes me a very happy camper myself."
Tobin Kelly, Owner/Associate Director
Tobin is an alumnus of Camp Tohkomeupog in Madison, New Hampshire where he spent 18 years as a camper, counselor and Head Counselor in addition to leading the alumni association for ten years. Tobin is a graduate of Harvard College and Babson Business School and Tobin worked for 6 years at Bright Horizons, a child care company headquartered in Boston. Tobin now works full-time at The Ariel Group in Lexington, MA when he isn’t dreaming about camp. Pictured here with his wife, Margaret, Lower School Admissions Director at the Fessenden School in Newton, Massachusetts and Office Manager at Forest Lake during the second session, his son, Quinn and daughter Kenzie, who is a current camper at FLC.
Why do I return to Forest Lake each summer?: “Growing up, summertime meant going to camp where I could enjoy the outdoors, camaraderie and spirit of a traditional summer camp. The friendships I formed have been lifelong and the experiences so special that I was even married at camp! When I had the opportunity to get involved with Forest Lake, it was and is the continuation of a dream come true.”
Forest Lake Camp Administrative Staff
Caroline Meyer, Girls Head Counselor
Caroline began coming to FLC as a camper in 1995 following in the footsteps of her dad and uncle who also went to FLC as kids. She spent many years as a camper, along with her sister and cousins, coming back every summer until she became a counselor. After a three-year break, she realized she missed it too much not to go back and returned for the summer of 2010. She is thrilled to be returning to FLC for her 16th year, and third year as Head Counselor. She hopes that everything she has learned from her counselors in the past and all her camp experiences will help her campers and staff have the most memorable and exciting summer possible. Caroline holds a degree from Hunter College in Biological Anthropology.
Why do I return to FLC every summer?: "FLC is a huge part of who I am. It has shaped me as a person and taught me the most important things about life that I know so far: how to share a bathroom, how to love chipmunks, how to wake up on time, and how to clean a cabin in 5 minutes. I come back every summer because this is where I grew up and where I will always find room to grow. Here in the Adirondacks I remember what it is to love the outdoors, to laugh until my belly aches, to burst into song for no reason and to be with the people I love. I come back because I want to keep the camp spirit alive and give the campers the opportunity to have memories and friendships as lasting as mine."
Ria Hanish-Oakes, Girls Head Counselor
During my first week at Forest Lake in 2011, I remember being amazed to find that some counselors were returning for their 14th, 15th and even 16th summer of camp. This left me wondering why so many counselors and campers returned summer after summer to this region of the Adirondacks. Now, after returning for my 3rd summer I can fully appreciate and understand why so many choose to return and share in the Forest Lake experience.
Why do I return to FLC every summer?: "I return to Forest Lake each summer because it is a place like no other. Rarely do you find somewhere where you can totally be yourself and experience things you never thought you would - white water rafting to a pie in the face during a campfire skit, it all happens at FLC!
Forest Lake affords the opportunity to spend everyday outdoors in a beautiful surrounding and the chance to work with amazing people from a multitude of cultures and backgrounds - as well as the ability to get an annual heavy dose of laughter. For this, FLC is truly unique.
For me, summer cannot come quickly enough. The energy at Forest Lake is positively infectious and I can't wait to get back to it.
Louis Thivierge, Boys Head Counselor
Louis’ first summer at Forest Lake Camp was in 1997. He has been a camper, a LIT, a junior counselor, a regular counselor, and since 2011, a Head Counselor for the Boy’s Camp. As a counselor, Louis has been known for running the fencing program (which was first started by his older brother) and for taking part in many other camp activities such as kayaking and climbing. Outside of camp, Louis has a B.A. in political sciences and will be attending law school in 2013. He is also a certified airplane pilot and enjoys going on wild expeditions in the north of Canada.
Why do I return to FLC every summer?: "I love the peacefulness, the fresh air, and the beauty of the surroundings. FLC is a different world, a different planet. I have lived so many great moments and have had life changing experiences at camp since I arrived as a shy 9-year-old boy who barely spoke any English. Camp taught me how to make friends, how to interact with people from all around the world, to be myself and to become a role model for others. I come back to camp because it brings back all those memories that molded my personality and that made me who I am. As a head counselor, my goal is to preserve and fuel the FLC camp spirit for the next generation."
Brett Booker, Boys Head Counselor
Brett first came to camp as the soccer specialist in 1990 and returned for 4 more summers. He was great friends with camp caretaker and legend Russ Combs who invited him to come over each pre-season to help get camp ready. Brett helped with many camp projects including the construction of the Girls Office, Girls Cabin 8 and the Boys Soccer field. After an 18-year break (which Brett considers a sabbatical) he returned in the role of Head Counselor in 2012. This will be his 2nd year in that role and Brett is looking to continue the development of old and new camp traditions.
Why do I return to FLC every summer?: "I have 2 small boys who I must ensure experience the FLC factor and working at camp allows me to help make that legacy possible. Forest Lake is a magical place that allows for a degree of personal growth unlike anywhere else I have ever known. The relationships and bonds between fellow staff members and campers and indeed campers and staff are bonds that, speaking from experience, last a lifetime. At camp I am able to really develop and use skills that are only really applicable at Camp. Where else can I teach people about communication skills and personal development and then take part in a campfire Skit with Custard Pies? With the current ownership and director’s mission to make FLC the best camp it can be, I feel I am truly part of an exciting legacy."
Sadie Ball, Program Coordinator
Sadie started her career at FLC as a camper in 2001 and progressed through the roles of CIT, junior counselor and counselor. In 2010, Sadie became the Program Coordinator and continues to fulfill that role. She enjoys instructing archery and was recently certified as a Level II Archery Instructor. Sadie looks forward to improving the program and contributing to activities at the archery range. Sadie currently works with middle school aged children at the Saratoga Regional YMCA. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2010 and The London School of Economics in 2011.
Why do I return to FLC? “My twin sister, Remy, and I both fell in love with camp in our first summer despite attending separate summer camp sessions. After 2001, we insisted on returning as 8-week campers as one month was just not long enough for either of us. I continue to return to camp because it is home and the Forest Lake community is my family.”
Bob Duffy, Activities Director
Bob has been with FLC since the year 2000. He has filled a number of roles at the camp including Coach, Lifeguard, Program Director and Head Counselor. This summer he is looking forward to continuing to take campers whitewater rafting and helping out with athletics. When not at camp Bob is a special education and phys. ed. teacher in the town of Lake Luzerne. Originally from Brooklyn, Bob has fallen in love with the beauty of the Adirondacks.
Why do I return to FLC every summer? "When I was looking for a camp for my daughter I was looking for a safe, exciting, enriching place for her to spend the summer. On my first visit to FLC I was impressed by the fact that so many counselors had been former campers and by the fact that so many campers had been at FLC for multiple years. This told me that campers built a love for this place and each other. My daughter was lucky enough to spend three years at FLC and I have been lucky enough to work and play at this camp for more than ten years. Enjoying the great outdoors with a great, big camp family has been a life enriching experience."
Heather York, Trips Director
Heather is an optimist, who loves being outdoors as much as possible. She likes to share her joy of hiking and camping with everyone. Heather’s faithful companion Oscar (Border Collie Mix) joins her on trips. During the off-camp season, Heather resides in Ticonderoga, NY where she is a Middle School Spanish Teacher. Heather’s hobbies include doing agility and hiking with Oscar, as well as photography, scrap booking and kayaking. Heather’s an avid traveler who loves adventuring.
Why do I return to FLC every summer? ? “Because it is my family away from home. I believe the people make the place, and I have met some of the greatest people at FLC. The dynamic changes as some of the staff come and go, but the core ideas stay the same. When we turn down the road leading to camp, Oscar goes into happy, excited barking, and we both are joyful to be at camp. Each year, I look forward to meeting the new staff and campers, and reconnecting with the friends I’ve made from the previous years. It’s one of those places that become sacred to you as you experience it, yearning for more year after year. Lastly, the scenery at camp amazes me: I have seen so many spectacular views at FLC over the years.”
John Cullen, Senior Administrator
In the course of 20+ years at FLC, John has been a junior camper, intermediate camper, senior camper, CIT (counselor-in-training), and a JC (Junior Counselor). He was the captain of his color war team (1969 – they won, and yes his name is on the plaque in the mess hall). He has been a Cabin Counselor, taught archery, taught waterskiing, and taught golf. John’s FLC experience has also included Trip Director, Waterfront Director, a Head Counselor, and even some years has had loosely defined responsibilities, that mostly revolve around making sure everyone has a good time at camp. John is also the master of ceremonies for our weekly Sunday night campfire.
John’s family now has 100+ summers of experience attending or working at FLC. John’s wife, Kelly has been FLC’s camp nurse since 1998 and all of the Cullen children have gone to FLC and all of those who have been old enough, have worked at camp during their college years.
Why do i return to FLC every summer?: “My family and I come back to camp every year for the things that haven’t changed since long before he was even aware that FLC existed: the natural beauty of the lake, campus, and the Adirondack Mountains. Meteor Showers and Aurora Borealis in August, hot days, and cool nights. Learning from experience that anything cooked over an open fire has to taste better. Camp is where so many have had the opportunity to take the first steps towards learning to make their own decisions; what to wear, what activities to enjoy, what new things to try, talking to someone you don’t know, and making friends with people you probably wouldn’t get to know at all except for camp. It’s the friendships that most of all have defined my FLC experience.”
John’s wedding in 1980 took place on the last day of second session so no one who was working at camp was actually able to make the ceremony, but there still was a strong FLC connection. John’s wife Kelly was someone he had met at camp a few years before. Her brothers were all in the wedding party. John’s new brother-in-law, John, had been a cabin counselor with him in 1975 (Cabin 7), and another brother-in-law, Jimmy, had been a counselor and maintenance employee for a number of years in the mid and late 70’s. John’s best man Charlie was someone he had met for the first time at camp in 1969. The two never lived in the same town and never went to the same school, but after 3 summers of camp, Charlie was and remains to this day one of his best friends.
In the 80’s Kelly and John started working on building a future and starting a family. They maintained contact with FLC and the people who worked there as Kelly’s family has a summerhouse on Kelm Lake, which is the last right turn on Forest Lake Road before you reach camp. The first of the Cullen’s six children arrived in 1986, and as the oldest came to camp as a 10 year old in 1996. Two years later his mother and siblings joined their son Sean at FLC, as Kelly came back as a camp nurse in 1998. All of the Cullen children have gone to FLC and all of those who have been old enough, worked at camp during their college years.
John returned to FLC in 2001. John was in the process of transitioning from a 20+ year career in sales and marketing to becoming an educator. John has spent the last nine years as a teacher of mathematics at the middle school, high school, or college level.
In the course of my 20+ years at FLC, John has been a junior camper, intermediate camper, senior camper, CIT (counselor-in-training), and a JC (Junior Counselor). He was the captain of his color war team (1969 – they won, and yes his name is on the plaque in the mess hall). He has been a Cabin Counselor, taught archery, taught waterskiing, and taught golf. John’s FLC experience has also included Trip Director, Waterfront Director, a Head Counselor, and even some years has had loosely defined responsibilities, that mostly revolve around making sure everyone has a good time at camp.
John’s family now has 100+ summers of experience attending or working at FLC. Much has changed in the time since John first came to camp. No one had yet walked on the moon; the trip from New York City was a lot longer; not further, but longer as the Northway was still a work in progress, and north of Saratoga you had to take Route 9 all the way to camp. The camp road was a dirt road for it’s entire length.
John and his family come back to camp every year for the things that haven’t changed since long before he was even aware that FLC existed: the natural beauty of the lake, campus, and the Adirondack Mountains. Meteor Showers and Aurora Borealis in August, hot days, and cool nights. Learning from experience that anything cooked over an open fire has to taste better. Camp is where so many have had the opportunity to take the first steps towards learning to make their own decisions; what to wear, what activities to enjoy, what new things to try, talking to someone you don’t know, and making friends with people you probably wouldn’t get to know at all except for camp. It’s the friendships that most of all have defined John’s FLC experience.
“We all have, or will have the experience of having friends due to convenience. They live near us; we play on the same team, or go to the same school. If and when something changes, someone moves, doesn’t make the team etc. the friendship quickly fades. The two most enduring relationships I have are with my wife of almost 30 years, and my best friend who lives in a different state. One I see daily, one I see rarely, but I am always thankful for the FLC experience that allowed me to meet and form the relationships that continue to shape my life to this day.”