Executive Director - Darrell Whitaker
Darrell became Executive Director in 2003 after a long history with Camp Lake Stephens. He attended camp as a camper for six summers, worked as a summer camp Counselor for three summers during college, and served as summer Program Director for three summers during seminary. Darrell graduated from Tupelo High School in 1983, received a Business Administration degree from Mississippi College in 1987, and earned his Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1993. Darrell met his wife Paula Bailey of Tupelo while working at camp and they have been married for over 20 years. They live on the camp grounds with their three children, Joseph, Jack, Martha.
Program Director - Chap Fenwick
Chap has long been a friend to Camp Lake Stephens, and we’re proud to have him on board. He served as a counselor in 2008, Waterfront Director in 2010, and Assistant Program Director in 2011. Chap realized his passion for working with children as a counselor, and decided to try his hand at teaching. After receiving his undergrad degree in exercise science at Mississippi State University, he decided to go for a Master’s in secondary education. However, being the Program Director at Camp Lake Stephens has always been his dream job. He and his wife, Kelly, moved here in January 2014, and we’re glad they’re here! Fun facts: He loves musicals (Les Miserables is by far his favorite), and he can carry a conversation using only movie quotes. He can also run a 4 minute mile on a bad day and bench press 415 pounds. Rumor has it he’s actually a gorilla in a man suit.
Office Manager - Sally Lott McLellan
Sally Lott McLellan joined the staff at Camp Lake Stephens in 2013 as Office Manager. Her relationship with CLS began years ago as the parent of a camper and part-time staff member while a student at Ole Miss. A graduate of Millsaps College, Sally also studied art education at Mississippi University for Women. She is the parent of Shanda, Ivy, and Golda, and “Mama Cat” and “YaYa”, respectively, to grandsons Britnal and Aiden; and in keeping with CLS animal-lovers’ lifestyle, she lives with her dog, Etta James, and two cats. After her children were grown, Sally joined AmeriCorps and served two years as a community service coordinator at a tribal college in northwest Montana, where some of her first-time experiences included eating moss and bison meat, hiking in Glacier National Park, rafting in white-water rapids, and camping in the Badlands.
Property Director - Brandon Gooch
Our Grounds Director, Brandon Gooch, has worked full-time at Camp Lake Stephens since Winter 2009, when he took on his current position. Gooch has been a large part of Camp Lake Stephens for most of his life, as a camper, CIT, counselor, Program Staff, Intern, and now Full Time Staff. He has done everything at camp from help build our Ropes Course, build and tend the Camp Garden, and build the goldfish pond by the store. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of Mississippi. He is married to Candace Warren, of Mantachie, a long time Camp Lake Stephens counselor and Program Staffer.
Food Service Director - Karen Irby
Karen serves as our Food Service Director. She has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. Karen started out as a waitress and moved on from there. Karen is a member of the US Pizza team where in 2010 she competed and was ranked 9th in the world and the 2nd female in pizza making. Karen has cooked for Michelle Obama, Mark Garafalo, and So You Think You Can Dance Cast. She also trained with Spike Mendelson of Top Chef while running his two restaurants. Karen is the mother of four wonderful children: Allen, Hunter, Waylon & Emma.
Environmental Education Director - Julie Cantrell
Julie Cantrell is a licensed MDE educator and a certified naturalist. She helped operate a family farm for six years where she learned by trial and error (mostly error) how to milk goats, deliver four-legged-babies, clean a coop, muck a stall, gather eggs, nurse wounds, and mow more than her fair share of grass. Julie has explored 48 states and has hiked many a rugged trail with her two kids in tow. Those who know her best would describe her to be a tree-hugging-nature-loving-friend to all things furry, feathered, and feral – which, of course, includes children. A teacher at heart, Julie has filled many roles in the local school district, working as a speech-language pathologist, reading interventionist, ELL tutor, special education substitute, and room mom. When normal people are sleeping, Julie likes to pretend she’s a writer. That alter-ego has landed her work on the New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller lists while nabbing an award or two along the way. Her novels have been recognized as tools to help readers develop deeper faith, more empathy, and a greater appreciation for this beautiful, magical, marvelous creation we call life. As Environmental Education Director, Julie is able to combine all her passions into what she considers to be a Dream Job. (Thanks, Lucky Stars!)
Director of Development - David Carroll
A 2015 retiree from the United Methodist pastorate, David Carroll is a 40-year veteran of youth ministry in the southeast. A native Mississippian, David has served churches in Corinth, Columbus, Winona, Jackson, and Madison. He has served as District Youth Coordinator of the New Albany and West Jackson Districts, as Conference Youth Coordinator in both the former and present Mississippi Conferences of the United Methodist Church, and as a member of the conference’s Camping Ministries Committee since 1992, chairing the committee 2000-2015. He also serves as a part-time Director of Development for Camp Lake Stephens near Oxford, MS, and as a Lead Consultant for Ministry Architects of Nashville, TN.
David graduated with Special Distinction from high school in Tupelo, MS, and graduated thank-the-laude from Millsaps College in Jackson in 1978. He then received the Master of Divinity degree at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in 1983 and was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 1985.
With co-author Tony Franks in 2008, David published a resource for an advanced lay speaking course on preaching - From Your Heart to Theirs: Delivering an Effective Sermon, through Discipleship Resources.
David enjoys backpacking, guitar, canoeing, golf (but only when he shoots under 95), and speaking to youth and parent groups. But mostly he enjoys his family -- his wife Laura, his 32-year-old son Ben, and his 28- and 20-year-old daughters Kathryn and Mary Evelyn.