Meet the Staff


K-1

Photo of Kris and Diane Cooper

Kris and Diane Cooper

K-1 Director Kris Cooper and his wife Diane, K-1 Women’s Director, have an unmatched enthusiasm for seeing boys and girls grow in their relationship with Christ. Kris and Diane make K-1 the most fun and impacting time of every child's summer. They both have a great sensitivity of heart that leads them to see the need in each Kamper's life. Kris and Diane have served Kanakuk Kamps for over 50 years combined. They live in Branson and have six children; Conner, Kristen, Lucas, Rebecca, Claire, and Caleb.


Photo of Matt and Melissa Houston

Matt and Melissa Houston

Executive Director of Kamp Operations Matt Houston and his wife Melissa seize every summer as an opportunity to help staff and Kampers take bold steps in living a life for Christ. Every piece of Kanakuk includes a portion of their enthusiasm and leadership. Matt will assist at K-1 during the summer months while leading operations for all Kanakuk Kamps. The Houstons have five children; Hadley, Holland, Neeley, Tred and Bennett.


K-2

Photo of Joe and Debbie Jo White

Joe and Debbie Jo White

Since 1976, Kanakuk Kamps owners and K-2 Directors, Joe and Debbie Jo White, have shared a deep passion for pointing kids to Christ through Christian sports camping. Together they have seen Kanakuk grow into nine unique Kamps and have also founded Kids Across America - for inner-city kids. Joe played football at S.M.U. where Debbie Jo was a cheerleader. Joe then coached at Texas A&M before moving to Missouri in 1972. He has since written 19 books and speaks across the country for Men at the Cross, After Dark, Pure Excitement and Focus on the Family radio. Dr. James Dobson says, "Joe White knows more about teenagers than anyone in North America." Debbie Jo trains the leadership team and the summer staff in a Precepts Bible study. She leads and organizes our Kamps with both dignity and grace. Joe and Debbie Jo have four children: Jamie Jo, Courtney, Brady, and Cooper; and eleven grandchildren: Hays, Maggie, Dax, Gabby, Jack, Anthony, Lillyanne, Hayden, Tiki, Hannah, and Samuel.

Read more about Joe White here.


Photo of Trish Helsel

Trish Helsel

Trish Helsel fills the Women’s Executive Director role for Kanakuk Kamps. Her passion for Christ, sports, and teenage kids spurs her on to make every moment at K-2 fun, exciting and memorable. Trish has three children: Bo, Tee, and Shay.


Photo of Shay and Ashley Robbins

Shay and Ashley Robbins

Together, Ashley Robbins, K-2 Assistant Women's Director and her husband Shay K-2 Men's Director make K-2 a jolt of excitement. Year round they invest their time in the lives of kids through mentoring and friendships. Shay and Ashley are both passionate about what Christ has done in their lives and enjoy speaking to groups. They live in Branson and have three kids, Belle, Lulu and Knox.


Photo of Don Ford

Don Ford

Don Ford serves as Co-Director at K-2 and is the Executive Director of AfterDark Ministries. Don and his wife, Jennifer, were married in summer 2011. Don has been a part of Kanakuk for over 25 years. He and Jennifer are passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus with teenagers and staff at Kamp.


K-West

Photo of Ward and Beth Wiebe

Ward and Beth Wiebe

"Faithful and loving" describe our K-West Directors, Ward and Beth Wiebe! Together they have over fifty years of experience making the "Wild West" of young adulthood an adventure in growing more like Christ. In addition to their summer time roles they both dedicate significant time to hiring the best possible summer staff and shepherding our Kanakuk interns. Ward and Beth have two children, Michael and AJ.


Photo of Alane "Spook" LeGrand

Alane "Spook" LeGrand

Loyalty and consistency have endeared Kamper Care Specialist Alane "Spook" LeGrand to the K-West family. Known as a bit of a "prankster", "Spook" rustles up fun wherever she can find it. Her many years of service have made her legendary among our Kamp families.


Photo of Lindsay Rother

Lindsay Rother

Lindsay Rother started working at Kanakuk in 2006 and full-time in 2010. In 2008 she moved into leadership roles including Dining Hall Discipleship Leader, Athletic Director and Social Media Coordinator. Currently, Lindsay serves as the Assistant Women’s Director at K-West. Lindsay is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, the Kanakuk Institute and John Brown University. She is perfect for her role at K-West because of her intentional heart and faithfulness to encourage both her staff and Kampers to walk closely with the Lord.


K-Kountry

Photo of Collin and Rachel Sparks

Collin and Rachel Sparks

Collin Sparks is the Executive Director of Kamp Ministries and together with his wife Rachel are the K-Kountry Directors. The Sparks have a heart for loving service toward all those around them. K-Kountry's warmth and safety are felt by Kampers and parents alike because the Sparks share themselves with Kanakuk. Collin and Rachel have three children: Ella, Braden, and Beckett.


Photo of Joel and Morgan Trainer

Joel and Morgan Trainer

Joel and Morgan Trainer are the K-Kountry Assistant Men’s and Women’s Directors. They are both graduates of Indiana Wesleyan University. Joel is also a graduate of the Kanakuk Institute. Joel and Morgan’s passion for discipleship and their fun & engaging personalities make them a perfect fit for the “Happiest Place on Earth”!


Photo of Jane Harrison

Jane Harrison

K-Kountry Administration Director, Jane Harrison started working at Kanakuk in 2002 and full-time in 2005. She has served as a counselor, office girl, and in leadership roles at K-Kountry. Now as the Administration Director Jane brings a heart for serving Kampers and their families.


K-Seven

Photo of Keith and Karen Chancey

Keith and Karen Chancey

As the Directors of K-Seven, Keith and Karen Chancey share a passion for living life with integrity and compassion. Keith lights up the summer with an energy and enthusiasm for showing kids that it's a blast being a Christian. Keith also serves as the President of the Kanakuk Institute. Keith and Karen have two children, Callie and Cameron.


Photo of Chad & Catherine Hampsch

Chad & Catherine Hampsch

Chad and Catherine Hampsch are the Assistant Directors for K-Seven. Packing the full Kanakuk experience into seven days takes youthful and humble hearts and this couple shares those qualities as they minister to kids about following the Lord. Chad is passionate about partnering with parents as they lead their children toward Christ. Chad and Catherine have three children Mylee, Isaac and Ansley.


Photo of Jana Pierce

Jana Pierce

K-Seven Women’s Director, Jana Pierce started full-time in 2012, but that’s not when her Kanakuk story began.  She served at K-Kountry from 2008-2011, is a graduate of the Kanakuk Institute class of 2010, and has been at K-Seven since summer 2012. Jana is perfect for her role at K-Seven because of her fun-loving personality and heart to walk beside girls both staff and Kampers in Godly relationships. Jana serves on the Kanakuk Institute full-time staff throughout the year.


Corporate

Photo of Joe White, President

Joe White, President

Since 1976, Kanakuk Kamps owners and K-2 Directors, Joe and Debbie Jo White, have shared a deep passion for pointing kids to Christ through Christian sports camping. Together they have seen Kanakuk grow into nine unique Kamps and have also founded Kids Across America - for inner-city kids. Joe played football at S.M.U. where Debbie Jo was a cheerleader. Joe then coached at Texas A&M before moving to Missouri in 1972. He has since written 19 books and speaks across the country for Men at the Cross, After Dark, Pure Excitement and Focus on the Family radio. Dr. James Dobson says, "Joe White knows more about teenagers than anyone in North America." Debbie Jo trains the leadership team and the summer staff in a Precepts Bible study. She leads and organizes our Kamps with both dignity and grace. Joe and Debbie Jo have four children: Jamie Jo, Courtney, Brady, and Cooper; and eleven grandchildren: Hays, Maggie, Dax, Gabby, Jack, Anthony, Lillyanne, Hayden, Tiki, Hannah, and Samuel.

Read more about Joe White here.


Photo of Doug Goodwin, COO

Doug Goodwin, COO

Doug Goodwin is the Chief Operating Officer of Kanakuk Ministries. Doug guides the organization from a strategic level and provides leadership to both the Kamp programs and operational departments. Doug began his career at Kanakuk as a counselor in 1985 then spent time in various roles including; Personnel/Safety training for a Fortune 50 Company, Middle School Principal and Associate Dean at a private college preparatory school in Houston, TX. In 1996 Doug began his full-time career at Kanakuk Ministries as the Executive Director of Operations and co-director of K-1 and now fills the role of Chief Operating Officer.


Adventure

Photo of Paul Etheridge

Paul Etheridge

Paul Etheridge is a retired Missouri state trooper with over 27 years of service. He has spent most of his working career, both in the military and as a policeman, in special op's and SWAT, retiring as a Director of Special Operations. Paul is currently employed with Kanakuk Kamps as their Director of Operations and Support. He also directs Kanakuk's international activities and missions work. Recently he formed the Adventure Series Kamps – Survival, Scuba and Aviation. These Kamps are designed to challenge high school Kampers to push themselves into the more adventuresome activities that are not considered a part of the traditional summer Kamp experience. These Kamps offer certifications that will last a lifetime. The spiritual emphasis will last an eternity.


Kanakuk Family Kamp

Photo of Geoff and Lindsay Todd

Geoff and Lindsay Todd

Geoff "GT" and Lindsay have been a part of Kanakuk Ministries for over a decade. Lindsay was a longtime Kamper and both served as summer staff in college. GT was the Area Director of Oklahoma City K-Life for its first three years before returning to Kanakuk full time in 2005. Since 2009 GT has held a dual role at Kanakuk as the Director of Marketing for AFTERDARK & PUREEXCITEMENT events as well as the Director of K-Kauai Family Kamp. GT and Lindsay live in Branson and have two daughters, Harper Story and Finley Winter. They also have a boxer named Hurley.


Photo of Doug and Dee Goodwin

Doug and Dee Goodwin

Doug Goodwin is the Chief Operating Officer of Kanakuk Ministries and Executive Director of K-Kauai and his wife Dee is the Women's Director at K-Kauai – Kanakuk Family Kamp. Their hearts are turned toward service to families and equipping them with lifelong memories that draw parents and kids closer together. You'll find them always positive and ready for a day's island adventure. Doug and Dee have 4 children, Kylee, Kale, Kade, and Karis.


KampOut!

Photo of Garrett and Emmy Jo Perkins

Garrett and Emmy Jo Perkins

Garrett serves as the Director of Kanakuk's traveling day camp: KampOut! He and his wife Emmy Jo are wired for this position. Garrett and Emmy love being around people and rarely meet a stranger. They are excited to see the impact that the Gospel will make in communities all over the mid-west through KampOut! Garrett has a passion for Truth and loves that he gets to be a part of serving and partnering with churches to see lives impacted with the hope of the Gospel. Emmy and Garrett just had their first child, Hadley Jo in September 2013.