Owners and Directors
Susie and Steve Baskin came to Camp Champions in 1995 and live at camp year round with their four children: twin boys Wiley and Liam (23), daughter Terrill (22), daughter Virginia (19) and basset hound Dodger. They are committed to making camp an extraordinary place to serve families.
Steve is the executive director of the boys’ side of camp. That means that he gets to spend time with great campers and counselors during the summer and avoid growing up.
Steve is a lifelong camper. He first attended camp when he was 8, and he continued for 11 years. In his years as a camper and a counselor, he discovered the power of the camp experience to develop confidence, social skills, and joy.
He even wrote about camp in his college applications as one of the defining experiences of his life. After graduating with honors from Davidson College, he got off the camp track for a few years during which he was an investment banker with Goldman Sachs in New York and Simmons & Company in Houston. He then went to Harvard Business School, where he decided to pursue his true passion: summer camp. He and Susie have been full-time camp owners since 1993. Steve is lucky to have the pleasure of partnering with his wife (and best friend).
Steve has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, American Way magazine, the Houston Chronicle, and the Austin-American Statesman. He has written for Psychology Today on youth development, education, and parenting. Steve chaired the Tri-State Camp Conference (the largest camp conference in the world) from 2008-2010. In 2009, he received the National Service Award from the American Camp Association(ACA). In 2010, he was appointed Treasurer of the ACA and serves on its Executive Committee.
In 2013, Steve was asked to speak at his 20th Harvard reunion as an expert on parenting.
Watch Steve’s Harvard Talk Below:
Susie is the camp mom and the director of the girls’ side. She adores her many “children” at camp.
Susie loves talking with camper parents all year long and helping them with any concerns, including parental separation anxiety (camp can be hard on first time parents). In addition to being a parent liaison at camp, she also directs our camp health center.
Susie did not attend camp as a child or young woman, but she has become a powerful fan of the camp experience as she watched its positive effect on her own children.
In her past life, Susie was a family and adolescent counselor at a hospital in Wellesley, MA and later became a manager at a Boston hospital. She attended University of Michigan undergrad and Northwestern University for graduate school.
In 2014, the Texas Commissioner of Education appointed Susie as the sole camp representative to the Texas Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council.
Susie is a die hard Bostonian and thought she’d live there forever until she met Steve, and he convinced her to move to Texas. She is very happy that he did as she could never envision a better place to live than right in the middle of camp on the beautiful shores of Lake LBJ.
Watch the videos below to get to know Susie and Steve!
Say hello to our senior staff
Erec Hillis, our Executive Camp Director, is originally from Austin, TX. Erec first arrived at camp in the summer of 2000 as a Letterman in Cabin 7, and has had the privilege of seeing camp from almost every angle as a camper, counselor, and leadership team member. He graduated from UC-Berkeley with a degree in biology, but he always spent his college summers back in Central Texas at the mighty Camp Champions. He plays competitive ultimate Frisbee, representing a couple of teams in the Austin area including the Austin Sol. His favorite things at camp are pickleball, Lake LBJ, Trojan/SpartanGames, Torchlight, and all of our other fantastic traditions!Contact Erec
Ali Grello, or Ali Ma’am, is our Retreats Director and leader of our Girls Leadership Team in the summer. Ali Ma’am came to us all the way from Knoxville, TN and we think we might have made her into a Texan at this point (this will be her 7th summer at CC!). There’s nobody better to hang out with in downtime at camp and she is always willing to jump in the lake at a moment’s notice. Every once in a while she’ll show off her Italian roots at camp - as far as we know, she’s never lost a game of “name that pasta”.Contact Ali
JB Sir first arrived as a counselor in 2016, and is now our Activities Director at camp. Hailing to you from Leicester, England, JB never had the opportunity to attend camp growing up. He now loves spending 10 weeks a year helping all CC campers get the most out of their 1st, 2nd, 6th, or 10th summer at the place we love the best. JB has a huge passion for football (or soccer, as you call it in the US), playing from when he was very young, through college, and right up until he moved to Texas, and his love for Manchester United follows him wherever he goes. Graduating from The University of Bedfordshire with a degree in Sport and Physical Education, you can often catch JB engaged in some kind of sport around camp! But when he’s not at CC, JB enjoys hiking, camping, and seeing the wonders that the US has to offer – hoping to visit all of the National Parks in the country.Contact John
Katie Ma’am joined the CC team in January 2022 as our Operations Director and is a self-proclaimed “Camp Person.” Originally from the Chicago area, she received a B.S. in Middle Childhood Education from Miami University, OH. She then went on to teach during the year while spending her summers working at residential camps in Illinois and California, before finally moving to the Hill Country to join the Champion’s family. In her free time she enjoys reading, participating in trivia nights, and exploring all the nearby state parks that Texas has to offer. Her favorite things to do at camp include hanging out with all the animals in the petting zoo, participating in water activities, and photographing all the fun, special moments that camper’s experience during the summer.Contact Katie
Our Site Manager is Gage Elrod, also known as Gage Sir. Originally from Tyler, TX, Gage Sir graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Agricultural Leadership. Throughout his college years, he spent his summers at Camp Champions, developing his passion for summer camp. Now, Gage Sir is thrilled to be at camp full-time, overseeing all aspects of our camp grounds with his dedication to excellence. In his free time, Gage Sir enjoys backpacking and traveling, exploring new places, and meeting new people.Contact Gage