Meet the Staff
Russell Link - Executive Director
Russell began his employment as Executive Director of Camp Olson YMCA in March of 2003. Like many typical camp staff members, Russ spent his summers during college working at a camp. Russ spent these summers enjoying the outdoors at the Wisconsin Lions Camp in central Wisconsin near Stevens Point. It was at camp where he met his wife Jolene. In 1987 Russ became the Assistant Director of the Wisconsin Lions Camp, and in 1998 he accepted the Director position where he stayed until 2003. Russ has been a member of the American Camping Association since 1987 and served as Vice President on the ACA Northland Section Board of Directors and is currently an ACA Standards Visitor for the ACA standards accreditation process. Russ served as chairperson for the Conference of Lions Camps of the United States in 2002 and secretary from 1990-1995. Russ is currently a Y-USA cabinet member for Small/Mid-Size YMCAs and a cabinet member for YMCA Camping. Russ says he was drawn to Camp Olson by the rich tradition of honoring the environment and its strong emphasis on family values. Russ believes that a camp experience is important for every child. “I am who I am because of my camp experiences.” Russ lives at Camp Olson in Longville with his beautiful wife Jolene and twin sons, Connor & Micah who both work at camp during their summers home from college.
Amy Johnson - Office Manager & Health Care Coordinator
Amy has worked at Camp Olson YMCA since 2004 as the Office Manager and Healthcare Coordinator. She had worked as a nurse for a number of years in specialty clinics and general practice and provides support to our nurses during the week and answers questions at registration time to assure continuity of care. Amy resides on Girl Lake with her husband, son, and daughter.
“Some of my favorite calls in the office are the ‘return families’ who are sending their children to the camp that they fell in love with as a child. They are excited for their kids to get their own stories from camp. The 2nd and 3rd generation campers are a testament to Camp Olson’s quality programming. And as we all hope they’ll make their own memories and lifelong friendships networked out of the magic of laughing and playing in nature.”
Demi Kapler - Camp Director
Demi’s roots, though from Rochester, were firmly planted among the pines at Camp Olson since 1994. After years as a family and youth camper, Demi worked as a counselor and Corral Director from 2010-2014 and graduated from the University of Minnesota – Duluth with degrees in Psychology and Outdoor Education. She then spent 5 years in Utah where she continued to gain valuable skills and experience in her work as a field-guide, program coordinator for special needs youth, and case manager for youth and their families. While out west, Demi also spent 1,000 miles solo backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail and obtained her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Equine Assisted Mental Health from Prescott College. Demi joined Camp Olson’s full-time team in the Spring of 2019 as the Assistant Director. Demi has transitioned to the role of Camp Director and is committed to Sharing the Spirit of the Northwoods and carrying on the Camp Olson Legacy.
Margret Raasch - Assistant Camp Director
Margret, orginally from Maple Grove, began coming to camp at 8 years old, and continued to attend year after year, eventually becoming a CIT. She then spent 8 summers as a seasonal staff in roles including Counselor, LIT & CIT Leader, Beach Director, Leadership Development Coordinator and Counselor Coordinator. Before, transistioning to the role of Assistant Director, Margret worked as as a Special Education Paraprofessional in the Walker- Hackensack Akeley School District. If you couldn’t tell, Margret has a passion for working with youth and enjoys going on adventures with her 3 dogs and family. She is excited to now be a part of the full-time camp staff and she is currently finishing a degree focused on helping children with special needs.
“Camp has played a vital role in my extended family for over 50 years. I am deeply committed to the mission of camp and look forward to working in partnership with the staff to share the spirit of the northwoods with youth and their families.”
Sam Guida - Facilities Manager
Sam grew up on a small family farm in Nisswa, MN. He first appeared at camp in the summer of 2005 and continued to spend a bit of every summer at camp until becoming a CIT and eventually working on staff in the late summer of 2012. He then spent the next 6 summers as a Counselor, Nature Director, and Program Director, often coming up early in the spring to work help with pre-season maintenance. Sam graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris in 2018 with degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, after which he spent a few years in Finland, MN, as a Naturalist at Wolf Ridge ELD. Since then, he has spent time at Tettegouche State Park as a Buildings and Grounds Worker, Pompeys Pillar National Monument as an Interpretive Ranger, earned a Masters of Science in Outdoor and Environmental Education from Antioch University New England. He is thrilled to be returning to camp and living out every staff member's dream, becoming a part of the full-time team as of Summer 2022.
"My favorite part of camp is that the little things never change. Whether it's because you found a small lost sock in the darkest corner of the sauna, took that first bite of taco bar on Thursday, looked up at the stars of the Athletic field, or saw a camper friend again, no matter how long it's been, it feels like no time has passed and you can pick up exactly where you left off and camp still feels like home."