Directors and Staff
Steve and Julie Purdum – Owners and Directors
Steve spent eight years as a camper and eight years on staff before coming to serve as the Executive Director in 1990. A graduate of Lawrence University, Steve was previously an instructor and counselor at the Culver Academies. He is active within the American Camp Association as a standards visitor and has served on the editorial board of Camping Magazine and on the board of the Association of Independent Camps.
Julie Purdum grew up in Minnesota and attended residential camps as a child. Julie has degrees from Lawrence University and the College of St. Catherine, where she received her nursing degree. During the summer, Julie serves as the Health Care Director.
They have two children, Shelby and Harrison who are former campers and have served as part of the Mishawaka staff.
“The idea that I can give back, and provide Mishawaka campers with an experience similar to the one I had as a camper keeps me going.”
Mary Jane Curran – Girls Camp Director
Mary Jane joined the Mishawaka staff in 1996 and has served as the Girls Director since 1997. She lives in Minneapolis, where she is a middle school English teacher at Breck School. Her sons, Murphy and Kevin were Mishawaka campers for many years.
Mary Jane brings a variety of talents and skills to her role as the Girls Director, but none more important than her ability to provide young women with a safe, nurturing environment in which to learn and grow.
“When any girl is accomplishing things- and feeling accomplished- her general well-being and happiness is always improved.”
Charlie Paige – Boys Camp Director
Charlie Paige first came to Camp Mishawaka as a 9 year old boy and since that time has filled many roles at Camp. He was a camper for 8 years, a staff member for 12, and in 2010 served as the co-Chairperson of our Centennial Celebration. During his tenure on staff, Charlie served as the Head of Belding Camp, the CIT Director and Trip Room Director.
A graduate of the University of Oregon, Charlie has worked as a teacher and tutor and joined Mishawaka on a year-round basis in 2016 to help with camper recruitment, program evaluation, and staff development.
“Camp Mishawaka is a second home to me. I feel fortunate that as the Boys Camp Director, I have the opportunity to support our staff as they work to positively influence each camper’s development.”
Cheryl Schrom – Office Manger
Cheryl has been working in the office of Camp Mishawaka since 2016. She was raised in central Illinois’ corn country and came to Minnesota during her college years to work at a similar summer camp – and Minnesota stuck! Cheryl has a sociology and psychology degree, but enjoys more working with people in the recreation area. After 22 years at the YMCA, and raising her three children, she is excited for the pace, beauty and values at Camp Mishawaka.
“I learned to dive off a diving board at summer camp. I didn’t even want to learn to dive off a diving board (I thought), but it was one of my proudest moments from my childhood.”
Camp Mishawaka takes great care in selecting its staff. Married couples, veteran teachers and college aged men and women work together to carry on the tradition of Safety, Health and Happiness.
Staff members take part in a week long staff training prior to the arrival of the campers. Counselors are trained in first-aid and CPR and many have advanced certification in water safety, sailing, climbing, tripping, horseback riding and canoeing. In recent years, our staff has averaged five years experience at Mishawaka. Camp Mishawaka maintains a 4:1 camper to staff ratio.