Dedicated Summer Camp Staff
Operations Director, Adventure Program Leader & Sustainability Coordinator Pete Hansen originally came to Manitou from New Zealand in 1999 as a waterski & wakeboard instructor. Now Pete oversees Manitou’s 100-acre facility and coordinates many of the daily behind-the-scenes operations. Pete is the first to arrive at camp each spring and the last to leave in the fall, making sure that all aspects of the top-notch facility are up to par as we head into each summer. A true outdoorsman and avid surfer, Pete created the Adventure Program, which takes campers out into the wilderness on treks and trips including: climbing Mt. Katahdin, multi-day sea-kayaking, mountain biking in the White Mountains, surfing in Kennebunkport, and island camping.
Pete also works hard to ensure that Manitou operates in an environmentally responsible way with sustainability endeavors such as the Manitou Gardens, Farm-to-Table Initiative, composting and recycling programs at camp.
Crystal Rose Thomas
Wellness Director, Events Coordinator & Staff Mom, Crystal worked for 3 summers as a counselor & Unit Leader at nearby Camp Matoaka. Crystal joined Pete and the team at Manitou in 2009.
In addition to teaching two daily yoga classes for campers and staff, Crystal started the popular Stand-Up Paddleboarding program. Prior to the summer, Crystal coordinates staff trainings and certification courses and runs the Manitou office. During the summer, Crystal encourages healthy habits for campers and staff alike, and works with the Head Counselor to ensure that Manitou’s staff are happy and healthy to create the best possible community of caregivers for our campers. After the campers return home in August, Crystal oversees facility use at at Manitou, including a number of fall weddings each year. Crystal, a certified Yoga instructor, holds a BA in Theater from Northern Kentucky University.
During the winter months, Pete and Crystal reside on the Big Island of Hawaii with their son Koa.
Joel Peckham Jr.
Music and Special Events Director Joel Peckham Jr. returned to Manitou in 2004. He began his tenure at camp in 1970, as a camper and later as a counselor. He is a professor of American Literature at the University of Cincinnati, Clermont College. He spearheaded the development of Manitou’s music program and camp band. He also runs several unique special events and evening activities. Joining Joel at camp are his wife Rachel and son Darius.