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Our Team

We have a professional team with a variety of youth development experience. We are enthusiastic about fostering an environment of growth for your child this coming summer. Meet our team!

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TJ Nicholson

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
With more than 20 years of specialized experience in overnight camping, TJ is a veteran at making Huawni a safe and fun second home for kids. He has also served as director of the Institute of Wilderness Studies, where he worked with raptors, snakes, a sloth and sting rays! He and his wife Amanda share deep roots in East Texas, having grown up in Hallsville and Nacogdoches. Today, they lead camp with their three children: Jace, Adley, and Crew. It’s their desire for parents to know their child matters and also that their child knows they matter.

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Lainey Buchanan

EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATOR
Lainey, along with her husband Davis, both have seven years of camp experience in a variety of different roles from summer camp to outdoor education. They met working as summer camp counselors in 2013! Lainey most recently worked for the Institute of Wilderness Studies. Coming onto Huawni staff as TJ’s Executive Administrator, Lainey is passionate about providing administrative support in order to free those around her up to do what they do best. Outside of camp, Lainey is a big-time morning person, avid reader, and someone that is her best self when she’s meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for her friends and family. Davis is a board game hobbyist, loves the Georgia Bulldogs, and is usually the funniest guy in the room. Lainey is excited to continue serving in the camping world as a part of the unique Huawni family, and she can’t wait to experience all the magic that comes with that!

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Drake O’Bryant

CAMPUS DIRECTOR
Drake and his wife Brooke have been in the summer camp industry in a variety of roles for the past six summers. They most recently worked in outdoor education at the Institute of Wilderness Studies, where they met. Joining the Huawni team this year as its Campus Director, Drake is passionate about making camp safe and fun for everyone. Outside of camp, Drake enjoys music, “The Office”, hiking, coffee, and college football. Brooke is a big reader, loves the color yellow, and hasn’t met a potato she hasn’t liked. They are both excited to serve in the smaller setting of Huawni – one rooted in rich tradition – and to continue to make an impact in the lives of campers and staff alike.

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Jonathan and Taylor Cox

MEN AND WOMEN’S DIRECTORS
Jonathan and Taylor are a fun-loving, dynamic duo that oversee the Boys and Girls Camps. Taylor has lived and breathed Huawni over the last six summers by serving in nearly every staff role. She is excited to have her newlywed husband Jonathan join her in helping Huawni be a place where all kids are welcomed and loved. Before becoming directors, Jonathan and Taylor attended Texas A&M University and spent their post-grad year in a fellows program specializing in youth camping. In addition to camp, Jonathan indulges in classic TV shows and music like “Cheers” and Jimi Hendrix. (He’s an old soul!) Taylor is an avid runner and enjoys cooking anything in a crockpot. Together, they both love the small-camp feeling of Huawni that allows campers and staff to discover their true selves.

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Jessie Trespeses

MARKETING DIRECTOR
Jessie is a gifted storyteller that has worked in the media and marketing industry for more than seven years. She fell in love with camp when she first came to Huawni as a videographer in 2014. Prior to joining the full-time staff this year, Jessie was the production manager for an award-winning creative marketing agency in New York City. During her tenure, she contributed to advertising campaigns for film and TV, including “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, and “Frozen 2”. Aside from being a complete film nerd, Jessie considers herself a total wander woman. Whether it’s hiking in Maine, mopedding across Bermuda, or snorkeling in the Philippines, she’s always down for adventurous fun – including at Huawni!

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Ms. Ada Earl

HEAD COOK
Ms. Ada has been serving her famous fried chicken for over 30 summers at Camp Huawni. Ms. Ada makes sure that your camper is happy, healthy, and never leaves the dining hall hungry. Ms. Ada is a great dancer, loves to laugh, and constantly embodies love at Camp.

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Travis & Mandi Adams

OWNERS
Travis grew up at Camp Huawni and has worked in every role from groundskeeper to director. He met Mandi in Austin in 2011, and together they decided to continue the Huawni legacy so that the next generation of kids can experience the magic of camp. Travis and Mandi currently live in Tyler, Texas with their three boys – Barrett, John Brooks, and Westley – where Travis works as the Owner of Camp Huawni and Grow My Camp while Mandi works as a professional counselor. They believe in hiring fun, caring, and mature staff that are the kind of role models they want for their own kids. They are also deeply passionate about protecting the traditions and the vision of Huawni being a second home for all campers.