OUR WONDERFUL TEAM
I arrived here from the Aloha state, Hawaii, bodysurfing all the way. The idea was to wear me out so I could not be so hyperactive. It didn't work (ask the campers!). If you catch me standing still, be very quiet. I am asleep!
I've been here a few years tormenting and testing our campers with my silliness. We have had many a good time together trying to be as messy in our camp events as possible, much to Ms. Van Horn's chagrin! This next year you'd all better look out! Parents, know that we are going to possibly be more colorful than last year as I learned my lesson on how many bottles of paint to buy!!!
Hello, hello! My name is Rebecca. I have experienced Signs of Fun as a camper and this will be my fourth year as a counselor! I am looking forward to this summer!
Anyway, my two favorite parts about going to Signs of Fun camp are meeting new friends and ASL! Thanks to Signs of Fun Camp, I have met some of my best friends! And ASL, well, it's fun to learn and makes communication with others so much easier! I can't wait to meet all of you!
Hi! My name is Cathy Willard. I am deaf and grew up attending mainstream schools under oral program with no interpreters on hand. I know I missed out in capturing everything being said in classrooms, but somehow I made it through with the help of my mom and dad, especially with English and math.
I attended to National Technical Institute of Technology under Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT/NTID) and my whole world became colorful with making so many friends within days who were in the same boat as I was. It was there where I accepted my full identity as a Deaf person and embraced Deaf culture and ASL. I even met my wonderful husband (Tim) and got married there at the interfaith chapel on RIT campus!
I’m now retired from working at DOD agency for more than 27 years. I currently volunteer as an alumni mentor to the NTID students. I also teach basic ASL and Deaf Culture to the parents/caretakers of Signs of Fun kids. It is so critical for the family of the Deaf kid to be inclusive into the Deaf World. This way, everyone benefits from both ends of the spectrum.
Last, but not least, one of my best accomplishments so far, I am also a mother of my wonderful adopted Deaf daughter from China and she is currently a student at NTID.
Counselor - Gym
Hi, I'm Jordan! I started my ASL journey at Stafford High, with 2 ASL classes - and I haven't been the same since. Now, I'm a junior in the ASL and Interpreting program at Liberty University.
I've loved for working with kids (and getting my hands dirty), so I'm excited to be a part of Signs of Fun. Summer 2018 was my first year as a camp volunteer, after my (oddly perfectly timed) chance encounter with ReBecca Bennett who practically recruited me at my cashiering job. Ever since, I've continued to be so excited to work with such an amazing group of people, and can't wait to see new and old faces this summer!
Hi, my name is Shandalyn. I am hard of hearing. My first time being a camp counselor has taught me what unconditional love truly means. I can be tired but still excited to volunteer for the kids who expect me to keep them entertained all day. They look so happy that even their eyes are smiling.
I am super excited to be back and reconnect with the children and staff here. Love you all and I will see you soon!
Counselor - Interpreter
Hello everyone! My name is Abbie and this will be my first year joining Signs of Fun summer camp! I was born and raised in Fredericksburg, and I absolutely love this area. I will graduate in May 2020 with my bachelors in Interpretation from Gallaudet University. In my free time, I love to hunt for treasures in thrift stores and restore vintage furniture. My personality is laid back, compassionate and friendly. I am so excited to a part of Signs of Fun summer camp this year! I cannot wait to meet new people, have fun and make memories. What I am most looking forward to is being a part of making unforgettable memories that children will look back on for the rest of their lives, just as I do when I think about all the years I attended summer camp!
Counselor - ASL Class
Hello! I'm Phillicia! I moved to Virginia from New York to attend Gallaudet University for grad school to study social work. Now I work as a mental health counselor for children in Fredericksburg, VA. During grad school I completed my internship with the wonderful ReBecca Bennett and thats how I found out all about Signs of Fun camp! I love ASL, and I am so excited for camp!
I'm back! Growing up in Signs of Fun camp was a wonderful experience. Now I'm back and hoping to lead us into thinking like the Super Heroes we truly are!
Counselor - Art
I’m Jordan Bennett from Bristow VA, and I was born hard of hearing due to Goldenhar Syndrome. I didn’t learn sign language until I was in high school, but now I use it every day to communicate! I currently attend Radford University and major in Art Education and minor in American Sign Language. Growing up I went to camp, but always with hearing people only, so it was pretty difficult to enjoy, but I’ve only been with Signs of Fun for a short time, and greatly enjoy working with the kids and helping them make art- with my hearing aids off!
Hello! My name is Jessie, I’m 16 years old, and I go to the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore, MD. I love my school, And my favorite subjects are math and reading. I am on the cheerleading, track and wrestling teams at school and I love it!
My other favorite thing is Signs of Fun Camp. This will be my 5th year coming to camp and I wouldn’t miss it. At camp, I like to fish and go swimming. I also like to make new friends and see old friends. Can’t wait to see everyone again this year!
Hi! My name is MaryRose Gonzalez. I was born Deaf and raised in a hearing family. This means I have a dual perspective. I can see where the parents struggle and where our campers crave role models within the deaf community. For these reasons, I am a Deaf mentor. I love showing families that acquiring language, though while a bit difficult, it can still be fun. There are so many cultural experiences I can help families obtain via my tutelage.
I am also a strong advocate for our deaf community. I am the President of the Virginia Association of the Deaf, am an Independent Living Skills instructor, and a family tutor/mentor for those just learning to navigate the deaf community. I look forward to seeing your teens sign up to be a part of the Virginia Association of the Deaf when they turn 18.
Tracy & Roy
My name is Tracy! I was introduced to the wonderful world of SOF this year when my friend Roy asked if I could help him out with fishing. I was slightly nervous as I know very little sign language, but my love for children, fun and fishing out weighed my lack of knowledge.
(Roy is our Deaf mentor!)
My life has been forever blessed by such an amazing group of children and staff of Signs of Fun Camp.
My hair, on the other hand, might hold a permanent change in color after Friday’s color war! However, next year, I will be prepared for ALL OF YOU! I am plotting my revenge as I type!
Hello! My name is Lizzy! I started learning ASL my Junior year of high school and continued learning ASL in college at Liberty University where I graduated with a BA in American Sign Language Interpreting. I love kids which is one reason why I love volunteering for this camp! My favorite part of camp is watching the kids light up with joy and laughter as they interact with other kids like themselves, whether they are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or learning ASL! It's a place where kids and counselors feel at home and have a blast for a week!
Counselor - Gym
Hello! I’m Allison and this will be my second Summer doing Gym Rotation with Signs of Fun. I am currently a student at JMU, studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. I first learned ASL when I was young, but took two classes when I got to college three years ago. When I heard about SOF, I knew I wanted to be a part of it! I had no idea what to expect my first year, but it was more fun than I ever could have imagined! I am super excited for this year’s camp and I can’t wait to try out some new games and meet the campers!
Assistant Camp Director
My name is Heather! I started learning ASL in undergrad at the University of Arizona (go wildcats!) where I graduated from their educational interpreting program. I continued my studies in the graduate college at Gallaudet University (go bison!). Now, I'm a school psychologist in central Maryland. When I'm not at work you can probably find me out and about with my fiancé and dog.
I started volunteering with Signs of Fun during summer 2018, where I found a home for one week every summer! I can't wait to see all the children and counselors every summer and have fun!
As lead counselor I not only provide guidance to our wonderful team of camp counselors, I also help with scheduling the day, drive the golf cart, and help with interpreting in a pinch.
Hi! My name is Ben. I'm a laid back, chillin kinda guy. Don't get me wrong, I'm very active too! I enjoy hanging with the kids and socializing with everyone. I love to see the kids happy and help them feel at ease at Signs of Fun camp. My sense of humor is out of this world!
I started going to this camp when I was 13 years old and this will be my third year as a counselor!
Hi my name is Bradley (B3). I've been a staff member for Acorn Acting Camp in MI for two years before moving to VA and becoming a counselor at Signs of Fun Camp! I can't tell you my favorite part because I just loved it all! Zipping through the trees with the other counselors after hours was SO MUCH FUN! I love helping the children discover the outdoors. Gym was crazy with all of the games our gym leaders created. And swimming, don't get me started on swimming. I am the schedule keeper. I make certain we are NEVER late to swimming!
I cannot wait to meet you next year. You can't miss me. I think I'm the tallest counselor at SoF, so I'm easy to spot! 20/20 What do YOU envision?
Hello! My name is Maya Powell and I am super happy to be a part of the SOF team! I started becoming involved with SOF as a camper, but then as I became older, I realized I wanted to be a counselor and give children the fantastic experience I had when I was in their shoes!
Raised in a hearing community, I was unfamiliar to other forms of communicating with people who were completely deaf or with people who are hard of hearing like myself. However, as soon as I became a camper, I realized that the world of ASL is an absolutely beautiful experience to be a part of!
I am so happy to be a counselor for this upcoming year! I can’t wait to meet you!
Hola! My name is (Janet) Arlene Van Horn. I have a BS in Special Education and a Masters of Education in Early Childhood Special Education, as well as a teacher for students that are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. I taught in the public school system in both New Jersey and Virginia for over 35 years. I was also an adjunct professor at local community colleges.
I started the Signs of fun Camp in 1995 so that my preschool students would have access to communication (ASL) in the summer and have a camp experience. The camp not only benefits the students but their parents as well. The parents have the opportunity to share and get support from each other.
After retirement, I moved to NJ to care for my elderly parents. I continue to be active and very supportive of the Signs of Fun Camp.
Howdy, howdy! I’m Madi. I’m a WV living, pastor that loves hula hooping, relationships, and sharing joy. I fell in love with ASL when I was in high school. After not practicing for years, I lost the language... I recently decided to re-learn and it's been an amazing journey! I was fortunate to discover Signs of Fun Camp in the summer of 2019 and I AM IN LOVE!
I’ve worked with teens and summer camps for over a decade and I must admit… The vision of SOF and how they unify the children and families is phenomenal! Plus, it was so much FUN! It was a blessing and I can’t wait to do it again! See y'all in 2020!
Web design Expert
Aloha! My name is Nalani. I was born in Hawaii and raised in Virginia, and I've been signing since I was about 8. I graduated from Radford University in May 2021 with a major in Computer Science and a minor in ASL. I currently work as a software developer and I enjoy making websites in my free time (like this one!). That's my superpower... what's yours?