Our Summer Staff

Our young people are smart, funny and engaging. Their mission at camp is to facilitate an environment where kids learn, grow and play.  


Dear parents —

Every Summer I get questions about how we select and hire our staff. The following is a brief explanation of the process that we follow.  

 Let me start by telling you a little about the type of person we look for. Our counselor staff must attend a church and profess to follow Jesus. This isn’t us looking for perfect people because we know that no one is perfect. Instead – we look for folks who believe in and apply to their lives the idea that one should Love God and Love their Neighbor.

The most important aspect of our selection is the character of the person before we hire them; we have great people.

Our summer staff are high school or college age young people. If not in high school, they must be in college or trade-school in order to apply. They must hold some leadership position or play on a team, band or extracurricular group. Our Staff Members aren't content with sitting around all day; they must be working toward something. 

All of our staff comes recommended by other staff or our camper alumni. In other words, we know them or know someone that knows them.  We require that all of our staff participate in a series of volunteer work days where they must meet our standards of morality and work ethic.

They must present three letters of recommendation and evaluations filled out by coaches, church leaders and their organizational leaders. 

We require our 18 year and older staff to pass a yearly background check. 

We conduct face to face interviews and only then do we invite them to an unpaid week of training. We use this time to further sift applicants from the pool of people we are considering. 

They must survive the week and pass the collective observations of all the new applicants and staff. It's only after all this that we hire our staff. 

Our staff is trained to put the camper's emotional, spiritual and physical safety first.  We train our staff to never be alone with a camper.

Our staff are trained to work and seek the safety of the Camper at all costs. Staff have no friends in the application of that rule. Meaning that we demand that our Ladies and Gentlemen be strict in the application of all our policies to the degree that they must even report friends who are in violation or face being let go themselves. 

Then camp starts. We continue to supervise, mentor and train our staff throughout the summer. 

Having said all that - let me add this; our staff are awesome folks who love being at camp and love working with kids.  They have bright futures and look forward to spending time out here. They want to invest their time into something that will endure.

Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions,

To the ends of Adventure....

Jonathan Williford 

CEO, Camp Anothen 

Our Directors


jonathan williford, ceo - Camp Anothen. 

Jonathan Williford is husband and father , an entrepreneur and small business owner who has been involved in Summer Camps and Outdoor Education since childhood.  

In his youth, Jonathan worked at summer camps like Sky Ranch, Camp Compass, Camp Thurman and Sabine Creek Ranch.  Most recently he has designed several camp programs from the ground up. 

Camp Anothen is his most recent project.

Jonathan is a Marine and OIF combat veteran. He is a graduate of Houston Baptist University with a double major in Mass Communications and Speech Communications.  His passion is for  leadership development and discipleship. 


jim rose - chief operations officer & camp sage

 Jim Rose is known in the Camping community for having built Camp Thurman in Arlington [Pantego], Texas.  Jim was the Executive Director for Camp Thurman for more than 37 years.  His legacy can be seen in the lives of the men and women who run Camp Thurman today and in countless children and adults over the last 40 years.

With a desire to develop children and young adults into mature leaders, Jim serves in the areas of discipleship and program development.  Jim is a Navy Veteran of the Vietnam War and possesses undergraduate & graduate degrees in Education.  Jim has been married 40 years and has 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren. His adventure continues now at Camp Anothen.

Jim Rose is an amazing camp Director whose experience and education are assets that will propel Camp Anothen this summer and into the future.


Kaleigh syler - administrative program manager

Kaleigh was 17 when she began working at Camp Tejas in Giddings Texas where she helped lead recreation activities with the Summer Mission Team.

By 2016 she had become a Team Captain within the Summer Staff at Camp Tejas.

In the fall of 2016, she became a recruiter for Scarborough College After 2 years of serving her college, she has decided to join our team here at Camp Anothen. 

Kaleigh Syler is a junior at Scarborough College, at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.