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Our Staff

Laity Lodge Family Camp Staff

Our dedicated staff come from a variety of backgrounds but share a commitment to make your experience at Laity Lodge Family Camp as memorable as possible. If you’re ever in the area, please come by the office in Kerrville and say “Hello.” Otherwise, we’ll meet you in the Canyon during the retreat. Please meet our team.

Cary Hendricks
Senior Director

Cary is excited to serve as the Senior Director at Laity Lodge Family Camp and have the opportunity to walk alongside families where his family first began.

In the summer of 1985, when he was just nine years old, Cary first encountered Laity Lodge Youth Camp as a camper at Singing Hills. For the next 13 summers, Cary was in the Canyon as a camper, program crew member, and a counselor at Echo Valley. He was even able to work some of the early Family Camp week long camp sessions that took place at Echo Valley while the staff lived at Wind Song. Cary’s years at LLYC were foundational in shaping his faith and career path. Due in large part to his experiences as a camper and on staff, Cary pursued a vocational life in relational ministry. After graduating from Austin College (go ‘Roos) with degrees in Religious Studies and Communication Arts/Theater, Cary joined Young Life staff and served as an Intern, Associate Area Director, and Area Director during eight+ years on staff in both Texas and Illinois. During his years in Illinois, Cary also served at a Presbyterian Church for four-and-a-half years as the Youth and College Ministry Director. Not only was LLYC influential in Cary’s faith journey and career, but it was also the place he met his wife, Jenny (Allenbaugh) Hendricks, during their college years on staff at Echo Valley. Cary and Jenny have been married since July 1999 and have three kids: Seth, Stella, and Sloane. The Hendrickses see Cary’s role at LLFC not just as dad’s job, but as a family mission and ministry or which they all get to be a part.

Relationships have always been what make LLYC and LLFC special and Cary has experienced this first hand throughout his life. Cary is passionate about LLFC’s mission to create opportunities for families to connect with each other in significant ways while also encountering God in significant ways.

William Collins
Operations Director

After twelve-and-a-half years as Guest Services Manager at the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp, William will begin serving as the Operations Director at Family Camp. He will support Cary Hendricks with leadership by helping set priorities, shape processes, guide investment in people and systems, and develop an infrastructure that creates an even stronger and more efficient program.

For more than a decade, William has exhibited amazing servant-leadership skills as Guest Services Manager. In addition to the high-quality Foundation Camp group engagement, orientation, and checkout process, William has worked closely with the Canyon Operations Team to assist in managing the daily needs of the grounds and facilities. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2003, William was Headmaster at Alpine Christian Academy in Colorado and prior to that time, he was a coach and teacher at two large private high schools in Houston, Texas. William has degrees from both The University of Texas and Rice University.

His collective experience and deep knowledge of the organization sets William up to be the ideal person for the Operations leadership role. He shared, “As I move into this exciting new chapter in my role with The H. E. Butt Family Foundation, I realize that my years in the Canyon have prepared me for this new position. I am blessed that the Foundation and the Butt/Rogers family are entrusting me with this position. I look forward to what God has in store for me and the direction of the LLFC ministry.”

Denise Stripling
Denise Stripling

Kid’s Club Director

Denise began working with the Family Camp team during the summer of 2013 to develop lesson plans, instructional materials, and age-appropriate devotionals for the use of Kids’ Club staff members. She has also been available to train and direct the college-age staff hired for each event.

Denise is a graduate from the University of Texas San Antonio with a degree in Elementary Education and is NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) certified. She was a Christian school teacher for many years and an Early Education Coordinator. She taught second grade at Universal Christian Academy in San Antonio and at Oklahoma Christian Schools in Edmond, Oklahoma. Denise was also a kindergarten teacher at the Chrysalis Academy in Houston, served as the Early Childhood Music Teacher at First United Methodist Church in Houston, and was the Early Childhood Coordinator at First Baptist Church in Boerne.

Denise is married to Will Stripling, and they live in Fair Oaks Ranch with their two sons, William and Daniel.

Theresa Powles
Family Camp Assistant

Theresa brings many wonderful experiences and qualifications to this position, including twenty years as a customer service professional. She comes to the Foundation from the University of Wyoming, where she was employed from 2003 until moving to Texas at the end of 2014. During her eleven years with the University, Theresa was an Accounting Associate Senior and Helpdesk Supervisor. Theresa was also heavily invested in her church, Harvest Christian Center. She was a children’s teacher for twelve years and a Vacation Bible School volunteer. If the last name Powles and the University of Wyoming are ringing a bell, there’s a good reason. Theresa is married to Larry Powles, Director of Canyon Operations. Larry and Theresa have two wonderful children, Hunter and Kendall. When asked to describe her feelings about joining the Foundation, Theresa had this to say, “I guess the one thing I am very excited about is the opportunity to touch others for Christ in such an awesome way, through and in his creation. I love the outdoors but I also love doing office type admin work, so getting to combine the two is really exciting.”

Kate Batchelor
Family Camp Registrar and Assistant

Kate Batchelor serves as the Registrar for Family Camp. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. After graduating from college, Kate substituted at elementary schools in San Antonio and then landed in Midland, Texas, teaching third grade. Kate is thrilled to be back home and close to family in Kerrville where she is currently living with her husband, Aaron, and their son, Rylan. Kate’s passions are her family, serving others and the Lord, cooking, and exercising. Kate is excited to utilize her organizational, relational, and administrative skills as the Family Camp Registrar.

Mary Echols
Mary Echols

Director of Hospitality

A long time ago, in a land far away, Mary Echols graduated (cum laude) from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation and Leisure studies. Mary has had a wide variety of camping experience having worked in camps every summer since age 14. She first came to the H. E. Butt Foundation in 1983 with her husband, Glenn. She has worked as an Arts and Crafts director, Sugar Shack director, Kitchen director, and Program Services director at Laity Lodge Youth Camp, as well as serving as a Hostess at Laity Lodge. Her husband, Glenn Echols, is the Director of Operations for the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp.

Lauren Niehues

Lauren is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where she earned a degree in Education. After completing her LLFC Internship, she wants to teach Math and Science in the middle school setting. Lauren is no stranger to LLFC, having worked five summers in the Canyon, the last three in the LLFC Kitchen as a Work Crew Boss, Cook, and most recently as the Kitchen Director. Lauren describes this time as having “learned more about service without recognition and love without bounds than I have in my whole life.”

Although Lauren loved her time behind the scenes serving families, she is very excited about the opportunity to engage with families. She expressed her thoughts as this:

“I have learned to love families as Jesus loved them, without need of anything from them in return … but after having the opportunity to be a counselor at a fall weekend camp and getting to spend more time than just ten minutes with families to hear their stories, serve them at meals, share Jesus with their kids, and ultimately provide a refreshing environment for them to come and feel loved and welcomed, I really want nothing more than to spend this year on the front lines working as a Family Camp Intern.”

Richie Reitmann

Richie is a recent graduate of Houston Baptist University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. His work experience while attending HBU included being a Resident Assistant, a member of the HBU Campus Recreation team, and a member of the Sled Team, where his duties included the care of the school mascot. Richie was also an intern for First United Methodist Church in Corpus Christi and served as president of HBU Navigators, a Bible study program.

During his summers working with LLYC and LLFC, Richie has been a Counselor, Lifeguard, and this summer served as the LLFC Activities Director. After completing this internship, Richie would like to continue his education by earning Master’s Degree in Psychology. This is how he describes his future goal:

“With this job, not only will I be able to do what I have a passion for, helping others, but I will also be able to use this job as a ministry opportunity to share the light of Christ with children and families who may not otherwise have an opportunity to see his love.”

Nikki Foley

Nikki is a graduate of Sam Houston University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations. She has several years of experience working in Christian camps and programs, including Camp Gladiator, Young Life, Camp Ozark, and LLYC, where she served as an Echo Valley Cook. She describes her experience at LLYC by saying, “I loved working in Echo Valley alongside such a wonderful group of God-fearing directors, central staff, counselors, dark side staff, and those goobers we call campers!”

Asking Nikki to describe why she was attracted to this internship program, she responded:

“The most attractive part about the HEBFF Internship program is the ability to grow in my leadership skills while also being surrounded by such solid leaders who spur me to know Jesus better. The fact that I would be able to spend a year in such a tight-knit community while getting ready to disciple youth and staff scares my flesh, but gets a rise in my soul.”