Meet Our Team
Matthew joined OVY Camp full-time as Executive Director in 2012. He worked as a Counselor and Program Director at OVY Camp in the summers of 2010-2011. Matthew grew up in Elk Grove Village, Illinois and is a graduate of Concordia University of Chicago with a B.A. in Psychology with a focus in Environmental Studies. During his time at Concordia, Matthew founded the environmental conservation club that helped establish the university's first campus-wide recycling program. He also volunteered at an after school program in Chicago, played soccer, and spent a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria. After working as an Environmental Educator for a summer in the prairies of Illinois, Matthew moved to coastal California to work in the redwood forest at San Mateo Outdoor Education in La Honda, CA. This is where Matthew witnessed first-hand how powerful a week-long camp could be for youth. Matthew is passionate in sharing his love for the outdoors with youth and building the OVY Camp community. His favorite part of OVY Camp is the Ceremonious Campfire. He enjoys running, biking, backpacking, coaching and playing basketball, reading, podcasts, chess, seeing live music, and traveling. Matthew will be returning to OVY Camp for his 10th year! Ask him about his favorite breakfast!
Vaiola Navarro grew up in South San Francisco, CA and is a graduate of Skyline Community College with her Associates in Early Childhood Education, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science, Social and Behavioral Science and Social and Natural Science. Vaiola has previously worked at a Summer Day Camp called Camp Unity where she helped facilitate and teach Polynesian culture and dance. She fell in love with the concept of teaching an emergent curriculum in an outdoor environment when she first volunteered at San Mateo Outdoor Education (SMOE) for a week, and returned in fall 2017 as a Naturalist. Vaiola is currently an instructor at the neighboring and similar goal-based program, Vida Verde. Going from Counselor in Training, to Counselor, to Head Counselor, to Program Support at OVY Camp. This year Vaiola will be returning as Program Director. Vaiola loves to be out in nature whenever she can, loves to learn about anything and everything, and loves the idea that you can ALWAYS learn something new, even if you think you know it all! She plays guitar, flute, ukulele and sings with her mini jazz band when she can. Vaiola is happily coming back for her 7th year at OVY Camp. Ask her what her favorite Friday activity is!
Madison Blomquist practically grew up at OVY Camp! She started out in 6th grade as a camper in 2009 and ended up coming back every year; from camper, to a CIT, to a Counselor, then to Volunteer Coordinator! This is Madison's 10th year at OVY Camp! She's returning for her second year as OVY Camp's Volunteer Coordinator where she will look to teach the volunteers about responsibility and leadership. Commonly known as 'Mother Maddie,' currently she is pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Development and will be transferring to Chico State to continue her education. She one day hopes to achieve her Master's Degree in Education Administration to become a Principal at an elementary school near you! Madison has a background in Assistant Instructing in Tae-Kwon Do and finds her happiness in dedicating 40 hours a week doing her side job as a event server in Fremont. Her favorite activity at OVY Camp is a creek walk while looking for pet rocks. Ask her how you can become a CIT one day too!
Nathan Carrizales comes from a small town called South San Francisco, where he spent most of his youth kicking a soccer ball around, eating popsicles, and wondering why boomerangs never work. He first got involved with OVY Camp at age 17 and has been coming back every year since! Being surrounded by Redwood sorrel, green open fields, warm camp fires and nature enthusiasts is how he loves to spend his summers! In college, he picked up skateboarding and a physics degree from UC Berkeley, both of which are quite the ride if you wish to pursue them. He currently is interning (soon to be full time working) as a data science/hardware engineer at a start up technology company called New Sun Road. He’s really big on being part of a global force to drive down climate change. If you don’t see him playing his red Epiphone guitar, he’s probably working on a book he calls “Indoor Thoughts”, inspired by his favorite comedian Demetri Martin. Other keywords that will really get him excited are Wondercircles, micro-controllers, and Star Wars. This will be Nathan's 7th year at OVY Camp.
Lisa Cardoza has lived in the Bay Area her entire life and has been a part of the OVY Camp community for the last 8 years. She started as a camper in 2012. Since then she has been a Counselor-in-Training and a Counselor. This summer will be her first time filling in the role of Program Support. Lisa is very excited for the new experience! Outside of camp, Lisa is attending Skyline College pursuing a major in Early Childhood Education. She hopes to get her Associate's of Arts Degree and then transfer to Juniata College in Pennsylvania to pursue her passion for technical theatre. Traveling is definitely in her future. If you ever see her around, ask her about the other places she would love to go!
Colin Van Zandt grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains where each summer he would move his bed outside so he could fall asleep to stars and cicadas. He attended UC Santa Barbara where he played every intramural sport (including inner tube water polo!) while earning a BS in Biochemistry and an EMT certification. He returned to the Santa Cruz Mountains for 4 years as an Outdoor Education Instructor and Medic. Colin started at OVY Camp the summer of 2012 as a counselor of the Shaggy Mane cabin then enjoyed the next two summers as Program Director. This winter Colin completed a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and this summer returns to OVY Camp as our Medic. He is excited to add to the health and well being of ever person at OVY Camp. His favorite camp activities are night hikes and BOMBARDIER! During his free time you can find Colin climbing a tree, reading nursing textbooks, or playing guitar. Ask him about his favorite hike.
Madison Lippi is a second year counselor at OVY Camp and first time Head Counselor. She is ecstatic to be spending another summer at OVY Camp with a new challenge! She is attending Las Positas College in effort to transfer to a UC school where she will get a degree in Psychology. LPC Psychology Club is lucky to have her as the Vice President, where Madison puts much of her time and effort into. She got her start in counseling at Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Education where she still counsels when she has the occasional free week. Madison enjoys the nighttime sky, giving compliments, group music making, following Bob Ross paintings, getting 8 hours of sleep, and long walks on the Pescadero beach. When she’s not going on road trips, you can find her running around Lake Chabot. Ask her about all the hair colors she’s had!
Owen Mylod Yee grew up in Redwood City, California and is currently studying Environmental Studies and Education at UC Santa Cruz. He loves nothing more than being in the outdoors and working with kids. He is an avid trailrunner and carries a hammock and hacky sack wherever he goes. When not at camp he can be found hanging out with friends, slacklining, reading, or at the beach. His favorite trees are redwoods and he loves camp because it is a safe haven for everyone to be themselves and have worriless fun filled weeks. This is Owen's 2nd year at OVY Camp as Head Counselor. Ask him what his favorite meal at OVY Camp is!
Becca Villalobos is from Pacifica, CA a small beach town known for the Taco Bell on the beach. Becca started off as a camper and quickly fell in love with the outdoors and made lifetime friendships at OVY Camp. She is super excited to come back for her 10th year and meet new faces! Becca enjoys sleeping under the stars and swimming in the pool and loves to spend her time soaking up the sun. During the school year she attends Haskell Indian Nation University in Lawrence, Kansas where she is always learning about her culture and meeting new people. Becca is apart of the San Carlos Apache and Omaha tribe and is pursuing a degree in environmental studies. In the future she would like to work for her tribe and wants to help get clean water to reservations. She also would like to travel to Iceland to the blue lagoon, and to see the northern lights one day. On her free time you can catch her at the beach, painting, or taking a nature nap and relaxing. Ask her what her favorite camp song is!
Ivar Blomquist grew up in the town of Niles, CA. He is currently at Ohlone Community College working on getting a degree in Kinesiology. He also volunteered his time as the head coach of a CYO track and field team. He first started coming to OVY Camp as a camper in 5th grade, then as a CIT, and finally a Counselor for the past 4 summers. This is Ivar's 10th year at OVY Camp! His favorite activities at OVY Camp are playing any type of game. He believes games are the best way to break the ice and start a friendship. In fact, he usually keeps a couple of decks of cards with him if people are interested. His interests are anything nerdy. He loves to talk about TV shows, anime, comics, video games, card games, and tabletop board games. Ivar's favorite thing about camp is watching the kids let loose and have fun. Ask him what his favorite video game is!
Aiyana Flores grew up in both Santa Cruz and San Jose, CA. She graduated from Lincoln High School in June 2019 and will be attending Cabrillo Community college this upcoming fall; studying the human anatomy, yoga, and organic living. Aiyana first started out as a camper, then moved to Counselor in Training, and is now Counselor. This will be her 9th year at OVY Camp! She enjoys yoga, dancing, biking, laughing, meeting new people, and spending time in nature. Ask her about the type of music she enjoys!
Isaiah Holly was born in Walnut Creek, CA and was raised in Pittsburgh, CA until he was 12 before moving to Richmond, CA. where he now resides. Isaiah is currently a student at Laney College majoring in Theatre. Isaiah attributes much of his leadership development, outdoor experience and appreciation for nature to his involvement with YES Nature to Neighborhoods. As a long time participant, Isaiah grew up with and within YES who’s mentors nurtured his leadership and public speaking attributes. Isaiah enjoys being out in nature and helping his community in any way he can; whether in the inner city or in the forest. This is Isaiah's first year with OVY Camp. Ask him about his favorite movie!
Bella Phan grew up in San Jose, California. She has been coming to OVY Camp since she was 9 years old! She was a camper for 5 years, a CIT for 3 years and will now be part of the Counselor team! She became a Counselor hoping that campers will have an amazing experience and form new friendships. She wants to pursue a career in neonatal nursing and continue to work with kids of all ages. Some of her favorite activities to do at camp are six flags and making friendship bracelets. This will be Bella’s 9th year at OVY Camp! Ask her what her favorite Disneyland ride is!
Isaac Marquez started his first year at OVY Camp in the summer of 2012 going into his 6th grade year and after that single week he fell in love with the camp experience. This year will be his 8th consecutive year at OVY Camp. He started out as a camper then volunteered to be a CIT for three years and now is making the step to be a counselor. Isaac grew up in Santa Cruz, California loving the beach and swimming in the ocean. In high school Isaac enjoyed playing sports such as wrestling and football, making him super competitive. In his free time he likes to go for a run, practice his guitar or play video games. Currently he is finishing up his senior year in high school with the plans of studying biology to become a dentist in the future. Isaac is very excited to become apart of the OVY Camp team and be a 1st year counselor. Ask him about his VERY rational fear of blue jays, his story will not disappoint.
Kira Coan comes from Redwood City, where she enjoys journaling, doing martial arts, and listening to music. This is Kira's 2nd year at OVY Camp! She got involved last year with OVY Camp as a CIT and is coming back for her first year as a Counselor. She discovered her love for kids by helping out in middle school at a local preschool and hasn't stopped since. She loves watching campers experience new things and make friends with people they otherwise would not have met. In high school, she explored her love for working with people who have disabilities by starting a Best Buddies Chapter at her school, which creates one to one friendships between students who do and do not have disabilities. She plans on majoring in Special Education and eventually becoming a High School Special Education Teacher. She is big on sharing that different doesn't mean unequal. Ask her who her favorite superhero is!
Sergio Razon was born in Stockton, CA and raised in Hayward for most of his life. This is Sergio's 2nd year at OVY Camp! He first fell in love with summer camp when working with a summer camp called Camp Phoenix. He is currently attending California State University, East Bay to get a B.A. in Sociology. He eventually wants to obtain his Master's in Business Administration. Sergio's favorite activity at camp is playing sports and socializing with all of the campers. He loves learning about everyone's experiences in life. Sergio loves to explore the outdoors and the Bay Area. Ask him about his favorite video game!
Gabriela Estrada grew up in South San Francisco and is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz, where she double majored in History and Environmental Studies. She is currently working towards her teaching credential in Social Science and a Master’s in Teaching. Gaby first joined the OVY Camp community in high school, when she volunteered as CIT for two summers. She returned for another 2 years as a Counselor for the Grizzly Bear cubs, an additional 2 years as Program Support, and 1 year as a Kitchen Assistant. She is returning this year as Kitchen Coordinator, excited to take on this new challenge. She hopes to help create delicious and wholesome meals for our community that will help them power through their fun and memorable days while at OVY Camp. Gaby enjoys reading, listening to music, cooking, and practicing Spanish. Ask her about her favorite root vegetable.
Amanda Larson grew up in Davis, California and loves being outdoors! Last summer she completed hiking the John Muir Trail for a second time; a 30-day adventure covering over 200 miles. This is her first year at OVY Camp and she is so excited to be a part of the team! She attended UC Berkeley where she swam on the collegiate team and received her BA in Spanish Literature. She recently graduated from California College of the Arts with an MFA in Social Practice. In her art practice, she specializes in creating large scale community built public art projects made out of mosaic, ceramic, cement, metal and glass. She is passionate about facilitating projects that foster human connection and collaboration. Amanda especially believes that food, eating and cooking together, can bring people together and be an amazing place to build friendships. Ask her about her pet family!
Jordan Unger grew up in Boise, Idaho and is a graduate of Boise State University with a degree in History. While working at a summer camp in Colorado, Jordan experienced the joy in helping kids gain a new perspective and positive attitude toward nature and being outdoors. He has spent the last couple of years working as a Naturalist at San Mateo Outdoor Education in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Now, he is excited to join the OVY Camp team for his first summer. Some of Jordan's hobbies and interests include reading, basketball, cycling, and cooking/eating/baking. Ask him about his favorite basketball player!