Camp Directors

Life Partners & Leaders


Joanne Kates

Camp is Joanne's Home

Joanne is the third generation Kates to run Camp Arowhon, which her grandmother started in 1934. Joanne grew up at Arowhon and has been Director of camp since 1989. As a mom Joanne wanted the same thing for every child at Arowhon that she wanted for her own children – to be safe on the outside AND on the inside.

Joanne Develops a Social Safety Tool Kit

To create a place where every single child is respected and nurtured enough to take on challenges, grow and learn, Joanne developed Camp Arowhon’s Social Safety Tool Kit – tools that she trains all Arowhon staff to use…. Conflict mediation, anti-bullying interventions, Girls & Boys Circles and much more.

Joanne Open Sources the Arowhon Social Safety Tool Kit

Joanne’s life passion is the well-being of children. She has served on the boards of Integra, a children’s mental health centre and PrevNet, Canada’s national anti-bullying organization. She currently serves on the board of Camp Oki for children with heart disease. Joanne writes a popular monthly parenting column for Post City Magazine, and also trains schools and other camp directors and camp staff to use camp's anti-bullying and social safety program.

Joanne combines her love of camp with reaching out to children in need. Summer 2018 she started bringing Syrian refugee children to camp on bursary; they loved camp and camp loved them! Joanne is working on a community youth mental health initiative, in order to share Arowhon’s social safety practice.

Feel free to contact Joanne at:

Leon Muszynski

Camp Dad

Leon is Joanne's husband and partner. Leon is committed to supporting children and their growth - particularly when it comes to teaching skills that can be enjoyed the rest of their lives. He's always touched by the joy a camper experiences in receiving an award and the appreciation given to campers for their achievements by the whole camp when the announcements are made in the Main Lodge.

Leon is dedicated to our skill-based learning approach to activities because he learned to sail at camp and this learning has spawned a love of sailing that takes him to cruising grounds around the world.

A Leader of Boys and Young Men

As the "camp dad" Leon's mission is to teach boys that they can be permitted to express the full range of human emotions, not only the "I have to be tough" mentality that society expects of men. He teaches male staff how to run Boys Circles and works with all staff making sure that camp is a safe place to be whoever you are. Leon also teaches other camp directors about Arowhon's work with boys.

Feel free to contact Leon at:

Assistant Directors


Mara Kates

“Compassion” is Mara’s middle name

Mara has a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University in New York, where she honed her counselling skills and knowledge. Mara's kitbag includes super strong skills at active listening, conflict mediation, and bringing out the best in every child.  She's worked as a fundraiser and administrator at the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario and Gilda’s Club.

Deep Roots at Arowhon

Mara follows her mom Joanne’s footsteps as the fourth generation Kates running Arowhon. She started camp at age seven and grew up to be Head Riding Instructor, Junior and then Inter Girls Section Head, and a Head Counsellor for three summers before joining the year-round team.

Max Muszynski

Max's Passion: Teaching Kids Outdoor Skills

Max cherishes and fosters the personal growth that results from wilderness learning, also in his work as Director of the Camp Arowhon Outdoor Centre which operates in spring and fall at camp, welcoming school and adult groups for outdoor education. Max graduated university with a B.A. in geography and has high level training in first aid, outdoor safety, and the paddling sports. Max is a lead facilitator for Alive Outdoors working with Toronto high school students at camp in the fall and Max teaches other camp directors about canoe trip risk management.

Max Took His First Steps at Camp

Also fourth generation, Max first came to camp when he was two weeks old and has returned to Algonquin Park every summer since. He went from being a Junior Boy to a Junior Boys counsellor, Head Sailing Instructor and then a Program Director and now spends almost half of his year on Teepee Lake.

Tripping Director


Andre Amiro

Andre has been an outstanding outdoor leader for many years. Before starting his Arowhon career in 2007, he was a camp director with Scouts Canada Camp Lone Cloud in Nova Scotia. In the years since coming to Arowhon, he has worked across the country as an outdoor and environmental educator, and most recently, as a program facilitator with the HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development in Halifax.

A widely experienced and highly trained outdoor professional, Andre cares deeply about bringing youth into the out of doors through safe, engaging and educational programs that inspire campers and staff alike to initiate their own outdoor adventures.

At Arowhon, Andre has been Head Climbing instructor, director of the Outdoor Centre, a Program Director, Head Tripper, and now Tripping Director. He is committed to helping Arowhon campers of all ages develop and grow a lifelong love of the outdoors, and the skills and confidence in themselves to explore it.


On a Mission

Growing Every Child
Our staff have a mission: to foster campers’ personal growth, positive cabin dynamics, and help campers find success at their chosen activities.

We hire summer camp professionals who have demonstrated competence in caring for children and helping them thrive. Most are former campers who were inspired by their Arowhon experience to come back and give back.

Supervision and Training Bring Out the Best in Staff

All staff are mentored and monitored by a team of professional Directors, Head Counsellors, and Program Directors – to make sure they deliver the caring and attention that every Arowhon child deserves. For new staff, we interview over fifteen candidates for each job. We look at attitude and aptitude:

Their attitude shows a respect and sensitivity for children’s voices.
Their aptitude is grounded in listening skills and problem-solving.