Professional, Dedicated Staff Working With Children With Autism

Dedicated Expert Staff at our Special Needs Summer Camps

Our Directors/Owners

 

Douglas Smathers541326_10100744851917704_313336742_n
Camp Director & Owner

MS in Camp Administration and Leadership, University of Tourro-Nevada (in progress); Bachelor of Science in Recreation Studies, Ohio University

With a bachelor of science in recreation studies, and currently studying for a graduate degree in camp administration and leadership, Doug brings over a decade worth of experience and knowledge of the outdoors. This will be his fifth summer being the camp director at Talisman. Doug has been working with children, young adults and adults with varying disabilities most of his life. Prior to Talisman, Doug worked eight years at special needs summer camps as a behavior specialist. Additionally, Doug has been an outdoor education instructor for many years back in Ohio. Wearing many different hats, Doug has also facilitated high & low ropes courses and numerous corporate, communication, teambuilding and leadership workshops. Doug enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, hunting, riding the motorcycle he built and playing with his amazing dog, Finnegan.

Linda Tatsapaughstaff1
Operations Director & Owner

MS in Child and Youth Care Administration, Nova SE University; Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Davidson College

While working as a summer camp counselor as a college student, Linda proclaimed to a director that “I want to be just like you when I grow up!” Little did she know …. Linda worked at Stone Mountain School from its inception in 1991 to 2000, serving as a counselor, program director, human resources manager and admissions director. Although this was very rewarding, she found the high energy and fun of camp to be her passion. She transitioned to be director of Talisman Programs from 2001 – 2012.  Clearly hooked, she is back. Linda is a Red Cross instructor trainer. She thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1990, and still can’t get enough of hiking. In her free time, she gardens, cooks, swims, cycles and endeavors to get her techie teenager OUTSIDE!

 

Admissions and Office Staff

Robiyn Mimsstaff3
Admissions Director

More than 85 graduate hours in clinical and school psychology, WCU; Bachelor of Arts in psychology, UNCW

Robiyn’s love for everything summer camp started in the summer of 1998 when she found an amazing way to combine learning, fun and adventure that first fateful summer as director at Talisman.  After working several years with Talisman, Robiyn decided to attend graduate school to study clinical and school psychology. Robiyn discovered her passion for understanding and helping those diagnosed with neuro-developmental delays, specifically high-functioning autism.  Since then, she has used that experience and understanding to work with families in a variety of settings.
Robiyn shares her own adventures with her amazing husband Eddie (also a former Talisman Programs staff), her nutty boxer Knuckle and their demanding cat, Bacon. She can typically be found snowboarding, “Jeeping,” traveling to other countries or generally avoiding housework.
Robiyn looks forward to helping you find the perfect special needs summer camp program for your child!

Amanda Howellamandapic
Admissions counselor

I have been working as a camp counselor since I was 17 years old. I started off working for a summer camp in Pennsylvania and spent last summer working at a camp with children who have ADD and ADHD. What I enjoy about camp is watching all the experiences and memories each child takes from camp. Camp changed my life growing up and I think every child should get the opportunity to spend a few weeks at camp. I have a degree in Outdoor Education from Montreat College, co‐coordinated the Adventure Education Association conference in 2014 and believe that I am the BEST big sister Ashley could ever have. My family is from the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. During my free time I enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and reading. I’ a puppy raiser through the Guide Dog Foundation and am charged with raising and socializing a handsome yellow lab named Joey. Joey is about 7 months old and looking forward to the newest adventure in our lives, working for Talisman!

Maintenance Staff

Lee KisselburgLee K. - Copy
Facilities Manager

Lee is a native of the Hendersonville/Asheville area. Lee comes to Talisman with decades of experience in the manufacturing field. “Being at Talisman is like a breath of fresh air. I enjoy the camp atmosphere and watching the campers have a wonderful summer experience. I have a plethora of experience in the maintenance field, including carpentry, painting and landscaping.” Lee also enjoys camping, backpacking, caving and is an avid mineral collector and rock hound. Lee also enjoys being part of the geocaching community for creating the Tube Torcher geocache and its sequel. Lee happily shares his life with his wife, Sandi, and their two dogs, Deja and Ruger.

Finnegan Camp DogFinnegan

Woof Woof, Finnegan here! I am Talisman’s camp dog and mascot. I am an Australian Blue Heeler, and I just turned fourteen years old (doggie years) last August. I love camp! This is my 3rd year at camp, and I am looking forward to another fun filled summer. I am currently in training and my goal one day is to be a licensed therapy dog.

 

Years on staff: 14 (doggie years)

Super Power: To remember where I buried all of my toys and bones

Favorite Camp Activity: Fetch


Summer Camp  Team

 

CoryGreeneCory Greene:  Assistant Director

North Carolina has been home for me for 16 years. I have spent over 16 years in education and wilderness therapy.  I work in special education in the Buncombe County School System.

 

Years on staff: 4th
Major: Political Science
Super Power: The ability to control the weather, so we could have all sunny days at camp.
Favorite Camp Food: Corndogs

 

Camper PhotoTrent Harris:  Insight Program Manager

Hello, I am Trent. I grew up outside Chapel Hill, but I moved to Hendersonville, NC to work with the Talisman Semesters program. I grew up with two brothers and an amazing mom. Over the last few years I found out that I really love comic books and the heroes in them. I recently (in April) was able to attend my first Comicon. It was awesome.

Years on staff: 3
Major: Social Sciences
Super Power: Teleportation
Favorite Camp Food: Tacos in a bag

BillyBilly Hoyle : Foundations Program Manager

BA in Recreation Management and Sustainable Development

My name is Billy and I’m originally from Marion, NC, but now living in Asheville, NC. I’ve worked in many industries, but camp is without a doubt my favorite. In the past I’ve been a forest ranger in Southeast Alaska, a naturalist for Disney Cruise Lines, an instructor in wilderness therapy, a rock climbing director for the Boy Scouts, a Zip line guide, and a ropes course manager. Of all the things I’ve ever done, camp hold the deepest spot in my heart, and for as long as I can, I’ll keep coming back for more.

Years on staff: 2nd
Super Power: Talking to animals
Favorite Camp Food: Pita Pizza

joes picJoe Martin : Young Adults Program Manager

Hello, my name is Joe Martin and I am from Michigan. This is my 7th summer at Talisman and I can’t wait to start having fun! I love the outdoors, spending time with my family and the occasional video game.

Years on staff: 7th
Major: Education
Super Power: Super speed
Favorite Camp Food: Oatmeal bar

Meghan Stripling : Sight Program ManagerMeghan

I grew up in Lexington, NC but now live in Hickory, NC. Graduated from Appalachian State University. Now working as a special education teacher for Newton-Conover City Schools. In my free time, I love reading comic books and watching super hero movies.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Special Education
Super Power:
Favorite Camp Food: Tacos in a bag

 

Staff Pic Zach Rudd : Teens Program Manager

Hi,I’m Zach from Danville, Kentucky and I love Talisman! By camp I will have completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Wittenberg University. I enjoy being out in the mountains, hiking, kayaking, playing frisbee and building large (but safe) campfires! I can’t wait to sing some campfire songs!

Years on staff: 3
Major: Psychology
Super Power: Contolling time
Favorite Camp Food: S’mores

Summer Camp Counselor

Camper PhotoAaron Schoonover

I am a current Student at Ohio University/ an aspiring adventurer. Originally from Glouster, Ohio; North of Athens Ohio. I graduated high school with 36 people. My longest adventure has been a 30 day Outdoor Leadership course. We Backpacked 15 days in Pisgah National Forest, NC. We also Sea-Kayaked 15 days in the Outer-Banks, NC.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Outdoor Recreation and Education
Super Power: Teleportation
Favorite Camp Food:

Camper PhotoAmber Rowe

I’m Amber and I am a from Auckland, New Zealand. Some of my favorite activities outdoors are swimming (I swim like a fish), playing golf (since I could walk), and running. Before coming to camp, I will have run my first marathon. Between my friends and family, I am the reigning Boggle champion.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Criminology, minoring in Anthropology
Super Power: Teleportation, so I wouldn’t have to spend so much time on flights all over the world.
Favorite Camp Food: Burgers, pizza, and BBQ

Camper PhotoAndrew Grant

I am Andy Grant and I have spent most of my life in Connecticut. I currently live in Arizona and attend college in Ohio. When I was younger; I lived in India for three years and I also enjoy philosophy.

 

Years on staff: 1
Major: Psychology
Super Power: The ability to stop time
Favorite Camp Food: S’mores

Camper PhotoAshton Lunsford

Hi guys! My name is Ashton and I am currently a junior at Hanover College in Indiana. A few of my hobbies include reading, listening to music, and spending time outdoors. I’m really looking forward to coming back to Talisman this summer and continuing to make a difference.

 

Years on staff: 2
Major: Psychology
Super Power: Teleportation
Favorite Camp Food: S’mores

Bryce Cartwright

I’m just a down to earth laid back college kid from a small town in rural central Ohio. My passions are music, health, physical activity, and exercise. When I’m not with my friends or in school, you can usually find me at the gym, making awesome music with my guitar, or just in the outdoors loving life.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Recreation Management
Super Power: Teleportation
Favorite Camp Food: Eggs and Potatoes, all day

Camper PhotoCarly Johnson

Hey! My name is Carly Johnson and I am from Paris, TN. I am 21 years old and currently attend the University of Tennessee at Martin where I am studying to become a special education teacher. I am dog mom to the most precious little cocker spaniel, Coast. I enjoy listening to music and singing along any chance I can. I love to make people laugh and create a positive and upbeat environment everywhere I go. I love being outside, whether I am fishing, swimming, out on the lake, or hanging in my hammock. Most importantly, I am SO excited for camp this summer and I can’t wait to meet all the campers.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Special Education
Super Power: Flight
Favorite Camp Food: Taco in a bag

Camper PhotoEleanor Clark

Hey everyone, I am joining you from St. Louis, MO and very thrilled to be spending my first summer at Camp Talisman. I am finishing my undergraduate in Special Education from Fontbonne University, My plan after college is to pursue a career teaching theatre to youth with intellectual disabilities. This summer, I look forward to belting out campfire songs, hiking with campers, and eating packs of hot dogs.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Special Education
Super Power: Teleportation
Favorite Camp Food: Hot dogs

Camper PhotoEmily Bowen

Hey everyone, my name is Emily. I’m from Whiteland, Indiana and will be graduating from Hanover College this May. In my free time you can find me hiking the trails around Hanover College. When I’m not doing schoolwork or hiking, I like to read, watch movies, and spend time with my friends. Last summer was my first summer working at Talisman. I loved it so much that I decided to come back!

Years on staff: 2
Major: Psychology and Communication
Super Power: Invisibility
Favorite Camp Food: Pita pizza

Camper PhotoGloria Norton

I grew up in New Jersey but for the past five years, I’ve been living in Manhattan. I’m a recent graduate from NYU and I’m currently working at as an assistant/substitute teacher at a school for autistic children.

 

Years on staff: 1
Major: Psychology and Children’s Mental Health
Super Power: The ability to read minds
Favorite Camp Food: S’mores

Camper PhotoJoey Galtelli

Hi! My name is Joey Galtelli and I am currently a full time student at Winthrop University; finishing my undergraduate. In the future, I  look to continue my education in a graduate program at the University of South Carolina. I grew up in a small beach town called Beaufort, South Carolina and have lived in the South East all my live. I am an active member of the Quidditch community, being a coach and player for four years now. Although I usually find myself in leadership roles, I can be very laid back and like to see others shine. I look forward to working at Camp Talisman as a way to relax and have fun in between my college programs!

Years on staff: 1
Major: Psychology and Human Resource Management
Super Power: Air bending!
Favorite Camp Food: Peanut Butter

Camper PhotoJorin Haakman

I’m Jorin, or Jor for short. I’m 25 years old and from the Netherlands. I enjoy playing sports in my free time.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Economics and Business
Super Power: The power to make everyone happy
Favorite Camp Food: Chicken

Camper PhotoJoshua Bloodworth

My name is Josh, I’m from Lawrenceville, GA right outside of Atlanta. I go to school at Young Harris College which is a small private school up the the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and will be graduating with a bachelors degree in Art. I came to the mountains three years ago and haven’t left since. In my free time, I love being outdoors, doing art things, and climbing trees!

Years on staff: 3
Major: Art
Super Power: To fly
Favorite Camp Food: Pizza

Camper PhotoKendal Kulp

Born and raised on farm near Asheville, NC. I love the outdoors, hiking, climbing, camping and most things adventurous. I overcame challenges with ADHD and have learned to cope with it by embracing my differences and channeling my energy in a positive way.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Recreation Management, concentration in outdoor environmental education
Super Power: Flying
Favorite Camp Food: Anything cooked with cast iron

Camper PhotoLachlan Olm

My name is Lachlan, from Australia. I currently work at a disability center where I specialize in sport and gym programs for young people with disabilities. A few interests of mine are bodybuilding, powerlifting, and fitness in general. Super excited for the summer and taking in the experience.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Education, youth work, and disability
Super Power: Wolverine’s healing factor
Favorite Camp Food: Anything healthy and delicious

Camper PhotoMadison Lindsay

I’m from Maumee, Ohio but I am currently living in Athens, Ohio and studying at Ohio University. In the future I hope to use my degree to educate children about nature by leading them on adventures, which will immerse them in the environment itself. I would also really like to do grant writing for outdoor recreation programs and non-profits. I am passionate about the environment and working to help children grow and learn because they are our future and they deserve every opportunity to pursue their dreams. I am outgoing, open-minded, and openhearted and enjoy meeting and talking to new people. I love being outside in nature, climbing trees, swimming, and exploring in general. I also have a passion for animals but I tend to favor reptiles. My favorite animals are snakes and my favorite color is green! I enjoy hula-hoop dancing, drawing, making jewelry, and writing. I am absolutely ecstatic for this summer and ready to be part of the amazing community that is Talisman.

Years on staff: 1
Major: Outdoor Recreation and Education with a writing certificate
Super Power: Communicating with animals and flying
Favorite Camp Food: Veggie Shish Kabobs

Semesters Program Team

 

 John Bates
Program Director

Graduate Cert. Youth Development Leadership, Clemson University; BA History, Sewanee: University of the South.

John has worked with special needs youth and children with at-risk behaviors since 2009. His diverse work history combines experiential education, independent living skills, recreational instruction, leadership development and teambuilding. Previously John has served as a teacher’s aide at a school in Mobile, Ala., for students with intellectual disabilities, and more recently with a residential transitions program in Hendersonville, N.C. John has worked with Talisman in a multitude of capacities starting in 2010 where he worked his way up from residential instructor to managing the Foundations and Young Adults summer camp programs in 2012 and 2014, respectively. John is a certified lifeguard, lifeguard instructor, Wilderness First Responder, and First-Aid/CPR certified instructor.

David RollinsDave pic
Academic Director

MA in Teaching,  Western Oregon University,   Special Education, Concordia University, BS in Environmental Science, The Ohio State University
Dave has dedicated his professional life to working with children who learn differently. As a special education teacher he is well versed in helping children learn skills to meet their fullest academic and personal potential. His work experience is rich and diverse as he has worked at traditional summer camps, public schools, therapeutic boarding school and residential treatment centers. Much of this experience included working with students dealing with emotional and behavioral issues. Further, Dave served as the academic director at Santiam Crossing therapeutic boarding school. Dave thrives working directly with students in a classroom setting, yet his unique skill set of curriculum and program development serve him well as academic director. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, canoeing, listening to music and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

 

Talisman Description1

  • Does your child have ADHD, autism or Asperger’s syndrome? Are you looking for something fun for them to do over the summer holidays, making connections with like-minded people in a nurturing, loving environment? Here at Talisman, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to embark on summer adventures, worry-free. We’re home to only the most passionate, dedicated directors who develop deep-seated bonds with your children, keeping parents in-the-loop every step of the way. Whether your child is 8 or 17, it’s our job to show them just how fun and inspiring summer can be, with delicious food, enthralling activities…and beyond! Give us a call today at 855-588-8254 to unlock your child’s full potential!

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