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

Bachelor of Science in Recreation Studies, Ohio University

Doug brings over a decade worth of experience and knowledge of the outdoors. Doug has been working with children, young adults and adults with varying disabilities most of his life. Prior to joining Talisman in 2012, Doug worked eight years at special needs summer camps as a behavior specialist. Additionally, Doug was an outdoor education instructor for many years back in Ohio, and continues to guest lecture at several colleges. 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 relaxing with his lovely wife Faith and their 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 her 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, cycles, runs with her dog and proudly supports her son’s adventures as a second-generation Davidson Wildcat  – go ‘Cats!

Robiyn Mimsstaff3
Admissions Director & Owner

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)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!

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, Ruger and Kimber.

Finnegan Camp DogFinnegan

Woof Woof, Finnegan here! I am Talisman’s camp dog and mascot. I am an Australian Blue Heeler.  I love camp time and I can’t wait for the kids to return! I am currently in training and my goal one day is to be a licensed therapy dog.

Years on staff: 21 (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: 5th
Major: Political Science
Super Power: The ability to control the weather, so we could have all sunny days at camp.
Favorite Camp Food: Corndogs

Eleanor Clark : Sight Program Manager

Howdy everyone! I’m Eleanor Clark and I’m from St. Louis MO and am thrilled to be coming back for my second year at Camp Talisman. I graduated from Fontbonne University with a bachelor’s in Special Education and am pursuing my masters in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavior Analysis at University of Louisville. I can’t wait for another summer of belting out campfire songs, jumping in the pool, and going on adventures!

Years on staff: 2
Major: Getting my masters at University of Louisville in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis.
Super Power: Teleportation
Favorite Camp Food: Hotdogs

Spencer Purcell : Foundations Program Manager

Hey all! My name is Spencer Purcell. I’m originally from small-town Wisconsin but have lived in Chicago for most of my life. Though this will be my third year working with Talisman, I have been working in the camp system for six years. There is no other place that Id rather spend my summer than western North Carolina. I full hearty believe in the Talisman mission and can’t wait for this summer to get started!

Years on staff: 3rd
Super Power: Constant Caffeination
Favorite Camp Food: Pita Pizza

Billy Hoyle

My name is Billy and I’m originally from Marion, NC, but now I live in Asheville, NC. I’ve worked in many industries, but camp is without a doubt my favorite. 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 Zipline 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: 3rd
Major: Recreation Management and Sustainable Development
Super Power: Talking to animals
Favorite Camp Food: Pita Pizzas

Summer Camp Counselors

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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