UNDER ONE SKY VILLAGE FOUNDATION LEADERSHIP
A year-round core Leadership Team of five provides support between camp programs to all youth and their foster or adoptive families. A camp program staff of fifteen professionals from the community make a long-term commitment to delivering our programs throughout the year.
This commitment helps to build a supportive mentoring community and meaningful relationships with youth. Some staff have themselves been in foster care and were former campers in our program. All staff has been trained in trauma-focused practices, which utilize strategies and training from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
After graduating from UNC-Asheville with a degree in psychology, I knew that I wanted to work for an organization that made a positive impact in the world. For almost fifteen years, I found that in the Girl Scout organization. Gaining experience in membership, marketing, and fund development, I was then fortunate enough to take those skills to Pisgah Legal Services. During those years of non-profit experience, I was also in the process of becoming a foster parent and adopting three wonderful children.
This journey took me to a place of wanting to do more for youth in the foster care system. Then, the opportunity to work with Under One Sky Village Foundation became a reality, and I truly believe that this is how we, "the village," can be a part of the lives of these young, resilient and brave individuals. Join me in being a part of the Under One Sky Village Foundation! It is my belief that once a child enters the foster care system, the community as a whole should support and encourage them. We have that opportunity with Under One Sky.
Karen Noel, MSW
Youth Services Director
After 12 years of owning my own market research business, I realized that this was not what I came here to do. In 2003, I went back to school to get my Masters in social work. Following my graduation in 2006, I have worked with many different populations but mostly with young adults, teens, and children needing support to live a prosperous and fulfilling life. At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted a social work job that was fun and made a powerful and heartfelt difference. Working for the under one sky village foundation is exactly what I asked for! The joy and growth I have seen as a result of attending our programs reinforces my belief a teaching skills, wholeheartedly excepting, And truly caring for young people makes a huge difference! I am so grateful and thankful for this incredible opportunity.
Community Engagement Manager
Pana Columbus is grateful to be part of the Under One Sky Family. Her lifelong passion researching how individuals and communities transform has found a rich place serving these incredibly tenacious and resilient young people. Before her time at Under One Sky, she was the founding producing artistic director of a professional non-profit theater company in PA for eight years, whose mission was to catalyze and inspire positive community transformations using the performing arts. Upon moving to Asheville six years ago, she ran a three-month transformation program for individuals called Really Alive, applying the same principles of transformation to individuals. Now she strives to do both: mentor the Under One Sky youth as individuals as well as transform systems that support youth in foster care, through community collaboration and partnerships.
What Staff Love about Camp
“I love watching the kids be themselves, stretching themselves by trying something new, and accepting one another.”
“I love how they learn to work together, how they get freed up to be creative.”
“I love how a youth who’s never been to camp before can say at the end of camp in front of fifty people how comfortable they feel, how easy it is to be with others who know their situation.”
“Under One Sky guided me to a place of self-worth and happiness. With the love and support I gained as a youth in the program, I find it possible to make a difference in people’s lives, including the campers I now mentor. Hope is alive and thriving in this program, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to change the world with the people who helped change me.”
Brandon Nivens, Camp Counselor and former camper