At Camp Fire, our leadership believes in strong mentorship and modeling behavior that leads to success. Our Board of Directors come from a varied background of education, technology, youth development, financial services, media, and nonprofit organizations. Board Members are elected to serve a term of three years, and Officers are elected to serve a term of two years. Members and Officers may serve up to two consecutive terms. The Board of Directors meets every other month throughout the year.
We also have a number of standing committees on which individuals may serve. You do not have to be a member of the board to serve on a committee! The current committees are: Finance, Fundraising, Strategic Facilities, and Board Development.
If you or someone you know is interested in serving on the Camp Fire Board of Directors or on a committee, you can submit a nomination online. Or contact us at 574-387-6095 for more information about serving on the Board or on a Committee.
Patrick Welch was elected to the Board of Directors for Camp Fire River Bend in March 2017, and was elected Chair in December 2020. Patrick retired in 2019 after serving as the President of AlphaGraphics, a print and marketing company located in Elkhart and South Bend, IN. Patrick is also a board member of WNIT, past president of Elcona Country Club, past president of Montessori School of Elkhart, Rotary Club of South Bend and United Way of Elkhart County and is a graduate of Indiana University. Both of his daughters were campers at Camp Tannadoonah. He and his wife Jeannie reside at Birch Lake in the spring and summer and winter in Naples, Fl.
Andrew Roche has served on the Board of Directors for Camp Fire River Bend since 2014, and is the Chair of the Strategic Facilities Committee. He served in the role of Secretary from November 2016-2018, and has served as Vice Chair since November 2018. Andrew holds bachelor’s degrees in Architecture and Environmental Design. He is a partner at Creative Design Solutions, Inc. in South Bend, where he works as an architect and project manager. Andrew, his wife Yolanda (a former Tannadoonah camper and staff member), and their daughters Corinne and Clara, live in South Bend.
Bob Pence was elected to the Board of Directors in September 2016, and elected to the position of Secretary in December 2020. Bob is a retired attorney and former corporate vice president for The Mosaic Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and Juris Doctor (J.D) from the University of Illinois. Bob’s business experience includes extensive involvement in the governance of boards of directors for public companies, as well as a broad range of business, financial, and legal matters. Bob and his wife, Barb, live at Birch Lake in the summer, and spend their winters in Marshall, MI. Their two daughters attended Camp Tannadoonah, and their two granddaughters look forward to attending Camp in the future.
John Michel joined the Board of Directors for Camp Fire River Bend in 2018, and has served as Treasurer since June 2018. He has served on the faculty of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College Business for twenty years. He teaches courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in Nonprofit Management and Planning, Foresight in Business and Society, and Strategic Management. He has won three outstanding instructor awards as voted on by the students. He received his doctorate from Columbia University in New York. John and his wife Maggie live in South Bend.
Bob joined the Board of Directors in December 2020 and serves on the Board Development Committee. His wife Layna and their three children have had a summer home on Birch Lake since 2008. Each of their kids spent many summers at Camp Tannadoonah when they were younger, with great memories for the whole family. Bob is the COO of The Commodore Corporation, the largest privately-owned offsite manufacturer of single-family homes. He has an engineering degree from the University of Illinois, an MBA from the University of Rochester, and has served on boards related to the housing market.
Mike Chapple joined the Board of Directors for Camp Fire River Bend in December 2019. Mike is the Academic Director of the Master of Science in Business Analytics in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame. Mike earned both his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Notre Dame in computer science & engineering. He also holds a MS in computer science from the University of Idaho and an MBA from Auburn University. Mike, his wife Renee, and their three sons live in Granger, IN.
Tom Edgerton joined the Board in 2018 following 49 years in the travel industry. After graduating from IU South Bend in 1970 with a Bachelors in Business Administration he joined Edgerton’s Travel Service and directed expansion to schools and tour operation throughout the Midwest. He now spends time traveling, gardening and teaching Sunday School. Tom is an active member of the Kiwanis Club of South Bend, IN, and also serves on the Board of Directors for Cultivate Culinary. Tom and Carolyn have two children and three granddaughters.
Sharon Hayward has served on the Board of Directors for Camp Fire River Bend since 2014, and was the Secretary from 2014-2016, and Chair from 2016-2020. Sharon was a Camp Fire member and attended Camp Tannadoonah as a youth. She works as an information technology project manager at the University of Notre Dame, and teaches classes in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame. Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree in Education, a master’s degree in Management, and a Project Management Professional certification. Sharon and her husband, Rob, live in Benton Harbor, and have four children and three grandchildren.
Susanne Klein joined the Board of Directors in December 2020. She was born and raised in South Bend. Susanne is a member of a three-generation Camp Tannadoonah family: she has aunts, a sister, cousins, a niece and nephew, and her two children who have all been campers. Susanne was a camper back in the mid 80’s when The Chick was still in use. Susanne holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from Webster University in St. Louis, MO. Susanne and her family live in the Champaign, Illinois area where she currently works in Research Administration as an Award Negotiator at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Michael Lacognato has served on the Board of Directors since January of 2017, is chair of the Board Development Committee, and is a member of the Marketing and Fundraising Committee. Michael holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the State University of New York College at Oswego, and has completed graduate courses in Social Policy from Empire State University. Michael is the Vice-President of Marketing for Laidig Systems, Incorporated in Mishawaka. Michael, his wife Kristin, and their two children live in Granger, and their youngest son Ty attended Camp Tannadoonah for 4 summers.
Tricia Stitz joined the Board of Directors in December 2020. She is currently employed at enVista, a global software solutions and consulting firm headquartered in Carmel, IN. She is a Senior Financial Analyst and has been with the company for 15 years. At enVista, Tricia is a of member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is the corporate sponsor for philanthropy with Outreach.org, Water for People, and Habitat for Humanity. She has a bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s College. Tricia and her husband John split time residing at Birch Lake and Westfield, Indiana. Their three children have all enjoyed time at Camp Tannadoonah.
Lauren Willis has served on the board of directors for Camp Fire since March of 2019. Lauren is a CPA and works as an Assurance Manager at RSM US in South Bend, Indiana. She attended Manchester University in Indiana, where she earned a bachelor's of science in accounting. Lauren serves in the finance committee and the board development committee for Camp Fire. She also volunteers with the LaPorte County Draft Horse Association and Cultivate Culinary. Lauren and her husband Bryan live in South Bend with their two daughters.