Jon Vance

Former Sea Gull Personnel Director

Years as a Camper: Three summers (1975-1977)

Years on Summer Staff: 1978-1979 (Junior Counselor-AQ), 1980 (Senior Counselor-AQ) 1981-1983 (Senior Counselor-Asst. Head), 1988-1989 (Head Counselor-Camp IV), 1991 (Camper Services Director)

Years on Professional Staff: Personnel Director 1997-2011, Major Gifts Officer 2012-2018.

Please provide a brief history of your Camp story. How were you first introduced to Sea Gull? How has it fit into your professional life and career path?

I found out about Sea Gull and first attended 2nd Session for five weeks with my cousin who was from Chevy Chase, MD. It was the best summer of my life, and I couldn't wait to come back and be on staff when I turned sixteen. As a counselor I developed leadership skills and a sense of purpose that informed my interest in pursuing a graduate degree to prepare me to work with young people. I spent a couple of years in student affairs in both a high school and university before assuming a role directing a summer camp and conference center for the Episcopal Church. Those experiences were key in my preparation to return to Sea Gull as the Personnel Director. To be a part of helping young people grow up into healthy adults and pursue their dreams has been the highlight of my life. I, in turn, learned so much from them and years later continue to maintain many of those important friendships that Camp fostered.


Who at Camp was most influential and impactful to you? How so?

There have been so many close friends I made at Camp over the years, and colleagues I worked with, that have made an impact on my life both personally and professionally. If I had to pick one, it would be Lloyd Griffith. Lloyd gave me my first "job" when he hired me as a JC and 20 years later hired me to serve on his director team as the Personnel Director. Lloyd's sense of purpose, commitment to excellence, his ability to deal with difficult problems and skill in bringing out the best in both campers and counselors are just a few examples of how he helped me grow as a person and in my various roles at Camp. Lloyd's tenacity, sense of humor, and gentle spirit are all traits I admire and have tried to emulate. He was the leader I could always count on to inspire me to do my best. He still is.


Which lessons, values or skills have you carried forward from Camp into your personal and professional life?

The Good Sport Award I first earned in 1975: Consideration, Cooperation, Courage and Integrity. And the Camp Rules I try to live by: Listen, Share, Try My Best, and Do What's Right.


What is your greatest Camp accomplishment?

Having an Honor Cabin (cabin 49) my first year as a Senior Counselor in 1980 was an accomplishment the whole cabin contributed to. The honor of hiring, training and supporting so many incredible staff members over the years I worked for Camp. Nothing can compare to that!


Tell us about your favorite Camp memory. 

The inaugural Foxhole Casino Night in 1979 is at the top of list! We were all dressed up in our finest Saturday Dance clothes and invited all the nurses, office staff, directors, spouses, and other Camp luminaries to join us. There was a chauffeur driven limo (Wyatt's Buick Electra!), a variety of Games of Chance, cold "root" beer, delicious snacks, and lively conversation. We were real "Sea Gull Gentlemen”, and a good time was had by all.


Sea Gull Alumni