Owners & Directors

Susie and Steve Baskin came to Camp Champions in 1995 and live at camp year round with their four children: twin boys Wiley and Liam (20), daughter Terrill (18), daughter Virginia (15) and basset hound Dodger. They are committed to making camp an extraordinary place to serve families.

Read our camp’s history


Steve is the executive director of the boys’ side of camp. That means that he gets to spend time with great campers and counselors during the summer and avoid growing up.

Steve is a lifelong camper. He first attended camp when he was 8 and he continued for 11 years. In his years as a camper and a counselor, he discovered the power of the camp experience to develop confidence, social skills and joy.

He even wrote about camp in his college applications as one of the defining experiences of his life. After graduating with honors from Davidson College, he got off the camp track for a few years during which he was an investment banker with Goldman Sachs in New York and Simmons & Company in Houston. He then went to Harvard Business School, where he decided to pursue his true passion: summer camp. He and Susie have been full-time campers since 1993. Steve is lucky to have the pleasure of partnering with his wife (and best friend).

Steve has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, American Way magazine, the Houston Chronicle and the Austin-American Statesman. He currently writes for Psychology Today on youth development, education and parenting. Steve chaired the Tri-State Camp Conference (the largest camp conference in the world) from 2008-2010. In 2009, he received the National Service Award from the American Camp Association (ACA). In 2010, he was appointed Treasurer of the ACA and serves on its Executive Committee.

The Tiger Story: Play ►


Susie is the camp mom and the director of the girls’ side. She adores her many “children” at camp.

Susie loves talking with camper parents all year long and helping them with any issues about camp, including parental separation anxiety (camp can be hard on first time parents). In addition to being a parent liaison at camp, she also directs our camp health center.

Susie did not attend camp as a child or young woman, but has become a powerful fan of the camp experience as she watched its positive effect on her own children.

In her past life, Susie was a family and adolescent counselor at a hospital in Wellesley, MA and later became a manager at a Boston hospital. She attended University of Michigan undergrad and Northwestern University for graduate school.

In 2014, the Texas Commissioner of Education appointed Susie as the sole camp representative to the Texas Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council.

Susie is a die hard Bostonian and thought she’d live there forever until Steve met her and convinced her to move to Texas. She is very happy that he did as she could never envision a better place to live than right in the middle of camp on the beautiful shores of Lake LBJ.

Say hello to the people who make camp amazing

When you choose a summer camp for your child, you must make sure that, above all else, you feel comfortable with the PEOPLE who will care for your child. That feeling of trust is essential!

If you decide that Champions is the right place for your child this summer, we want you to feel great about the people who will help YOUR child grow into a CHAMPION!!!

Meet Our Senior Staff

Kate Hutson

Kate Hutson Ben Chinisci Ben Chinisci, the Boys’ Camp Director, grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He started his camp journey at 9 years old and looked forward to it as the highlight of his entire year. He worked every job at camp, from dishwasher, to counselor in training, to counselor, to head counselor, to music instructor! After graduating with a BA in Foreign Languages and an MBA in International Business from the University of New Mexico, he went to work for some pretty cool companies like Disney and Apple. Ben loves playing guitar in a band in Austin, TX, talking about camp, and singing silly camp songs! Lizzy Breen Our Office Manager, Lizzy Breen, grew up in Georgetown, TX. She has been a sleep away camper, and held various leadership positions ranging from counselor to chair in Fish Camp during her time at A&M. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Health, as well as a Master’s of Science in Recreation, Park, & Tourism Sciences with an emphasis in Youth Development. Lizzy Ma’am’s favorite thing about Camp Champions is the special and unique environment that we create, everyone can be their best selves! When Lizzy Ma’am is not in the camp office, she loves to read, enjoy the outdoors, and roam around camp with her dog Harlow Ma’am. Stop by the camp office to give Harlow Ma’am a high-five! Michael Moak Assistant Director, Michael Moak, or to us, Moak sir, grew up way out west in Midland, TX. He first fell in love with summer camp while attending Laity Lodge Youth Camp for three summers after 7th, 8th and 9th grades. Moak sir attended Texas A & M and Hardin-Simmons University seeking a degree in recreation, hoping to work at a camp someday. His dream came true! In 1997 he joined the full-time staff of Camp Champions as Sports Director, was the Head Counselor in ’98 and became Assistant Director in ’99. Moak sir serves on the Board of Directors for the Texoma Section of the American Camp Association, is trained in Emergency Medicine and enjoys his aquariums when not busy at camp. Leah Mesches Girls’ Camp Director, Leah Mesches, hails from Westfield, NJ. She has been a day camper, a sleep away camper and a counselor for both day and sleep away camps. Leah graduated from Northeastern University with a Business degree, but ultimately found the world of summer camp to be more appealing than a desk job in New York City. Before coming to Champions in 2009, she was assistant director of one of Pennsylvania’s largest residential camps in the Pocono Mountains. She enjoys living in Austin with her husband, Robbie, daughter, Lola, and their dog, Lucy and spending her summers at camp. Leah Ma’am is involved in the American Camp Association and serves on the EPIC committee which promotes and supports the careers and professional education of developing camp professionals. Leah loves to spend time with the Girls’ Camp! When not practicing yoga, checking out live music, roaming the outdoors or searching for a good game of Scrabble, Leah is learning the correct usage of “y’all” (for a Yankee). Josh Kirksey Joshua (Josh) Kirksey or Kirksey Sir was born and raised on a farm in Chickasha, Oklahoma. His first camp experience came in middle school when he attended Falls Creek. When he entered the 7th grade he began attending Our Lady of Guadalupe Summer Camp, and eventually became a counselor for three summers. In 2007 he joined the Camp Champions community as a counselor and worked his way up the ranks to become the Outdoors Department Head and eventually Activities Director. Josh attended St. Gregory’s University where he was a baseball player and studied biomedical sciences. Upon graduation, he decided to put off medical school to explore the world of being a camp professional, and couldn’t be happier. When not busy at camp, Josh enjoys exploring the Hill Country, live music, great food, two-stepping, climbing, and every sport imaginable.

Summer Leadership Team