Directors and Support Staff

Yosemite

Skylake Leadership

  • Image
    Jeff Portnoy

    Jeff Portnoy

    Co-Owner and Executive Director

    Jeff graduated from U.C. Berkeley (’69) and the University of Santa Clara Law School (’72). He has been involved with Skylake since 1984, first as a parent when his daughters began to attend Skylake as campers, and then as the owner/director since 1995. Jeff resides in Marin County with his wife Bonnie during the off season.

    Jeff has three primary goals as the director:
    Every child is safe both physically and emotionally in their camp experience
    Every child experiences the simple and pure joy of a true summer camp experience
    Every child returns home happier and more confident

  • Image
    Adrienne Portnoy

    Adrienne Portnoy-Durgin

    Co Director

    Adrienne Portnoy-Durgin has lived, breathed, and dreamed Skylake most of her life. She first attended Skylake as a 9 year old camper and spent the next 15 summers at Skylake as Camper, CILT, Counselor and Leadership Team member. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Adrienne relocated to Lake Tahoe where she focused on a career in Special Events and Hotel Sales & Marketing. In 2010, Adrienne returned to Skylake and now loves calling Camp her full time career and passion in life as  Co-Director. When Skylake is not in session, Adrienne and her husband Mark, live in Truckee, Ca where they are raising their three sons, Jacob, Miles and Asher.

  • Image
    Jessica Portnoy

    Jessica Portnoy

    Co Director

    Jessica Portnoy Sonka spent her first magical summer at Skylake as Chickadee in 1985. She hopped on the bus at age 7 for an adventure that turned into 10 incredible summers as a Camper and CILT, followed by 5 more summers as Jr. Staff, Counselor, Girls Head Counselor and Kitchen Manager. Jessica graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Anthropology, and went on to earn her Master of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno. After dedicating many years contributing to the success of some great non-profit organizations, Jessica felt a yearning to return to Skylake full time in 2016. She lives in beautiful North Lake Tahoe with her husband Matthew, son Noah, and daughter Morgan.

  • Image
    Lyle

    Lyle Plantz

    Summer Dinner Chef and Winter Site Manager

    Lyle joined the Skylake team in 1996 as a High School Student looking for a summer job.  He fell in love with the kitchen responsibilities and was privileged to work with many qualified chefs.  Lyle worked his way up the ladder from a dishwasher, to cooks assistant, to lunch chef and is now our dinner chef.  He is not only a great chef, but a fun personality in the kitchen who motivates the entire kitchen staff.  Lyle's mom Ellie was also working in the kitchen in those early years.  Lyle has also learned the construction business from his dad.  Many years ago, Lyle began to assist our on-site construction contractor, Carl Jackson.  Carl and Lyle rebuilt just about every part of this camp over the last 15 years.  Lyle is our consistent presence in camp 12 months of the year and is a cherished member of the Skylake team.  "Cookie, Cookie, listen while we sing to you…"

  • Image
    Jon Moore

    Jon Moore

    Leadership Support

    Jon Moore first came to Skylake in 1971. His intimate knowledge of all that is Skylake comes from over 25 seasons as a camper, a counselor and a director. He did his undergraduate studies at Pomona College and earned a master's degree in physical education from California State University - Fullerton. He currently lives in Alameda, California, with his wife, Beth, and two daughters, Emma and Abby.

     

Culinary

  • Mary Christopher

    Kitchen Manager

    Mary Christopher graduated from Cal State Northridge with a BA in Early Childhood Education. Mary continued her education at Fresno State in a Masters Program and taught in the public school system for 25 years. 

    Mary's culinary experience started at Narrow Guage Restaurant located near the entrance to Yosemite.  Here she handled responsibility in the Pantry Station before becoming a sous chef. In 2010, Mary joined Skylake and has managed the kitchen since 2013. Mary enjoys the challenge of teaching a new group of kitchen assistants each summer the skills necessary to serve almost 1000 meals a day. 

    Mary's off seasons are filled with travel, camping, gardening and being with her grandchildren.

  • Johnny Christopher

    Specialty Chef

    Johnny started his culinary journey at one of the most prestigious culinary schools, Johnson & Wales.  He traveled and worked across the southern US cooking in Florida, Tennessee, and New Mexico, before settling into the Bass Lake area.  Johnny was the chef at Mountain House Restaurant and most recently at Erna's Eldererry House.  Johnny has been working as the Specialty Chef at Skylake for five years. During the off season Johnny enjoys camping, fishing and working as a private chef.  He is enjoying teaching his grandson culinary techniques and recipes.

Summer Leadership

  • Image
    Riley Riordan

    Riley Riordan

    PM Director

    Riley Riordan is excited to be returning for her 5th year on the Leadership team! Riley has enjoyed seeing Bass Lake in every season this last year as she was lucky enough to live on site and help with camper registration alongside Jessica. It has been a fun experience learning all the hard work that goes on to recreate the magic each summer. Riley is excited to help lead the summer into an inclusive, safe, and memorable experience for all campers and staff. She looks forward to taking on another year as PM Director and welcoming back familiar faces to camp

  • Image
    Dylan at base of Half Dome

    Dylan Lynch

    Head Boys Counselor

    Dylan is returning to Skylake for his 5th year on staff! After his last summer in 2019, he is still pinching himself that he is returning for summer ’22. Dylan hails from New Zealand and graduated from the University of Technology (Unitec) in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. In between his summers at Skylake, he has been involved in early childhood development, taking on the Country Director role for Camp Counselors USA New Zealand and most recently, becoming an Immigration Officer for Immigration NZ. In what has been an unprecedented time in New Zealand with the pandemic, Dylan is incredibly excited to be taking on the Head Boy’s position and can’t wait to get back home and help campers and staff have an amazing summer to remember!

  • Image
    Ally Thoits on a boat on Bass Lake

    Ally Thoits

    Waterfront Director

    Ally Thoits is a 2020 Graduate of UC Davis, and has recently been working in performing arts and art museum studies. She plans to continue her education at UT Austin. This past year Ally has been living on-site assisting Adrienne with staff hiring and off-season projects. Ally began her Skylake journey as a second-generation chickadee in 2007 and is returning for her fourth year on staff. She is thrilled to be back for a second year on the administration team as waterfront director. Ally aims to create a safe, positive and inclusive environment on the waterfront and is thrilled to return for another summer of Skylake magic! 

  • Image
    Sophie Sandweiss smiling on mountain top

    Sophie Sandweiss

    Activities Director
    This is Sophie’s 2nd year as Activities Director, and 9th summer at Skylake. She’s excited to bring her love of themes, games, and all things fun back for another magical summer! She graduated from Brown University in 2019 with a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Contemplative Studies and has a passion for mindfulness and mental health education. In her time since school, she has taught social and emotional learning in schools and community centers, worked for a mental health startup, and lived out her dream of training aerial arts in Oaxaca, Mexico. This is a special summer for Sophie because she gets to share the Skylake magic with her little sister, who will be a first-time camper!

  • Image
    Lilly

    Lilly Brooks

    Head Girls Counselor

    Lilly is so excited to return to Skylake for her fifth summer! She was a Skylake camper for three years and, following in her aunt's footsteps, joined staff in 2019. This summer, she is thrilled to join the Leadership Team, taking on the role of Head Girls. In 2021, she graduated from Chico State University, California with a degree in Project and Business Management. For the past two years, she worked as a mentor at Dutch Bros Coffee. After two difficult years for everyone, Lilly can't wait to help bring Skylake magic back to life for our 2022 campers!

  • Image
    Gideon in a field with great clouds above

    Gideon Spencer

    Special Programs & CILT Leader
    Gideon is ecstatic to finally be coming back to Skylake for his second summer and his debut on the Leadership Team after first experiencing the joys of camp in 2019. In 2020, he graduated from the University of Nottingham, England with a BSc in Economics. Gideon is fresh off a winter season in Whistler, working as a snowboard instructor and has previously worked in summer camps in both Indiana and England. He is super pumped to take on the Special Programs Coordinator role and to use his past experiences to create a positive and fun environment and make this the best Skylake summer ever!

  • Image
    Riley hiking in the Sierras.

    Riley Qualls

    Trips Coordinator

    Riley is returning to Skylake for his 2nd year, and is so excited to once again have the opportunity to be a part of the Skylake magic. Riley is a proud Tennessean, and graduated last May from Freed-Hardeman University with a degree in marketing. In between his last summer at Skylake, he has worked as an activities guide at a dude ranch in Montana, and was a guide for a spring study abroad trip to Europe, but has since been counting down the days to return to Bass Lake and the woods of the Southern Sierras. Riley is dedicated to creating the best, safest, and most rewarding trips to the Yosemite valley and Ansel Adams wilderness for all those who are ready to experience the Skylake Magic. 
     

  • Image
    Alyssa LeDe sitting on the grass in park.

    Alyssa LeDe

    Office & Camper Services Coordinator

    Alyssa LeDé is a spring 2018 graduate from the University of Oregon with a BA in Communication Disorders and Sciences. She is also a spring 2022 graduate from Grand Canyon University with a Masters's in Elementary Childhood Education. Alyssa grew up in Temecula, California, and now resides in the heart of New York City where she teaches Third Grade. Alyssa first joined the Skylake magic in 2017 as the on-site Nanny, then transitioned to a Counselor towards the end of the summer in 2019. She returned last summer taking on an Office role and is so excited to continue with this role at Skylake coming back for a 5th summer! In her spare time, Alyssa loves to travel, exercise, cook, read, and explore every part of New York. She is eager to return to camp, continue forming positive relationships with campers and their families, make more memories and be absolutely present for every single day of this upcoming, unforgettable summer!/p>