Presenting the AKA Summer Staff

I can never truly speak about AKA programming without mentioning the Staff!  This phenomenal Staff, for over 12 summers now, is what I believe sets AKA apart from other youth sports programs. 

This year over 70%!! of our summer staff is returning from last summer for more fun than ever.  Not to mention the addition of some incredibly gifted teachers, graduate students, college athletes and high school captains, we are truly blessed to have such a strong group to work with all these kids across 3 summer locations.

In this BLOG entry are your 2017 Summer Staff Directors.  You can find the entire list of AKA Staff via our ABOUT > STAFF link

Thanks to all...  let's have another amazing summer!


Dean Downs: All Sports Camp & Speed of Play Development and Entertainment


Melissa Elsen: Site Supervisor, Coon Rapids and AKA Field Trip Coordinator

Melissa is a graduate of St. Cloud State where she earned a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Science. She completed a Master's degree through the University of Cincinnati in Curriculum and Instruction and currently teaches 6th Grade in the Hopkins School District. Originally from Coon Rapids, this will be her third summer with AKA! Melissa's favorite sport to play is Sand Volleyball, but her favorite AKA field trip is the Twins game because she loves to watch baseball- and see all the campers on the jumbo-tron! She especially loves the AKA Opening Ceremonies Week because she gets to meet all the new campers and introduce a variety of activities in the same week.
Melissa doesn't give herself much down time. At the end of every summer, she walks 60 miles in 3 days to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Melissa has personally raised over $10,000 and walked over 300 miles!

Brittany Mcnab:  Site Supervisor, Blaine & Centennial

Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, Brittany now lives in Minneapolis and is headed into her 6th summer as an AKA Coach. Her favorite week is Ice Sports because she loves being on the ice. Brittany played hockey through high school and on a club team at the U of MN while earning her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Elementary Education. During the school year she teaches second grade in Fridley.
A couple of fun facts about Brittany-  she did an internship in Australia and taught physical education to elementary students. If you have trouble spotting Brittany at camp you might find her mixed in with the campers as she has been the same height since 6th grade! 

Krista Lande: Program Director, Centennial

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Krista is back for her third summer coaching with AKA! She played volleyball through high school, but loves AKA Soccer week because so many of the kids enjoy it and she loves watching their talent and excitement! Krista truly gets her energy from the kids-her favorite AKA field trip is Como Zoo because she love to see the campers excitement while looking at the different animals.

Originally from Brooklyn Park, Krista is currently attending The University of Minnesota Duluth as an Education major. She will be student teaching in the Robbinsdale School District in the Fall and will graduate Spring 2018.

A fun fact about Krista- she has a new puppy named Lanee!


Kelly Besst:  Program Director, Coon Rapids

Kelly is headed into her third summer with AKA and every year she looks forward to taking the kids on the Twins and Saints game field trips. Fastpitch softball is her favorite sport- she's been involved with it since Little League! During camp she loves Archery week because the kids get to try something new and different. 
Kelly is currently a student at St. Catherine University in St. Paul pursuing a Dietetics major. She is on track to graduate Spring 2019. 
If you are looking for Kelly on the weekends you will probably find her spending time with her corgi, watching Captain America movies and cooking healthy meals! 

Matt Smith: Program Director, Blaine

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Matt is headed into his 4th year as an AKA Coach and loves Soccer week. He has played as long as he can remember and loves teaching the kids new skills or helping them improve their game. He still remembers his first day at AKA and knew as soon as he met the kids and other coaches that it was going to be a perfect fit. His favorite field trip is the Canoe Trip down the St. Croix which is back for summer 2017!

Matt is currently a senior at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and will be graduating this Spring with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing with a Minor in Psychology. 

A fun fact about Matt- Jimmy Neutron is still one of his favorite TV shows!


Mckaela Bormann: Assistant Director, Blaine

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Coach Mckaela is going into her 7th summer with AKA!  What's not to like about Mckaela as she greets the kids in the early morning and screams with the kids down the most hair raising rides at Valley Fair!  Outside of AKA, Mckaela is working hard getting her degree in Cosmetology and you can often find her in the evenings helping customers at Ulta in Roseville. 

Mo Almeala: Assistant Director, Blaine & AKA After School Lead Staff

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Coach Mo, in only his second year, has been a leader in the AKA After School initiative and will again be a Camp lead at the AKA NSC All Sports Camp. 
Mo's favorite pastimes are making dinner for his mom & dad, playing basketball with all his heart despite getting worked by Coach Chris and of course listening to his favorite classic piano jams.  Mo is in the middle of his college career studying finance at Carlson School of Management at the U of MN.  Way to go Mo!!