We couldn't be more excited to welcome back this years Camp Directors- all Education Professionals including two Physical Education teachers! These are just a few of the talented coaches you will meet and they will be leading a large group of other incredibly gifted teachers, graduate students, college athletes and high school captains. This could be our strongest group yet to work with all these kids across both of our summer camp locations and all sports programs.
This year over 70% of our summer staff is returning from last summer for more fun than ever! We cannot wait to get started!
You can find the entire list of AKA Staff via our ABOUT > STAFF link.
Dean Downs: Program Director, Blaine NSC
You may recognize Coach Dean as our amazing DJ from past Community Appreciation Nights and other events! He is the owner and entertainer at Deanomite Entertainment and is also a Physical Education teacher for the Spring Lake Park school district (for over 25 years!). Dean is married and has five kids of his own ranging from 15-23 years old so he knows a thing or two about keeping kids active and engaged.
Dean joined AKA about five years ago after getting to know Coach Chris during after school programs at Park Terrace Elementary. He spent last summer helping open and lead the Centennial location. We are so excited to bring his magic over to Blaine where he will lead our largest camp!
When not teaching, keeping kids active or leading the dance floor, Dean loves life at the cabin or sunny days cheering on the MN Twins!
Krista Lande: Program Director, Centennial
Krista is back for her fourth summer 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 graduated this past Spring from the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a degree in Education. She is currently interviewing with several Minnesota districts and we know she will make an excellent teacher! A fun fact about Krista- she recently became engaged!
Dave Fraiser: Program Director, Centennial
Dave started coaching with AKA back in 2008 and remembers the summer when 75 seemed like a lot of campers! We are now over double that size and camp keeps getting better! Dave has coached all AKA age groups at the Blaine camp and led the Speed of Play program in 2016. He took last summer off to move and get married and we are thrilled to have him back at Centennial this year! He loves Basketball week and looks forward to watching the kids improve each day.
Dave earned his Physical Education degree at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California and holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota. He is now the Physical Education and Health teacher at Centennial High School and joined their Basketball program as Head Coach this past school year!
We are excited to have Dave back with AKA to grow our Centennial program!
AKA Administration & 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 fourth summer with AKA! She was the Director at our Coon Rapids camp location and now manages many behind the scenes projects including organizing ALL of the AKA Field Trips!
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!