Meet Our Staff



Ryan Hove, Executive Director

Ryan Hove, Executive Director

Welcome to YMCA Camp Watia! I’m proud to say this will be our sixth summer as a camp and we are eager to share our world with you! My passion for camp began in 2002 and now, with more than 18 years of experience, I'm honored to call Camp Watia my home. I'm originally from Tennessee and earned my bachelor's at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, followed by my master's at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Shortly after graduating, I landed my first camp job and fell in love with what it represents. Since then I've worked for various camps and YMCAs until I found myself here, in the mountains, working hard to make Camp Watia the best camp around. Outside of camp, you can catch me fishing, reading in a hammock, exploring western North Carolina, cooking, or playing with my dog, Jack. We promise to make this one of your most memorable summers yet and will help make this YOUR home!





Shannon Raab, Camp Program Director

Shannon Raab, Senior Program Director

I'm a camp enthusiast with more than 13 years of experience in the camping industry. My passion for camp was ignited in 1998 when, as an eighth grader, I was fortunate enough to attend a school overnight camp in Michigan. Just a few years later I wanted to share that life-changing experience with others, so I volunteered as a counselor for that same middle school and finally, in 2005, began my YMCA camping career as a summer camp counselor. When I wasn't at camp, I attended Central Michigan University and graduated in 2009 with a degree in recreation, parks, and leisure service administration. I took that degree and became a full-time employee at a Michigan YMCA camp in 2010, where I earned certifications as an American Red Cross lifeguard, high adventure trainer, challenge course manager, and archery instructor. When I'm not at a camp doing everything I can to provide the best experience for EVERYONE, you can find me spending time with my amazing niece, exploring new trails in North Carolina, or acting as Dr. Doolittle to my eclectic personal zoo! I'm excited to be a part of the Watia family and look forward to an awesome summer!