2021 National Leadership Conference (NLC) Hub

The National Leadership Conference (NLC) is a meeting of council representatives from around the country. Council leaders, board members, and senior program, marketing, and development leaders are invited to hear special keynote speakers and participate in various training and networking opportunities. This system-wide conference presents direction-setting opportunities for the future of the organization.


Conference Dates: October 18 – 22, 2021



View the conference schedule below!

NLC Trail Guide

View session descriptions and meet the presenters below!

NLC Field Notes

Schedule of Events



Day 1: Trail to the Future (12:00 – 1:45 p.m. Central Time)

This trail is designed to tell our Past, Present and Future.  

Attendees will explore Camp Fire’s past, how today’s priorities align with our 100+ year history and will reflect on how Camp Fire was and is an organization that ignites change. As we look to the future, attendees will learn how to create a culture of inclusion in your workplace. 

You will hear Keynotes from Greg Zweber, Camp Fire National, President & CEO, Holly Ridings, Chief Flight Director, NASA, and Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond, Founder & CEO, Wise Chipmunk LLC

Social Hour (1:45–2:45 p.m. Central Time) 

Join your fellow CEOs and Executive Teams in Camp Fire Trivia games! 

Day 2:  Trail to the Environment (12:00 – 2:30 P.M. Central Time)

This trail is designed to Promote environmental stewardship and action 

Through this interactive workshop, attendees will explore innovative nature engagement practices from across the Camp Fire network and as we look to the future, attendees will learn how to create a culture of inclusion in your workplace. 


This session will be facilitated by Informed Change and the National Headquarters JUST HQ Team. 

Day 3: Trail to Family & Community  (12:00–2:30 p.m. Central Time)

This trail is designed to help attendees learn to identify, understand, and respond to local youth, caregiver, and community needs, how to center child safety and youth protection, and learn strategies for establishing new corporate partnerships focused on community needs.

Attendees will participate in a facilitated discussion and receive tools to support implantation at their council.


This session will be facilitated by Redwoods Group Foundation, and The Trevor Project. 

Day 4: Trail to Creativity  (12:00 pm – 3:00 p.m. Central Time)

This trail is designed to help attendees learn about the systemic harms caused to Indigenous people and how that historical trauma affects young people today.

Attendees will hear Camp Fire’s history and participate in part one of a two-part series on Indigenous trauma throughout US history. From colonization to removal, to Indigenous boarding schools. 

This session will be facilitated by Ben Matthews, Camp Fire National Headquarters and The National Indian Education Association (NIEA). 

Day 5: Trail to Knowing Me (12:00–3:00 p.m. Central Time) 

This trail is designed to help you find your “mission” stories and expertly develop them to achieve your goals, whether it’s fundraising, rallying your board, recruiting, exciting your staff, engaging existing youth and families you serve, and marketing to new youth and families you want to reach. Attendees will participate in a hands-on communication workshop.


Story First will facilitate this session. This will be part 2 of 3. If you can, please attend the first session the week before during the normal monthly marketing call date/time (although it’s not required – you can come to this session without attending the first!). 





Holly Ridings

Flight Director Chief, NASA

Holly is a proud Camp Fire Alumni. She is the Lead Flight Director for Expedition 16, STS-127, and the first SpaceX Dragon mission to ISS.  As the Expedition 16 lead, Holly was responsible for the ISS crew during STS-120, STS-122, STS-123, and the first ATV mission.  Expedition 16 also conducted 5 non-Shuttle EVAs primarily for PMA2 ISS construction and recovery from a Solar array failure.  As the STS-127 lead, Holly was responsible for the addition of the Japanese Exposed Facility and the External Platform to the ISS over the course of a 16-day mission that included 5 EVAs.  As the NASA lead for the Dragon Demo mission to ISS, Holly was responsible for the safety of ISS and the ISS crew during the arrival of the first commercial vehicle at ISS including the final decision for rendezvous and capture.  Holly served as the Flight Director Office Assistant for ISS and Visiting Vehicles before selection as the Deputy Chief of the Flight Director Office in the fall of 2014.  Prior to being selected as a Flight Director, Holly was the lead for the ISS ADCO (Attitude Determination and Control) group.  Holly started her NASA career as an ISS flight controller in the THOR (Thermal Operations and Resources Group).


  • NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals for Expedition 16 and SpaceX Dragon ISS Demo
  • NASA Exceptional Service Medal for STS-127
  • Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award

Kia Darling-Hammond

Founder and CEO, Wise Chipmunk

Pronouns: she/her

Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond (she/her), PhD, is a leader in the worlds of youth development, education, well-being, and social justice research with decades of work across communities, nonprofits, universities, K-12 schools, think tanks, and foundations. Dr. Darling-Hammond’s mission is to help people and organizations design beyond survival or resilience in order to increase possibilities for thriving among those who experience complex marginalization. Through her scholarship, Dr. Darling-Hammond has developed an intersectional Bridge to Thriving Framework© (BtTF©), which she uses with stakeholders to advance the shared project of universal thriving.

Dr. Darling-Hammond speaks widely, has published in academic and popular press, and mentors an ever-growing community of students and professionals nationwide. You can follow her on Twitter (@drkiadh) or LinkedIn (@kiadarling).

Jenna Seth

Founder, Principal Consultant, Informed Change


Jenna Sethi, Ph.D., is an applied researcher, evaluator, youth worker, and educator dedicated to advancing equity with and for young people, their families, schools, and communities. She is the founder and principal consultant of Informed Change Consulting. Jenna began her career over 20 years ago in direct service youth work. She has a Master’s of Education in Youth Development Leadership and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Family, Youth, and Community. Jenna also teaches in the Youth Studies program at the University of Minnesota.

Clare Eisenberg

Consultant, Informed Change


Clare Eisenberg is a youth worker, researcher, and communicator whose work is informed by a focus on equity, centering youth voice, creativity, and collaborative relationships. She is a consultant with Informed Change. Clare has a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology and an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership. Clare has worked in multiple youth development programs, nonprofit organizations, and with various consulting firms.

Meredith Stewart

Risk Consultant, The Redwoods Group


Meredith Stewart is a Consultant with The Redwoods Group where she provides insight, tools, and a collaborative approach to keeping children and families safe. Prior to Redwoods, Meredith worked in Safety and Risk Management for the YMCA, with a specialization in the safety of children. Her 22 years of front-line experience in camping and youth-serving organizations have shaped her career into a platform for child advocacy. Sharing her experiences in youth programming, education beyond the classroom, overnight and day camping, aquatics, childhood trauma, abuse prevention, and risk management helps focus and progress her goal to build safer communities for all.

Meredith has a BA in Recreation Management, as well as certifications from several national organizations to provide evidence-based safety and prevention trainings.

Rachael Wise

Risk Consultant, The Redwoods Group


Rachael Wise is a Risk Consultant with The Redwoods Group, an insurance carrier specializing in working with youth serving organizations. Rachael has worked in education and risk management for over 10 years. She served as a faculty and staff member at George Washington University in outdoor and environmental education. Most recently she was a staff member at Brown University where she worked in student development, outdoor education, and risk management. Work in youth serving organizations and camps across the country, Rachael has developed a deep passion for experiential education and the way it can build community and transform kids. Working at Redwoods Rachael strives to impact child safety and enhance the camp experience for thousands of kids across the US. 

Muneer Panjwani

Vice President, Foundation, Government, and Corporate Partnerships, The Trevor Project


Muneer Panjwani is the VP of Foundation, Government, and Corporate Partnerships at The Trevor Project, Muneer’s team focuses on building impact centered and business-driven long-term partnerships with some of the world’s largest companies and organizations to help end LGBTQ youth suicide. Muneer led the charge to secure Trevor’s first seven-figure partnership that launched a new, holistic corporate partnership model for the organization. In 3 years, this model has 8X’d corporate revenue for The Trevor Project and established partnerships with 150+ national and global companies. Notable partnerships include award-winning cause marketing campaigns with Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s, Google.org and an $8M partnership with PwC Charitable Foundation – the largest in Trevor’s 22-year history. Muneer is an expert on cause marketing, for-profit/not-for-profit partnerships, institutional fundraising, and corporate social responsibility. 

Ben Matthews

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist, NHQ


Appropriation is everywhere, and is also inevitable. Appropriation, for better or for worse, cannot stop. So long as people interact with other peoples, by choice or by force, cultures will intersect and mingle and graft onto each other…If appropriation is everywhere and everyone appropriates all the time, why does any of this matter? The answer, in a word: power.” ― Lauren Michele Jackson, White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue … and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation)

Rusty Creed Brown

Field Operations Specialist, National Indian Education Association


Rusty’s role as the Field Operations Specialist is to support the facilitation, establishment, and maintenance of relationships among schools, tribes, and other stakeholders. Rusty served as Osage Nation’s Natural Resource Specialist, and its Child Support Enforcement Director.  He worked with the Sac and Fox Nation as its Policy Analyst and Tribal Administrator. In Alaska, he was a community outreach liaison with villages along the Chukchi Sea and the North Slope. Rusty received his BS, in Natural Science, from the University of Alaska Anchorage; and  received a JD and MS from the University of Tulsa; concentrating on  Native American and Indigenous Peoples Rights

Katie Thomas

Manager, Content Initiatives and Partnerships, On Our Sleeves


Mental health has always played a role in Katie Thomas’s professional career, starting with her first role as director of communications and education at the Ohio Psychological Association. Now, Katie oversees content development and strategy for On Our Sleeves, the movement for children’s mental health, along with community wellness and population health initiatives for Nationwide Children Hospital. Katie is dedicated to student and professional development and giving back to her community. She mentors young professionals and high school and college students while also volunteering for various organizations. She has been recognized for her professional and community commitment by receiving the prestigious Tom Poling Practitioner of the Year and being named to Columbus Business First’s 40 Under 40 and the 2020 PRSSA Hall of Fame.

Eric Ratinoff

Chief Storyteller, Story First

Eric Ratinoff is Story First’s founder and Chief Storyteller. For 15+ years, Eric has worked with a variety of organizations to help them get clear about their story and tell it more effectively. He brings to Story First deep experience as a writer, editor, director, strategist, teacher, and coach, and is motivated by the new challenges that come from working across different industries and in different media.

Eric has taught Technical Writing in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis; has trained and advised leaders as a facilitator, presenter, and organizational consultant; has been invited to speak about storytelling at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Plymouth State University, St. Anselm College, Southern New Hampshire University, and Fisher College; and was selected to present three times at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)/National Public Health Information Coalition National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.

Eric is also a co-founder and principal in The Mouse and the Elephant, a diversity and inclusion training and consulting firm; he served as the Executive Editor for the Ferguson Commission report, Forward Through Ferguson; and he is a co-author of A Seat at the Table, an award-winning column on diversity and inclusion in the New Hampshire Business Review.

In addition, Eric is the lead organizer and a speaker coach for TEDxAmoskeagMillyard in Southern New Hampshire, and he delivered a talk on storytelling and organizational culture, titled “Once Upon a Time At The Office: How Stories Shape Culture At Work,” at TEDxCapeMay in New Jersey.

Before founding Story First in 2016, he was a principal in Act3, an applied storytelling firm. He has also served as a textbook ghostwriter, an online content writer (including episode summaries for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek for the WB’s website), the sports editor for a failed late-90s dot-com, a residence hall director, and a traveling fraternity consultant. But his favorite job was probably being assistant track and field coach at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also earned his Bachelor of Arts in English.

Camp Fire National Headquarters “Just HQ” DEI Committee

Our Promise

Young people want to shape the world.

Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.

In Camp Fire, it begins now.

Light the fire within