Our Team


Susan Alavi
Marketing and Communications Assistant
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Susan grew up in Raleigh and graduated from NC State University in 2018 with a B.A. in Communication.  Susan first came to New Life Camp as a receptionist while she pursued post-graduate work at Meredith College. Having experience in camps and ministry throughout college, Susan always kept a special place in her heart for camps that introduce children to Jesus. In 2020 Susan transitioned into a full-time staff member in the marketing & communication department. There are few things Susan loves more than the mission of NLC, her dog Jake,  & attending a NC State football game on a fall day (she’s always looking for tickets!).

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27


Paul Averette
Director of Facilities Management
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With more than 20 years of experience with residential and commercial builders in the Raleigh area, Paul is excited to connect his building know-how with the growing campus of New Life Camp. As a Raleigh native, he attended Millbrook High School and NC State University. His family affectionately calls him “the Mayor” because he’s never met a stranger. Paul and his wife Gretchen live on a farm where they enjoy time with their three teenagers and a menagerie of animals. Paul recently managed the construction of the new worship center at Providence Church where they are actively involved and where his wife Gretchen is the children’s director. Paul is known for his servant heart, hard work and ability to make everyone laugh.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  – 1 Thessalonians 5:11


Jeff Beckett
Executive Director
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After serving for over three decades in faith-based ministries as a pastor and a two-time church planter in Texas and North Carolina, Dr. Beckett is thrilled to join the New Life staff.  He was most recently the pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Apex, North Carolina for the past 21 years. Jeff has been married to Kathy for 37 years and they have four children and one grandchild.

For Jeff, focusing 24/7 on connecting people to new life in Jesus Christ and helping them develop into devoted followers of Christ is the most important and exciting task on the planet!

Around camp he gets to utilize his love for team building, organizational leadership, and development to help New Life Camp be the amazing place we all know and love.

Dr. Beckett has a B.A. in Political Science and History from Texas A & M, Commerce, a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from SWBTS as well. Dr. Beckett also taught and coached Football, Baseball, and Basketball at a 3A school in North Texas.

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  Romans 6:4


Chuck Bounds
Facilities Staff
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Chuck followed God’s leading to mission work in the 1980’s. He used his construction background to earn support and has over eleven years of pastoral experience. Chuck has been a camper, counselor and a member of the Board of Directors at Camp Victory in Samson, Alabama. It is a joy for him to return to camp ministry at New Life Camp. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Baptist College of Florida in 1999 and a Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest in 2009. Chuck and his wife, Martha Jo, have three sons: Jake, Ben and Patrick.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1


Connor Brantley
Director of Engagement & Marketing
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Connor began serving at New Life Camp as a Summer Camp speaker. Little did he know that God would end up opening a door for him to join the NLC Team full-time. Connor graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Bachelor’s degree in Theology. He then worked at a local church in Raleigh as a Student Pastor for several years before he accepted a role here at NLC. He loves NLC and is very excited to do ministry here.


Cati Curtis
Human Resources
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Cati first came to New Life Camp in Summer of 2017 as an intern through the CBM National Internship Program. During her time as an intern Cati sensed God calling her to full time ministry serving at New Life Camp. Cati began her staff position at New Life Camp in January 2018. Cati handles all application processes for seasonal staff and volunteers and assists in the registration process. She once had a pet pig named “Daisy!”

“‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord.  ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” Isaiah 55:8


Emileah Hawkins
Administrative Assistant
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Emileah was first called to ministry in 2016 at the age of 18.  She started exploring different parts of the ministry and fell in love with the idea of working at a camp.  Emileah first came to New Life Camp in the summer of 2018 as an intern through the CBM National Internship Program.  She knew this was where God was calling her.  The following summer, Emileah returned as part of the summer staff.  In November of 2019, she moved from Tennessee to be a part of the staff at New Life Camp.  She loves seeing the impact that camp has on kids.  One of her favorite things is watching children understand and come to know Jesus.  Many lives are changed because of camp and Emileah is excited to be a part of helping NLC run.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever in honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8


Celeste Honaker
Director of Finance
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Celeste joined the New Life Camp staff in 2010. Having worked as a CPA in both public and private industry, she feels blessed to be serving the Lord at NLC. “We have different gifts according to the grace given us, let us use them.” Romans 12:6. Celeste is married to Bill Honaker, and they have been blessed with two children, Nathan and Katie. Celeste loves to visit the Dining Hall on Taco Tuesdays, and if she were a camper, she would go to Paddle Boats whenever it was open!

 “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:30


Kyle Mendenhall
Director of Athletic Programs
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Kyle moved to the Raleigh area with his family in 2015 after coaching collegiate basketball for 9 years.  Kyle was born and raised in Kansas and played college basketball at Sterling College in Sterling, KS. He has had opportunities to play and coach basketball in five different countries. Kyle received his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Education from Sterling College and his Master’s degree in Health and Physical Education at Union College. Kyle has been married to his wife Grace for over 7 years and they have 3 boys, Hezekiah, Josiah and Ari. If you see Kyle around camp, you should challenge him to a dunk contest!

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  II Corinthians 5:21


Nicosia Merkerson
Facilities Staff
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Nicosia has been at New Life Camp for 2 years under facilities. He was previously at the North Carolina Museum of Art for 10 years. Born and raised in Raleigh, NC, Nicosia enjoys sports, and film. He is married to Emily with one son, Julian.


Aaron Miller
Director of Camping Operations
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Aaron was a camper at New Life Camp.  After a few years of serving on summer staff, he was asked to be the summer program director.  At the end of that summer, he felt God’s call to apply as a full time missionary.  He graduated from Tennessee Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, coming to serve full-time at camp in 2000.  The activities Aaron began have transformed New Life Camp into a wonderful place for children all year long.  Aaron has been coaching high school basketball for 10 years as well as running camps and leagues. Aaron is married to Laura, and together they have two sons, Liam and Grayson, and a daughter, Claira. If you see Aaron around camp, you should challenge him to a game of Ping-Pong!

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8


Nathaniel Miller
Director of LEARN
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Having come here as a camper, LIT, and summer counselor, God impacted Nathaniel’s heart through New Life Camp’s ministry. After graduating from Tennessee Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in Bible, it was a dream come true for him to join the full time staff in 2003. One of his greatest delights is the story of the Bible and teaching campers and students to engage this story so that it can transform their lives. He oversees the ministries of LEARN and Bible Teaching as well as IT and multimedia operations. He won’t stop talking about BibleProject‘s videos and podcasts and how excited they make him to continue reading the Bible broadly and deeply.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:16


Trisha Price
Marketing & Communications
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While attending college at Tennessee Temple University, Trisha was introduced to New Life Camp.  During her summers, she worked as a camp counselor. Trisha graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2001. She then taught third grade for two years in her home state of Ohio. God called her to New Life Camp in 2003, joining the full time staff in 2004. Trisha is currently living in Ohio while working remotely for New Life Camp. She is thankful that God brought her to a wonderful place where she loves to serve. Trisha loves watching storms from the Staff Office porch, and you will always hear her laughing when Beatrice takes the puppet stage.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33


Bo Roberts
Director of Policies & Development
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Bo spent his career of over thirty years as a YMCA professional, in particular with their resident camps, Sea Gull, Seafarer and Kanata. During a trip to Moldova as part of a team with a “dream to build a camp for youth,” Bo met Greg Burton and consequently fell in love with New Life Camp. He drove our American Camp Association accreditation process and formerly served as Alumni Coordinator.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Bo and his wife Helen have been married 38 years and have three children: Graham, Hart and Lucy. If you need advice on any topic, Bo likely has a great story to share with you!

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4


Rachel Barrow
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Rachel began coming to New Life Camp as a camper when she was 8 years old. She continued to come back each summer as a camper, LIT and a summer staff member. Rachel graduated from Appalachian State University in 2016 with a degree in music education. In 2017 she was overjoyed to join our full time staff and serve at a place that has made such a large impact in her life. Rachel handles all incoming registrations for our programs. You should ask her about her award-winning year as a market lamb showman.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2


Sam Smith
Director of Operations & Program Development
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Sam started attending New Life Camp as a camper when he was a child, later serving as an LIT and summer staff member. In 2014, Sam joined our full time staff. Sam serves by helping to plan and prepare for our summer camp programs as well as coordinate rentals throughout the year. Sam graduated from Liberty in 2016 and married his wife Hannah in 2018. Fun fact: he has visited 6 out of the 7 continents!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

Former Directors

John Dorman

Greg Burton

Bob & Debbie Johnson

Bob Johnson, Sr.

Board of Directors

New Life Camp has a rich legacy of sharing the love of Jesus Christ with children and youth. Members of our Board of Directors share a commitment to this mission based on personal and family experiences.  They give their time and resources to steward the mission and govern the strategic direction of the camp.

Frank Lassiter
Board Chair

Bill Peterson
Vice Chair

Joey Hart

Ed Dillon

Phil Begany

Justin Hime

Hank Keleher

Amy Martin

Marc Mills

Shannon Scott

Bob Touchton

Frank Tyndall

Want to learn more?
Contact the New Life Camp Board of Directors.