Our Team


Paul Averette
Director of Campus & Facility Operations
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Paul was both a camper and a volunteer around camp for many years. After attending NC State University, he has worked in a variety of ministry positions from being on staff at Providence Baptist Church and NC State FCA, to spending the last 25 years as a local builder. He deeply loves his wife Gretchen, as well as his kids Riley, Madalyn, and Mason, and his dogs, Murphy and Finley. He also likes animals of all sorts and has 2 cats, 2 goats, 20 chickens, 6 ducks, a donkey, a horse, and a rabbit on his farm. When he is not taking care of them or camp, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and baseball.

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


Dr. Jeff Beckett
Executive Director
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We are happy to have Jeff as our Executive Director here at New Life Camp. He has led faith-based non-profits for 31 years prior to coming to NLC. First getting a degree in Political Science and History from Texas A&M, Commerce, he went on to get a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate in Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to being a two-time church planter in Texas and a long-time pastor in Apex, NC, he has taught economics and history, as well as coaching basketball, football, and baseball. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, most outdoor sports, and traveling with his wife, Kathy, kids, Audrey, Allison, Amy, and Lucas, and grandkid, Owen. While he does not have pets, he enjoys the squirrels, deer, and raccoons around the Director’s House at camp.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20


Katlyn Carney
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Katlyn first came to New Life Camp in 2019 as an intern with Children’s Bible Ministries. After the internship program was over, she felt God calling her into full-time ministry. Before joining the NLC full-time staff in 2021, Katlyn worked with CBM as a registrar for Camp Gilead in Florida, and as a Project Leader for Project Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since her days in the internship, she has loved New Life Camp and is excited she gets to work with the ministry to see children come to know and accept Christ as their Savior. When she is not coaching one of our Storm Volleyball teams, she can be found horseback riding or spending time with a friend.

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” – Jeremiah 1:7


Emileah Hawkins
Program Administrative Coordinator
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Emileah has been with New Life Camp since 2018 when she served as an intern with the CBM National Internship Program. She moved into summer leadership staff at NLC in 2019 and has been on full-time staff since 2020. Prior to her internship at CBM and her joining the New Life Camp team, Emileah worked with numerous other camps. When she is not at camp, she continues sharing Christ by working in her church’s children’s ministry or enjoys baking some delicious new treats at home.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is 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


Jason Herbert
Athletic Director
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Jason has been around and involved at camp for many years, from participating in Summer Camp, Next Level Basketball, and HEA (LEARN Academics Classes), to being a LIT, Summer Camp Counselor, Next Level Staff, Custodian, Summer Leadership Staff, and Director of Program Staff. With a bachelor’s degree in Sport’s Management from NC State and his background with Refugee Hope Partners, we are overjoyed to have him on our team. He greatly enjoys playing all sports, particularly basketball, as well as playing board games with family and friends.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15


Celeste Honaker
Business Manager
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We have been privileged to have Celeste on our team for over 10 years! After majoring in Accounting at Wake Forest University, she worked as an auditor, a business and financial assistant, and a finance manager. Celeste joined New Life Camp in 2010. She loves walking with friends, reading, and group exercise classes, as well as spending time with her husband, Bill, her son and daughter-in-law, Nathan and Aubree, and her daughter, Katie.

 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33


Joel Kellum
Temporary Staff HR Manager
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Joel discovered his passion for camp ministry while working at Miracle Camp and Retreat Center in Michigan, where he worked for many years. He graduated with a degree in Camp and Recreation Administration with a minor in Business Administration, from Indiana Wesleyan University. Joel moved from Indiana in 2021 to join our NLC team full time. He and his soon-to-be wife Annie love good food, learning new things, and playing games, including sports, disc golf and board games.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20-21


Nicosia Merkerson
Campus Operations Assistant
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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 a son, Julian, and a daughter, Daffodil Sophia.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18


Aaron Miller
Director of Programs
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Aaron grew up at New Life Camp. He was a camper, LIT, and summer staff member. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Elementary Education. We have been blessed to have him lead on our full-time staff for over 20 years. Prior to working at camp full time, Aaron also worked with the YMCA and coached basketball and soccer at Trinity Academy of Raleigh. He has developed many of our camp programs. The activities Aaron began have transformed New Life Camp into a wonderful place for children all year long. Aaron enjoys playing ping pong and watching sports but he loves spending time with his wife Laura and playing with his kids, Liam, Claira, and Grayson.

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.'” – John 6:68


Nathaniel Miller
Director of LEARN, IT & Web Coordinator
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First experiencing New Life Camp as a camper, Nathaniel quickly fell in love with camp and went on to serve as both an LIT and a Counselor. After obtaining his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Tennessee Temple University, he joined the NLC full-time staff. In his free time, he can be found reading, listening to music and podcasts, or occasionally watching movies. Additionally, he greatly enjoys BibleProject resources, as they get him excited to open the Bible and learn more about how all of it leads to Jesus.

“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
Director of Communications
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Trisha fell in love with New Life Camp her first year as a counselor in 1999. She continued working as a summer staff member for many years. Trisha went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Tennessee Temple University. After teaching at an elementary school in Ohio for a couple of years, she joined the NLC full-time staff and has been an integral part of our team for almost 20 years. Trisha loves to create art, hang out with her family, friends and her dog, Raleigh!

“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
Assistant Executive Director/Accreditation
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As a consultant and a staff member since 2013, Bo is a valued member of our team. After getting his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill, he worked for many years with YMCA camping as well as for Campus Crusade (now Cru). He is a church elder and has been on over 15 mission trips! When he is not at camp, Bo and his wife, Helen, are usually busy with their family of 3 married children and 4 grandchildren, which keeps their schedule very full!

“Also, when I reach old age and have gray hair, God, do not forsake me, until I have declared your power to this generation and your might to the next one.” – Psalm 71:18


Sam Smith
Senior Assistant Director of Development
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As a 3rd generation camper, Sam has been around camp his whole life. After obtaining a degree in Business from Liberty University, he came back to NLC to join our team. He loves basketball and cooking for his wife Hannah and daughter Ellie.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6


Mayson Stowers
Communications and Development Specialist
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After coming to NLC as a camper and serving on Summer Staff in high school, Mayson went on to major in Studio Art and Psychology at Meredith College. She also received certifications in Marketing from Wake Forest University and Social Media Management from James & Park. After working as a graphic designer, then teaching some of our LEARN classes, she interned at a local church with their student ministry. Mayson joined our team full-time in the summer of 2021. When she is not at camp, she is usually creating art or music, or playing card games, board games, or video games with friends.

Isaiah 40:31 – “…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

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.

Bill Peterson
Board President

Frank Lassiter
Vice President

Joey Hart

Hank Keleher

Amy Martin

Marc Mills

Shannon Scott

Sharon Stone

Bob Touchton

Frank Tyndall

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