History and Leadership

We have served Orange County Families since 1998

History of our orange county kids camp: Camp james

Camp James, the most fun and interactive Orange County kids camp, at the Newport Dunes is located in one of the most scenic places in the OC. Our program has provided positive summer camp experiences for more than 38,000 campers since it began. We have proudly employed more than 4000 wonderful individuals who dedicated their summer to providing support, leadership, adventure and play opportunities to the campers in our care. Many of these folks have become parents since they worked with us, and are now sending their children to Camp James. Our award winning CILT program for teens has provided over 7000 high school teens the opportunity to learn, grow, serve special needs campers, and participate and share the joy of camp.

Children's needs come first

Children need opportunities to make friends, challenge themselves, be creative, experience nature, laugh, jump, splash, dance around, and have fun.

The need for kids to play outside has never been greater. Moreover, the need for human connection is vital for a healthy and happy life for all children. Therefore, we are here to make play and connection happen in real time at our Orange County kids camp. We have many traditions that we hold dear, but know that we are dedicated to continual growth and development as an organization. Camp James works hard so that we may provide the very best camp experience for the children in our care, including yours.


Children need opportunities to make friends, challenge themselves, be creative, experience nature, laugh, jump, splash, dance around, and have fun.

Attending summer camp provides children with a myriad of benefits that extend beyond mere recreation. Camps offer a structured environment where children can develop essential social skills, such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving, through group activities and collaborative tasks. This setting also fosters independence and self-confidence. Immersed in nature, away from screens and daily routines, children can also enjoy physical exercise and outdoor adventures, which are crucial for their physical health and well-being. 

orange county kids camp

American Camp Association (ACA) Accredited Camp


We all want our children to have a wonderful childhood and experience life as it should be. We want them to feel secure, happy and surrounded by friends and kind, supportive adults. Childhood should be filled with adventures, challenges, and joy. Our Orange County kids camp, Camp James, is the ideal place to find these things. As parents ourselves, we can imagine you may have concerns about where your children spend their summer and who is watching out for them.

In response to these valid concerns, we have three suggestions for all parents:

Choose Camp that Fits Your Child's Needs

Choose Experienced & Educated Directors

Pick Quality Staff and Involved Counselors

Choose an American Camp Association (ACA) Accredited Camp

Not all Orange County kids camp options are accredited. The ACA is the internationally recognized authority on camps. ACA Accreditation means the camp has successfully passed hundreds of health, safety, facility, personnel and industry program standards. Camp James is ACA accredited.

orange county kids camp


Choose Experienced & Educated Directors​

Executive Directors

Theresa “Legend” Collins: Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, over 35 years working at camp; Proud mother of two!

Scottie “Grey Squirrel” Roach: BA in Recreation Management, over 36 years working at camp; Proud mother of two!

Program Directors

Jade “Cocoa” Sammy: BS in Psychology; over 28 years working at Camp James; Kindergarten teacher, Certified Archery Training Instructor

Ryan “Hobo Joe” Koster: over 15 years working with Camp James; Board Certified ABA Therapist, Program Director at a residence facility for adults with disabilities.

Adam “North Shore” Dorchak: BA in Political Science; over 15 years at Camp James; Certified lifeguard & works at swim school.

Iris “Kiwi” Zhou: BS in Marine Biology, Previous Nature Instructor at Camp James; High school science teacher

Ripken “Mandalore” Wellikson: BS in Biology, Minor in Honors Leadership; has been at camp since he was 4 years old; Past CILT, Specialist & Counselor

2024 Lead Staff

Rush: Graduate of Cal State Long Beach

Wonder: Graduate of Chapman University

Nemo: Attending University of Boulder Colorado

Apollo: Attending Cal Poly Pomona


Supporting Program Directors

Andrew “Jazz” Cuesta: MA in Education, over 20 years working at Camp James; elementary teacher in a special day class. Proud father of a daughter!

Heather  “Chipper” Seid: MBA; over 15 years working at Camp James; Cantor. Proud mother of two!

Allison “Koda” Freitas: BS in Child and Family Development; over 10 years working at Camp James; elementary teacher.

Daniel “Spiderman” Barrett: holds a BS in Accounting. He comes to us from our Parent company James Events Productions with over 20 years experience in events. https://jamesevents.com/

Several directors are Certified Red Cross Instructors. The directors are dedicated to providing a positive camp experience for children, families and the wonderful staff who care for the kids. Collectively, we have over 100 years of camp experience!

Choose Quality Staff and Involved Counselors

The key to having a great camp is having a great staff. Our staff are certified in CPR and First Aid and are carefully screened and trained. As directors we are completely “OUT THERE”! We are involved in camp operations and are on-site each day, not in some office far away. A great staff requires competent, dedicated, experienced and caring leadership. We hope your search for the perfect camp ends at Camp James. We are all dedicated to providing positive experiences and happy memories to the children and families we serve.

We hope to see you this summer,

Grey Squirrel, Mama Llama, Jazz, Chipper, Koda, Hobo Joe, Cocoa, Aqua, and Spiderman!