Our Staff

Will “Happy” Gilmore – Resident Camp Directorfullsizerender

Will started his Cherokee career at the ripe old age of six and hasn’t missed a summer yet! Will has been associated with Cherokee for the past 25 years as a camper, counselor, administrative staff member and now as the Resident Camp Director. Will graduated Clemson University in May of 2016 with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and minor in Non-Profit Organization Leadership. While in Clemson, Will worked for the Foothills YMCA as an Assistant Program Director.

When not at Cherokee Will can be found at Clemson football games, catching up on professional and college sports and playing disc golf.

When asked why he works at Cherokee – “Camp Cherokee has been a second home to me throughout the years and is where I discovered my personality as a young adult. Every summer I strive to give the same experience I received as a child at Camp Cherokee. Every camper deserves the right to grow as an individual and watching kids achieve their goals is truly a blessing.” Contact Will Gilmore.


Amy Parker – Administrator13533074_10210229634206051_4247503855522793970_n

Amy began working for YMCA Camp Cherokee in 2013 and has been a cornerstone of Cherokee ever since. If you have called the main number, you have probably spoken to her! Amy is originally from Chester, SC and works currently at our Charlotte Ave. office in Rock Hill, SC. If you need information regarding any program at Cherokee, she’s your woman! Amy works long hours to ensure registrations are complete and our campers and guests have the best experience possible.

While not working, Amy can be found spending time outside with friends and family on their farm, or watching the Clemson Tigers play. As a farmer’s daughter, she is not afraid to get her hands dirty out at camp as well, which is an added bonus!

Amy came to us from the medical field and while she stepped into this position not knowing much about Cherokee, she quickly learned and fell in love with the mission and what Cherokee can do for young people. Contact Amy Counterman.


Ian Estes – Associate Resident Camp Director

Ian, originally from Rock Hill, South Carolina, is our newest addition to the YMCA Camp Cherokee full time staff team as the Associate Resident Camp Director. Before joining the team full time, Ian has been associated with Cherokee as a camper, summer camp counselor and the Evening Program Director. Ian also has camp experience working directly with Camp LUCK. Ian has been involved at YMCA Camp Cherokee for the past 20 years in various roles.

Ian graduated from the University of South Carolina in May of 2020 with a degree in Public Health. When not at Camp, Ian can be found spending time outdoors or playing video games.

When asked why he works at Camp Cherokee— “Cherokee has always been a huge part of my life, and I’ve always wanted to give back to Camp since it has done so much for me. My goal is to give every camper that comes through the gates the same experience that was granted to me. I’m looking forward to continuing to meet new people and impacting the lives of our campers and staff members for years to come!” Contact Ian Estes.


About Our Staff

YMCA Camp Cherokee is an ACA certified camp, which verifies that our camp complies with up to 300 individual standards that promote camper safety. Staff are trained to ensure that the programs and facilities are safe for your child in all aspects of camp.

Staff at Camp Cherokee are the most important part of a great camp! Their skills are the foundation of safety in our programs. Our Staff team is comprised of college and high school individuals who have a love for kids and a dedication to our camp.

Each cabin has one counselor (Head, Double-Senior or Senior) and either one C.I.T. (counselor in training) or Junior Counselor. Head Counselors are rising Sophomores in college. Double-Senior Counselors are rising freshman in College. Senior Counselors are rising seniors in high school. Junior counselors are rising juniors in High School. Upper Staff members (Area Supervisors) are minimum rising juniors in College.

Approximately 95 percent of each year’s staff are returning members. Most of our counselors began as campers and grew up at Camp Cherokee. Many stay through their university years, gaining experience as they return each summer. Their compassion for the campers is magnified because they have shared the same experiences as the campers. No other camp in America can match our commitment to safety or dedication to children!

How Are They Chosen?


All staff participate in an application and interview process (including drug-testing and criminal background checks) before being hired. Once hired, all staff members complete extensive training prior to the camp season. Camp Cherokee maintains a staff-to-camper ratio of 1 to 4.

If you’re interested in becoming a staff member at Camp Cherokee, the process is simple. Visit our Employment page to find more information about requirements and responsibilities.