Kira LaFosse-Baker

Lead Educator, Lower School

Kira is a lifelong lover of the outdoors, having spent her childhood exploring the wooded backyard of her home in Groton, MA. Throughout her college career, Kira’s part-time and work-study jobs always involved working with young children, most notably with Jumpstart where she discovered the importance of play-based learning and social-emotional development, for low-income, at-risk children in particular. After receiving her Bachelors in Journalism and Public Relations, Kira quickly realized she was meant to work with children and spent her first two post-college years teaching PreK in a small, community school in her hometown, learning the ropes of traditional early education. After a short stint in the healthcare industry, the call of the wild beckoned Kira back outdoors. She spent three years working for the Trustees of Reservations, developing and implementing public programs and engaging communities at conservation properties in the Charles River Valley region. During her time in these forests, fields, and farms, Kira engaged thousands of participants, young and old, in programs and events designed to help them gain new knowledge and appreciation for the special, natural spaces in their communities. Kira’s time with the Trustees also reinforced her passion for getting children outdoors to learn, explore, and to become stewards of the land. Most recently, Kira was able to put all of her experiences together while leading the Forest School programs at Athenaeum Learning Center in Pembroke as the lead teacher of the
4-6 year old class where 85% of each day was spent outdoors. She also taught weekly Wilderness Skills and Nature Studies classes to students in 1st through 8th grade. Kira lives in Weymouth with her husband, Craig (an Eagle Scout), and their cat George Catstanza who is very handsome and a little mean, and welcomed baby girl Merritt in June 2020! She enjoys $5 movie nights at the Hingham Shipyard, checking Trustees properties off her list, and identifying flora and fauna everywhere she goes. To Kira, Home Base is exactly what today’s children need in order to grow into healthy, happy, capable adults who will help take care of our planet for generations to come.

Judy Pritchard

Lead Educator, Lower School

Judy is a licensed PreK-2 lead teacher who believes in joyful education that is responsive to the needs of the individual child. Through artfully-managed,project-based,and play-centric learning, children are encouraged to develop the symbiotic processes and strengths of imagination and purpose, creativity and observation, independence and cooperation.After attending Boston College, Emerson College, and Ashford University, she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Early Childhood Education, and is half-way through a master’s degree program at Lesley University.Judy’s love of project-based learning began during her tenure at the South Shore Charter Public School.It was there, also, that her love of writing resurfaced, leading to a portfolio of plays for young children to stage; one self-published children’s picture book (The Naughty Boy); and her first professional writing credit (Snapshots) as a contributing writer for the Core Knowledge Foundation.Judy has additionally taught ESL students (grades K-6) in Boston’sChinatown, and worked for the Special Education Department of Sherborn, as a teacher of a Down Syndrome child. She taught for two years at the Athenaeum Learning Center in Pembroke, Ma which caused her to fall hopelessly in love with outdoor education and forest schools. She has taught phonics, math, drama, story-telling traditions, humanities, journalism, poetry, STEM, and Math Circle.Hailing from Hull, Ma and Nantasket Beach, Judy has raised 2 now-adult children. Her son is a neuroscience researcher in San Diego, and her daughter is a creative director/marketing professional in Boston.She is delighted to be joining the staff at Base Camp!

Alison Batey

Lead Educator, Middle School

Alison Batey has spent her entire adult life working with kids and teenagers.  She began teaching at the RSEC Academy, an alternative middle and high school for kids with significant learning differences, in 2004. There she taught a variety of subjects including study skills, executive functioning and health. As part of the curriculum, the school also used adventure based education to meet students where they were and to build rapport and community. The mix of academics and adventure cultivated a love of teaching kids about the outdoors for Alison.
When given the opportunity to begin running summer camp at New England Base Camp in 2018, where she got to continue to support both young and middle aged kids learn to become independent productive members of the community, she jumped at the chance. Since joining the staff of the Spirit of Adventure she has been certified in high ropes and rock climbing, completed lifeguard certification and a cub scout day camp training.
She also presented at TED-X Keene 2018 on Leveling the Playing Field in Education. Using the scouting curriculum she has also opened two programs where families can come and enjoy the adventures of scouting together. Alison also holds a BA in Communication, a Masters in Special Education, and a certificate of advanced studies in intellectual and developmental disabilities, all from UNH.

Zack Shephard

Lead Educator, Middle School

Zack has been a lifelong Scouting participant starting out as a 5 year old Tiger Cub and progressed through the ranks to become and Eagle Scout. Zack has been working at Scout camps for over a decade including here at New England Base Camp for many of those years. Zack has a strong passion for the Scouting curriculum; he loves that he gets to provide it every day here at New England Base Camp. Zack also grew up participating in Destination Imagination, a youth extra circular creative, problem solving, team building serving organization through his middle and high school years. Once Zack “graduated” from this program he never left and continued to volunteer with the organization on the local and state level serving as a state level challenge master as well as sitting on the Massachusetts Destination Imagination executive board for many years. He also has attended the global final competition held in Knoxville and Kansas City as a volunteer appraising teams from all arounf the world. Zack left years of working for public schools to come join the Spirit of Adventure and New England Base Camp program team delivering the Scouting curriculum.

Nick Kerpan

Program Specialist, Lower & Middle School

Nick Kerpan has been involved in outdoor adventure and education as long as he can remember. From trying (unsuccessfully) to dam up the creeks by his house as a child, though attaining Eagle Scout, to overcoming his fear of heights in his thirties, he has come to understand and embrace the importance of experience based learning.
Through his 26 years of being involved in the Boy Scouts of America (from Cub Scout straight through the present as a leader of a small troop), he has developed a deep respect for nature, the great outdoors, and people from all backgrounds. Starting in 2006 he started working summer camps across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, doing everything from washing dishes to managing the camp. 
Since 2013, Nick has been working year-round to provide access to the outdoors to as many communities as possible. As a program specialist with The Spirit of Adventure Council (Base Camp’s parent organization), Nick has worked with Boston Public Schools and community centers to bring their students to experience nature and the personal growth and ethics that comes with it. He is also concurrently a field study guide at the Arnold Arboretum, teaching hands-on Earth Science to youth aged 4 to 14. 
Nick has been involved with Home Base Learning Center since its inception; teaching everything from arts and crafts to game design to archery and climbing. As a certified climbing instructor he has taken people climbing from right in Base Camp to the White Mountains.

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