It takes a “village” to inspire teenagers and make change possible! The sort of change built on lasting memories, life lessons, and acquired skills to reveal clarity of thought, healthy habits, and continued growth. At WCA we cherish life and diversity and it shows itself daily through the commitment of our incredible personnel. As each child brings uniqueness to WCA, so too do our WCA staff members and associates.
From elders to spirited young people, our staff and their expertise are unrivaled! Routine duties are provided by lodge parenting couples and student associates. They serve to “cement” the variety of happenings and activities, provide 24/7 supervision, cover essentials, and be a common voice to the needs of students and parents. Our passionate and Certified instructors greet the kids each day to paint education with a palette of commitment, mentorship, and intuition. Because classroom sizes are limited, academic support and focused attention abound. Student education is cultivated within the parameters of a governed self-paced curriculum. Counselors and back country escorts on campus guide teens with wisdom and well practiced techniques trained in group and situational therapies. Our Licensed and Certified professionals furnish proven means to aid in overcoming the hurdles of teen strife. Feedback from parents and students are coordinated into therapy sessions. Other WCA employees share to nurture and chaperone students. Groundskeepers, nutritional specialists, artists, wilderness leaders, directors, clinicians, youth service specialists, pastors, admissions and exit staff, all can be found interacting with kids at various times continuing to sow seeds of understanding. At WCA everyone gets an invitation to mealtimes and planned events to round out our family like atmosphere!
WCA at its inception was a visionary place to provide comfort, counsel, learning, and rest quarters in a rustic lodge style campus. Removed from fast paced crowded cities, Wolf Creek Academy rests in the cubbies of the world’s second oldest mountain range located in Western North Carolina. These age old hills – we believe, add not only charm to WCA living, but speak a peaceful tone as seasons transition that is unique in our American landscape.
Our foundation sits atop the tenets and bedrock of Christian virtues. This landing, hammered and nailed by founders Jim and Dr. Patricia Jones, has reformed the lives of countless teens and their parents over the course of 25 years making positive impacts in family life where others have failed. Patricia was born into heaven in 2013 after a brave battle with cancer, and Jim – our perennial “grandpa” has stepped aside in a semi-retired capacity. Yet, Jim’s interactions and volunteer time at the campus remain invaluable. Jim and Pat’s son Jeremey and his wife Angela continue to evolve the program – discover new directions to enhance WCA services, update skills and tools, forge new adventures, and strive to provide optimal care conditions for all WCA participants.
Jim and Dr. Patricia Jones, PhD, Founders
Jeremey and Angela Jones, CEO’s
Jeremey and Angela married in 1993 and have five amazing boys! Both worked and trained with Jim and Pat for many years learning the various facets of WCA: Education, life and team building, housing, and therapeutic programs. They became Program Directors in 2006, working together as a family to construct today what is the WCA model of success! With a BA in Clinical Christian Counseling and Certification as a Christian Counselor through the NCCA, Jeremey along with his wife Angela carry forward their tremendous passion for helping teens in crisis with hands-on utility. Jeremey, Angela, and their boys are as devoted a family you’ll find – with an enormous love for the outdoors, enjoying snowboarding, camping, travel, hiking, building, and rock climbing. Skilled artisans and crafters, the Jones’s often enlist the talents of their kids for new projects and work on the grounds at WCA. Jeremey and Angela not only sit at the helm of WCA, but enjoy doing much of the building, decorating, designing, event coordinating, and planning for the campus as well! Patience, prayer, love, humility, devotion, and a willingness to explore new possibilities and evolve the campus to be the best program available, are the ideals they employ daily.
Vince and Dana Brown – Program Directors
While Vince played collegiate and semi-pro Baseball at the University of Memphis earning a BA in Political Science, his lovely future wife Dana attended Austin Peay State University earning her BA in Business and Organizational Management. Divine intervention happened, and the two met and married composing one of the most talented, capable, and visionary teams available! A veteran of the United States Air Force where he earned his officers commission, Vince never missed an opportunity to apply Christ’s teachings with passion and conviction to those most in need – and he did so effectively along with Dana serving as Executive and Assistant Program Directors for the noted Restoration House – a substance abuse protocol for men and women. There they worked with clients through their detox process, court hearings, marriage and family counseling, community service, and job training, to get them “righted” and back to participating in society. Vince also served as Special Projects Chaplain and Manager for the Lazarus Project catering to the treatment of men with destructive behavioral patterns and substance abuse. Vince and Dana preach it, teach it, and keep continuity with the highest of standards in mind within the WCA model. Having both residential and administration roles, they challenge students daily to cherish their gift of life and value the resources and experience available to them at the WCA Campus.
Mark Van Gailen – Clinical Advisor
Mark holds an MS in counseling from Western Carolina University and a BA in Humanities from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. An Armed Forces Veteran, Mark has worked in various counseling and substance abuse settings for more than two decades including perinatal, adult residential treatment and recovery, methadone therapy, and wilderness remedial treatments. Marked also served as a counselor to one of the largest mental health and substance abuse agencies in Asheville, NC. The residential and lodge setting at WCA allows Mark to interact and observe the “whole” person, witnessing the implementation of skills and seeing progress directly. Mark is a “reality-based” therapist. Simply put, he emphasises controlling actions, relationships, and circumstances, in the “here and now” as opposed to controlling reactions to past events or perceptions, or precognitions. Love, a sense of belonging, and behavior empowerment, are the areas of Mark’s focus. A true outdoorsman, he is a tested hang gliding aficionado who never misses a chance to kayak, hike, camp, or spend time enjoying a sunset on a mountainside.
Gregory Dean Caldwell, MS – Senior School Administrator
It’s rare to match capability, experience, and good nature in a manner conducive to mastering and applying the art of educating! Yet, our Senior School Administrator does just that! With an MS and BS in Criminal Justice Education and Police Administration received from Eastern Kentucky University, along with many years experience in the private education sector, Dean is a steadfast guide for students and parents traversing the demands of modern education and state’s requirements. His dedication to ensuring WCA students have ongoing and personal attention during their enrollment includes overseeing testing, weekly performance audits, tutoring and mentoring, and commanding WCA curriculum in a manner that paces the child’s learning nature.
John “JD” Dyess
WCA was the perfect platform for an instructor who loves the outdoors, and mantles both a BA and MS in Wildlife Biology from Auburn University to prove it! “JD” to students and staff, has been part of the Jones family at WCA for more than 20 years, since it’s Florida roots were planted. Married with three boys, he provides guidance, tutoring, and learning direction to students during class time As well, he participates in WCA family events. With his extensive background in wildlife and outdoors activities, “JD” often accompanies students in backcountry outings and team building exercises, where he never misses an opportunity to provide “hands on” information about things in the natural world.
Pam Metscher – Admissions Placement Specialist Director
Pam is that rare person who brightens a room and strikes up a conversation with ease no matter the setting. Often, Pam is among the first to greet parents and students providing tours and information on the WCA Campus. A mother to four fun and loving sons, Pam has a passion to serve others and be a beacon for hope when it seems enveloped in despair. Assisting families brings her much satisfaction. Families and students stricken with stressful life experiences are personal to Pam and helping them find that sense of peace through acceptance, maintenance, and healing, is the reward she seeks. Her desire with those she interacts with at WCA through the program, is to have them leaving feeling more complete, whole, and safe. Strengthening relationships is paramount to Pam’s persona. When not interacting with the students at WCA, you may find her gardening, enjoying sports – cheering on the Miami Dolphins and Miami Heat, participating in quality family time, or taking an opportunity to travel.
Caitlan Kerrigan, Lodge and Student Associate
An Asheville native, Caitlin is always busy providing “big sister” inspiration to the students of WCA! A talented singer and performer since a very young age, Caitlin is noted for her performances at local church services and special functions; often inspiring and involving the students of WCA in her artistry and worship. Having ministry leadership certifications from The Rock Church of Asheville, she provides structure, aids with daily routines, and engages students in building trust, responsibility, and maturity. Caitlin is often the impetus for lodge reports and ongoing communications, and maintains her pulse on the happenings of student progress – nudging and presenting counsel when needed. More
than an assistant and mentor, Caitlin is a natural leader.
Wendy Olsen – WCA Counselor
Wendy’s experience and diversity in therapeutic endeavors have become a malleable asset to WCA! With MS’s in Counselor Education and Human Sciences from Florida Universities respectively, and a BS in Psychology from Washington State University, Wendy applies her passion to bring positive change to the lives of young people with magnetism and focus. Her past undertakings found her in private practice, working for large agencies that included foster care, adoption, troubled youth programs, school settings, and residential group homes for teens. Wendy has two daughters and spends time hiking, enjoying photography, being in art, surrounding herself with nature, and loves to mountain bike and camp. Engaging the potential in teens is a personal challenge for Wendy. Seeing the potential in them – for growth, understanding, and ability to learn self sustenance, prompts her to involve every aspect of her training in an effort to provide them optimum counseling.
Clarke and Kara Sowell – Lodge Parents
A Georgia boy and a Maryland girl raised in North Carolina, Clarke and Kara became college sweethearts at Georgia’s Emmanuel College and married soon after they graduated with BA’s in Christian Ministries. With a kinship for the kinder more loving side of humanity, these two have an awesome and youthful rapport with students and are able to impart insights while keeping students focused on daily lodge and learning duties. Inspired by the many resources of Western North Carolina, they task themselves with making each day special and new for those enrolled at WCA! Clark enjoys weight lifting with the boys and outdoors fun while Kara and her whimsical personality keeps things grounded with structure and security. You may find them playing board games or creating handcrafted projects with the kids, baking desserts, or on the basketball court. They monitor progress between parents and students and act as a sounding board for needed talks. Clark and Kara shine during group time by exemplifying the path of goodness to help others as walked by our Lord.
Mike and Shawna Kae Magtutu – Lodge Parents
Mike and Shawna exemplify love and graciousness. Longtime friends who became husband and wife years ago, their path led them to help parent kids at WCA after their own nests had emptied. With five beautiful children between them, their commitment and patience in rearing kids serve as an incredible asset to the Lodge and WCA happenings. Feeling the call to serve a greater whole in the Lord’s kingdom, Mike and Shawna were compelled to help youngsters find solace, healing, and support, by the growth they themselves experienced through their own trials and tribulations. Shawna has a certified practical nursing certificate from the College of Southern Maryland. Mike is an Army veteran well spoken in the languages of field repair, electronics, construction, and landscaping. The two worked together for a large East Coast motorcoach company providing dispatch and fuel and maintenance supervisory for many years. In all, they serve to instill a sense of belonging and grace to our students, and to suspend brokenness, and clear the path to redemption in Christ’s walk.
Stephen Denman – Lodge and Student Associate
Stephen has spent his life in the mountains of North Carolina, graduating a Christian home school program that took him all the way through High School. A dedicated student minister, Stephen currently works in youth ministry programs at The Rock Church where he just finished a two year internship earning certifications in leadership to aid in his pastoral pursuits. The first to admit he’s a bit on the “nerdy” side, Stephen connects easily with today’s younger folks and relates to much of what modern living presents. As such, his skills of moderation are well honed and he imparts technology management to students. With a passion to see young people grow and make strides towards a better life with their family and future, Stephen taps his extensive church youth service experience to prod students into becoming responsible for their actions, making sound choices, and remain feeling hopeful. Stephen is that sort that challenges students to “think” before they act as he commits them to honest efforts during the lodge lifestyle. And, if you’re lucky, you may just talk him into doing one of his amazing character voice imitations!
Josh Penrod – Learning Center Supervisor
Maegan Penrod– Admissions Placement Specialist
Josh and Maegan left the subdued palette of the Arizona desert to join us in the mountains of Western North Carolina following God’s call to WCA. Bringing over twenty years experience working with teens in various settings from classrooms and small groups to youth pastoring mission trips, Josh and Maegan are seasoned veterans of teen adventures, experiences, and possibilities. Josh polished his teaching skills in the public school system in Arizona with a commitment to seeing kids succeed in all facets of education. Maegan – a gifted artisan who’s skill set includes works in metallurgy, 3D welding, graphic design, and computer sciences, is credited for crafting creative organizational systems for commercial and private clients. Their biggest contribution – the Penrod’s feel, may be to invite teens into developing a love and relationship with Jesus Christ and to recognize the plan that lay before them in his teachings. Josh and Maegan dive head first into the needs of students with a passion rooted in Christian understandings. They seek to be restorative, healing, and tools of learning. Their adult son Joshua attends Moody Bible Institute in Chicago studying theology and music. True outdoorsy types, Josh and Maegan love exploring the beauty and activities of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Timm and Stephanie Kurtz – Nutrition and Creative Arts
Timm and Stephanie joined the WCA TEAM in February of 2016 first as houseparents then transitioned to head the “Nutrition and Creative Arts” aspect of Wolf Creek Academy. Building on 70 years combined experience in creative venues and entrepreneurship, as restaurateurs and instructors of arts and crafts, Timm and Steph now apply their passion and flair for originality to WCA meal management and therapeutic arts projects! With a focus on using locally grown foods, free-range and ethically harvested proteins, and as much organic and natural foods feasible, Timm and Steph prepare daily meals for the students and staff with handcrafted old fashioned “scratch cooking.” Preparing balanced health-conscious meals is the norm at WCA – not the exception! Timm and Steph have owned several restaurants and spawned franchise concepts that utilize trademarked healthy and nutritious food preparation for the fast-casual dining industry. Married for 25 years raising three boys of their own, Timm and Steph bring many attributes to WCA student living and development. Stephanie is the daughter of a CIA officer and traveled and lived abroad with her family in Southeast Asia where she acquired many of her cooking skills. As well, Steph worked at the American Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, in the GAO Office and volunteered extensively at the Refugee Center to aid displaced Cambodian and Laotian peoples. She is currently authoring a cookbook featuring the recipes and stories of CIA families during the 1970’s and 80’s! Timm is a “Renaissance” sort – nationally acclaimed fine artist, illustrator and arts instructor, featured in many trade and periodical publications. He earned his BFA from the University of South Florida in Studio Art and Marketing. His fine art has been collected and commissioned by celebrities, state and federal departments, and large corporations. Timm has run for public office, is a muralist, has created public art projects, and is a Martial Artist of more than 30 years. Most recently he served as Guest Arts Instructor for Henderson County Public Schools. Timm’s art is showcased in venues from Las Vegas, NV to Orlando, Florida, and in many places in North Carolina.
Cynthia Burman – WCA Counselor, LPCS, LMHC
Raised in the New England state of Massachusetts, Cindy has a storied career in the mental health field as a therapist, clinical supervisor, and lead counselor. With an MS from Lesley University in Counseling Psychology and BS degree in Child Development from California State University, Cindy has expertise working in community mental health agencies and educational systems, spending over 16 years in the David Lawrence Center in Naples, Florida where she created and supervised multitudes of children’s programs designed to enhance family life, support education, and intensify community services. Cindy and her family relocated to North Carolina in 2015 to enjoy the mountain serenity and further her passion of helping and augmenting teen life potential and family relationships. Helping families overcome obstacles to enjoy life changing wellness, stability, and find tranquility in their existence, is her specialty. She loves white water rafting, traveling, hiking, motorcycles, and outdoors activities.
Briana Rice – Lodge and Student Associate
WCA’s bonafide “country girl,” Briana first began her mission to help kids in crisis as a Lodge Parent with her husband Charlie, the pastor of a small local church who began ministering from the young age of 16. A North Carolina native raised on a farm with all the duties the lifestyle offers, Briana imparts practical solutions and country girl charm in her ability to moderate interactions and daily responsibilities at the lodge. Briana and Charlie have two lovely daughters that keep them busy when she’s not on campus. Along with ancillary studies, Briana keeps things orderly and monitored providing a sort of “big sister” presence at the lodge. Briana feels the need to impart the love of the lord and Christian fellowship on those that feel lost or hopeless. She enjoys movies, mentorship, travel, raising animals, and spending family time with loved ones.
Jesse and Kristen Veres – Comptroller and Fitness Consultants
Energetic, funny, and dynamic, Jesse and Dr. Kristen Veres encompass one of the most unique combinations of talents and skills imaginable! Jesse – a soccer aficionado, sports fanatic, and incredible numbers guy, can be found skiing the slopes with kids, challenging them to a sporting match, or compelling them to try a new outdoors adventure at any moment during the year! His ability to fix the unfixable, conceive the inconceivable, and alter the unalterable has landed him the title of “Campus MacGyver.” His humorous and smart “better-half” Kristen is a noted Yoga instructor and Fitness Guru with the same passion for adventure and the outdoors. Together – when needed, they become fun-filled “fill-ins” at the Lodges, imparting spontaneity and passionate learning to the kids. Open minded, faith driven, and kid loving, these two never seem to lapse into a moment of boredom. Jesse has a flair for fast cars, faster sports, techy things, concept design, building, and outdoors activities.