Our Staff

Each summer, we hire approximately 80 summer staff to serve the needs of our campers. Maintaining a staff to camper ratio of 1:3 is extremely important for the success of our program, and it is a hallmark of our philosophy of care. About 85% of our staff have either been campers or staff members during a previous summer at Nominingue. There is something to be said about having Nominingue experience! And each year we complement this group with a spirited cohort of international staff members who bring a unique perspective and life experience to our mix. They all ensure that our foundation remains strong; they share our philosophy; and they ensure that our program runs smoothly.

Owner – Erik Blachford

Erik - 235 x 300

In April 2015, Erik Blachford and his wife Maryam purchased Camp Nominingue from Peter Van Wagner. Erik and his brother were campers and counsellors in the 1970s and 1980s, following a tradition established by their father and uncle in the 1940s and 1950s.

Erik’s goal for camp is to ensure that Nominingue continues to provide young people and families with a special experience based the unique values and traditions upon which it was built; as it has since it was founded by FM Van Wagner and Hay Finlay in 1925.

Director – Atie Waxman

Atie

Atie and his three brothers attended Camp Nominingue in the 70s. It was here that he developed his love and respect for nature, as well as his fascination with wood carving and outdoor cooking. He went to camps in Quebec and Ontario and worked at camps in the Laurentians and in Montreal. 

Atie has been representing the Camp in an annual dragon boat race and fundraiser with other active alumni for years. He believes that community service at an early age builds character and a better understanding of how we are all connected. His pet project is working on a sustainable development in the Texas desert with his daughter, Ella.

His fondest memories of camp are getting his shield, going on a three-day canoe trip with his older brothers and carrying what was then a very heavy 50 lb. pack, making grilled cheese over a campfire, pony express, council ring, singing in the choir, the staff, and most of all, hanging out with friends around the tent. All these years later he is still friends with some of his tent mates and some of the senior staff from back in the day.

Atie believes that leading with purpose and humility, nurturing creativity and passion, and valuing individuality are keys to ensuring that your boys experience, enjoy, and grow at Camp. The experiences they have in social situations, understanding down-time, building independence, and improving their emotional intelligence are life-changing. And our staff and activities are all put in place to make each summer magical.

He has spent the bulk of his professional career working with teams around the world in communications, branding and marketing, advertising, alumni relations, fundraising, event planning, graphic design, film production, food-franchise operations, social media planning, and elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Atie lives in Montreal with Véronique and Jessy (a Junior Counsellor who loved the LIT experience) and Mylow the Morkie.

Assistant Director – Matt Cromey

John Christou

Matt Cromey started as a camper in Lower Camp in 1990. After his first summer, he knew that Camp Nominingue was going to be a major part of his life. Matt was at camp every summer from 1990 to 2014. In that time he was involved in everything at camp, from waterfront – teaching sailing, swimming and diving; to canoe tripping; in the craftshop; as director of junior counsellors and LITs; as driver; in property maintenance; and as director of program and personnel from 2010-2014.

Over his 25 years at camp, Matt has been involved in the implementation of a number of improvements to systems and programs around camp, including work on the instruction program, session structure, property management and Western Night.                

In the summer of 2021, Matt returned to camp during the second session and family camp as craftshop director. He jumped at the chance to be back home again. He is now thrilled to return in a full-time capacity as assistant director.

Matt lives in Ottawa with his wife Julia, whom he met at camp, and their four wonderful children: Maddy, Aiden, Tiernan & Tommy. All three boys have attended or are currently attending Camp Nominingue in the summer. They are third-generation campers with their father, uncles, grandfather, and great-uncles all having attended Camp Nominingue over the years.

In his years away from Nominingue, Matt has developed a variety of skills and lived experiences that are invaluable for camp. He has formal education in hospitality, heritage carpentry, and psychology. His certifications include Emergency First Responder, First Aid Instructor, and Firefighter Seals. He has worked in residential construction, social services, the retail/service industry, facilities and operations management, and emergency response. For Matt, Camp Nominingue is a place where youth can learn, grow and make mistakes in a supportive and encouraging environment. It is a place where every individual can: “Rise free from care and seek adventure!”

Business Manager – Véronique Richer

Veronique Richer

Véronique’s first summer at Camp Nominingue was in 2023.

She worked for years with Agence Yan Bariteau and Fig Clothing in Montreal, repping brands such as Arc’teryx, Hydro Flask, and other outdoor lifestyle leaders.

Véronique has extensive experience as an office manager, HR manager, and bookkeeper. She can be found most mornings walking along the waterfront with her dog Mylow.

She excels in her newfound status as “Camp Mom” and loves to sit with the Lower Camp boys at meal times and help them with their rowdy camp cheers.

Former Director – Grant McKenna

Grant McKenna

Grant began working for Camp Nominingue in 1975 as a 16 year-old junior counsellor after attending as a camper for three years. Over the next forty-five years, he spent 32 summers at Camp, filling a variety of positions including Trip Director, Section Director, Business Manager and Program Director. From 2001 to 2004, Grant was the Camp’s Executive Director

Grant returned to Camp as Director in 2010 and officially retired in 2023 after two summers of mentoring. He and his family have enjoyed spending their summers on the shores of Petit Lac Nominingue.

Former Business Manager – Elisa van Wagner

Elisa Wagner

Elisa grew up spending summers at Camp Nominingue with her family.
During the late 70s and early 80s, she worked in the camp’s infirmary alongside the nurse and doctor, and began working full time as the camp’s business manager in the fall of 2002. Having spent all or part of every summer at Nominingue, she knows all about the camp and its day-to-day operations.

Over the years Elisa had the pleasure of helping many parents get over the jitters of being first-time camper parents by offering assurances as to how their son was settling in.