Camp PALS Chicago 2014

Guest Photographers from Camp PALS Chicago

We’ve been having a great time this week at Camp PALS Chicago! The campers and counselors have taken in many sights, and made a lot of memories! Here are some of the memories captured as photos by PALS campers!

A Silly Selfie, by Isabelle W.

On a Scavenger Hunt, by Holly D.

The Big Bean, by Danny S.

The Best of Friends, Megan W.

Keeping Cool, by Blake W.

Keep up with all of our fun activities on Facebook and Youtube, where updates are posted throughout the day!

Meet the Directors: Introducing the Chicago Team


Meet the new Camp PALS Chicago Director team. Consisting of equal parts experienced and new, young and old, this quadrumvirate (Doug Kocur, Joanna Wagner, Conor Hawes, Kyle Stolarz) represents a wide range of talent and imagination that will directly drive and influence their unique set of programming held at Elmhurst College. They endeavor to create an inclusive and immersive camp experience with a twist of mid-west hospitality and a generous splash of fun. From a programming perspective, they intend to accommodate a wide variety of interests, with a distinct Chicago flavor, that will have both campers and counselors alike talking about the best week of their summer for years to come. 

Learn more about this director team after the jump:


What’s going on, PALS community! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Doug Kocur.  This will be my 5th summer at a PALS program! I had the privilege of attending multiple camps last summer, in addition to the inaugural year of PALS Chicago.  I am currently a 7th grade special education teacher in Bolingbrook, Illinois. I am STOKED to not only be returning to Chicago, but to be joining this Director team as well! I am excited to work with these three amazing Directors to bring everyone the best PALS experience possible during the BEST week of everyone’s year. I hope everyone is as excited and anxious for this summer as I am.  I can’t wait to see everyone! PALS Love!”


“Hallo PALS Family.  My name is Joanna Wagner, and I am fortunate enough to be a Director for the second year in a row at Camp PALS Chicago.  By day, I am the Deputy Director of Operations for Best Buddies Illinois.  But by night, I’m working with Doug, Conor and Kyle to create the best possible camp for our wonderful campers and counselors.  Seeing the joy that our new friends brought to Chicago last year has inspired all of us to continue to spread that PALS magic throughout the year.  Whether we are sailing around Lake Michigan, eating pizza or playing board games, there is no group of people I would rather spend my time with.  We can’t wait to see you all again this summer for the best week of the summer!!”


”Hey! My name is Conor Hawes and this will be my second summer with Camp PALS. Last year, I had the privilege to serve as a counselor at both the PALS Georgetown and PALS Chicago camps. This year, I cannot wait to help lead and shape the program that has brought me so much joy! I recently moved to the Windy City to start my employment as a technology consultant, and am staffed in the beautiful city of Toronto, Ontario. I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work with a team of such talented and passionate Directors. I hope to carry forward the momentum from the success of last year’s inaugural Chicago camp in order to establish a solid foundation for Camp PALS Chicago for years to come!”


“Hello PALS friends! My name is Kyle Stolarz and although this is only my second summer acting as the Director of Camp PALS Chicago, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend a week of my year! I’ve spent the last three years crunching numbers as an actuary with Ernst and Young, and recently relocated to New York City from Chicago. I am anxiously awaiting year two of Camp PALS Chicago, and couldn’t be more excited to continue working with Joanna and join her in welcoming two new Directors to the team: Conor Hawes and Doug Kocur!

Camp PALS Chicago takes place at Elmhurst College June 15-21, 2014 for 25 campers ages 14-21.

 To help this amazing team of directors and the rest of PALS Programs make this summer the best one yet, please consider making a contribution of any size and Donate Here!