About the Staff
William Collins has been a part of the Free Camp Program since 2002 and serves as Guest Services Manager. William received a BA from The University of Texas and a MAT from Rice University. His professional life has seen him as a teacher, coach, and business owner. William and his wife, Barbara, live in Kerrville where they oversee and participate in the lives and activities of their six daughters. Paige, the oldest, is married to a Marine pilot, lives in Pensacola and teaches at the Pensacola Montessori School. Hattie is a graduate student at Tulane University studying art history. Chandler is a student/athlete at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, focusing on sociology, and Adelaide studies Hospitality Management at the University of Mississippi. Rebekah, a Tivy Antler, plans to attend the University of Montana to study film and minor in snowboarding, and Sydney, the youngest, is a student at The Ambleside School in Fredericksburg.
Williams says, “One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is to see the diversity of the groups participating in the Free Camp Program; to see the smiles, the wonderment, the fun of each group, young and mature; and to hear the stories, past and present, as to how the Free Camp Program has impacted lives.”
John Kerr, “Camper John,” is the Director of the Foundation Free Camps. He came to the Foundation from Kerrville where he was a teacher for 13 years. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University (Home of the Fighting Lumberjacks) with degrees in Education and Communication. He lives in the Canyon with his wife, Kimberly, and their three children, Coleman, Kalin, and Gideon. Camper John’s passion is to make people smile and maybe even chuckle. He enjoys hosting groups on retreat in the Free Camp Program. “When I see kids and adults drive into the river, you can almost feel the tension and burdens of the world melt away. They see a piece of God that they can’t see at home, and that just makes my day!”
Erik Silvius is the Outdoor Education Coordinator with Foundations for Laity Renewal. Erik completed his undergraduate degree in Exercise Science at Texas Lutheran University and earned his Master of Science degree from Texas State University.
Before coming to FLR to begin the Outdoor Education Program, Erik spent 13 years teaching in Texas public schools. He spent 3 years with the Austin Independent School District and 10 years in Seguin Independent School District. Erik taught Special Education, Physical Education, and Outdoor Education. He spent all of his 10 years in Seguin working closely with the Seguin Outdoor Learning Center to provide experiential learning opportunities for the young people of Guadalupe County. Erik served in the leadership of Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD) and continues to be an active member. He is a long-time member and presenter of Texas Outdoor Education Association, and actually came to the Frio Canyon for the first time attending TOEA’s annual workshop. Erik earned TAHPERD’s Recreational Professional of the Year Award, and TOEA’s Outstanding Program Award during his years in public schools.
Erik, his wife Liz, and their two boys (Lukas and Simon) enjoy full-time canyon life. They have been living onsite for almost a year now and feel extremely blessed. Lukas and Simon are very involved with Leakey ISD, and Liz is the Foundation Free Camps Registrar. The whole family is excited to welcome you to the most beautiful property in Texas.
Liz joined the team as Free Camps and Quiet House Registrar in the beginning of 2012. A New Jersey native, Liz received her BA in English from Montclair State University in New Jersey before relocating to Texas.
Her years in Texas have seen her as a wife (married to the amazing Erik Silvius), 6th-grade reading teacher in Del Valle and Seguin, graduate student at Texas State University-San Marcos (M.Ed. in Reading Education), and last, but certainly not least, mom to Lukas and Simon.
Liz lives in the Canyon with her husband Erik, Outdoor Education Coordinator for the Foundation Free Camps, and sons who attend school at Leakey ISD during the school day and make forts in the woods surrounding their house in their free time.
“The best part of my job is helping make it possible for groups to come to camp and experience the wonder of God’s creation firsthand.”
Nich Hearn is the Assistant Coordinator of the FLR Outdoor Education Program.
Nich earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University in May 2011. He also received an education from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in June of 2009 while backpacking through the Absaroka Mountain Range of northern Wyoming.
Nich gained experience in working with kids over five summers on the Laity Lodge Youth Camp staff. During college, he got his feet wet in outdoor education while working for the Texas A&M University Outdoor Adventures Center as a backpacking guide.
Living and working on the H. E. Butt Foundation property to teach others about God’s creation is a dream come true for Nich. He considers himself very fortunate to be a part of such a novel educational experience for so many young students.