Meet our team.

To make camp magic happen you need a group of magicians! And Common Ground Center has made it our business to recruit, train and welcome all the magical folk we can find. Our small but mighty full-time, year-round team expands to include throngs of energetic seasonal staff during camp’s high season. Whether they’re playing frisbee, teaching plant identification, lifeguarding or making sure our community is well fed, CGC’s staff is dedicated to creating an experience that you’ll remember forever.


Connor Timmons

Executive Director

Connor came to the CGC staff in June 2011 from Montreal where he was born and raised. Ever since Connor learned that there could be a career in motivating kids to play kick the can, pirates, and peanut butter ocean, he has been involved with residential and day camps. Connor has worked with underprivileged youth in Chile, was the Program Director at Camp Nashoba in Maine, and the Teen Program Coordinator at the YMCA in Montreal, among other pursuits. He currently lives on CGC land with his partner and two children. Connor juggles a variety of responsibilities for CGC; many involve spreadsheets and some involve costumes.


Emily Gibbs

Program Coordinator

Emily facilitates field trips for school groups, oversees our site, assists with programs, and oversees facilities. Emily brings a wealth of experience working with youth in recreation, school, and camp settings. Emily and her husband Dave live in Essex with their son and cat. She can often be found volunteering in the local community and playing outside.

Christa Finnern

Communications Coordinator

Christa joined our year-round staff in December 2016 after nine years as Program Director with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC). Christa grew up in central Minnesota and has lived in Vermont since 2003. She and her husband designed and built their home in Starksboro, which they currently share with their two daughters, a dog, two cats, and a flock of chickens. When she’s not at Common Ground Center, Christa can be found spending time with her family, in her studio, or on the ski slopes!

Kate Bentley

Rental Coordinator

Kate came to CGC in the fall of 2021 as our Rental Coordinator. She brings experience in event planning, customer service, and marketing to the team. Kate grew up in Georgia (the state!) and has called Vermont home for the last 10 years. When she’s not at Common Ground Center, she’s spending time with her child, her Siberian Huskey, exploring mountain rivers, or in her pottery studio. She loves all things plants, fiber arts, traditional crafts, and nature. 


Wendy Shepard


Wendy is a life-long Starksboro resident and is a true asset to the CGC team. She grew up playing and getting into mischief on the property where Common Ground Center is located and she loves the land and the people dearly. She is responsible for site maintenance and keeps everything shiny for weddings, retreats, and programs. She enjoys working in the kitchen for all CGC’s programs as well as for her family gatherings. In her spare time, Wendy enjoys spending time with her family, especially her adorable grandchildren!


Francis Goodman


Francis is a dairy farmer from Wisconsin and has been a part of the Common Ground community for many years. He knows how to fix just about everything; when in doubt, ask Francis! Francis enjoys reading, meeting new people, spending time with his family, and just about any kind of pie!

Common Ground Center Co-Founders

Jim Mendell

Jim Mendell

Fully to blame for at least half of the 189,000 photos put into the computer in 2007, Jim usually is attached to a camera. Jim is interested in everybody and everything and would love to hear all of your ideas. Jim and his wife Peg (CGC Co-Founder) are also the co-founders of Bristol Village Co-Housing.

Peg Kamens

Peg is one of the founders of Common Ground. Her interests include nature, gardening, community and architecture. In general, she functions as part trouble-shooter, part troublemaker, and can be found squirreled away at her pottery wheel. She is also the proud mother of three Mendell kids, who grew up at family camp!