- Meet Our Team -
A highly qualified and trained staff guide campers in team-building activities, facilitate new friendships, and support opportunities for gains in self-reliance and self-confidence.
Emily Starkie Zbin
Emily has a life-long connection to Camp Natoma. She is the granddaughter of hard-working local teachers, Alf & Alice Starkie, who dedicated their summers in the 1950s as the camp maintenance man and outdoor cooking leader. As a youth camper, Emily’s parents spent many weekends as volunteers helping take care of the camp facility. Emily began her employment at Camp Natoma as a lifeguard and counselor while attending the University of California, San Diego, where she graduated with a BS in Environmental Systems and held the role of captain of the Women’s Swim Team during her senior year.
On her path to becoming the first Executive Director of Friends of Camp Natoma, Emily gained experience and built her passion for providing childhood nature experience and outdoor education through a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course in New Zealand, obtaining a California teaching credential and a Masters in Education, with an emphasis on children and nature. She taught 5th and 6th grades in local schools before assuming her position as Camp Director, where she grew the Camp Natoma program and successfully helped hundreds of new families benefit from new camper experiences at Camp Natoma.
Emily is married to Robbie, Camp Natoma’s Director of Operations. They have 3 children, Lyle, Otto, and Wade, who have had the unique opportunity to spend their early childhood summers living at Camp Natoma.
Emily is committed to expanding opportunities for youth to have the Camp Natoma experience and promoting the value of nature connection.
Director of Operations
Robbie is Camp Natoma’s do-it-all “D of Ops”. He also has a lifelong connection to Camp Natoma - his grandmother was a camper the first year of camp in 1941! His mother enjoyed summer weeks at Camp Natoma and Robbie and his brothers followed, attending together as youth campers. While attending University of California, Santa Barbara and studying Zoology, Robbie spent his summers at Camp Natoma as a nature instructor and leader of the CIT program. He found his passion for teaching science and mentoring teenagers, so Robbie pursued a teaching credential from Cal Poly SLO and taught Environmental Science, Biology, and Chemistry at local high schools.
Robbie’s versatility, problem-solving, and hard work has helped catapult Camp Natoma operations to capacity. Robbie supervises facility operations and site volunteers, camp transportation, directs custom programs, and trains seasonal staff. He’s also very creative - have you heard the hit song “Camp Natoma Road North”? Just ask any camper about the thrills of riding the camp bus and they’ll confirm that this song really sums it up! Robbie loves connecting community volunteers to camp projects and helping campers and staff maximize their summer experience. Currently, he’s working with crews to expand the network of hiking trails throughout Camp Natoma so kids can have more options for exploring!
With Emily, and kids Lyle, Otto, and Wade; Robbie energizes camp staff and volunteers and energetically promotes the happy and safe community that develops at camp each summer.
Diana grew up in Nipomo and started attending Camp Natoma as a camper in 2004, which quickly became her favorite place in the world. Spending her summers under the stars and oak trees for the next nine years helped her fall in love with the outdoors. Diana went on to complete her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at UCLA. After graduating, she spent time as an elementary school teacher in South Korea, but returned to the United States to pursue her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Education for the Environment and Community at University of Washington. Diana loves sharing Camp Natoma with new campers, giving them an opportunity to laugh, sing, swim, and sleep under the stars.
Assistant Camp Director
Carlie grew up on the central coast in Arroyo Grande and started attending Camp Natoma in 2005. She had always been in love with the outdoors but her experience at Camp Natoma proved to be an especially rewarding experience. She loved being a camper during the summer and helping her dad with improvements in the off-season. Carlie continued to be an avid outdoors person and began her professional career studying French at Sonoma State University with a year abroad in France. She has spent the beginning of her career in the wine industry in Sonoma County and is thrilled to be back at her favorite place as the Assistant Camp Director for her beloved Camp Natoma. Carlie loves singing camp songs, sharing outdoor skills, and fostering friendships among fellow fans of nature.