Nancy Mance is from a long line of Brownsville natives dating back to her great grandparents. Her mom even attended Camp Lula Sams as a Girl Scout in the 1950s! Although she was not born here, her family returned to Brownsville in the mid-1980s. She attended Oliveria Middle School and St. Joseph Academy. Her passion for camp began while attending Texas A&M in College Station. Nancy spent the summers working at various youth camps and decided that one day, her life's work would include introducing children to the wonders of the outdoors. Her degrees in Biology and Kinesiology laid the foundation of knowledge, and 12 years in the classroom have given her the experience to provide a quality camp program.
Luis "Louie" Guardiola is a long-time native of Harlingen. He recently joined the Camp RIO team from IDEA San Juan, where he was a PE Teacher /Athletic Coordinator for the past ten years. Louie graduated from the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2005 with a degree in Kinesiology. He and his wife Becky continue to reside in Harlingen with their two daughters and dog, Jax.
Conor Murray came to America from Scotland as a Summer Camp Counselor in 2011. For the past seven years, he has been involved in Camping in the Texas Hill Country first as a cabin leader and then as a program director. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the Camp RIO team as he helps us begin our journey to offering overnight programming. His passion for camp and love for working with children are an incredible asset to our RGV community. Conor has been awarded several camping awards throughout his career, and we are excited to have him on board. He and his wife Meghan, love the following soccer and keeping their dogs Jessie and Felix out of trouble.
Bianca Farrell came to the RGV from Whidbey Island, WA, in 2005. Bianca joined Camp Rio in September 2019 from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she worked as the director of the undergraduate biomedical research training program, RISE. She received her biology degree in 2013 and is currently finishing her master's in Biology. Her passion for outdoor adventure makes her a perfect addition to the Camp RIO family.
Mary Barba was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. She graduated with a degree in Education from The University of Texas at Brownsville and taught elementary school before moving to Camp RIO. Mary has a passion for people and a passion for learning. She and her husband love to spend time at the gym and the beach whenever they have the chance.
Howard Mance was born in Baltimore, MD, to a military family. As a child, he traveled all over the world, including Japan, the United States, England, and Germany. Howard served in the Army for nine years and received an honorable discharge. As a child, he learned many outdoor skills from his grandfather at their log cabin homestead in Pine Bush, NY. As an adult, Howard served as a Colorado high angle rescue volunteer. Working with a variety of equipment in the military, and a passion for the outdoors created the perfect match for Howard's role at camp.
Ruby is a sweet and adorable puppy, but don't be fooled; she is always on the lookout for your food!
Chewy is Nancy and Howard's pet pig. He is super sweet and smart, but he will sniff out any food within a 100-mile radius!
Felix is Conor and Meghan's dog and has had quite the career as a camp dog (having had worked at three camp offices!)
Jessie is a sweet girl with lots of energy. Don't let her cuteness fool you; she is very vocal and loves attention from everyone. She even helps out around the camp by making visitors feel welcome.
Jax is a highly energetic German short-haired pointer. He is the only son of Louie and his wife, Becky. You may see him running around camp and will greet you with a lick of the hand to say welcome Camp RIO.
Bailey is a rescue dog adopted by the Desjardins family. He is very spunky, happy, and loves to cuddle.