About the founder
Aby, CEO & Founder
Aby Ryan founded Athena Camps after a successful career as a professional tennis player, collegiate coach, and non-profit executive. With 30 years of experience coaching and developing programs for girl-serving organizations, Aby specializes in youth program development, curriculum design, and innovative strategies to grow strong, expressive, confident young women.
When her daughter started kindergarten, Aby Ryan saw a need for a special environment where girls could navigate social pressures, build character, and support each other. She realized the time had come to realize her dream of creating a unique girls’ sports camp. So on June 11, 2011, she launched the first Athena Camp with 27 girls. Athena Camps’ attendance quadrupled in our first full year. Since then, Athena Camps continues to grow each year and hopes to serve 10,000 girls by 2025.
Middle School Yoga Coach
Amy Castello has created the unique yoga curriculum for all of our Athena Camps since 2013 and will be the Yoga Coach in our Middle School Camps for Summer 2018. Amy holds teaching certifications in adult and children’s yoga and has studied Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), based on the work of Dr. Jon Kabat–Zinn. She believes in educating the whole child by incorporating breathing exercises, mindfulness, non-competitive games, music, language, anatomy, art and relaxation into her yoga classes. She has discovered that the best part of yoga for many children is their ability to close their eyes, become completely still, and find happiness in the present moment.
Director, San Jose
Marissa Pule joined the Athena Camps team in 2013 as a Coach and is entering her third year as a Camp Director. Marissa grew up in a big family on the central coast of California, playing anything from softball, soccer, to volleyball and swimming. As she got older, she focused mostly on soccer. She moved to San Jose in 2013, to work at a company called Recess 101, where she teaches PE to first, second and third graders. Marissa also volunteers to coach the basketball and soccer team at her elementary school. She has been with Athena Camps for four years now, starting as a coach and working her way up to director. Through her years of playing team sports, Marissa learned how to be a leader and more confident, and she hopes to instill those qualities and more in the campers.
Director Of Operations
Lauren Llama joined the Athena Team in late 2016 as a Camp Director. A Bay Area native, Lauren was born and raised in San Jose she graduated from Cal State Chico with Bachelor of Science in Finance. She has ran 10 half marathons including the Women’s Nike in San Francisco 5 times, and always been an athlete maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle. After 13 years in the finance industry, Lauren found herself passionate about developing young girls confidence and self esteem in a positive environment. Athena Camps was the right fit and Lauren joined the Athena team. Lauren is also a group fitness instructor in the East Bay where she coaches adults to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle.
Social Media Expert
Kayla Power dove in head first and wrote our Social Media curriculum for the middle schoolers and is excited to be part of Athena Camps as a consultant and speaker this year. Through all of the twists and turns Kayla’s life had been, athletics has been her constant, she says that sports saved her life. Growing up she played soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, and ran track. She has run 3 full marathons, competed in almost 10 triathlons and now coaches middle school soccer. Kayla and her husband moved to San Jose less than a year ago and have devoted their lives to youth and sports. Kayla has worked with young girls in various capacities since she was a Sophomore in high school, whether it be a volunteer camp counselor or paid full time staff at a boarding school. Instilling confidence and courage in women of all ages is her passion, and she uses that passion to coach women online to a healthier lifestyle.
Assistant Director, San Jose
Kira Brashears joined the Athena Camps team as a coach two summers ago and is excited for her new role as Assistant Director. Growing up, she was always very active, playing soccer, participating in Girls on the Run, and discovering her passion for basketball. She currently practices yoga and plays on an Intramural Volleyball team. Working at Athena Camps has allowed her to pursue these passions not only for coaching sports, but also helping young girls to develop healthy lifestyles and mindsets. She will be entering her senior year at UC Davis where she studies Sociology & Spanish. Her career goal is to become a bilingual elementary school teacher.
Assistant Director, Los Altos
Talia Clement began her Athena Camps journey in 2016 as a coach. After two amazing summers of coaching, she is excited to be returning this summer as an assistant director. Sports have always been an important part of Talia’s life—participating in many different sports as a child. As she grew older, she focused mainly on lacrosse and has been playing for the past 10 years. She hopes to instill a love of sports and teamwork in the girls who attend Athena Camps, and she hopes to foster confidence in every camper. At the George Washington University, where she is a rising junior, Talia participates in extra curricular that provide her with a community of strong women such as Kappa Delta Sorority, the GW Pitches, a capella group, and the GW Women’s Club Lacrosse Team.