Join our Team!
Meet Aby Ryan, CEO & FounderAby, CEO & Founder
Aby Ryan founded Athena Camps in 2011 after a successful career as a professional tennis player, collegiate coach, and non-profit executive. With over 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 new environment where girls could navigate social pressures, build character, and support each other. She realized the time had come to implement her dream of creating a 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 5,000 girls by 2025.
Meet the team
MarissaDirector, San Jose
Marissa Pule joined the Athena Team in 2013. Now entering her 9th season as a Director of Athena Camps, Marissa is also Director of Camp Operations. In the off season, Marissa is a regional manager with Recess 101, training new coaches while continuing to coach PE to Kindergarten through 5th grade students all over the South Bay. Marissa grew up in a large family (10 siblings) playing softball, volleyball, swimming and her favorite, soccer. Through her years of playing team sports, Marissa learned how to be a leader and more confident, and she hopes to instill those qualities in her Athena campers.
AmyDirector of Yoga
Amy Castello created the Athena Camps yoga curriculum in 2013 and continues to build upon its success every year as our Director of Yoga. Amy believes in educating the whole person by incorporating breathing exercises, mindfulness, music, anatomy, and art into her yoga classes. She holds teaching certifications in adult and children’s yoga and has studied Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction based on the work of Dr. Jon Kabat–Zinn. Amy has been teaching group yoga classes at the Central YMCA for over 10 years. She also teaches private yoga sessions for adults and families. Amy trains our Athena Coaches every summer and teaches the Middle School camps. 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.
JulianneAssistant Director, San Jose
Julianne Taylor joined the Athena Team in 2016 as a Coach and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2019. She is excited to continue in this role this summer. Growing up on competitive soccer, cross country and swim teams taught Julianne the importance of teamwork and dedication, while giving her lifelong friendships. While attending Gonzaga University, Julianne supervised the intramural sports department and worked in middle schools as a mentoring program leader. After earning her Master’s degree in Education from Santa Clara University, Julianne was a sought after middle school teacher. Currently, she is in her first year teaching 6th grade English at John Muir Middle School. As Athena Camps’s Middle School and Self Defense expert, Julianne’s sense of humor brings us much laughter and joy every summer. She is so excited to be at Athena Camps and empower young girls!
SaraDirector, Los Altos
Sara Hetrick has been behind the scenes of Athena Camps since it’s founding in 2011. She interned during the first summers of camp and helped design camp curriculum in the years that followed and is so excited to be the Los Altos director this summer! Outside of camp, Sara graduated from UC Davis with a major in Environmental Science and minor in Education. She is currently working for Davis Joint Unified School District as a paraeducator. Growing up, she was a dedicated athlete and competitive swimmer for over 10 years. She continued swimming throughout college and is passionate about supporting girls in sports. Photography, drawing, and reading are other hobbies she loves to do in her free time. She is so excited to create a safe and welcoming camp environment and share her love of sports and crafts this summer at Athena Camps!
Join the teamWe are looking for Directors and Coaches to join our team!
Want to make a difference in the lives of girls around the south bay? If you have experience playing sports or a love for the arts and want to help young girls build self-confidence, we would love to hear from you.
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