Feel free to contact us with feedback or questions. You can also contact the task force leaders with questions regarding their focus area. New volunteers are always welcome!
Board of Directors
David Diskin – President and Financial Lead
Jonathan Harvey – Treasurer
Brian Parra – Camp Director (So Cal) and Program Lead
Alex McDavid – Camp Director (Nor Cal) and Administration Lead
Jay Harel – Secretary and Marketing Lead
Neil Polzin – Board Member and Accredidation Lead
Michele Coughlin – Board Member and Project Manager
Megan Pike – Board Member and Development Lead
Lizzy Shoe – Board Member and Curriculum Lead
David Diskin, Lodi, CA
David Diskin serves as the board president and lead of finance and fundraising. During camp, he has served the role of cabin leader, program manager, and photographer.
He has been an activist in the atheist movement ever since Lodi, CA insisted on having invocations before their city council meetings. Since then, he has co-founded the Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers, the San Joaquin Valley Coalition of Reason, and helped propel the atheist movement in Sacramento. He also serves on the planning committees for Sacramento’s annual Freethought Day and the San Francisco Atheist Film Festival.
When not supporting the freethought movement, David provide software training services to his clients throughout California. He is a Microsoft-certified professional, and lives in Lodi with his cat Q-Tip.
Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA
Brian has been on the board of Camp Quest West for a couple of years and serves as our SoCal Camp Director.
Brian brings a passion for youth development that springs from his own involvement as a child in the Boy Scouts and experience as a parent whose children have attended Camp Quest West. He has a breadth of camp knowledge, including 10 years in leadership roles as diverse as aquatics director and historical reenactment mountain man program coordinator.
By day, Brian works as a promoter, technical consultant and sound engineer. He has worked such gala events as the Indie West Fest and Oxnard Boys and Girls Club Battle of the Bands. In 2011, he was named one of the best Ventura County DJ’s by VCReporter. His skills in this area have allowed us to host top December 2011 Quest West December 2011 quality end-of-camp dances with a mix of music designed to keep kids of all ages having fun together on the dance floor.
Brian has shown a commitment to the Freethought community, serving as the membership coordinator for Atheists United in Los Angeles. His connections in Southern California will be invaluable as we expand into that region.
Alex has built an impressive career through years of experience as a youth development professional and volunteer. Alex has worked in a variety of roles, including counselor and director, for both his former church and the YMCA in day camps, residential camps and traveling camps. He has served youth of all ages, not only through camping, but also in school settings as a high school college counselor and a university admissions officer.
Alex has a special interest in the YMCA’s Youth & Government program where he has been both a program director and volunteer. His involvement in this program, which spans more than 30 years, shows significant commitment to growing the skills of the next generation. Alex’s broad youth and camp experience enable him to mentor staff at all levels and evaluate policy and program improvements at Camp Quest West with a seasoned eye.
Jonathan Harvey, Palo Alto, CA
Jonathan Harvey is our Camp Treasurer. Earlier in his career he worked as a software engineer (primarily in medical software) and now works as a substitute teacher in the Mountain View school district and a private tutor (usually in math) for multiple tutoring agencies and as self-employed.
He also likes to sing and sang with the Aurora singers, a jazz choir, for two years. With them, he has professionally performed in concert the entire score of “The Lion King” (singing bass) and seen the Broadway adaptation, but has still never seen the movie.
Jon is also a board game enthusiast, and hikes a lot but usually in much cooler weather than prevails at CQW. You’d never know he was a seasoned hiker from the way he lags behind up here.
Jonathan grew up in an interfaith family- his father was a very freethinking Methodist (before defecting when Jon was 14) and his mother was (and is) a Buddhist. He is active in a local Unitarian church & Buddhist center and largely thinks of himself as a “secular Buddhist”, an international movement which abandons the metaphysical viewpoint of classical Buddhism and re-interprets Buddhism in light of humanist, naturalist, agnostic values and
pragmatism. The old Zen saying “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” remains largely unaffected by this philosophy.
Neil Polzin, Pasadena, CA
Neil Polzin is the Head Cabin Staffer and is working on certifications and accreditation. His immediate goal is getting as many staff as possible CPR/First Aid trained. He’s also looking into the multi-year camp accreditation process.
Michele Coughlin, Elk Grove, CA
Michele Coughlin works for a disaster preparedness program in the non-profit sector. She has two children and resides in Elk Grove, CA. Michele enjoys outdoor recreation such as hiking, camping and downhill skiing. Ms. Coughlin’s interests include cooking, travel, and genealogy.
Megan Pike is our Development Lead. She is a consummate youth development professional, having worked with youth in public and private schools in a variety of roles including: substitute teacher, basketball coach and tutor.
Megan’s camp resume is equally impressive, having spent 6 years working at camps from North Carolina to San Diego. She is really a jack of all trades having worked in camp horse divisions, small groups, leadership programs and even done maintenance work. This broad experience lends itself well to the needs of a growing organization like ours, still developing our institutionalized knowledge base.
Megan has a special talent for observing body language and sizing up situations which started in high school where she was trained as a mediator for peer conflict resolution. Having worked with horses and dogs, she has a keen sense for moods and warning signals, a sense that has been enhanced by her martial arts training. She has used this skill to good effect working with at risk children. This expertise puts Megan in a great position to overhaul staff training and mentor Camp Quest West staff.
Jay Harel, Sunnyvale, CA
Jay Harel works as a product & engineering manager in Silicon Valley. He is heading up our Marketing Task Force. His team is ensuring there’s up to date information online, building new and interesting content in our newsletter and Facebook page and finding new ways to promote our camps. In his spare time Jay likes traveling, flying airplanes, and spending time with his kids (who can’t wait for this year’s Camp Quest West to start!).