Staff Weekend


On Memorial Day weekend the staff members for Trips 1, 2, 3 and 4 all met at Big D's house to go over all things TWB related. We practiced pitching tents (who needs those) and learned everything we need to know before meeting you all in a few short weeks. This weekend has us hype to travel with each and every one of you, and here are some pics of us enjoying the weekend!

The Big D himself!

Trip 2 and Trip 4 staff working hard

Trip 4 staff

Staff for all 4 trips ready to go west!

Meet Your Counselors

Teens Westward Bound Trip 4!!!

Hey everyone!! Here's some information about all of your awesome trip 4 counselors so you can get to know a little about us before the trip. We're so pumped to meet you and can't wait to go west on July 16! 

Grant Deaton: Program Director

HELLO AMERICA! My name is Grant Deaton and this is my 18th year traveling across this amazing country with TWB. I started going out west in 1996 and 1997 as a participant. In 2001, I began traveling as a counselor and became the tour director in 2003. It was such an honor and privilege to take on the role of Program Director in 2016. Words cannot express how excited I am about traveling out west again this summer with such an incredible group of young people. We are going to have a blast!

I have worked as a Marketing teacher for 13 years in North Carolina. I enjoy golfing, mountain biking, backpacking, as well as hanging out with my family and dog. My wife, Kitch, and I are extremely blessed to have three wonderful little boys in our lives. Connor (7 years old), Brandon (5 years old) and Samuel (3 year old) bring so much joy to our family. I will miss them so much this summer.

Enjoying every minute of life is so important to me. Going out west every year with the best young people God has to offer is the best way to spend a summer in my mind. I can't wait to see you soon!!

Vickie Wilkins: Trip Director

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING AMERICA - I am "the V", and I have been blessed to travel across this breathtaking land we know and love for 35 plus years with TWB, and the DEATON Family!  23 days of discovering who you are along with 86 other new found friends, and falling in love with AMERICA - this is the summer of your life!!!!!

I have been educating students for the last 43 years, and boy have I learned so much from them.  I teach at Southern Lee High School, Health and PE, Teacher Cadet, and PEPI! I coach Girls and Boyst Tennis, and I am the SGA Advisor.  In my spare team I teach a Sunday School Class of Wild Women at Jonesboro Heights Baptist church in Sanford, NC, and I work part time for the UNC-Chapel Hill Athletic Department.  I am an Usher Supervisor in Football and Basketball (Yes, my blood runs that shade of Sky Blue), and other Olympic sports as needed.

This is the adventure of a lifetime, and I am so excited to share it with you.  As we travel, you will see me enjoying my favorite snack - any flavor and size of Fritos, and I love Ice Breakers, Ice Cubes Peppermint gum.  Water, flavored water, any H2O can quench that thirst and going into dry heat, we will all need to be saturated with H2O!!!

I love Maya Angelou, and I leave you with one of her quotes that has meant so very much to me throughout my life:  "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  I look forward to your smiles, your encouraging words, and all of your determined efforts that will make our adventures across AMERICA life changing!!!!

Kayleigh-Scarlett Hopper

Hello TWB!! I’m Kayleigh-Scarlett Hopper or KS as most people call me, and I am so excited to go out west again! I participated in Teens Westward Bound during the summer of 2012 trip 2. There are certain moments that will forever stand out in your life and TWB is definitely one of those moments. It instilled a love of travel and seeing the world that has forever changed me.

My hometown is Cherryville, NC, but I now reside in Raleigh. I am a new graduate of NC State in Elementary Education. GO PACK! While studying at State, I spent a summer abroad in Florence, Italy. I will be going back to State in the fall for graduate school. I love to attend Wolfpack sporting events, spend time outside, sing karaoke (Taylor Swift has nothing on me), go to the beach, and hang out with my family and friends.

Get ready for the trip of your lifetime! You will laugh, cry, sing, dance, sweat, and maybe even get a little sleep. See you July 16th!
*pro tip: pack your clothes in ziplock bags, in case your suitcase gets wet!!

“Oh, the places you’ll go!”-Dr. Seuss

William Gillespie

I’m William Gillespie, and I am diggity dang pumped to head out west with y’all this summer. It seems like just yesterday I was bawling and telling 81 of my best friends goodbye, so this trip is going to be so so sweet for y’all. There are literally no words to describe, and I really am pleased to say that it changed my life. I can’t wait for all of you to have this experience!

About me: I grew up in a really small town called Bullock, NC. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it, I’m sure you haven’t. After that, I moved to Chapel Hill where I just graduated with a degree in exercise and sport science. I really like sports, almost all sports, but especially endurance sports. You know how Bubba Gump talks about shrimp? I talk about bikes like that. Just know that. If you wanna talk cycling or other cardio events please chat me up on our 2-hour van drives! I also am passionate about camps, I’ve worked at camps the last 3 summers and will be doing so again this summer before coming out west with you all!

In a nutshell, I would say I’m the nut.
Likes- coffee, cycling, the outdoors, bikes
Dislikes- lists, irony

“Hakuna Mungu Kama Wewe"

Daisy Manning

Helloooo everyone! I'm Daisy Manning and I am pumped to be going west with all of you this summer. This is my first trip as a counselor, one I've been waiting for since I got back from my trip in 2013. I'm from Oxford, NC and just graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Communications and Asian Studies.

I love hiking, traveling, breakfast foods, eating ice cream and TWB. I've spent time in both Europe and Asia and lived in Singapore for a semester last year, so I love to explore new places. There's definitely no place like home and I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to adventure all over America with all of you! Come find me if you want to laugh, dance, blast music, talk about literally anything, or drink milkshakes. TWB is going to be the best experience of your life, I know because it was also mine, so come prepared to make the most of our 23 days together. I can't wait to meet all of you and become the best of friends!

Matt Wilfong

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My name is Matthew Wilfong from Indian Trail, North Carolina. You all have no idea how excited and thankful I am to be going out west again for my third year (Second as a counselor). My first trip with Teens Westward Bound was as a participant in 2012 on Trip Two. I thought that that trip was the best time of my life, until I returned in 2017 as a counselor. After graduating from Piedmont High School, I moved to Miami, FL to attend Florida International University where I received my undergraduate degree in International Business, and soon to be Master’s degree in International Real Estate. My biggest interests in life are music, flying, scuba diving, and anything else I can get myself into. I love Teens Westward Bound so much, and I will do anything to help make this the best summer of your life! See you all soon!

Favorite Quote:
"Dunder Mifflin. This is Pam." — Pam Beesly