Brian & Jenn Carrol - Directors

Brian and Jenn Carroll are Directors of Deer Lake, relieving Mark and Patty Clifton in the summer of 2023 after they served in that role the previous four decades. Brian is the property’s ranger. Jenn is director of the Deer Lake summer camp. And both are actively involved with Pathfinders, Inc., the local non-profit that bought Deer Lake from the Boy Scouts in September, 2022.

For Brian, who grew up in Clinton, returning to Deer Lake is the perfect landing spot after 26 years of active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard. As a teen, he was hired by Patty Clifton to serve as a Day Camp counselor. He later worked part-time with Mark Clifton supporting camp maintenance and programs until graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2001 and moving away.

“But I came back any time we were stationed close by,” he said.

It was at the Coast Guard Academy that he met Jenn, who grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and also attended the USCGA. She transferred into his company her sophomore year. A year later Jenn left academy to pursue a career in Marine Biology and attended Roger Williams University. She graduated in 2002 with a B.S. in Marine Science and married Brian in Bristol, R.I.

And that’s when their adventures began.

Moving to follow Brian’s career in the Coast Guard, they were first stationed in Cape May, N.J., before moving to Baltimore … then Astoria, Ore. … Blacksburg, Va. … Chesapeake, Va. … Waxhaw, N.C. … Saudi Arabia … and Boston, Mass. Their last stop was Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, where they resided for four years before moving to Killingworth.

Along the way, they started a family and now have two sons, two dogs and two pigs.

“We’d been keeping touch with Mark and Patty throughout the years,” Jenn said, “and we brought our kids to Cub Camp when we were stationed on the East Coast. We realized we wanted a future in youth outdoor education, so Brian met with Mark to discuss jobs in that sector and network – with the idea of us one day taking over. Over two years and several conversations later, Deer Lake was saved, and Mark offered us the job. We didn’t hesitate.”

Jenn worked with Patty Clifton as the camp’s co-director in the summer of 2023, but her resume extends far beyond that. She was a research scientist at Rutgers University and the University of Maryland Center of Marine Biotechnology and has a background in elementary and middle-school special education. Moreover, she admits to a love of continued education in Social Emotional Learning Facilitation and Yoga Therapy for Youth, Yoga for Autism and Special Needs. She also admits to a love of her new home.

“As I’ve spent more time here,” Jenn said, “I’m amazed how much Killingworth and its people remind me of home.”

Brian’s specialties in the Coast Guard were naval engineering and logistics, with most of his assignments aboard ships or support from the beach. However, he readily admits to a desire to trade in the ocean for the woods of Deer Lake.

“Scouting has been a big part of my life,” he said. “I started in Pack 31 and earned Eagle as a member of Troop 7 in Clinton, and I was a member of the Explorer Post at Deer Lake. I returned to scouting programs when my children were old enough to join and served as a Den Leader, Cubmaster and Scoutmaster, as well as serving a support role in a year-long stint with the largest pack in the world while working in Saudi Arabia.

“I’m passionate about working with youth and families in the outdoors and creating opportunities for them to develop and strengthen their connections with the landscape and each other.”