Meet Your Counselors

Teens Westward Bound Trip 2!!

Hi America! Meet your 2017 TWB counselors- we are so excited to learn all about you while traveling America this summer. For now, here is a little information about us. We cannot wait to see you on June 19!!

Grant Deaton 

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 just finished my 13th year of working in education as a Marketing Teacher at Hough High School. I enjoy golfing, mountain biking, backpacking, as well as hanging out with my family and dogs. My wife, Kitch, and I are extremely blessed to have three wonderful little boys in our lives. Connor (6 years old), Brandon (4 years old) and Samuel (2 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 

Hey ho, it's the V, aka Ms. Beautiful to her students at Southern Lee High School in Sanford, NC!!!  I am so ready to be out WEST with you, and I promise you that I can be packed and ready to go in 15 minutes. Talk about adventure, new found friends, breath taking scenery, unbelievable counselors who are as excited as you are to be traveling out WEST again, gourmet meals, sleeping under the stars at night - can it get any better than this?  You better believe it will be so much better when we see you on June 19, and you will have the 23 day adventure that words will not be able to describe - you really have to be there in that moment, wherever it may be to understand what TWB is all about!  I have been an educator for 42 years teaching health and physical education, Teacher Cadet, PEPI, being the SGA Advisor, and coaching the boys and girls tennis team.  I fell in love with the Deaton family over 35 years ago, and I am the most blessed woman to travel with such outstanding young people, counselors, and motor coach driver every summer!  My blood runs CAROLINA BLUE and I am an usher supervisor working part time for Carolina Athletics in football and basketball.  I love FRITOS and Ice Cubes Peppermint Ice Breakers gum, and I teach a wild group of women in Sunday School who are phenomenal PRAYER WARRIORS!  I am looking so forward to meeting you and your family, and I can guarantee that we are going to have FUN OUT WEST!!!!!  Get your traveling bag ready - our adventure awaits!

Josh Kerns 

Ever since I took my own TWB trip the summer of 2006, my junior year at Hopewell High School, I have dreamed of being a counselor on this trip. This will be my fourth time as a TWB counselor, and I consider myself beyond blessed to have been be given this opportunity, and from the looks of it, this trip is going to be AWESOME!

My name is Josh Kerns. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2014 with a BS in Kinesiology and a concentration in Physical Education and Health. That is the fancy way of saying PE teacher. It is my passion to work with kids in a setting that is not limited to a classroom. I am all about sharing experiences (hello TWB!!) with my students and teaching things that aren’t just for a test, but for a lifestyle! I am the PE teacher at Long Creek Elementary School in Huntersville, NC and have the best job in the world. I get to play games all day, be a big kid (although not tall), and never have to fully grow up!!!
As you probably guessed from the PE portion, I am a sports nut. It doesn’t matter if it is a game of football, sport I’ve never tried, or simply a game of cards, I love competition and think that it is one of the best ways to really get to know someone. The second best way, GO OUT WEST WITH THEM!

A little about me:
- First and foremost I am blessed in so many ways by a gracious God who loves me
- I just got married on November 12, 2016 to the wonderful and beautiful Katti Kerns who I met through Teens Westward Bound.
- I am OBSESSED with the Carolina Panthers and could talk about them for days (23 days to be exact)
- Like I said, sports nut, football, golf and basketball being my favorites
- I have been a camp counselor at a variety of camps, one for children with autism and other camps for middle and high school kids
- I play guitar and sing (not well but I do enjoy it) and sometimes write songs
- I love the outdoors, exploring, and being active in any way
- I have a strong sense of patriotism with 2 brothers in the military and seeing this nation is a humble reminder of what they are fighting for
- I love this trip with all my heart! I believe in this program and I have felt and witnessed how it is a life changing experience

The rest will have to be discovered on our journey together! I can’t wait to meet you, get to know you, and share this adventure with you (unless you are a Falcons fan…kidding….kinda). What happens on TWB, doesn’t stay on TWB, it stays with you forever!

Heather Welch 

Who's ready to GO WEST!?

Hello everyone! My name is Heather Welch and I will be one of your Teens Westward Bound counselors this summer! I am a recent graduate of UNC Wilmington (Go Seahawks!) majoring in Business Administration and a minor in Leadership studies. I was a participant on TWB in 2013 (s/o to my Trip 1 pals) and have dreamed of being a counselor since stepping off that big bus after my trip- so here we are 4 years later and I cannot wait to meet you all!!

I am an Ohio native but moved to Charlotte, NC when I was 10 years old. I have a HUGE passion for travel and the outdoors - I have been to 40/50 states and 11 countries! In college I studied abroad twice: Valencia, Spain and Prague, Czech Republic. In my free time, you will probably find me on a mountain, playing any type of sport, making GoPro videos, and spending time with family and friends. After TWB, I plan to move from Wilmington back to Charlotte, NC, to find a job!

Get excited, because even though you might not know it yet, you all are so very blessed to be selected for this trip! It is such a unique way to see America and I cannot wait to have the BEST SUMMER EVER with each and every one of you! See ya June 19!

Favorite Quote: "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Michael Wallace

Hello TWB Trip 2! I hope everyone is excited as I am to head west! My name is Michael Wallace and I am one of the many TWBers from Gastonia, NC. I had the opportunity to travel west on trip 2 in 2011 and I'm super excited to do it again! I graduated from Forestview High School in 2013 and went on to study Business Administration (Finance) at NC State, GO PACK! I graduated in May and will be starting my career with NAI Carolantic as a Commercial Real Estate broker in Raleigh in late July. In my free time I enjoy duck hunting, fishing, spending time on the lake and traveling. Since TWB, I have had the opportunity to travel out of the country, but no experience abroad can beat traveling across this great nation. The sights, views, and experiences you will have will be ones you will never forget! Between crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, hiking the Grand Canyon, seeing the Grand Tetons, counting the corn stalks in Kansas and making lifelong friends, you will return home wondering why it all happened so fast. So get ready, get excited, and get packed for June 19th! We are about to go on the trip of a lifetime!

Caitlin Herlihy

Hey y’all! I’m Caitlin Herlihy, and I’m so pumped for our trip. I just graduated from Wake Forest University (Go Deacs!) with a BA in Communication, and I’m headed to law school at University of South Carolina in the fall. I went out west during the summer of 2012, and I cannot wait to experience Teens Westward Bound all over again- this time in the driver’s seat! Here’s what’s up: I love running (I made my boyfriend run two half marathons with me last month!), yoga, celebrity gossip, Grey’s Anatomy, coffee, writing (I was the Editor-in-Chief of the Wake Forest newspaper) and chatting. Oh, and I can guarantee I’ll eat a dozen bags of Smartfood Popcorn during our time together. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas (Day 3, can you get here already?), and I moved to Indian Trail, North Carolina, right before starting high school at Piedmont High. Dennis and Vickie changed my life, restored my confidence and introduced me to some of God’s most beautiful creations. I can’t wait to hang this summer!! Seriously, we’re going to have too much fun.