Meet Your Counselors

Teens Westward Bound June 16th, 2018!!

Hi America! Meet your 2018 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 16th!!

Grant Deaton 


HELLO AMERICA! My name is Grant Deaton and this is my 19th 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 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!!

1st Summer Session-
June 16th-July 8th Program

Director- Josh Kerns (TWB 2006-1)

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 5th time heading out west, and I am honored to say my 1st time as your director! 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 Lake Norman Charter 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!!!  I also will be coaching football and basketball this upcoming year!
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.
- We have a chocolate labradoodle Named Olsen after Greg Olsen on the Panthers
- Speaking of Panthers, I am OBSESSED 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 play guitar and make really loud noises while I do it, some call it singing
- 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!

Katti Kerns (TWB 2009-1)

Hey y'all!!!! I'm Katti Kerns and I am SO THRILLED to be taking you out west this summer! I went on TWB as a participant in 2009, my junior year at Whiteville High School, and I just have to say, it was honestly one of THE BEST decisions I ever made!  This will be my third summer as a counselor on TWB and I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!! I am originally from good ole Whiteville, NC but currently live in Huntersville, NC! I attended college at Meredith College where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology! (GO ANGELS) Currently, I am working as a teacher's assistant at Long Creek Elementary School with some pretty awesome first graders (they give the best hugs) and I have my own Mary Kay business that I do for fun on the side!!! A little bit about me-- my sweet hubby is my best friend and it just so happens that I met him through Teens Westward Bound, I LOVE and cannot live without Coffee, Grey's Anatomy is my favorite show, Carolina Panthers all the way, popcorn with cheese is THE BOMB (you have to try it), livermush is one of my favorite breakfast foods (you need to try that one too), my adorable labradoodle puppy's name is Olsen, named after Greg Olsen, and he is THE cutest pup ever, my family means the WORLD to me and of course, Teens Westward Bound is one of the BEST ideas ever and I'm so grateful for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to meet y'all and spend 23 exciting days with each of you!!!!!! Are you ready?? Get pumped!! It's going to be a summer you won't forget!!!!!

Kaitlin Gottschalk (TWB 2013-1)

Hellooooo Trip 1!! I’m Kaitlin Gotschalk! Got chalk?? I am from Sanford, NC. I went on TWB in 2013 and this year I am returning for my first time as a counselor! Woo hoo! I just graduated from the greatest university…the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (GO HEELS!) with a B.S. in Biology. I am beyond excited to spend my summer out west with you incredible people before I begin another four plus years at ECU School of Dental Medicine! Don’t worry folks, I’ll bring floss for everyone! Some of my favorite things include dancing, Taylor Swift, “Criminal Minds”, sharks, and of course America!! My go-to Flying Jay pick-me-up is a Diet Coke and Reeses *wink-wink*. I had the most amazing time during my 23 days out west and I can’t wait for you all to have the same experience! Is it June 16thyet?!? GET EXCITED!! We’re going to have a blast!!

Nate Cline (TWB 1999)- Bus Cleaners- Bus Packers

Hi, everyone! My name is Nate Cline and I am excited to be heading west this summer! This will make my 8th year traveling across our great country with TWB and every year it gets better and better!
I am originally from the small town of Marion, NC where I graduated from McDowell High School in 1999. I earned both my undergraduate (B.S. in Chemistry) and graduate (M.Ed. in Science Education) from NC State.  After spending 10 years as a high school chemistry teacher I have spent the last 5 years back at NC State serving as the Associate Director for the University Tutorial Center where I oversee our Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Small Group Tutoring programs for math, chemistry, and physics.
I am an avid thrill seeker at heart and love to find new ways to enjoy life. Some of my most exciting experiences have been skydiving in Florida, hang gliding over the dunes of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, riding the luge in Rotorua, New Zealand, having my Coke-Cola stolen out of my hands by a monkey in Malaysia, and snorkeling with stingrays and sharks in the Bahamas. However, nothing compares to the adventures I have experienced while out West with some of the most outstanding participants the Teens Westward Bound program has had to offer. I am pumped to be returning to TWB this year.  It is an amazing program that changed my life nearly 20 years ago and I can’t wait to see how it changes yours this summer!

Adam Bastug (TWB 2012-1)

GUYS, YOU ARE ABOUT TO GO ON TEENS WESTWARD BOUND AND I AM SO JEALOUS. Oh, wait, I’m going with you. Sick. My name is Adam Bastug, but people often just call me Adam (pretty much always, actually). I went on TWB as a participant on Trip 1 in 2012 and it was basically the best thing ever. This is my first summer as a counselor and I am SO very pumped, as I dreamed of this since the first day of my trip!I studied Public Relations, History and Jazz Guitar at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and have begun working in PR/Marketing for a local hospital.I’m from the small, humble, tiny, modest, small city of Whiteville, North Carolina! I now live in Lake Waccamaw, NC and I spend most of my free time playing guitar, listening to music, enjoying the outdoors, biking and binge-watching Netflix shows.I sincerely cannot WAIT for you guys to experience the magic that is TeensWestward Bound. It is a life-changing experience that I would not trade for the world. Also, I take great pride in my musical taste, so get ready for van rides filled with bops only.I’ll end with two of my favorite quotes:“I tried to make ramen in the coffee pot and I broke everything.” – Andy Dwyer“Occasionally, I’ll hit someone with my car. So sue me.” – Michael Scott

Staff Weekend


Over Memorial Day weekend, both sessions (Trips 1-4) gathered at the Deaton house to talk all things TWB. We practiced pitching tents, going over ALL important details of the trip, and even shared TWB stories from past years. We are SO excited to be traveling out west with you all this summer, we can hardly wait! For now, here are some highlights from this weekend as we plan for the big trip out west!

The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Dennis Deaton invited the entire TWB 2018 Summer Staff to his lovely home for BBQ!

Grant Deaton welcoming everyone to the 2018 orientation! 

Your counselors learning (some just refreshing their memories) the ins and outs of counseling on Teens Westward Bound!

Setting a tent is something we hope to never have to do on TWB, but we have to prepare for the just-in-case scenarios!

Your Trip 1 counselors after having conquered the tent!

Staff weekend was a great success and your Trip 1 counselors can't WAIT to see you soon!