The Alumni Spotlight gives us the opportunity to catch up with a Tamarack alum, hear about where they are now, and learn how Tamarack Camps shaped them. We are thrilled to check in with Erin Simmerman. Read her story below!
When did you attend Tamarack Camps? What villages or programs were you part of?
In 1992 I boarded my first green Tamarack bus, headed to Brighton where I was a camper in Dorm 1. From there, I did one more summer at Brighton in GP and then ventured to Camp Maas every year until my Specialty summer, 1998. After Specialty, I spent the next two summers on a Blue Lakes bus traveling west and then the following summer to Alaska, those were by far my favorite years! When I came back to Camp Maas in 2000, I was a TSS and then a counselor for two more years after that!! And then 14 years later, I found myself back at home – working as a nurse in the clinic, which I have been doing for the last 5 summers!
What lessons did you learn from camp?
Camp taught me life lessons and without camp, I would not be the person I am today. Camp gave me independence as a young girl, and taught me how to make new friends. Although I loved camp, I still got homesick, but I learned how to cope with it. Camp taught me how to embrace the outdoors and be more rustic (although I think I lost that lesson at this point in my life)!
What are you up to now personally and/or professionally?
I am married to my husband, Neil, for 11 years, who is also a Tamarack alum. He was a waterfront specialist in ’94 and ’95, as a Montreal native he was part of the Harvey gang who came over from Canada. No, we did not meet at camp… we met years later in NYC while both working at the same hospital! We have two beautiful daughters, Avery and Bailey. I am currently a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Dermatology.
How did camp impact how you live your life today?
Camp enhanced my Jewish identity. Also, because I am on the board, it has given me the opportunity to give back to camp and be a part of making a difference in other children’s lives.
Why is Tamarack Camps “The Greatest Place on Earth?”
It just is… and if you know, you know!
Was there a staff member that made a lasting impact on you and why?
My counselor, Mel, was my TSS in Sheruth, then my Specialty counselor 3 years later and then she took out both of my Travel Trips. I looked up to her so much that I wrote my U of M nursing school application essay about her!
Favorite camp memory:
By far my best summers were on my Western trip and Alaska trip and I could not even choose one thing that was my favorite. As a camper, I loved the high ropes course and waterskiing (shockingly, I still love both of those activities to date)!
Favorite camp meal:
Then, grilled cheese… Now, breakfast burrito!
Not counting travel trips… Shaw Festival in Berman 8!!
Favorite program/theme day:
Dream Tamarack reunion idea: