Home / Blog / Overflow of Emotion

Overflow of Emotion

By: Lee Trepeck, Chief Executive Officer

I am learning that tragedy has many layers. 

First, we are grieving. Our entire Tamarack Camps community mourns the death of Simon Mirkes, who died on a hiking trip in Alaska. We are deeply devastated and so saddened by the loss of such a beloved camper. We remain in close contact with his parents, Michelle and Scott, and our prayers and thoughts will always connect to his loving family and those blessed to share time with this very special person. May Simon’s memory be for a blessing.

Even as we process so many emotions, we remain committed to our programs – with deep sensitivity, positive energy, and unmatched enthusiasm. In various offerings – Camp Maas, Travel Trips, Outpost, Israel, and Bubbie Zaydie – we are working with participants that dream of a transformative experience. And we are here to deliver, embracing all that stand linked to the circle. With supports in place, and leadership on the ground, we are wrapping arms around campers, staff, and families; together, we are moving forward, ensuring that, with the Mirkes family in our hearts, the Tamarack flag still waves in the air. And I invite you to feel the action by reading the areas highlighted below… so much is happening.  

I now recognize that, in the face of tragedy, there are also layers of gratitude. It has become apparent that, in the darkest times, you can even more clearly see the light… in people, around organizations, and throughout a community. Thanks to so many people that have provided notes of support, emails of love, and hands to hold. Thanks to so many organizations that have offered emotional guidance, awesome food, and the professional and personal willingness to jump – without limits. And thanks to this entire community… anchored by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, which is filled with some of the finest people in the world.

Finally, here is a great story: on Wednesday night, at Camp Maas, a small group of senior leaders assembled in the Lockman Fire Pit and sat on logs – in the darkness, surrounded by nature, where tree branches gently swayed and tree frogs sang. We talked about death – and mourned. We shared the spirit of camp – and lived. We moved closer to each other. Rabbi Ben Shalva played guitar (which Simon loved). We quietly sang two songs. And, in the midst of such heaviness, sadness, and responsibility, we felt the comfort of being together… and some real joy in a nurturing home. 

Now, collectively, as we move forward, I extend warmest wishes and love to the Mirkes family and our entire community.