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President’s Podium

By: Geoff Kretchmer

Since August 4th, I have served as the President of the Board of Directors at Tamarack Camps. I’m happy to lead our group with a lot of supporters that also believe in the value of Jewish camping. My goal is to connect people and organizations to us, create partnerships, and enable new relationships to grow.

I’m proud that board participation in our meetings has been high and people are connected. During our conversations, we share agency information with total transparency. Often, critical topics are turned into “deep dives,” where we work to better understand significant areas of importance: our role as Jewish leaders, enrollment trends, development initiatives, budget challenges, and so much more. Our goal is to engage the group so everyone has the opportunity to be heard. And I always offer a direct line to my ear (email me at, which I share with Lee daily. Our stakeholders provide excellent advice and support, which allows staff the value of differing perspectives and enables them to make great decisions.

We have 39 board members and 16 committees/task forces. Our participation is off the charts. In some ways, we’re engaging even more people than before (logging on is more manageable than the challenge of traffic on Telegraph)! While short staffed (balancing budget concerns with an austerity plan), I’m proud of the shared responsibilities that allow us to succeed, and the support from our lay leadership is strong. I acknowledge the outstanding work with Development, Maas, Teens, Alumni, Governance, and Finance … and so many more. I especially want to acknowledge the executive committee, my very close advisors: Mike Cooper, Danny Klein, Barbara Kappy, Robb Lippitt, Nancy Komer Stone, Andrew Landau, and Michelle Bass. Each one is a special leader.

I’m also proud that we engage supporters in this community and around the world. Tamarack Camps’ greatest supporter is the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. In addition to helping Tamarack financially, JFMD is a consummate thought partner, helping us to strategize, implement plans, and keep our campgrounds safe and secure. Along with JFMD, our community of supportive foundations, alumni, donors and camper families responded to Tamarack Camps during this difficult time, acknowledging that after last summer’s profound loss of camp (and so much disappointment), it is more important than ever to provide an enriching Jewish overnight camp experience in 2021 and for generations to come.