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Toast to Tamarack

By: Lee Trepeck

In 1972, the generosity of this community provided a scholarship so a little girl could attend Tamarack. At the time, no one knew that, one day, she would grow to become a motivated staff member in many of the agency’s programs. Ultimately, she would make an indelible impact on Jewish communal life and in the hearts of countless children and families in future generations.

This is the story of Helayne Shaw – distinguished alumna, inspirational leader, community star. On May 26th, during our annual Send a Kid to Tamarack (SK2T) fundraising event, we are honored to recognize the many ways our community has been shaped by her special spirit. And, while the rhythm is different this year – we’ll celebrate virtually – the purpose of our program remains the same: to raise funds for scholarships and send more kids “home.” This is the ongoing, never wavering, foundational bedrock of Tamarack Camps. And, as we raise critical dollars, we recognize that the generosity of investment transforms lives, making this agency a beacon of light.

In addition to Helayne’s story, and further conversation around our mission, the program is packed with so many highlights:

• The enthusiasm of Ken Daniels – During a rare break in his busy schedule, the Emmy award winning voice of the Detroit Red Wings (on Bally Sports Detroit TV) is stepping away from the broadcast booth to hold our microphone. I can’t wait to hear his experiences as a camper and learn how his years as a staff member influenced a career in sports broadcasting.

• The vision of Matt Lester – As the President of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, we are fortunate to call Matt a friend. During his years in this community, he has expressed the value of our mission and is a passionate advocate of camp, and his partnership is absolutely valued and always appreciated.

• The knowledge of Geoff Kretchmer – Throughout his vast experiences at Star Trax, as an event expert, he understands the best course to present festivities. And, for 17 years, as a board member, and now, as our President, he creatively moves us forward. He’s totally driven. Always available. And willing to roll up his sleeves.

• The strength of leadership – Maddi Ishbia and Fran Martin (SK2T co-chairs), alongside Julie Trepeck Harris and Barbara Kappy (development co-chairs), have worked closely with professional staff to create a meaningful program – which includes a special performance from Broadway! With attention to every detail, and a commitment to excellence, they have delivered. Our gratitude is soaring!

And there’s so much more … most importantly, your presence! Technology has broadened our reach – and, as a worldwide connector, we can offer more seats in the front row. This year, the screen will become a gateway to intersect generations of families, staff, alumni, and campers; and, during these uncharted times, with every step, our stakeholders continuously support progression. We’re beyond humbled.

Now, with our SK2T event on the horizon, we are jumping online with extra energy! See you on the playground – where, from your home to ours, we’ll make a heartfelt “Toast to Tamarack.”