For nearly 120 years, Tamarack Camps has been a beacon of light – an inclusive home with a critical mission and awesome playground that appeals to families, attracts campers, encourages board participants, and motivates staff members. I have enjoyed the honor of working here for over 12 years – and, as I write this note, nearly four months into a new role, I continue to learn and appreciate even more. Now, especially in this time of physical separation, the spirit of camp reverberates, providing a positive force within the communities we connect. This is “The Greatest Place On Earth.”
As our Chief Executive Officer, I have the pleasure of working with some of the finest leadership on this planet. I feel privileged to be partners with our board president, Geoff Kretchmer, who has been a volunteer at Tamarack Camps for over 16 years. We’re fortunate that, even virtually, his voice remains at the table. Watching him closely, he continues to move us forward – a magnetic link to important partnerships (below, in this newsletter, he shares his perspective on building relationships). He continuously engages our stakeholders with meaningful responsibilities.
Now, in addition to my partnership with Geoff, and, within the purview of my expanded responsibilities, I am humbled to work with our talented year-round staff. We prescribe to this mantra: “The Team. The Team. The Team.”
Look at the picture below, which captures a story: energetic personalities in Zoom squares that have proven the unique ability to think creatively “outside the box.” As proof, in these most difficult times, they have literally written new stories of opportunity for our agency’s timeless treasure – and, in the process, Jewish life landed on screens and programming moved to living rooms. Simultaneously, our personable leadership called, texted, and emailed… proving that direct communication remains within reach. Another mantra: as one of the largest camp populations in the world, we are still a small family.
Today, as winter fades, spring is closer to its bloom, and summer is around the corner. And, of course, with each changing season, we are even closer to home. With that said, the current challenges require us to answer a new reality: in order to open camp, where health and safety remain our number one priority, we must operate differently. So, in preparation of a safe return, where change is embraced, I directly see our staff’s collective resolve and positive attitude. In our high aspiration for continued success, we are rewriting historical operations, as the previous rhythm of our schedule is outdated by the pandemic – and, again, our “out of the box” imagination has resulted in new plans at Camp Maas, re-envisioned tripping routes at Camp Kennedy, and a new outpost program at Camp Olmsted! Now, with cancelled trips due to differing state regulations and international challenges, less program options are available; as a result, we have worked diligently to maximize participation in all viable programs. Of course, as final details are definitively established and incorporated, more information will be communicated; in the meantime, our sleeves are rolled up – and, even remotely, we are at work.
I want to conclude with this: in order to remain successful, our staff is beyond grateful to a distinguished list of valued supporters – The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit; Families; Foundations; Donors; Partners; Alumni; Associations; Campers. And, of course, so many more that enable us to weather this storm.
With deep gratitude, and on behalf of our entire team, we look forward to a new time of fresh air – in a storied agency that transcends time.
Chag Sameach – and all best wishes.