MIDLAND DAILY NEWS – With the hiring of a new executive director and the launch of its Adopt-A-Cabin fundraising campaign, the Camp Fish Tales board of directors is working to reopen “a new and better than ever” camp for the summer of 2016.
Camp Fish Tales, a 100 percent barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible camp located in northern Bay County, provides outdoor learning experiences where individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities interact and develop skills that enhance their health, abilities, independence and quality of life.
The camp was forced to shut down for the winter due to the malicious activities of a former employee who has since been jailed for embezzlement; however, the board and other volunteers have been working to get the camp updated and ready to open.
“We came together and agreed we just had to make this happen,” said Karl Ieuter, a Midland businessman and chair of the board’s executive committee. “Camp Fish Tales means so much to our many campers who return year after year to the only camp in our area that provides week-long camping experiences to individuals with mental and physical disabilities. There was simply no way we could let Camp Fish Tales stayed closed.”
Ieuter said the past few months have been a real challenge but both his board and the local community have stepped up.
“When we were forced to close the camp and release all employees, there was still an incredible amount of administrative and physical work that needed to be done,” Ieuter said. “Our board and our volunteers have accomplished some amazing things over the winter, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Leading the charge will be Beth A. Dow, the newly hired executive director for the camp. Dow is the former executive director of the Disability Services Resource Center and previously served the Muscular Dystrophy Association as health care service and camp coordinator.
“I look forward to serving the disability community and leading a new team in creating accessible and incredible camping experiences,” Dow said in a press release. “I am thrilled and honored to help write the next chapter of Camp Fish Tales history.”
One of the new initiatives for 2016 is the Adopt-A-Cabin fundraising campaign, where donations will go toward updating and improving the cabins and outside areas where campers with unique physical and cognitive challenges stay and take part in specialized programing.
“Although always safe and in compliance, our cabins and grounds require some much-needed updating,” Dow said. “People donating to this fund will know that their dollars go directly to improving the quality of the cabins, the grounds and the activities that our campers experience every day. Essentially, these donors will become part of that experience.”
Donations to the Adopt-A-Cabin campaign are being accepted at www.crowdrise.com/campfishtales.
More information on Camp Fish Tales programs, camp registration, volunteer opportunities and how traditional donations are made can be found at www.campfishtales.org.