About a year ago, I received a phone call from, then an acquaintance, now a treasured friend, Beth Dow. The former Camp Director of Camp Fish Tales had taken a job out of state and Beth was asking if I would like to accept the position of Camp Director at Camp Fish Tales. As a retired special education teacher I was beyond excited to start on this new adventure.
I met with Beth and some staff members a few times before I moved up to camp mid May. I was impressed with the progress Camp Fish Tales had made since I had visited the summer of 2016. We started preparing for the arrival and training of our summer camp counselors. It was such a pleasure getting to know the young people who would be our counselors for the season. We provided a week of training before any campers arrived, we wanted to make sure we had the “cream of the crop” recruits to service our awesome campers. In all honesty, a few people decided that this was not the summer job for them. We appreciated that they let us know this during training week and our recruits and staff became a TEAM as that week went on. We felt we had prepared this “crop” of young people to be a companion to their special campers that they would meet throughout summer. We had a lot of training but also a lot of bonding along with learning some new and silly camp songs, preparing skits and enjoying campfires and s’mores (of course s’mores, its camp).
Our first group of campers arrived in June, we were all a bit nervous as we had all never worked together and for several of our counselors, this was their first job. Our campers arrived on Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening found us gathered together on our first hayride of the season. I cannot begin to explain the wonderful feeling I got when I saw this group of camp- ers and counselors together on the hay wagon. We barely got everyone loaded when one of our counselors started singing one of our camp songs. Campers and counselors all joined in as a group and enjoyed the songs and the hayride, I could tell, not only would it be a great week it was going to be an amazing summer. Did we have some bumps in the road, sure we did; did we provide an amazing outdoor experience for some special campers, you bet we did! Camp Fish Tales has become a second home to me and most of our counselors. These young people united as one to provide a truly extraordinary summer for their campers and themselves. They put the needs of others before their own needs to make this happen. There is allure that happens at Camp Fish Tales, the Indians call it “Orenda” meaning “magic power”, it’s the special way that campers, counselors and all staff are transformed from spending just a week and this camp. I am truly blessed that I was able to spend my entire summer here and look forward to an even better 2018 season.
– Pat Dutchik, Camp Director