Shannon Forshee appointed Camp Fish Tales Executive Director

Date: April 11, 2018
Contact Person: Shannon Forshee
Info: (989) 879-5199

Shannon Forshee

(Pinconning) The Board of Directors for Camp Fish Tales, located in Pinconning, Michigan, is pleased to announce the appointment of former board member, Shannon Forshee, as Executive Director. Shannon is a former special education teacher with Bullock Creek Public Schools, and an engaged community volunteer for a number of local organizations. In her two years of board involvement with Camp Fish Tales, and as chair of the fundraising committee, Shannon has raised over $50K in additional scholarship and programmatic funding for camp.

“Shannon has shown a great deal of leadership on our board from day one,” said Karl Ieuter, current Camp Fish Tales board chair “although she will be missed in this capacity, we have full faith in her ability to bring camp to the next level during this transitional phase”.

Camp Fish Tales is partnering with IKUS Life Enrichment Services, formally Indian Trails Camp, out of Grand Rapids to deliver its 11 week camping season in 2018.

“This partnership is a great opportunity to bring the expertise and innovation of IKUS to our local community as we work on continually improving our program and providing the best possible experience for our campers” Ieuter added, “With their programmatic leadership and Shannon’s connections and knowledge of this community, we know this will be our best camp season yet”.

Camp Fish Tales is a barrier-free, accessible camp located on 67 acres located on the corner of Erickson and Old State Road between Pinconning and Linwood. Camp Fish Tales serves individuals of all ages with varying types of disability in order to ensure an enjoyable and enriching experience for our campers.

For more information regarding Camp Fish Tales, or to register a camper, please visit or call (989) 879-5199.

Camp Fish Tales Receives Scholarship Money for Midland Campers

Pinconning, MI – April 3, 2018

Camp Fish Tales, a camp for children and adults with special needs, located in Pinconning, Michigan received a grant of $10,000 to provide scholarships to Midland County residents with special needs to attend summer camp.

“Providing an opportunity to attend summer camp is a once is a life time experience for many of the campers,” said Karl Ieuter, Chair of Camp Fish Tales Board of Directors. “We hope these scholarships will provide opportunities for campers from Midland that may not have had the opportunity to enjoy an outdoor camp setting.”

Midland County Youth Action Council (MCYAC) is a project of the Midland Area Community Foundation and is made possible through the Council of Michigan Foundations and supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  The Midland Area Community Foundation provides philanthropic leadership to strengthen our community by fostering collaboration and giving today and in the future.

Camp Fish Tales opened its doors in 1996.  Since that time, summer camperships have grown from 25 campers to 160 campers.  Camp Fish Tales weekend respites have added substantially to camper numbers in the past two years.

“We never want to turn a camper away because they can’t afford camp.  These scholarships will give Midland County campers the opportunity to attend the premier summer camp for campers of all ages with special needs,” said Jan Lampman, member of the board.

Board Member, Shannon Forshee added, “This generous grant from the Midland County Youth Action Council will allow more campers to have their summer dreams come true.”

To apply for a scholarship, go to and fill out the scholarship application or call 989-879-5199.  Registration is open for camp online.

Karl Ieuter, Chair
2177 E Erickson Road
Pinconning, MI 48650

Camp Fish Tales Announces the Recipient of the Ben Wackerle “Keep the Fire Burning Award”

Camp Fish Tales Announces the Recipient of the Ben Wackerle “Keep the Fire Burning Award”

At Camp Fish Tales annual fish races, the Ben Wackerle “Keep the Fire Burning” Award was accepted by Jimmy Smith. Jimmy is a board member and he also attends camp. The tradition at camp is to save the ashes from the last camp fire and use them to start the first fire of the season. This tradition keeps the fire/spirit alive in all of us. Shannon Forshee, board member said, “Jimmy exemplifies keeping the spirit alive. He has a passion for camp. A passion that could never be blown out. Jimmy is such a hard worker. He’s an advocate for camp &  our biggest fan. He is truly a person with passion & we are thankful for him.”  You will find Jimmy around town and at trade shows selling raffle tickets to help campers attend camp.

Registration is now open for summer camp for campers of all ages with special needs. See to register or call 989-879-5199 for more details.

Camp for Children and Adults with Special Needs Gets Big Boost from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation

Pinconning, MI – March 15, 2018

Camp Fish Tales, a camp for children and adults with special needs, located in Pinconning, Michigan received a grant of $120,000 to fund the construction of two new residential housing facilities for campers and staff.

“Some of life’s greatest lessons can be learned in nature,” said Macauley Whiting Jr., President of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. “We hope these new housing units enhance the experience of the campers and staff.”

In the past two years, camper registration has increased by 60 percent. In order to handle the expected increase in 2018 and beyond, the Board of Directors of Camp Fish Tales has embarked on an expansion and renovation project to house and care for children and adults with cognitive and/or physical impairments.

Camp Fish Tales opened its doors in 1996. Since that time, summer camperships have grown from 25 campers to 160 campers. The need for additional housing and bath facilities has grown exponentially. Camp Fish Tales weekend respites have added substantially to camper numbers in the past two years.

The universally designed cabins will house up to an additional 40 campers per session. Estimated growth to over 500 campers per summer is anticipated by 2020.

“We never want to turn a camper away because we don’t have room. The board and staff are working toward making Camp Fish Tales the premier summer camp for people with special needs,” said Karl Ieuter, chairman of the board.

Board member, Jan Lampman says, “This generous grant from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation will pave the way for Camp Fish Tales to move forward and make summer dreams come true for more and more campers.”

Karl Ieuter, Board Chair
2177 E Erickson Road
Pinconning, MI 48650

New Sensory Room To Be Added At Camp Fish Tales

February 16, 2018
Contact: Kate Hofmann, (989) 894-3813

Leadership Bay County Class of 2018Bay City, MI – With the help of the Leadership Bay County class of 2018, Camp Fish tales is looking forward to the addition of a new sensory room this spring.

Leadership Bay County, a program of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, includes a nine-month curriculum designed to help participants better understand the community. The average class size is 20 people, who are also challenged to select and complete a class project.

“We were presented with a number of options for our class project, including a proposal from Camp Fish Tales to develop a sensory room specially designed for campers with autism,” said Leadership Bay County participant Kate Hofmann. “It quickly became apparent to our group that this project would have a lasting impact on our community, and we jumped at the chance to get started.”

In the proposal, Camp Fish Tales describes the discomfort and anxiety campers with autism sometimes feel when introduced to a new environment. “Though each person with autism is an individual, many have difficulty processing sensory information,” said Rachel Bartlett, Executive Director at Camp Fish Tales. “Though camp can be an overall enjoyable experience, some campers with autism have trouble processing their new sensory environment, which may make them uncomfortable and act out.”

A sensory room is a space designed with special elements to help engage the senses. Sensory rooms often include lights, colors, calming sounds, sensory play objects and aromas all within a safe environment that allows a person to explore without risk.

Camp Fish Tales Sensory RoomCamp Fish Tales looks forward to having a space to serve as therapy for those with sensory issues. The addition of a sensory room may also help the camp expand the number of individuals with autism they are able to serve.

“I am so impressed with the Leadership Bay County class, and am grateful for all they have done,” Bartlett said. “They have done their homework, and you can tell time and thought were really put into this project. We just can’t thank them enough, and the parents of our campers are so excited.”

The completion of the project is anticipated for June of 2018, which means campers will be able to use the room this summer.

“Most people do not understand the sensory issues that come with autism,” said Tonya Asbury, whose son Tristan has autism. “I would feel confident sending my son to a camp with a sensory room to help him during the times he is over-stimulated and overwhelmed.  It would put my mind at ease to know sensory tools are available to help calm him.”

Bartlett is eager to see the sensory room in action, and is proud to be able to offer the space to families and campers who need it. “They feel like this is an ‘aha’ moment – that people are finally paying attention to their needs on the disability spectrum,” Bartlett said. “We are working to provide a people-first, person-centered unique camping experience, and the Leadership Bay County class is helping us make that happen.”

Bay Area Chamer of Commerce

Leadership Bay County will host a silent auction fundraiser at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on March 20, 2018 at the Doubletree Hotel. All proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the development of the Camp Fish Tales sensory room. Those interested in donating to the silent auction can contact Jena Lowell at or 989-460-1681.

Current sponsors of the project include Consumers Energy, McLaren Bay Region, Northwoods Wholesale Outlet, Bob & Joyce Hetzler, Catholic Federal Credit Union, Chemical Bank, Garber Chevrolet Linwood, Independent Bank, Labadie Buick GMC, Northern Concrete Pipe, Inc. and Serenus Johnson Construction.

The Leadership Bay County Class of 2018 includes Stephen Bigelow, Superintendent of Bay City Public Schools; Michael Ciaciuch, Founder and Principal of Act Two Financial Advisors; AmyLou Gage Douglas, Corporate Data and Health Information Technology Manager for CMU Health; Sarah Dufresne, Vice President of Business & Finance at Delta College; Alyssa Gulvas, Insurance Advisor and Owner of Gulvas Agency – Farm Bureau Insurance; Kate Hofmann, Marketing Communications Specialist at McLaren Bay Region; Melissa Jo Horn, Admission Advisor for the Great Lakes Bay Region and Online Programs for Northwood University; Jessica Jacobs, Account Manager for Valley United Insurance Agency; Sean Kelly, Performance Engineer at Consumers Energy; Jena Lowell, Catering Sales Manager for the DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City-Riverfront; Molly Neymeiyer, Business Account Manager at Consumers Energy; Alan Nicholls, Regional Manager for PM Environmental, Inc.; Mike O’Hearn, Assistant Athletic Director, Facilities and Events at Saginaw Valley State University; Melissa Pashak, Marketing Specialist at Catholic Federal Credit Union; Amber Phillips, Assistant Vice President Bank Manager for Independent Bank; Emily Radlinski, Collections Manager for the Bay County Historical Society; Josh Rappuhn, Senior Accountant at Weinlander Fitzhugh; Chris Sheridan, Senior Accountant at Yeo & Yeo, CPAs & Business Consultants and Melissa Vrable, Principal of Bangor Central Elementary.

Camp Fish Tales Receives $17,000 from Community Wish Gala


Rachel Bartlett, Executive Director
Camp Fish Tales

Midland, MI – The Community Wish Gala of Midland chose Camp Fish Tales, Pinconning, MI as one of its three recipients of funds from its annual charity fundraising events. On January 16th, the Community Wish Gala gave three checks totaling $51,000 to Midland County Emergency Food Pantry, A Brighter Tomorrow, and Camp Fish Tales hosted at the Whine, Wackerly Road, Midland MI. The Holiday Wish Gala held in December raised more funds this year than ever before.

Camp Fish Tales is a camp for children and adults with special needs and has been serving campers since 1993. The $17,000 check will be used towards scholarships and programming activities for its upcoming camping season. The camp expects to serve over 200 campers in 2018 and has grown over 200% over the last two years.

“This is truly unbelievable. I am so impressed with the efforts of this group and how giving they are following the holiday season. Their efforts do not go unnoticed, and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done. I hope they realize the impact they have made,” commented Rachel Bartlett, Executive Director of Camp Fish Tales.

To learn more about Camp Fish Tales please visit their website at or visit their Facebook page for upcoming events.