Parents often ask me, “What sets Camp Takajo apart from other camps?” While one might think the obvious response is, “Our facility,” that is the last thing that comes to my mind. You could have the most magnificent facility and a terrific program, but a camp is only as good as its staff.
I’m not sure if many of you know that each summer we have a 100% return of our administrative staff. Hank Fortin, assisted by his wife Jane, has been the Warrior Camp group leader for over thirty years. Having a husband-wife team who are parents of two and who have distinguished careers as educators in Massachusetts, gives the right balance of nurturing, warmth and compassion for all of our youngest campers. Not to mention, what incredible role models they are for the young adults who work in their program.
Neil Minsky is an academic dean at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Connecticut during the school year, and heads our Junior Camp division. Neil started as a camper at the age of ten and has not missed a summer since. His knowledge of the camp and his professional background creates a winning combination for our boys in the Junior division.
Paddy Mohan came to Takajo twenty-eight years ago on a student visa from Ireland to teach ceramics. As a teacher and a father of two boys, Paddy combines his personal experience as a parent along with his years as an educator and coach. This combination creates the perfect balance to lead and mentor our oldest boys in camp.
When I was a fourteen-year-old camper at Camp Takajo, Warren Davis was my bunk counselor. I have always had the greatest respect for Warren and consider him part of my family. When I purchased Takajo in 1988, Warren was by my side and has remained there for the past twenty-six years.
Gerry Simpson taught basketball to the Warriors back in the early eighties. His love of camp was so apparent that he spent his winters after graduation working with the caretaker, learning the in’s and out’s of the facility. Gerry’s attention to detail and concern for the safety and well-being of all campers is why Camp Takajo’s facility is among the best in the industry.
Bob Lewis has been our waterfront director for the past twenty-six years. As soon as the season ends, he turns his attention to hiring staff. He speaks with over 1,000 applicants in order to select the finest people to work with the children.
Jeff Cunjak was a camper at Takajo in the mid-seventies. His love of camp brought him back as a young adult when he first met Kevin Eagleson, who hired him as a school teacher. Later, Jeff became the principal of a middle school in Santa Clara, California. Jeff brings his love of camp and his professional talents to camp each summer as our athletic director.
Colleen Eagleson came to Takajo her first summer in diapers. Daughter of legendary basketball coach Kevin Eagleson, Colleen spent her summers at Takajo from the time she was an infant through her teenage years, surrounded by the Takajo campers ensconced in the camp culture. Working her way from teacher, to now principal, of a private school in California, Colleen heads our pioneering and tripping program, which has over 100 trips departing from camp each summer. A wife, mother and educator, Colleen brings all of her skills to the pioneering program.
It is hard to believe that Dan Aubuchon is the rookie in our group as he celebrates his fifteenth year at Camp Takajo. As a top-ranked teaching professional, Dan is responsible for managing our seventeen instructors and the entire tennis program.
Each morning, while your children are asleep, I meet with this group to discuss the intricacies of our program, the relationships in your son’s bunk, and how we can make each day the most special day for your child. We have some very long days at camp, but no matter how long the day, or how challenging the obstacle, these men and women arrive in my office with a smile on their faces and the passion to motivate. So, when people ask me what makes Camp Takajo so special, I think of my team. No matter how special your program, you’re only as good as the people who implement it.
- Today in Warrior camp, two of our three age groups went out on big trips. The Crows went to Story Land, and the Indians drove to Water Country USA for their last big trip together as Warriors this summer.