There is a tradition at Camp Takajo– the early morning “Brass Meeting,” started by founder Morty Goldman. Since 1947, before the sound of reveille, the camp’s administrators meet for a morning meeting. When caring for children, it is critical to have an attention to detail. In my 26 years as owner, I have discovered that there are far more details to manage today than ever before.
Every child needs to be treated as an individual, and cared for as such. The “Brass” assume a tremendous amount of responsibility. I have the distinct honor of starting my day with Hank Fortin, Warrior Group Leader. Hank, a 44-year veteran staff member, along with his wife and partner, Jane, oversee our youngest campers. Sitting to Hank’s left is Neil Minsky, Junior Group Leader, who is celebrating 23 years with us here at camp. As a former camper who grew up at Takajo, Neil now spends his winter months as a dean at Brunswick Middle School, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Neil is the perfect man to lead our fifth and sixth graders through our camp season. Sitting to Hank’s right is Paddy Mohan, Senior Group Leader. A teacher in Ireland in the winters, Paddy has the unique knack of motivating these adolescent young men throughout the summer. His two sons have attended camp each summer since they were born. Also present at this meeting, is our athletic director, Jeff Cunjak, who has been with us for 18 years. A father of three, and a teacher and vice principal during the school year, Jeff met his wife, Priscilla, here at Camp Takajo. They exchanged vows a few years later, overlooking Long Lake.
Tennis director, Dan Aubuchon, returns for his 15th year and brings his knowledge of the game, as well as his warmth and personality. Recognizing the popularity in tennis, Dan’s goal is to manage his staff of 17 coaches to develop that campers’ skills for a lifetime of tennis. Head of pioneering, Meghan Eagleson, a 17-year veteran, joins our morning meetings to shed light on the intricacies of managing 100 camping and day trips that take place each summer. Following in the footsteps of her father, the great coach, Kevin Eagleson, and her sister, Colleen, Meghan has assumed the lead in the pioneering department.
The morning meeting would not be the same without the head of our waterfront, Bob Lewis, who returns for his 26th year. Bob’s waterfront experience and extensive background are matched by his quick-wit and dry sense of humor. And to my right, is the first man I would follow into a foxhole, Warren Davis. As a 41-year member of the Camp Takajo community, his attention to detail and can-do attitude is second to none. For an hour each morning, before your children are awakened by the sound of reveille, we discuss your child, his development, and how we can provide an exciting and enriching day. This time-tested idea has proven to be successful from the beginning days of the camp and remains with us today. The Brass Meeting is a time for us to focus on the needs of each child, and plan the Camp Takajo experience.