We’re experiencing a string of good Camp Takajo weather as our boys once again enjoyed a sunny, warm summer day. We started our morning taking bunk and individual photos, which sounds like a chore but actually becomes somewhat of a fun morning. Somehow the boys find enjoyment in teasing each other as they have to smile for the camera. Then, they spent time together coming up with short bunk videos that become part of a compilation of the 2021 season.
At the end of the camper photos, my administrative team gets in line for our annual photo. I refer to it as “the ravages of time.” In all seriousness, I’m thrilled to be able to look back at my thirty-two years of ownership and see so many familiar faces from my first summer as the owner still in the picture today. This is Takajo’s special ingredient, the thing that separates our camp from so many others. Our facility is merely an extension of our love and commitment to camp and providing the very best for our boys. It is the continuity in leadership that really sets us apart.
Associate Director Warren Davis was my bunk counselor when I was fifteen years old. He was my tennis coach when I competed in the Kennebec Tennis Invitational and took my bunkmates and the rest of my age group up to Canada during my sub-senior year at camp. Warren was the first person I approached to join me when I purchased Takajo in 1988. He has been by my side every step of the way and has been instrumental in helping our children grow from little boys into fine young men. Gerry Simpson was an incredible athlete from Indiana when he arrived at Takajo during his college years. He ran an amazing basketball program in Warrior Camp and took over as our facility manager when I purchased the camp from Morty Goldman. Gerry is the driving force behind all of the capital improvements we have made over the past thirty-two years. Everything he builds is with your child’s health and safety in mind. Hank Fortin arrived at Takajo fifty-one years ago as a baseball counselor along with his wife, Jane, who has been by his side running Warrior Camp for the past forty-two years. The couple has cared for thousands of little boys as if they were their own. We have current fathers who were raised by Hank and Jane at Takajo who are thrilled to know that their sons will be exposed to the influence of this incredible couple. Neil Minsky spent his childhood at Takajo and credits his desire to go into teaching and coaching from those that influenced him during his camper years. An academic dean at the Brunswick School in Greenwich Connecticut in the wintertime, Neil brings a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience to our Senior program. Bob Lewis spent his adult life running waterfronts at top camps in the country and was introduced to me the year I purchased camp. For thirty-two years, Bob has trained our waterfront staff and has operated our waterfront with safety being his paramount concern yet always creating the right balance for fun and adventure. David Levy was raised at Takajo, entering camp as one of our youngest campers, and never left. After summers of living in a bunk, running our Junior basketball program, he assumes the helm of our middle age group. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall starting Columbia in the fall where he is pursuing a Masters in Education, David brings youth and energy to this important age division of camp. Along with these leaders, we are flanked by so many other hard-working, devoted members of our team that commit their summers, year after year, to your boys.
We live in a world where people jump from job to job, always looking for advancement. The days of receiving the “gold watch” for years of service are long gone, but at Takajo, we have created a culture where our leaders remain. They impart their love and compassion to make your sons’ summer a success.
Photo: Top Row, L to R: Jeff Cunjak, Bob Lewis, Gerry Simpson, Jeff Konigsberg, Warren Davis, David Levy, and Craig Parker. Front Row, L to R: Tara Giroud, Hank Fortin, Jane Martin-Fortin, Nick Andreacci, Neil Minsky, Harrison Manchel, Samantha Olivas, and Steve Olivas.