After fifty-two summers at Takajo, forty-six as Warrior Camp Group Head, Hank Fortin is turning over the reins to his summer son, Harrison Manchel.
“Henry” Fortin came to Camp Takajo in 1971 as a baseball counselor. A fine college player in his day, he was immediately dubbed “Hammerin’ Hank” by then director – and baseball aficionado – Morty Goldman. Hank ran the Senior Camp baseball program for six summers before becoming Warrior Group Head. In 1980, Hank met the love of his life, Jane Martin, and eight months later they were married. Fortunately, Jane also fell in love with Camp Takajo and has been at Hank’s side every step of the way. “Hank and Jane” are like “Peanut Butter and Jelly,” can’t say one without the other. They are synonymous with Warrior Camp and have mentored thousands of not only our youngest campers, but the young men and women who have served as their counselors.
The good news is that Hank and Jane will continue to be at camp. Like Serena Williams, they will “evolve” into different roles, continuing to share their wisdom and experience with Harrison and all of us at camp.
Harrison Manchel started his Takajo career at age ten in 2002 and hasn’t missed a summer since. After his Okee year in 2007, Harrison returned as a counselor. In 2012, he became Hank’s assistant. At that time Harrison also assumed responsibility for overseeing the Crows, campers ages seven and eight. This is an incredibly important position to make sure our youngest boys receive the extra attention and TLC they deserve to ensure a successful first experience at overnight camp. Because Harrison has done such an amazing job as Head of the Crows, we’ve created similar positions for Hawks, age 9, and Eagles, age 10, to add an extra layer of supervision in those age groups.
During the “off season,” Harrison is our assistant staffing director, so he’s always had a vested interest in hiring responsible, empathetic and professional young men and women. When we assign counselors to bunks this summer, Harrison will no doubt be very selective about the counselors he wants in Warrior Camp!
We are so blessed to have this kind of continuity in leadership at Takajo. The love for camp that Hank and Jane have shown through the years, and the seamless transition that Harrison will bring to his new role, are a significant part of why Camp Takajo is such a special place for so many.