It’s interesting how nothing happens by accident. I’ve had a life-long love affair with Tamarack Camps — from age 9 to this very day. Tamarack has always been my happy place. My fondest memories all stem back to the amazing camping experience and the comradery among the campers and staff; creating relationships that stand the test of time. It’s no wonder that I waited impatiently for my own children to reach the earliest possible age when they could enroll at camp. I had packed their duffel bags in my mind years before, just waiting for their magic birthdays to be eligible to climb on the big green bus and head off to Ortonville.
My children have attended a combined 12 sessions of camp. With that said, you can only imagine the amount of camping items accumulated each year. As we get ready to start another camp season, and we go through everything saved from previous years, I find there are so many items outgrown, or never used – hiking boots, rain gear, sleeping bags. The camp equipment list is daunting, especially if you have a child going to one of the outpost camps or on a teen travel trip which requires very specific items. I told my daughter it’s a shame we can’t find a way to pass down these items to other campers. After all, there’s a ski equipment swap, why not a camp gear swap!
And here is the nothing-happens-by-accident situation – not long after this conversation with my daughter, I received a call from Gabe Neistein, Alumni Relations Director at Tamarack Camps. Gabe said he had some volunteer opportunities he wanted to discuss. One opportunity he wanted to explore was a program where gently used or new camp items could be shared by other campers. Had I not known better, I would have sworn Gabe overheard the conversation with my daughter. Those words barely came out of Gabe’s mouth when I answered “Yes, I’m in!” And that’s how we started Gear Share, a gear-giving program to help families outfit teens for their summer adventures.
So, when getting ready to pack your kids off to camp this year, remember those outgrown items have many more summers of life in them – and can bring a smile to another camper along the way.
You can donate your gear by dropping items off at the Tamarack Camps office during business hours (6735 Telegraph Road, Suite 380, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301) or our committee members will pick them up from you! For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-952-9030 or visit tamarackcamps.com/gear-share.
From Gear Share committee member, Olga Semanova: “Tamarack has done an incredible job through the years providing scholarships to campers, and has expanded that program even more this year by opening up scholarships to Travel Trip participants. As both a camper and a staff of Tamarack Camps, I know that the cost of going to camp is one thing, and the cost of getting all of the supplies is another. Even though a camper might have a scholarship to go, the cost of the gear might be prohibitive. We decided to help remedy that with this new Gear Share program! I remember as a camper I had an older sister that helped me pick up the right gear for my time at the Outpost Camps, and I could count on her hand me downs to have a lot of what I needed. With this new program, we are hoping that other alum can donate supplies that might be taking up space in their basement, but can be used again by campers. This way, new memories can be made and gear can be put to good use in the back-country again!”
From Gear Share committee member, Elissa Kaufman: “The collection and distribution of camping gear is so important to me because it allows kids to experience adventures through Tamarack Camps that are so difficult to replicate later in life. It is these rewarding camp experiences that will likely positively impact their chosen path in life, as it has mine.”