Kawaga’s Directors & Owners
Ty and Lauren Simpson couldn’t be more excited to be entering their first summer as Kawaga’s Directors. Ty has a 20-year history at camp. It’s the place he loves best. Appropriately, it was a Kawaga brave who introduced Ty and Lauren.
They have two children: Shay, who’s two-and-a-half, and six-month-old Vaughn, who someday (Ty says in just eight years!) will be Little Raging Falcon. Their 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Karma, will also be joining our camp family this summer. She’s determined to swim the bay!
Becoming Kawaga’s director is Ty’s dream job. And, it’s now a dream realized, not only for Ty and Lauren, but also for the entire Kawaga family. Their enthusiasm, energy, and dedication will propel camp to new heights.
Ty and Lauren will be involved in every aspect of camp, ensuring safe, meaningful, and fun-filled summers for every camper.
Ty first came to the Shores as a camper in 1994; he soon realized he found his second home and his second family. Kawaga soon realized we had found a favorite son. Saying that Ty “excelled” at camp is an understatement.
Ty is one of only three campers ever to twice be awarded Kawaga’s most prestigious honor trophy: Best All-Around Camper. He was on staff for eight years, most recently in 2005. Ty has continued to return to the Shores every summer. He has also played an important role in the Kawaga Alumni Association, furthering the bonds and creating more and new experiences for former Kawaga campers and counselors.
Ty received his B.A. from Arizona State University in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on business and communications. Before coming back to camp as Director, Ty had a highly successful business career from which he brings superb communication and relationship skills along with vital project-management experience. His business acumen and instincts will help us continue to grow Kawaga.
Ty exemplifies Kawaga’s core values of sportsmanship, spirit, enthusiasm, fellowship, and leadership. He embodies what it means to “Be Kawaga.”
Lauren, who’s originally from suburban Detroit, is in her 11th year of teaching math at Highland Park High School (Lauren and Ty also reside in Highland Park, Illinois). Lauren’s career has entirely focused on kids and education; in fact, teaching runs deep in both Lauren and Ty’s families. Lauren’s sister is a teacher, and both her and Ty’s mothers were teachers. Lauren holds a Masters degree in Teaching Leadership from the University of Illinois.
Lauren was on the Shores during an especially poignant Kawaga’s 100th anniversary celebration. Ty was secretly brought in to “tap” the “tapper,” and Lauren was there to witness the magic. She, of course, had heard so much about Kawaga from Ty; but being at Kawaga during this moment, with Ty playing a central role, made all the pieces came together for Lauren.
She couldn’t be more excited that Kawaga will now also become a central part of her life. And we couldn’t be more excited about how much Lauren will offer camp.
For the past three decades — amounting to nearly one-third of camp’s long history — Kawaga has been owned by the Fisher Family of Cincinnati. In fact, the Fishers are one of only four families ever to own camp.
When Kawaga’s ownership became available in 1987, brothers Bobby, Michael, Marc, and David quickly made the decision to buy camp and preserve Kawaga’s traditions and values for future generations. The four brothers were all long-time Kawaga campers and counselors. David — known at Camp as Duke — is a former Kawaga director.
Eight of the brothers’ sons have also been Kawaga campers and counselors, and two were on staff for the summer of 2015. The family is committed to Kawaga’s continued growth and is proud that Camp is more vibrant than ever, guided by Kawaga’s values and trusted directors.
Ryan Daube, a second-generation Kawaga Brave who spent nine years on the Shores as a camper and counselor, joined the Fishers in 2015 as an investor in Camp Kawaga. He and his wife Andi have four boys, ages 2-9. The oldest two, Jayden and Tyson, were Kawaga rookies last summer, and both are already counting the days until camp begins next summer.
Ryan shares not only the Fishers’ love of Kawaga, but also their vision for the future — to make Kawaga even more vibrant through strategic innovation and investment throughout camp, while being guided by Kawaga’s timeless values. If you know Ryan, you’ll understand why we’re so excited: his boundless enthusiasm and commitment to Kawaga will benefit camp in many ways for many years to come.
Assistant Director – Harrison Leibow
A long-time camper and counselor, Harry returns to Kawaga this summer as an Assistant Director. Always funny and creative, Harry supervises Kawaga’s Junior Counselor and CIT programs while mentoring all Kawaga staff. After several years in the work force, Harry has returned to school and is in the process of earning his Masters in Social Work. Harry plans to devote his life to school and camping moving forward.
Program Director – Jay Weisman
Jay is a Chicago native now working down in the bayous of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A long-time camper and now nine-year staff member, Jay is both our Program Director and Director of Operations. He loves making sure Kawaga is at the forefront of all new programming and activities. Jay also handles Kawaga’s purchases, ensuring that camp has the newest and most up-to-date equipment. In the off-season, Jay is a high school Geometry teacher, allowing him to continue to bring high energy and life-impacting learning to kids year round.