Monthly Archives:March 2017

Director’s Message

Directors Message


Hello Kawaga Nation!

What an honor to be addressing you in our new role.  Lauren and I are thrilled to be the Directors of Camp Kawaga. We want to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and share a little of who we are. (Check out this intro video, so you can meet Shay and Vaughn, too!)

First, we want you to know how deeply we care about creating great memories for your son. And, although fun will always be front and center, our primary responsibility as directors is to ensure that each camper is safe and looked after both on and off the courts, while we teach and reinforce Kawaga’s guiding values. Every staff member will clearly understand this as our top priority.

My Kawaga story began in 1994, when my sister was a ski instructor at camp. After spending only a few hours at Kawaga, she knew how I would thrive there. She phoned to encourage me to spend the second four weeks up at camp when I was 13, which turned out to be a life-changing decision for me. My four summers as a camper were some of the most exciting, happy, and most importantly, confidence-building years of my life. Kawaga broke me out of my shell and taught me countless life lessons. I spent eight years as a counselor. In that role, I realized my love for teaching and coaching, whether on the ski dock, ballfield, or Mess Hall. Every day I watched campers face their fears and try new things, which was incredibly moving and inspiring to me.

Kawaga is my second home. It’s where I was given the opportunity to fail and then to get right back up and try again. Although my Kawaga beginnings may be unique, it’s what I share in common with Kawaga campers through the years that’s really important. It’s about the place and the people, the fun and the memories, the shared values and the incredible friendships. I’m humbled by my new role and am dedicated to assuring that future generations of Kawaga campers will experience and learn from our heritage and culture of enthusiasm spirit, sportsmanship, fellowship, and leadership.    

Lauren’s history at Kawaga is just beginning. She will be coming to the Shores with a deep appreciation for Kawaga’s traditions and ideals from the countless stories I have shared with her over the years. Lauren’s passion for teaching and guiding children drives her everyday. As an accomplished educator, she is dedicated to her students’ growth and success, just as she will be dedicated to your sons. Lauren is friendly, warm, and nurturing. I know she’ll bring a great energy to camp. As I watch her with our two young children, she impresses me every day. She is incredibly patient and compassionate. And, I am so grateful to now have the opportunity to get to work with Lauren to ensure that all of our campers and counselors will have the best summer of their lives.

We want to thank the Fisher and Daube families for this amazing opportunity, their support, and friendship. We’re looking forward to many years on the shores with all of you and the entire Kawaga family.

Lauren and I are excited to get to know you and your sons. We will be in touch with all of you over the next few weeks. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Be Kawaga!

— Ty and Lauren

(Ty: 312.545.4231, Lauren: 248.943.3143,

Leadership Change at Camp Kawaga

Leadership Change at Camp Kawaga


Dear Kawaga Families,

As Kawaga’s owners, we’ve always been humbled by our stewardship of camp. The four of us who are Fisher brothers have owned camp for 31 years and now have been associated with camp for 50 years, fully half of Kawaga’s long history. Our new partner, Ryan Daube, is the son and father of Kawaga braves, having spent nine years himself on the Shores as a camper and counselor.

Over these past many years, we’ve faced challenges and have enjoyed successes. When it comes to making decisions about the future of camp, our “guiding star” has always been to do what’s best for Camp Kawaga.

As you know, we’re in the midst of an ongoing process of revitalizing Kawaga—its grounds, facilities, programming, and staffing. And, as we look ahead not only to the summer of 2017 but beyond, we’ve decided the time is also right to make a change in leadership.

We will be always grateful to Matt and Dewey Abrams for all that they’ve given to and accomplished at camp as our Directors. For the past nine years, they’ve put their heart and soul into Kawaga. Our campers, families, and staff have benefitted from their dedication and hard work.

As stewards of camp, we’re entrusted with Kawaga’s amazing legacy. But, even more so, we appreciate the tremendous responsibility of being entrusted with your sons each summer. We believe Kawaga can be even greater—that camp can be further elevated to even better serve our families, by giving our boys the most incredible summers of their lives, while continuing to teach lessons and instill values that last a lifetime.


We are beyond excited to welcome our new directors: Kawaga’s own Ty Simpson, and his wife, Lauren.

If there’s ever been anyone who’s meant to be the director of Camp Kawaga, it’s Ty. He embodies what it means to “Be Kawaga.” Ty first came to camp 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 be twice awarded Kawaga’s most prestigious honor trophy: Best All-Around Camper. He was a leader of our staff for eight years. Ty has continued to return to the Shores every summer, bringing his special sense of enthusiasm, fellowship, and spirit.

Ty received his degree from Arizona State University in interdisciplinary studies. He has had a highly successful business career. So, in addition to all of his intangible qualities, Ty brings superb communication, project-management, and relationship skills to his new full-time position as Director of Camp Kawaga.

Becoming Kawaga’s director is Ty’s dream job. And, it’s now a dream realized, not only for Ty, but also for the entire Kawaga family.

Lauren, who’s originally from suburban Detroit, is in her 11th year of teaching math, the last eight at Highland Park High School (Lauren and Ty also reside in Highland Park, Illinois). Lauren’s career has entirely focused on kids and education; she holds a Masters degree in Teaching Leadership from the University of Illinois.

Appropriately, it was a Kawaga brave who introduced Lauren and Ty. Lauren was on the Shores during the especially poignant 100th anniversary ceremony. Being at Kawaga during this moment, with Ty serving as the “Special Runner” at the historic pow-wow, made all the pieces come 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.

Ty and Lauren 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 be returning to our camp family this summer. She’s determined to swim the bay!


Kawaga parents: Ty and Lauren will be directly reaching out to all of you soon. They’re hoping to meet as many of you as possible before camp. Until then, please view this “Ty and Lauren intro video.”

Campers: Get excited. We know you’ll love Ty and Lauren and the energy they’ll bring to camp. The summer of 2017 will be beyond special.

Alumni: You know Ty and what he’ll bring. You know he’s extraordinary. Please join Ty, Lauren, and all of us on the Shores for Alumni Weekend June 8-11. Let’s break in the new Mess Hall together!

Thank you all for your continued support, as Kawaga opens a new, exciting chapter.

If you have any questions at all, please contact Ty:


Bobby, Michael, Marc, David and Ryan