Meet Kawaga’s New Expert Instructors

Dear Kawaga Families,

Hello and hope this email finds you well and getting excited for Summer. We are so close to being together again on the shores and our team is full speed ahead finalizing preparations for another amazing camping season.

Over the past few years, Kawaga has made significant investments in our physical facilities, including our new Mess Hall, Paddle Ball and Pickleball facility, cabins, sports fields, and courts. These enhancements are ongoing, and make Kawaga’s facility second to none.

This year, we’re focusing on investing in people and programs. Specifically, instruction – to elevate our program by providing a high level of skill-development for our campers through programmatic innovation.

We’re excited to announce the hiring of four talented, experienced instructors and senior staff members:

  • Denise Murphy, Director of Rackets
  • Andy Freeman, ‘81 CIT, Director of Aquatics
  • Phil Beans, Sports Performance Specialist
  • Josh Schottenstein, Pottery and Golf Specialist

Denise Murphy, our new Director of Rackets, is no stranger to Kawaga, to camping, or to providing rackets instruction. In addition to being an outstanding instructor, Denise is passionate about working with kids and making a difference in their lives through experiences in Sports. We are excited to see Denise continue to build our rackets program and teach these lifesports to our campers. Among her many accomplishments, Denise…

  • Previously taught at Kawaga and other Summer Camps
  • Is a Professionally Ranked Paddle Tennis Player
  • Was an All-American Tennis Player at Penn State where she earned her degree in Education
  • Head Varsity Tennis Coach at Lake Forest High School (IL) 2004-2022
  • Winner of four Illinois State Championships
  • Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2019
  • Is 1 of 8 finalists for National High School Coach of the Year for 2023
  • Currently runs Kawaga’s Off-Season Paddle Tennis Program

Andy Freeman, an ‘81 CIT, returns to Kawaga this Summer as our Director of Aquatics. He’s a Masters Swim Coach for two high-level clubs in Boulder, CO. His responsibilities will include: managing our Red Cross Certified Instructional Swim Program, Red Cross Lifeguard Training, Emergency Response Training, and overall water safety. Andy’s expertise will not only make Kawga’s campers better swimmers, but will inspire innovation and fun across all of our water-sports programs.Andy’s certifications include:

  • Red Cross Lifeguard
  • Red Cross Lifeguard Certified Water Safety & Swim Instructor
  • Certified USA Swimming Coach
  • USMS Level I Masters Swim Coach

Phil Beans will lead our new Sports Performance initiative and provide further value to our Basketball Program. After playing Division I college basketball, Phil developed a particular specialty and passion for developing Physical Literacy in young people. He inspires kids as he teaches them to have the ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life. Recognizing the unfortunate trend of children becoming sedentary from screen-overload, Phil currently teaches after-school programs in Chicago, including at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet, and travels the country implementing his curriculum in schools nationwide. We look forward to bringing his expertise into our instructional offerings and seeing his impact on the basketball courts and throughout our sports performance programming.

Finally, we’re privileged to welcome back to the shores Josh Schottenstein as a Pottery Specialist and Golf Instructor. A former Kawaga camper, Josh is a skilled instructor with a particular passion for using pottery as a tool to help those in need of emotional-health support. Josh is also an accomplished golfer and will be providing golf instruction to our campers this summer. We’re excited to introduce this new programming to our campers and are grateful to have Josh on our team.

As we build towards an amazing summer, Kawagas’ 109th, we’re privileged to again have an incredible staff return rate: more than 90% of our cabin counselors will be coming  back home to Kawaga! Most important, these individuals represent the most dedicated group of camp counselors in the country. Together, with our new expert senior instructors and our admin team, our counselors will assure that Kawaga’s campers will have the best summer of their lives as they learn and grow in big and meaningful ways.

Be Kawaga!

Ty and Lauren Simpson

Ben Fisher