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Fireside Chats at

Established 1925 Camp Daggett

03001 Church Road

Petoskey, Michigan 49770

Summer 2019

From The Desk of The Executive Director: Parting IS Such Sweet Sorrow…………………………….. Like some of you, I was “assigned” to read writings of William Shakespeare in school at a variety of educational levels. I must admit that I was surprisingly entertained by his writings and did, overall, score fairly well on my oral and written book reports following those daunting assignments. Never did I ever imagine using part of one of his famous lines in my final Fireside Chats Article for Camp Daggett. But, alas! Where for art thou a supportive reasoning to this madness?! Well, if I have not lost you as a reader just yet - yes, as of Tuesday, November 12th – I will be parting Camp Daggett with sweet sorrow as the longest serving executive director in its rich 94-year history. It does not seem all that long ago that I was hired as the Camp Daggett Adventure Center Assistant Director in July of 2002. It was an all-star interview panel with Board of Trustee Legends: Clark Ketchum, Pat McFall, John DiMartino, Mike Hills, and Jerry Donnelly exercising their due diligence for the Organization. The man, the myth, the living legend - John Heinzelman was also in attendance as the current executive director at that particular time. John DiMartino, an Emeritus “Hall of Fame” Board of Trustee Member (whom just celebrated his 100th birthday on June 24th) has told me numerous times, “Brent, I will never forget that you agreed to take a pay cut in order to become an employee at Camp Daggett. I was just so impressed by that.” As I have shared with Mr. DiMartino, it was a calculated risk; but one that I knew I would not regret due to Camp’s overall purpose and wonderful mission to serve others. And, boy – was I ever right?! In just a little over one year, I was appointed to serve as the Camp Daggett Adventure Center (CDAC) Director in October of 2003. It was incredible to report to work each day with the goal of building people up in a myriad of sociological, psychological, and physiological ways. I facilitated that program solo until the warm welcome of Karen Marietti in the autumn of 2005 to join me as a co-pilot. A few short years later, I accepted the honorable position to lead Camp Daggett as its next executive director. Now then, much like past President Barack Obama, I was appointed a prominent lead role just as the economy was tanking in 2008 and ultimately resulting in our nation’s Great Recession in the next few years to follow. You talk about some lessons being learned the hard way! I call those my formative years.  So, did my calculated risk involve a surprise down-turn in our economy? You know the obvious answer to that question. It took some serious rolling-up of the sleeves, some blood, sweat, and yes – even a bit of swearing in closed quarters to persevere through some intense and uncertain times. I have always believed in the notion of the glass being half full, no matter the circumstances. I have laughed much and I have even cried at times during my tenure, yet I know that I am a better person to have served Camp Daggett in a variety of capacities and contexts for the past 17 years. As we often say at Camp Daggett, “It is a labor of love.” Our mission is one that melds well with my soul and high degree of inner peace as a human being. It does take a big heart to help shape little minds. And for just that alone, I cannot thank my dedicated team of staff for going above and beyond the call of duty to make it all happen over these years. One word: respect. I love these people for what they do and for who they are. Camp Daggett is a wonderment of positive energy and passion to help make for a better tomorrow. I am proud of Camp’s past, yet confident and encouraged for its future. And with that, I will say “goodbye for now until it be morrow.” (wink )

Pleased to have been yours in service, Brent A. Marlatt Executive Director

More in this issue ...

Transition of Leadership Begins

Sights and Sounds on Wilderness Trips

Volunteers an Important Asset for Camp Daggett

Summer Camp Journal “Welcome to Camp Daggett, please don’t peel the birch bark”, this is one of the first things I remember seeing when I first visited the camp back in 1982. Physically, camp was different back then, old Mac Hall still stood and many other buildings were still wearing white. While buildings have changed, been moved and new ones built, most everything else about camp remains the same, now thirty-seven years later.

On August 10th we said goodbye to Summer Camp 2019. That day marked the last summer camp for John Guirey, our summer camp director for the past 27 years. It also marked the last summer at Camp Daggett for Brent Marlatt, Executive Director. This November, we will celebrate Brent’s retirement and his service to Camp Daggett as the Executive Director since 2007. We will also welcome John Guirey as he takes on the reins of Executive Director and Nathan Fleshman, in turn, will take on the responsibilities of Summer Camp Director in 2020. We are pleased that Nathan and his wife, Bridgette, have found jobs in Northern Michigan teaching and will be active partners in all that goes on at Camp Daggett on a year-round basis. Thank you all for your service to our children and our communities! The “Other Fellow First” lives in all of you!!

Like so many years before, this summer camp season has been stellar. Mother Nature cooperated for the most part and every week provided pleasant weather for the campers and staff to enjoy. While summer did take a while to ramp up, we are thankful for the ample sunny days we had for playing and the cool, starry nights that made for restful sleep. Each week we found ourselves wishing the days could slow down to better enjoy each moment. Some highlights from the summer would have to include our new fishing dock! Our fishing club is always a big hit and now campers have extra opportunities to grab a pole and try for a big one. The arts and crafts area received a new kiln this spring, thanks go out to the Petoskey-Harbor Springs community foundation who provided funds for the new kiln. It has already been in service as part of our weekly arts and crafts program. An interesting development for our summer artists turned out to be the new asphalt pavement installed this spring outside the Arts building. The new pavement is so smooth that campers have been drawing on it all summer with sidewalk chalk, there have been some amazing art pieces created by our camper/artists all summer. A new trip was added this year to our wilderness program making four trips that campers can choose from. I had the opportunity to accompany the campers on the Canoer trip this summer as we tested our paddling skills on the Crystal, Platte and Betsie rivers. The final wilderness trip of the season is headed to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore this week. I highly recommend any of these trips as another way to enjoy the outdoors with our wonderful Camp Daggett staff. The Nature Center has had an abundance of fun animals to enjoy this summer. In addition to the usual suspects, we have had a blast watching our first hatching of baby chicks a few weeks ago. As the eleven youngsters have already moved to their outdoor pen, we are awaiting the hatching of our new brood. Hopefully the baby chicks will hatch before the end of the week.

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Continued from Last Page ... I can’t forget to give a shout out to former camper and eagle scout candidate, Jack Armstrong. As part of his eagle scout project, Jack built a new shed to house all of our archery equipment right next to the archery range. It was quite an event to watch Jack and his boy scout helpers assemble the shed. Thanks so much Jack!

Overall, it has been a wonderful summer here on the shores of Walloon. Camp Daggett is in its ninety-fourth year of operation and it is my last year as the summer camp director. This Fall I will be “moving indoors” to oversee year-round operations of camp as the new executive director. After two years as a camp counselor and then the past twenty-six years as the summer camp director, I am ready for a new challenge. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to guide camp into the future. Camp Daggett is a place I love so deeply that words don’t do justice. As I transition into the next chapter of my life at Daggett, I leave the summer program in good hands and with a feeling of gratitude to have been a part of such an amazing life experience. The memories and friendships made throughout the years have filled my heart beyond a capacity I ever thought was possible. So I am not saying good bye, but instead, thank you for all for being a part of this wonderful place. Day is done, gone the sun. From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky, all is well………. Good night Daggett. In the Spirit of Daggett, JJ Guirey

OUR SUMMER STAFF IS AMAZING!! More than two dozen young people came to Camp Daggett to spend their summer working on the shores of Walloon Lake. Some had been here before, some had never been to the Little Traverse Bay Area. Some had been campers. Some came from nearby, some came from other countries. All of them came for the same purpose: to spend a summer nurturing the hundreds of campers who check in throughout the summer.

It is the summer staff here at Camp Daggett that makes a camper’s week so special. All of our counselors, area directors and support staff put their heart and soul into making sure each and every camper has a safe, fun and meaningful week. It is amazing to see the impact that a member of our staff can have on a camper in just a few short days. In the cabins, counselors never cease to amaze with the ways that they bond with campers and turn a group of ten and eleven campers into a true team by the end of the week. Area directors work to engage campers with new programming and night activities. The staff in the kitchen work tirelessly to prepare all the food our campers need to have a great week. Even the maintenance team puts the campers first in their duties. Summer camp starts with the first day of staff training week. It is hard to describe staff training week to someone who has not been through it. In a matter of minutes, a group of people who may or may not know each other meet and become a cohesive team. In fact, by Sunday night you would be hard-pressed to tell the returners from the new staff. I think this is a testament to the sort of person who would work at a summer camp. It is refreshing to hear returning staff step up and share their strategies and challenges with the new staff. There are many different things that an 18 to 25 year-old could do with their summer. They could probably wait tables and make more money. They could do an internship and earn college credit. They could relax at home and enjoy the summer. Instead we are joined each summer by a group of young people who understand that life is about more than money and college credits; they understand that it is about experience. Just as our campers have powerful transformations during the week, our staff all show tremendous growth throughout the summer. Working with children is one of the most rewarding things that a person can do. Camp Daggett Summer staff will be well prepared for whatever challenges they encounter in the future. Nathan Fleshman 2020 Summer Camp Director


It has been another busy and eventful summer at the Camp Daggett Adventure Center, full of amazing trips, beautiful natural settings and great stories to tell. Every year we head out for another round of expeditions into the wilderness with campers, and every year we are amazed and grateful for the surprises and gifts that Mother Nature presents us with on the trail. This year, was yet again, no exception.


Of course there are always stunning sunsets to watch, magnificent rock formations to stand atop of, crystal cool waters to soak in, and never-ending dunes to scale. And while all of these sites were nothing short of astounding, it was our encounters with wildlife that truly took center stage this year. From the coyotes yipping and howling in the night, to the rattling trill of the sandhill cranes flying over our heads in formation, there was no shortage of animals to spot, calls to hear, or tracks to follow this summer. We encountered bald eagles soaring silently overhead, and witnessed piping plovers scurrying about on sandy beaches. We sat quietly as deer appeared from the brush to graze and drink in the dying light near our campsite. We watched as a red fox snuck along the beach and darted in and out of the scrub looking for a meal. Turtles dove off from logs and snakes slithered away as we made our way down rivers and trails. And whippoor#7 wills sounded their “alarm” as the days turned to nights. As amazing as all of these encounters were over the course of our summer, one experience stands out above all of the rest. At the end of a hot and buggy week in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, our group was set up for the night in a quiet little ridge campsite surrounded by tall grass, and just on the edge of some short pines. We had finished dinner and the group was gathered up as day turned to night, finishing end of the evening tasks before heading off to our tents. Earlier in the evening, we had noticed some significant track activity on a game trail not far from our campsite; evidence of coyote, deer, bear and even elk were present. Needless to say it was a little exciting to see. After checking out the trail and subsequent tracks, we headed back to our tents, and prepared to hunker down for our last night under the stars. That is when we heard the first of the calls. A distinct and clear grunt followed by a bugle. Then another bugle, followed by another bugle, until it seemed as if they were all around us. ELK! Our campers eagerly started asking…what is that? What’s out there? The campers started popping their heads out of their tents as if budding flowers on a spring morning. With eager and hesitant looks on their faces, they searched the tree line in hopes of catching a glimpse of the creatures making these sounds. Unfortunately, they remained elusive from our sight but continued#10 to serenade us into the night from all directions. It was an amazing experience to be a part of, not only to see our campers experience it, but to know that these beautiful creatures seemed to almost be standing guard around the perimeter of our campsite. Something that we will never forget, and further reminder of why we do the work that we do, and why we seek out beautiful places in nature. We can’t wait to see what adventures await us again next year. Until then, see you down the trail! Karen Marietti & Drew Baar CDAC Directors

Our Newsletter, Wish List and Event Schedule are all available on our website for you or your friends’ convenience.


New Main Entrance Carvings Welcome Folks To Camp Daggett While enduring the four seasons in northern Michigan and all of the external elements that accompany those particular seasons, outdoor wooden carvings slowly succumb to eventual depreciation. In the year 2000, two handsome carvings depicting a mother black bear, her two cubs pestering a hornet’s nest, and our national symbol perched atop one of the carving tops; were erected and adorned Camp Daggett’s main entrance for almost 20 years. In 2016, it was apparent that the innumerable patches and “Band-Aids” to the carvings were a losing battle to carpenter ants and the natural urges of pileated woodpeckers to find a delectable meal deep inside the heart of the carvings. As a result, Brent Marlatt, Camp’s Executive Director decided to start the replacement process. Knowing that cedar (with its natural water repellent capabilities) would be the premium medium of choice for a carver of outdoor artwork, Brent approached four different sawmills in the immediate vicinity looking for two, ten-feet tall by eighteen-inch diameter cedar tree lengths. None of his leads could help him locate this unusually large log request. The carver was more than happy to do the work, but he also could not locate trees of this size and mass. One day Brent was discussing this dilemma with his uncle, Rod Marlatt. Rod being an avid outdoorsman, retired high school biology teacher, and all-round great guy; came to the rescue. With the help of Rod and his son, Todd Marlatt, the three of them harvested two dead and down cedar trees that were lost in a wind storm a few years prior. They loaded and hauled the cedar logs to the carver, along with a few additional sections of cedar logs to help defray and reduce costs to Camp for the artwork. The carver, Michael Operhaul, was delighted with what was presented to him to work with. Come to find out, Mike attended the very same school that Rod first began his teaching career (early 70’s) in southern Michigan - Lincoln Jr/ Sr. High School. Just over a year after delivering the cedar logs to Mike, Rod Marlatt became deathly ill due to chronic complications with bone cancer. Mike and his daughter forwarded images of the carvings in process to be shared with Rod just prior to his passing in order to inform Rod of his integral part of a lasting legacy in the form of Mike’s artwork for Camp Daggett. Mike asked me to tell Rod that “he would see him one day in the happy hunting grounds.” During this time, Mike was also struggling with poor health that he attributed to COPD (a chronic lung condition). Brent called Mike on February 13th of this year to see where things were at with the carvings. Mike’s daughter answered the phone and informed Brent that Mike had passed away that very morning due to lung cancer……….. So, shocked and heart-broken over the loss of now two great souls directly involved with this initiative, Brent was in a state of sorrow and slight despair. Months later, Brent called Mike’s wife, Margaret, to see what could be done. She informed Brent that Mike has a younger brother, Eric, whom also carves on the side of his construction profession in Wolverine, MI. Margaret and Eric discussed the situation. Some of Mike’s final words to his family were his desire to have the carvings finished for Camp Daggett. Eric whole-heartedly embraced the project and finished it for the benefit of Camp Daggett and in all due respect to his beloved brother. As you can see from the image, Mike and Eric did a phenomenal job! Thank you to the all above mentioned names in this article for your time, commitment, and dedication to make it a reality for thousands to enjoy for decades to come. This is our very special way of saying, “Welcome to Camp Daggett!” (Wildlife Species Depicted: bald eagle; whitetail deer buck, doe, fawn; coyote; great blue heron; river otter with yellow perch in its mouth; beaver chewing on the pole)


Camp Daggett will soon have an Online Camp Store where you will be able to order sweatshirts, tee shirts and hats. A link to the online store will be provided on the website and in our monthly e-newsletters. We will annouce it on the Camp Daggett Facebook page as soon as it is available.

The Wait Is Over!! Right now, as I rattle the keys on this computer keyboard at my desk; four Truestream Technicians from Great Lakes Energy, Paul Loucks – Camp’s Avaya Phone System Administrator, and Mark Tarquini – Camp’ s I.T. Chair are all working collectively in order to network the new fiber optic cabling to Camp Daggett’s new telecommunications system!! This is MON-U-MENTAL for the Organization moving forward. It represents a massive checkmark engraved on the organizational “to-do” checklist! Not only is this a much more reliable system, we also went from averaging a broad-band speed of 2.5 MB/second to a miraculous fiber optic speed of 86 MB/second! As some of you might know (or experienced firsthand) Camp Daggett has struggled incredibly with its broad-band service. Our location (though beautiful, scenic, and immersed in wilderness) has been the most limiting factor until this very moment in time. Over the course of the past five years, four different suppliers have been investigated and seriously considered as a solution to our telecommunications woes: Cherry Capital Connection, Merit Network, Charter-Spectrum, and AT&T. All the listed service providers ended up not being the correct fit for Camp’s needs due to a variety of hurdles and extenuating complications. Just over a year and a half ago, Camp Daggett Trustee, Grant Martinchek called me up and shared with me an initiative that Great Lakes Energy was working on. Grant provided me with a direct contact at Great Lakes Energy, and the rest is history! I have been impressed with Great Lakes Energy’s attention and ultra-professional communications throughout the process. Our previous unreliable connectivity was a poor, misguided representation of our organization’s mission to offer top-notched customer service, which we collectively take very, very seriously. My entire team and I are extremely happy and excited to finally have a reliable conduit in which to communicate with our customers and patrons. To all of our customers, thank you for your patience and understanding to this point. To all of those skilled individuals that helped make this happen, we are most grateful and indebted to your service to solve a problem and make Camp Daggett an even stronger organization to help serve all that seek its teachings. With immense gratitude and a huge sigh of relief, Brent A. Marlatt Executive Director (Image: L to R Mike Youngs, Dale Stolt, Brandon Smith, Brent Marlatt, Les Long, Mark Tarquini, and Paul Loucks)


KAYAK FOR A CAUSE ON WALLOON LAKE JULY 20, 2019 Thank you to all our sponsors and participants in this event! For more information and links for sponsors go to the website.

Volunteering at Camp Daggett Usually I write an article for our Newsletter called the “Lodge Log” detailing the many groups that utilize the Lodge at Camp Daggett throughout the year. This time I thought I would write about the many people/groups that volunteer and donate their time and resources to make all that we do at Camp Daggett possible. Camp Daggett, as you probably know is a non-profit, 501( c ) (30 that relies heavily on donations. In fact, around 28% of our annual revenue is derived from donations. I am always amazed by the generosity of our supporters, whether it be at our annual golf outing or the many $25 donations that we receive throughout the year. They add up and allow many children to attend Camp that would otherwise not be able toafford it. We also have groups volunteering of their time and energy during the year which helps immensely, allowing us to put on our programs and maintain the beautiful facilities and property. Volunteers provide over 10,000 hours annually.

We have events like the Father/Son and Mother/ Daughter Weekends, the Bearcub Outfitter Snowshoe Outings in January and February and our biennial Fall Festival. We rely heavily on volunteers for all of these events. Volunteers do perform many jobs and share their expertise. These include the person that pilots the pontoon boat, helps with parking cars, or washing dishes. DNR officers demonstrate forest safety, other volunteers teach tge fathers and sons how to ice-fish, and the “sugarbushers” collect buckets of sap for our maple syrup operation.

This past year, we had a Boy Scout choose Camp Daggett for his Eagle Scout Project. Scout, Jack Armstrong with the help of his father and some fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 5, constructed a shed for Camp’s archery equipment (see picture on page 3). We are always looking to host additional groups. If you are interested in using Camp Daggett for an event, please call Ed Leverenz at 231-3479742 ext. 112.

The volunteers from Harbor Hall help maintain the premises and the many area service clubs that adopt a cabin help get camp ready each year for our summer campers. There are many other people that help throughout the year that make Camp Daggett a special place. You know who you are and Camp would not be what it is without your help.

Think you would like to get involved with Camp Daggett?! Contact Grace Ketchum to get information on volunteer opportunities!

Our Newsletter, Wish List and Event Schedule are all available on our website for you or your friends’ convenience.


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*Saturday, January 27 and *Saturday February 29, 2020 Bearcub Outfitters Torchlight Snowshoe Outings at Camp Daggett *Friday- Sunday, February 7-9, 2020 Father-Son Weekend at Camp Daggett *Friday - Sunday, May 15-17, 2020 *Friday - Sunday, October 16 -18, 2020 Mother-Daughter Weekends at Camp Daggett *Thursday, June 4, 2020 17th Camp Daggett Golf Benefit at Walloon Lake Country Club *DATE TO BE DETERMINED July 2020 12th Annual Kayak for a Cause on Walloon Lake

Life Long Friendships…Cherished Traditions…New Experiences

VISIT US ONLINE Please visit us online for additional information and year-round updates at Thank you!

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Camp Daggett Fall 2019 Newsletter  

Camp Daggett Fall 2019 Newsletter