My experience with Camp Tecumseh started 26 years ago during my student teaching experience at Hamilton Southeastern Junior High.  In the fall of that year we took the entire seventh grade to Tecumseh under the management of Brad Jackson, Charlotte Gwin, and Mike Plautz.  The field trip was an education within education.  I embraced every moment; walking the 200 acres, helping with calculating the board-feet in a tree using a Biltmore stick, calculating what size of city that could be nourished by the little stream from the lake, canoeing with the kids, climbing beside reluctant kids encouraging them as we went, performing in the teacher skits watching all the smiling faces, square dancing the Virginia Reel jumping from one laughing child to the next…it was “sublime”.  It was there when I decided what kind of teacher I wanted to become.  As a 36-year-old student teacher the experience was foundational in my development; it grounded me.  It brought out the importance of the education experience, it illustrated how much connecting with kids mattered, more importantly, it was a reminder to me that at their core kids just wanted to feel the joy of being kids…maybe for the last time. My 25 years as a Camp director has been a labor of love.  I have spent over 26 weeks away from my family through the years supporting this program.  My girls would come up most years to square dance and would attend as students in my school; they would become counselors and help keep and expand the legacy.


Over the last 6 years we have updated our lessons to take advantage of technological advances and our 240-acre classroom.  Our core lessons can be divided into land, water, animals, and sky.

We have worked hard to use the 240 acres of Camp with purpose.  To satisfy the science and social studies standards for orienteering and understanding the navigational tools that allowed people to circumnavigate the globe we teach our students how to calculate and use pacing and compass to navigate.  We put those skills to a test by having kids geocache that uses these skills along with GPS handhelds to find hidden treasures throughout the pine and oak forests of Camp. 

We have written lessons for kids to calculate the value of the trees of Camp and use that information to determine which trees are worth the time to cut.  We use a Biltmore forestry stick, tree identification guides, and lots of walking to find potential trees to harvest.   The process takes lots of practical math and team discussion.  The process is REAL, the tools are REAL…we even update the tree prices each year before we attend. 

Camp Tecumseh has taken our lessons and moved them into their education programs. Just this year they asked for our new Protist Lesson featuring water from the lake and streams and digital microscope labs for the kids to really explore the microscopic world.


We want all our kids to experience something new.  Most of our kids have not been to an outdoor camp. We have them canoe on the Camp lake.  This is one of my favorite activities to watch as they try to propel their canoe along the lake.  Watching them trying to turn is a study of teamwork in action and no experience is complete until you watch kids trying to figure out how to stop the canoe from running into the shore/dock/side of the hill.  There are a lot of life-lessons to be learned while canoeing; like, do not lean over the canoe side at the same time, do not splash the person in the front of the canoe, do not paddle in opposite directions if you actually want to move forward, and, my favorite, canoes do not respond to verbal commands.

Our kids have the chance to rock climb on an outdoor climbing wall called Mt. Wood.  Most have never tried this before.  We teach the counselors, staff and teachers to encourage our kids to try…once we get them on the wall we encourage them to take one more step up, we get them to concentrate on 3 points of contact and making a plan on what course to take.  Seeing the smile on their faces when they get to the top is worth the work it takes to get the kids to Camp.  Most of the time they want to try again immediately; a far cry from the timid kid of 10 minutes prior.  Of course, one of my teacher partner has convinced some of the kids that the owl at the top of the structure is made of chocolate, but only those who take to hardest path are close enough to actually lick the chocolate owl.  Every year some pixie gymnast get to the top and finds out that maybe we lied.  😊

We get kids to WANT to square dance.  It starts with having enthusiastic counselors, followed by enthusiastic teachers, and simple dances to warm them up.  We Bunny-Hop with counselors at the head of all the dance lines, then we into a traditional German Octoberfest-style Chicken Dance, which then leads us into Heel-Toe square dance and finishing a traditional Virginia Reel.  When we have time we launch into the Electric Cotton-Eye Joe, our own version of the YMCA, and the Cuban Shuffle.  We get parent chaperones and even Camp staff dancing with us.  Some Camp staff even come on their nights off to have fun with us.  Watching the kids laugh and smile without the normal worries cannot be replicated outside of Camp.   

Brad Jackson is our institutional storyteller.  All his stories are themed and filled with life lessons of kindness, responsibility, and self-awareness.  When Brad bares his soul on his story about Dawny the kids lean in.  As he tells how he had a chance to be a real friend and failed in real time touches kids.  They feel his regret even 50 years later.  He is what Social-Emotional Learning strives to achieve. 

Positive Externalities

One of the casualties of the modern plugged-in world is the joy of being outdoors.  Our kids only go outside when there is an organized activity with scripted activities.  We tell our counselor to walk around the Camp.  We play a form of  Bingo where the kids take group pictures at The Big Chair, Ghost Cabin, Colgate Cabin, Trader Joes, the Suspension Bridge, the Great Oak, Eagles Nest and other Camp landmarks.  I normally get in 25 to 30 thousand steps each day. 

Long Term Impacts. I wanted to address the question, “Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze” by asking the question to a group that had “no skin in the game”….my former counselors. I reached out to a counselors through social media.

What my former counselors said

In the end, the question “Is the juice worth the squeeze” is the wrong question.  What should have been asked “Are the health benefits worth the squeeze?”  I will let my former counselors answer that question.  I posted this on social media


Is the juice worth the squeeze? A question that I think applies to a lot of things in life. For a lot of basic life things? No. For a lot of the things in public schools? No. For Camp Tecumseh? Yes.

I grew up going to the junior high Camp Tecumseh program as my father has run the program my whole life. I still remember sliding down the black hole for the first time with seventh graders and counselors that I looked up to. I remember square dancing with all the “big kids” who had pure joy written across their faces. I remember them chanting and clapping in perfect unison “I love Camp T” during the Chicken Dance. I remember dinner was WAY cooler at Camp Tecumseh than dinner had ever been before (even as a five-year-old who had been to Chuck E Cheese and CiCi’s Pizza). Everyone was happy and all I could think about was when it would be my turn.

Fast forward to me as a seventh grader. On the first day of seventh grade, I was so excited to be at the junior high for one reason: Camp Tecumseh. I knew I would be going that year and the only bummer was that I had to wait until spring. In a time of your life when you feel nothing but awkward, Camp Tecumseh was a pause to all of that. Everyone was on the same playing field. We all got to take the bus, sleep in the cabins, build the kites, learn the lessons, hear the stories, and square dance our hearts out. For many of my peers and me, it was a turning point for us. While yes, our awkward side stood out more than we would’ve liked, we didn’t care. We got to have FUN. Fun like the classroom simply can’t be. Fun with our teachers, friends, and these awesome counselors who seemed like they walked on water. This was another big thing for a seventh grader. We could tell they were cool. They didn’t care about all of the “fixxy” hairstyles at camp or what outfit they were wearing because they were there to have fun. This gave us seventh graders something to strive to be. On top of that, we were also told they were good students with bright futures. Suddenly, it wasn’t “cool” to be the kid flunking out who just “didn’t care”. It was cool to be the successful student that got to spend three days of the school week at camp with friends. It was cool to not be the type of “cool” that seventh graders knew.

Being a counselor is something I will never forget and never take lightly. It was the best part of high school. It was an honor to get to go because you had to have certain grades and nail an interview (that many did not get past). It was also an honor to be looked at as a leader by peers and former teachers. It was also a heck of a lot of fun. There aren’t many field trips in high school. You don’t get to get away for educational purposes or resume builders that aren’t boring. For three days, you get to be the people that walk on water to the seventh graders. You get to rat your friends out for the silly things they do around camp and watch them be nominated in front of everyone. You get to teach those, that really aren’t that much younger than you, and realize how far you’ve come as a human. You get to build relationships with your peers that you otherwise wouldn’t have interacted with. You get to square dance with a whole room of people and bring out your inner “dancing queen”. You get to build a balloon that only goes five feet and still feel like you finally mastered it. You get to do skits in front of one of the biggest crowds you’ll perform in front of and happily embarrass yourself to no end. You get to leave after three days with stomach pain from laughing so hard. You get to leave after three days with a heart bursting with joy. You get to leave feeling whole.

Camp Tecumseh taught me valuable lessons that I still use to this day in my job as a nurse. Teamwork is one of the biggest in balloon-making, skits, lessons, and square dancing. Time management in getting places on time, completing the lessons, and actually teaching the seventh graders in the process. Compassion for the kids who struggle and need the extra boost of confidence or guidance. Leadership is obvious. As a counselor you’re in charge of those awkward seventh graders and making sure they get their work done, have fun, and don’t do anything that will get them nominated.

Junior high and high school are the times that adults look back on and shudder with terrible memories. Most adults will say, “I would never go back to junior high/high school”. I can’t say that because I would give anything to go back and experience Camp Tecumseh again as a student or a counselor. Even just for a day.

Caitlin (Fassold) Grecco

NICU Nurse Riley Children’s Hospital

Is the juice worth the squeeze?” When it comes to this program, this is the wrong question. Rather we should ask ourselves who do we want to shape our children and teenagers to become, what legacy do we want to leave behind? As a former Tecumseh student and counselor, I cannot tell you  why  it is worth the work to make the program happen, because ultimately, that is your decision. However, I can tell you that the person I am today is a better human because of this trip not only as a student, but as a counselor. Today’s world is filled with doubt. It is scary. I am sure it has been like this in the past, and I’m sure it will be like this again in the future. What do we lean on in times of challenge? We lean on our resiliency, we lean on our confidence, we lean on our connections, we lean on our real-world experience, and we trust that the good memories ultimately outweigh the bad. These are the things Tecumseh teaches EVERYONE- the teachers, the parents, the counselors, the children. I can tell you from those memories, about how I used math to calculate floating boats down the stream as a child. I remember canoeing in the pond. I remember laughing. I remember my counselors waking up in the morning to curl their hair and the smiles on their faces. I remember the goal to become a camp counselor. It gives me a since of warmth, security, companionship, knowledge, happiness. At that age, I did not know what it would take to become a future counselor, but I did know that I desperately wanted to. I do know that being surrounded by nature for a few days, riding a bus and singing songs, and being reminded to just be a kid while getting to learn was more valuable than any classroom lesson plan. In fact, those are the ONLY lesson plans I remember from that age.

A member of Cara’s study group responded her response on social media!

I recognize that the request for this email was more about the experience of a counselor. As a successful physician scientist, this program ignited my spark for teaching and exploring. It reminded me of the love I have for children. It reminded me of the beauty of the world through their eyes. It removed the stress of being an emotional, hormonal teenager, and being surrounded by nature, kids who don’t care about who the most popular person is and renewed lifelong friendships. It built my confidence with the trust they put in me to teach these children, to be responsible for someone else’s world. It forced me to think outside the box. It gave me hope for the future, it gave me passion, and it gave me gratitude. On my team, I had a child who was struggling with mental health. A child who couldn’t find the value in living anymore. What world have we created when our children have no desire and cannot see the beauty around them. The big feelings that surrounded her from a world full of difficult things to process were so much for her little mind. I made my entire weeks goal to remind the kids on my team of the beauty that surrounded them. Did we learn math, yes. Did we learn science, yes. Did we practice art, yes. Were those all things they could get from a classroom? Sure. I promise you though, the laughter, the happiness, and the smiles are things those children will never forget. I have no idea what happened to the girl. I hope I had the ability to make a small impact in her life. I hope for 48 hours she was able to forget about all the bigger problems that surrounded her at home and just be a child. These moments reminded me of perseverance. They reminded me of the beauty in the world. They built my confidence. They shaped me. They are a core memory, and they are more valuable in my mind than anything else. They shaped me not only as a future worker, but as a mother of two small children. I use those same lessons to teach them. And when I go to choose a school for my children, these are the types of programs I will look for. This is what I want my child to experience. Both as a student and as a counselor. When I look at them, what do I want for them? Of course, I want a good education, but most of all I want them to be happy and resilient. I want them to have good role models, I want them to be surrounded with people that they can share things with and will encourage them. Children and teens learn the best in stress free environmentsFor this reason, it is a major focus of the American Academy of Pediatrics. It improves health, learning, memory. This program is a positive legacy. I am one person; I am not going to convince you “the juice is worth the squeeze.” However, 20 years later, I deeply value these memories and it brings sad tears to my eyes as I write this, that anyone would ever doubt this program. I hope for the sake of our children and our teenagers that this program never ends, and that we never lose the light inside of us to see its value. Mr. Fassold and Mr. Sturgeon will always hold a special place in my heart and know that I would move the earth and the moon for them should they ever need it for the opportunity they gave me to be a counselor.  


Cara Slagle

Cara Slagle, MD

Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology

Co-Director, Center for Acute Care Nephrology

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Hi Mr. Fassold,

I saw your Facebook post about Camp T and immediately knew I needed to share with you the importance of my experience as a counselor. 

There are the big takeaways for many counselors during Camp T: leadership, critical thinking, developing friendships, and reconnecting with old classmates (at the time, the program also brought back both high schools). High school is an awkward and uncomfortable time, putting kids in this environment to grow and become leaders was such a unique educational experience.

Personally, you helped me discover my passion: event management. My senior year, you chose Sean Delaney and me to own the production of Skit Night (everyone’s favorite!). This was the first time outside of volleyball I felt confident, comfortable, and in control of a situation.

Realizing how much I loved the planning and execution of live events, and up against the impossible task of choosing a college major, I explored marketing and events. Four years later, I graduated from IU Bloomington with a degree in Event Management. Today, I work for a tech company, owning all event and field marketing programs for our top industries. 

Without Camp Tecumseh and your leadership, I may not be where I am today. This is long overdue but.. THANK YOU!!!

Pictures attached! 🙂 

Lauren Smith

Camp Tecumseh was something we all looked forward to year after year from the time we attended as students to the last trip back as a counselor. It was a time to get outside of the classroom and bond with our friends and classmates and make memories that have lasted forever. It brought us counselors closer, removing the groups, stereotypes and preconceived ideas of our peers. We were all there for the same purpose- to give the students the best experience, just like the one we had. A to have a lot of fun amongst ourselves. It was an incredibly moving and special part of our senior year selfishly but also knowing that we were able to give back. Something to this day that is brought up in conversation with family, friends and today’s students. I have only the fondest memories and can’t imagine not having this opportunity. – Emily Bailey

Hello and happy Friday! I saw your post and wanted to send my thoughts. Fortunately, you caught me on the last day of my maternity leave 😄 Hope you are doing well, and please let me know if I can help in any way to keep Camp T alive and well!

As a graduate of HSE and former employee of the district, I can wholeheartedly say that Camp Tecumseh is an amazing experience for students and counselors. I have fond memories of my experience as a 7th grader attending Camp T, that went beyond just the activities. I was able to interact with classmates that I wouldn’t have spent time within school and could see them for who they truly were. We had to work as a team, while many of us tried things for the first time such as canoeing or balloon building. I still remember my counselor and how much I admired her. I knew I wanted to be a Camp T counselor when I was in high school. Looking back, being a counselor was one of the highlights of my high school experience. It brought me confidence that I didn’t know I had and confirmed my love for working with children and youth. Flash forward 8 years later, and I began my career as a school counselor at Fishers High School. I was fortunate to work with hundreds of students during my time at FHS and got to hear many of their experiences at Camp Tecumseh as students and counselors. At the beginning of the school year, my students would already be asking about how to become a Camp T counselor. It warmed my heart to see them experience the same excitement for the program that I had. I can truly say that this program can have a long-term impact on all of those involved and is such a treasure for HSE Schools. – Natalie Calvert Riding

Hey Mr. Fassold! 

It’s Megan Huffman (formally Megan Graves) It has been a while I hope you are doing well!  I saw your Facebook post and thought I’d help out and share my experience being a Camp T counselor. 

As soon as I left Camp T as a student, I KNEW I wanted to be a counselor once I hit high school. I looked up to my counselor so much and wanted to do the same for my future campers. Being a Camp T counselor seemed to be right up my alley, but I also knew it would push me out of my comfort zone. At that point in my life, as an average high school student, I never really had the big responsibility of overseeing a 7th grader, let alone a whole group of them. It really challenged me. I had to really tap into my creativity, leadership skills, and “mom mode.” I wanted to make sure my campers learned what they needed to, had a blast, and stayed safe in the process. I really enjoyed the challenge. 

The biggest thing that impacted me from being a counselor was the relationships I built in the process. There is nothing like spending a few days at camp with your good friends, favorite teachers, and a good group of kids. I was able to build new relationships and continue to grow deeper in the ones I already had. I also loved being able to pour into the young kids. I wanted to be a role model and a counselor that they looked up to. I did all of this while having an absolute BLAST. The memories made at camp are ones I will keep for the rest of my life. I look back at pictures of square dancing, blind-folded hikes, rock climbing, etc. and all I can do is smile and wish I was back there now. 

I would 10000% recommend being a Camp T counselor. I promise you the work and missing school is so worth it 🙂

Megan Huffman, SPT 

Indiana University 

Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program 

Class of 2023 

Camp T is 100% worth it. Being a counselor taught me patience and made me problem solve to a different level. You can be a leader among your peers, but when there is an age gap, and you’re trying to force kids to do school outside of school that takes a different level of leader. It doesn’t only help me either. My camp kids still reach out to me for advice and to talk about problems they’re having etc. For example, I was given a “problem child”. During camp T I saw this kid not only start out as a problem child but evolve into someone who actually did their work and participate in the activities. This kid just needed an advocate and someone to listen to them about why they hated school so much and to this day I’m still that person for them. Without Camp T I don’t think this would have ever happen and this is only my story. Think of all the other kids who have been impacted and helped during this wonderful opportunity!  – Tati Lockridge

I was a Camp Tecumseh counselor for all three years I was eligible at HSE. It was this leadership opportunity that solidified my choice to pursue teaching. I have no doubt that my life would look incredibly different without my time at Camp T.

Kurt Henderson

To Whom It May Concern,

            First, I will introduce myself. My name is Rachel Stady (Smith). I lived in Fishers, IN for 26 years until my husband’s job took us out of state. I attended Camp Tecumseh as a 7th grader at Fishers Junior High and as a 3 year counselor at Fishers High School (2011-2014). I knew going into Indiana University that I wanted to teach junior high, specifically 7th grade. I was awarded Outstanding Future Educator by IU after completing my student teaching at Fishers Junior High. I then substituted for Fishers Junior High helping with many different facets of the school. I went on to teach 7th grade in Noblesville Schools where I was awarded Teacher of the Year by NJHS and was graded as an “exemplary teacher” every year.  I had the long-term dream of returning to Fishers Junior High and continuing the legacy of the teachers who impacted me there. While it was gut-wrenching to leave the community, I say all this so you understand my validity in the field of education and how strong my allegiance still is to the community. An allegiance that was no doubt created by my experiences and the teachers/adults involved with Camp Tecumseh.

I will restrain myself to just a couple of the more important aspects the Camp Tecumseh program provides (I could write a short novel if needed). The experiences offered at Camp Tecumseh are not simply replicated in a classroom. Sure, you can have group projects and pair students up yourself but it is not the same. In my 3 years as a counselor each of my groups had students who were vastly different and ran in different circles. These students did not have the option or convenience of having just one class where they had to work together and they could go about their day like normal. Or the popular option to just do their part and let the other students do theirs and never actually work together (we’ve all been there). Students were with their group all day for multiple days, and they had one-on-one attention from a high school role model who fostered their cooperation despite their differences. It brings tears to my eyes to this day thinking of my students proactively wanting to be together and spend time with another student who they at first thought they had nothing in common. I witnessed my students learn how to be leaders and how to navigate students who take on a more vocal leadership role and those who need more direction but are just as crucial to the overall task. 

Furthermore, the hands-on activities Camp Tecumseh provides ensures students work together in real time. Again, not sitting at their desk huddled around a computer or going home and finishing their part etc. The activities and the leadership of a high schooler working with a small group is 100% required to see these results. They cannot be replicated in a classroom where a teacher is working with 30+ students. If you are thinking, yes, it is a fun program but we need to focus on academics. That is the beauty of this program. You have professionals in the field of teaching curating these activities. They are so well crafted that the kids remember how fun it is but they are indeed learning. Isn’t that what we strive for in any lesson? Isn’t that a trademark of an exemplary teacher? Isn’t that how we engage our students? Isn’t that the type of learning our brain remembers? We see less and less of these experiences offered for kids starting as early as elementary. It would be a disservice and shame to take this away from our junior high kids. 

I hope my next point speaks to your hearts because I truly believe in order to have a successful community you must pour into the people living there. The seeds of community are planted into our students from an early age. For myself and many others, our Camp Tecumseh experience in 7th grade was the first time we felt those seeds being nourished and watered. My 7th grade year and 3 years as a Camp T counselor are the main reasons I knew I wanted to teach 7th grade. Furthermore, the Camp Tecumseh program and the teachers who run it poured into my life not just in 7th grade. Their reach and impact extends beyond a classroom. They continued to water and nourish those seeds well into my high school years and my adulthood. This program allows our community teachers to pour into the students for six years (I’d argue much longer but I digress). 

Here is the kicker, because of Camp T many of those students leave our school system wanting to pour back into the Fishers/HSE community. Many alumni want to come back as teachers and pay it forward. It’s one of the building blocks of a strong school system. The benefits of this program are long-lasting. It is not a group project you are done with in a week or so. It is not a field trip to the museum of science that was cool but you forget about. This program blooms flowers in its students who later go on to nourish the next generation. I have more allegiance to the Fishers/HSE community, specifically FJH and FHS, than I do Indiana University. That is a direct result of this program and the many adults who poured into me and molded me into the person I am today – not just one academic year, but over the course of my life. Our community needs people to take pride in it, people who want to give back, people who want to see it continue to pour into its young minds. Camp Tecumseh does just that. I guarantee there would be a swarm of gut-wrenched community members, of all ages, if this program ceased to exist. That in itself should be enough testimony to the validity of this program.


Rachel Stady 

Hi Mr. Fassold!

It’s Emily Grasso, and I am a former Camp Tecumseh counselor.  I saw your post on Facebook, and I thought I would message you about my experience.  I loved it when I was a kid, because I was learning outside of school.  I got to travel somewhere with my friends, and it was both fun and educational!  It covered all subjects, but the science/math aspect is what I remember most.  I learned  so much about science-related topics that I would not have seen in action in a school building.  I loved it…and science is NOT my thing.  I loved my high school counselor, and it was so cool to have a mentor to follow around all week.  I will never forget the skits at night, square dancing, or Mr. Jackson’s stories.  I smile now just thinking about it.  Kids don’t often get to “have fun” like that at school these days, and they need something to look forward to.  Some of my fondest memories from junior high school are from Camp Tecumseh.

As a counselor, it was so much more.  By leading a small group of teenagers, I slowly began to realize that I was made for this.  I loved mentoring them and teaching them.  I discovered that teenagers can actually be fun!  My leadership skills improved as well as the foundation of my teaching skills.  This is one factor that led me to want to become a teacher.  I currently work with 9th and 10th graders with learning disabilities.  I feel like I am with a bunch of middle schoolers every day, and I see their eyes light up when we do an interactive activity.  I know that if they had the chance and the funding, they would have done something like this in a heartbeat.  As for me personally, I loved being able to reunite with my friends for an extended period of time.  I had to split and go to HSE high school, and it was a real bummer for me.  Being able to interact with my old friends was something that I needed more than I realized.

The last and most important thing for me was the amount of trust the FJH teachers put into us counselors.  It can be hard to trust big teenagers to look after little teenagers.  The fact that I was chosen to do this felt like an honor.  I felt a sense of respect and responsibility.  I felt valued by the adults, and I knew that I served a purpose in this experience.  Being entrusted with this responsibility gave me confidence.  I could keep a small group of kids alive by myself…success!

I have also attached some pictures- not sure if you can use any of them.  They are a little grainy and old, but the fact that I still have them shows how much I truly valued my time at Camp T.

If you need anything from me, I am more than happy to help out.  Camp T is something that they should keep around!

Emily Grasso

Good afternoon,

For three years, I always looked forward to those three days where I got to be a Camp Tecumseh counselor for Fishers Junior High. It meant reuniting with former teachers who guided me expertly through seventh grade and reuniting with former junior high classmates. More importantly though, it gave me the experience and privilege to lead a passionate group of seventh graders through an experience that the classroom just cannot offer. Disconnecting from technology and getting to experience the outdoors is something you just don’t get at school. Going kayaking, building a weather balloon, hiking through the woods, line dancing, looking for local wildlife, and of course the baked oatmeal, are all experiences that have stuck with me as a 2013 graduate of HSE. During my last year as a Tecumseh counselor, we experienced a dreaded rainstorm and flooding that had us locked in the dining hall together. Instead of ruining the experience, it brought us even closer, with fabulous karaoke renditions that brought the teachers, counselors, and students together. It is one of the most unique experiences we offer seventh graders in our district.

To put it bluntly, discontinuing Tecumseh would be an incredible disservice to students in the HSE school district. The juice is 100% worth the squeeze. The teachers who make Tecumseh happen wouldn’t put their effortless hours into making the program happen if they didn’t believe with full conviction that it wasn’t worth it for their students that they care deeply about. As an FJHS and HSE HS alumna, I would be deeply disappointed to see this program discontinued.


Emma Ng, Esq.

Emma Ng

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

Hello Mr. Fassold!!

I saw your Facebook post and immediately had to send an email! Being a Camp T counselor was my all time favorite high school experience. It was also the most memorable part of 7th grade. I remember it so clearly. I had the best time and learned SO much!! I sadly lost all of my pictures of Camp T besides this one. Camp Tecumseh is absolutely worth all of the work. It gave me first hand experience of running my own group of kids without any other help. It taught me how to be independent and make flexible decisions without the help of others. It helped me prepare for my dream career – being a teacher. It taught me how to be a leader. I was exposed to a lot of new experiences that helped me grow as an individual as well as a future teacher. I loved every second of it, all 3 years that I was a counselor. The relationships I made will always have a special place in my heart. I knew I made a positive impact on those kids’ lives and that’s all I could ever want. I thank YOU for giving me those opportunities, for believing in me, for giving me a chance to grow. I appreciate you and everyone else involved with this program. PLEASE keep it going!!

Tyne Mather

Hey Mr. Fassold, this is Mitchell Shafer, and I’d like to share my Tecumseh experience with you.

For me, Camp Tecumseh was likely the single most important experience I’ve had in determining my career path. Going into it, I thought that I likely wanted to teach, but I was extremely nervous about it. I was terrified of going to college, taking all of these education classes and then finding out I hated it, or that I just didn’t have the skills. Being a counselor at Camp Tecumseh and interacting with kids as well as leading those mini-lessons made me realize that not only did I enjoy teaching, but I was also pretty good at it. I’m now finishing up my student teaching this semester, and I will graduate from the University of Dayton with a double major in Adolescent to Young Adult Education (7-12) and English in May. Without Tecumseh, I often wonder if I would have had the confidence to stay with something I believed to be a passion of mine, but was so anxious about without that experience. Tecumseh for me confirmed that passion, and it helped lead me to where I am today.

I am so grateful for the experience of being a Camp counselor.  In reflecting on one’s life, there are some opportunities and god willing a few people one can point to as being pivotal to one’s development.  I am lucky to be able to count my camp experience as one such moment, filled with many such amazing individuals.  I know a generation of doctors (including myself), lawyers, scientists, community leaders, even a professional athlete, who benefited from the mentorship of amazing teachers in the course of counselor training and who owe the Camp program for enriching their public school education.  I am grateful that my school system had the vision to support opportunities like Camp Tecumseh in the midst of tighter budgets, ever-evolving academic priorities. The presence of programs like Camp Tecumseh in HSE’s curriculum demonstrates an understanding that students learn best from using all their senses and that education is more than just books, tests, and grades.  These relationships and memories I formed during the course of Camp were foundational to my development, and I feel so blessed to have shared a small part in the program as a counselor.  

Morgan Smith, DO

I wanted to reach out about how I believe Camp Tecumseh is worth all of the hard work that gets put into it. Some of my greatest memories were made at Camp T as a student and as a counselor. At the time as a student it was difficult to give up my phone but it allowed me to enjoy what was around me, which wouldn’t have happened without Camp Tecumseh. With the world continuing to change and kids gaining access to technology younger and younger, Camp Tecumseh allows the students to finally experience what they have been seeing on their phones. Creating a bond as a student to a high schooler was another cool experience and allowed a safe space for the student to open up about themselves. I still am connected with almost all of the students I had as a counselor from both of my years and love that they still feel comfortable enough to reach out whenever they need. I don’t know how camp would work now that the students haven’t gotten to experience it because of covid. You guys as teachers are amazing and create a wonderful atmosphere, however the counselors are the ones the students are looking up to and want to be. The counselors I had when I was a student are the reason I wanted to become a counselor. The counseling position helped shape me into who I am today. It helped me grow and mature and I was able to take what I had learned from my experience and continue to use it in my life today.

Thank you, Carlie Westrum

Mr. Fassold,

Ever since I left Camp Tecumseh as a 7th grader, I knew I wanted to be a Camp Counselor as soon as I could. Camp Tecumseh was an incredible experience for me to grow as a leader and for me to reminisce on the glory days of being a Globetrotter at FJH. The connections I made between Camp Counselors and the students I mentored were amazing. I absolutely loved going back to Camp and creating a fun experience for the kids in my group. I just wanted them to love it as much as I did! I also think it is a great opportunity for the 7th graders to get some hands on experience in the outdoors. This is something you can’t teach in science class! Words simply cannot express how much I loved Camp Tecumseh and just thinking about it now has me feeling very nostalgic. I loved it in 7th grade and I loved it in high school. Additionally, I hope you’re doing well and I miss you and Mr. Sturgeon so much!


Jordan Vohs

From a counselor’s perspective, Camp T was well worth all the time and effort that I put in.

For me, being a counselor was one of the first steps that helped shape me into the leader I am today.  There is no way that I could be doing what I do now, organizing and leading events on campus with 100s of attendees, volunteers, and vendors as a part of the student union board on campus, without the experience of Camp T.

Also, it would be wrong to not mention my senior year.  As a senior from the class of 2020, I had to mourn the loss of a lot of things.  But, one of the things that I mourned the most was not going back to Camp T for my third year.  I think it speaks volumes of the program that I cared more about missing Camp than my senior lacrosse season (or even my graduation at some points).

However, it is much more than just leadership and my experiences as a counselor.  The experiences of the students are the most important.  There is no greater experience than getting to see these kids learn in an environment like Camp T.  Many of these kids have spent most of their time in suburbs like Fishers.  So, it is amazing to watch them interact with and learn from nature.  I still remember seeing some of their faces as they saw the petting zoo area for the first time.

I still follow some of my former “kiddos” on social media, and not going to lie, I feel like a proud parent watching them grow and become leaders in their own right.  Seeing them take on the world.

Plus, it is so much more than a learning experience.  So much happens in those three days that stays with kids forever.  All of the silliness and tradition creates something that they remember forever.

No matter what perspective you look at it from, it is worth it.  I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Rebecca Chrisman (Class of 2020)

Dear Mr. Fassold,

I saw your Facebook post asking for how Camp Tecumseh made an impact on our life. It’s hard for me to pinpoint just where it started, but I am going to give it a try.

I am the youngest of my 3 sisters. I watched both of my older sisters go off and be a counselor at Camp T before it was my chance to go. They would come back with stories and joy, and a little extra dirt every year. Hearing these tales made me so excited for it to be my turn, and soon enough, 7th grade was upon me, and my turn was up! Lucky for me, my older sister was a senior in high school and also a counselor at Camp Tecumseh at the same time. On the outside I was “so embarrassed” that my sister was in the skits, but on the inside I was beaming with pride to be related to her. Things were tough at home, and being able to bond in a safe environment helped us grow together. While I can’t tell you how I calculated the rate of flow of the river that week, I can tell you that this trip opened my eyes to having the classroom be everywhere, not just inside the school.

Let’s fast forward to high school, when I eagerly applied to be a counselor at Camp T. I was an excellent student and kept my grades up to ensure I would know enough to teach these 7th graders for a few days. My mom took me to the store where I bought matching bandanas I would give to my group to help them feel bonded, as well as more candy than 5 kids could eat (or so I thought). Teaching kids through an activity book enabled me to develop leadership skills and self confidence that I was greatly lacking. It allowed me to be a role model for others, when I was consistently being overlooked. As a selfish teenager, it also taught me about empathy and looking outside of myself as I was caring for others. Serving as a camp counselor empowered me in ways that I hadn’t thought about until writing this email. Not only that, but it also allowed me to unplug and spend time with my friends during a critical time of turmoil.

If that was all Camp Tecumseh did for me, it would be enough. However, with my experience, I would go on to be a camp counselor at a sleep away camp for 2 summers when I was in college. This opened up my world and influenced me to pursue my education in counseling. I got my master’s degree and I have worked as a high school counselor for the past 5 years because I am determined to help students find their worth. I never asked for mental health help from my counselor in high school, even though I needed it, but rather sought out leadership opportunities. Camp Tecumseh gave me confidence and filled a gap that spending time with nature alone can fill. I’m not sure what career I would be in right now if it weren’t for Camp T, so you can say the pudding to the face was well worth it.

I have continued to believe that the best learning takes place outside of the classroom when you can apply it to real world scenarios. I believe that fresh air is good for the soul, and with the mental health issues facing our students today, turning off their cell phones and learning important social skills while being outdoors is just the healing balm we need after the past two years.

For me- the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.

Michaella Beatty

Hi Mr. Fassold!!

I hope you are doing well. I wanted to send along a narrative about the positive impact that Camp T has had on my life:

My time at Camp T was one of the most memorable experiences of my high school career. At camp, I was able to connect with and teach middle school students, learn more about the outdoors, and engage with a community of peers and teachers who inspired us to ask questions and learn from one another.

When I was younger, I never saw myself as a teacher, however, my experience as a counselor helped me to see not only the importance of teaching, but also the impact of mentorship and peer learning. The middle school students learned about the outdoors, but they also learned about high school and other general life experiences. They would ask me about what it was like in high school and the importance of what we were learning at camp. Camp provides an opportunity for these connections and organic learning experiences that are just not possible in the traditional classroom. Also, camp helped more kinesthetic learners, like myself, see, smell, and hear what they were learning.

On a more personal level, my experience at camp helped me to identify my passions. Early in my college career, I was very lost about what to do with my life. But, through experiences like Camp T, I was able to reflect on my love of the outdoors and my gift of leadership. The Camp T model of outdoor education made me aware of efforts to connect young students with nature. It helps them to appreciate nature and learn more about the world around them. I ended up going into the field of public health where I work to lead collective efforts to make sure everyone has access to environments like parks, trails, and community gardens. I whole-heartedly believe that connecting people with experiential learning opportunities (i.e. visiting farms, seeing different neighborhood parks, growing food in a garden) promotes deeper understanding and a sense of empathy towards others. I connect this passion back to my time at Camp T.

Being a Camp Tecumseh counselor was a one-of-a kind experience that had a part in shaping me into an adult who values service, learning, and engagement with the community and environment around me. I sincerely hope that students continue to have the opportunity to attend camp. Our teachers and mentors work so hard to make it happen and I am truly grateful for their efforts to help students learn in such an impactful way.

I hope this is helpful! Your work with Camp T is seen and valued by so many. Thank you for all of your work to impact future generations!

Best wishes,

Julia Brunnemer

Hello! I hope all is well,

My name is Emily Monson, a former camper and counselor for Tecumseh. To be honest, it’s difficult to put into words how much this program has impacted me. when I was in the 7th grade I remember struggling a lot. I have never been the perfect student, learning in the classroom with homework and traditional practice has always been hard for me and with all of the students my teachers were in charge of, there seemed to never be enough 1 on 1 time. When we were told about the camp Tecumseh trip that we would go on at the end of the year I was so excited. I love being outside and I used to go to summer camps all the time, this was perfect. what I didn’t realize is how much that 3 days would teach me.

During my first time at camp I watched my friends become excited to learn about the plants, animals, and life that is so separate from our own and it was contagious. we spent time getting to know each-other, overcoming challenges with teamwork, and being immersed in what felt like a virtual reality science textbook. By day 3 my classmates and teachers felt more like family, we had jokes and experiences to share when we got back that I still think about regularly. I remember feeling like I finally found a way to be successful in learning and that was a huge breakthrough for me. Even my teachers commented on how well I was doing with the school-work while being there, this reassured me even more and made me feel seen. 

Fast forward to high school, my sophomore year. I started hearing my friends talk about applying to be a counselor for this same trip I loved so much and thought I would too. My first year of high school was not the best academically (like I said I have never been the perfect student) so I was unable to apply because my gpa was not high enough. this hurt me a lot because I realized that the same lessons I learned on that trip had been lost. I didn’t have that spark for learning anymore and that’s why I couldn’t help other kids receive it through counseling.

I decided that I would find a way to learn that works for me again. I was disciplined, worked hard, by the end of my junior year my gpa was high enough and I was eligible to apply. I was nervous but I remembered how supportive my teachers had been and explained them how I worked to be there again. They accepted me and we started counselor training.

My second experience there was even more impactful than the first. I met the most genuine kids that year who bonded with me and trusted me to help them learn too. We all did something new through a once in a lifetime experience together and we knew how important it was. I watched them interact with nature and work through challenges as a team and in turn, watched their brains have huge realizations about the world around them just like I had. this touched me, and the other counselors. I was able to have conversations about true connection and the joys of watching these kids grow, really making everything feel full circle for me.

With all of this being said I know I would not be the person I am today without the human connection, room for new experience, and eye-opening realizations of life I had while being a part of camp Tecumseh. I always look forward to seeing the photos of kids from the years behind me. I hope this tradition continues as it would be disheartening to know some young minds wouldn’t have the same opportunities I did.

Mr. Fassold,

I came across your Facebook post and wanted to share my thoughts/experiences about Camp Tecumseh. Being a counselor was arguably the most enjoyable and rewarding extracurricular that I experienced in high school. From developing interview experience to mentoring younger students to breaking out of my comfort zone and square dancing with strangers, I can’t think of an opportunity I’ve had that helped me become a more well-rounded individual. My grandparents actually live off Springboro Road up in Monticello so every time I visit, I drive by the dining hall and first couple sets of cabins that we used to stay in.

I have no doubt that the preparation for Camp Tecumseh is a huge commitment for you and the other incredible teachers at FJH, but to answer the question, the juice is absolutely worth the squeeze and I hope this tradition continues. I’ve attached a few pictures that capture some of the great memories I made as a counselor.


Jake Brattain

I was a 7th grade camper, as well as a 3-time high school counselor at Camp T. My experience as a camper gave me confidence in myself and getting to know the high school counselors gave me role models of what type of person/student I wanted to be going into high school. As a parent of a now 7th grade myself, I am seeing in a whole new way how critical this life stage is. Unfortunately, we are not in the HSE district now, but I would have loved for him to have the opportunity to be poured into and built up by high school students and to experience the Camp T experience. Even more so than when I was a student, with the constant flow of virtual influences and social media today, it is crucial that junior high students have the opportunity to have interactions with real life people a stage ahead of them to pave the way and paint a real picture of what life is like and what is important going into high school. AND the opportunity to spend a few days completely unplugged and in nature. This is something I value greatly as a parent, yet even still I wish my kids has more opportunities like that of Camp T to experience nature and the world outside of screens and media.

As a counselor, I grew so much in self-confidence, responsibility, and teamwork. I grew in friendship with other counselors in a way that I rarely did elsewhere during my teen years. We worked together as we trained and planned. We helped one another out the week of camp when we needed materials or had a question or a difficult situation that we needed a little help with. I got to know many peers from different friend groups that I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise, and these bonds sustained throughout high school and beyond. The trust and love that the teachers had in and for us was also a huge point of growth for me and the other counselors. For the first time I began to see myself as someone who could take on real responsibility, who was capable of making a difference in the world, as someone who was on the brink of adulthood. I am so thankful that I had these opportunities that prepared me for the life that was ahead of me.

The Camp T experience is so beneficial for the campers and counselors alike. Please continue to invest in the lives of these students by allowing this invaluable program to continue.


Dorothy (Ruell) Singleton

Hello Mr. Fassold!

This is Cam Grace and I hope this email finds you well! I miss you all and our time at Camp T together, which is why I am writing this email today.

It’s hard to put into words all of the amazing experiences and memories I had being a counselor. To put it simply, being a Camp Tecumseh counselor was one of the best parts of my high school experience and it is absolutely worth the hard work it takes to put on the program.

Throughout my three years as a counselor I made some lifelong friends and mentors who have been pivotal people in my life such as Maddie Clapp. I have also stayed in touch with many of my campers to this day and have watched them grow into young adults just like I have. The connections we make at Camp T leave a lasting impression on all of us!

Camp Tecumseh is one of those unique times in our high school years that everyone who is involved looks forward to. It is a place where we all come together to not only teach/ mentor younger students but also to have some fun. The traditions and fun activities that we partake in ranging from baked oatmeal to skits are something that I will cherish forever and what made me want to be a counselor in the first place.

Camp T teaches us the values of leadership and community while making learning fun and it would be a great disservice to stop providing these experiences to future campers and counselors. I think on our time at camp with great fondness and hope that I will still see your posts each year to remind me of the amazing times we had!

Best Wishes,

Cam Grace

Ps. Here is a picture of Sloane and I recreating “The Creation of Adam” our senior year with our campers. Best. Time. Ever!

In 7th grade Camp T was one of the most pivotal experiences I had! Especially as a young, impressionable kid I knew from the moment we left camp that I wanted to do anything I could to be a counselor. I still vividly remember the games we played, skits we got to watch, and even examining the different wildlife in the nature center with my original camp t group. It’s not that one big moment sticks out to me now, it’s that during my experience I just remember being so incredibly happy (and then sad to leave camp).

Flash forward to then becoming a sophomore in high school and finally getting to be a counselor myself. My time as a counselor was everything I hoped it would be. One of the best parts about it is that I was able to form relationships with some of my campers that I still keep in touch with today! This happened every year and it was so exciting to see some of the more timid campers come out of their shell and embrace the camp experience. I’ve even had some of my past campers reach out to me about my college experience as they were choosing what to do next with their future. The coolest thing of all though is when you hear about your old campers becoming a counselor as well. It’s a rewarding feeling because you know that in some way their camp experience was profound enough to motivate them to put in the work to be a counselor.

The camp experience is worth all of the effort and hard work that it takes to put on. I believe this with my whole heart because not only was it so important to me as a 12/13 year old at the time but especially as a counselor. I can wholeheartedly say that looking back it was one of my fondest memories of my time in the HSE School District. It’s an experience unlike any other and even now when I’m with my friends and thinking back to our time within junior high and high school it’s one of the things we talk about most! So thank you for all the work you do and have done to make it happen for us! It really makes a difference 🙂

Wishing you well,

Ty Grace

I am so grateful to have gotten to be a Tecumseh counselor for two years! One year, I had the privilege of working with the special education class as a counselor at Tecumseh. I love that Tecumseh makes space for all students to engage in experiential learning. Both years as a counselor, I had the opportunity to work with precious kids who were getting a hands-on learning opportunity that is second to none. In addition to hands-on learning, the seventh graders have the opportunity to connect with positive role models. As someone who also attended Tecumseh as a student, I can attest to the educational benefit of the program. I still remember talking about the different types of soil while looking at the soil samples themselves! Learning that happens alongside the experience sticks so much longer. I am so grateful that this program exists – it is unusual and special. It is an asset, something unique to the HSE experience. I’m hopeful it will continue for years to come!

Meghan (Cross) Krueger, counselor in 2006 & 2007, student attendee in 2002

I was a Camp T counselor my sophomore, junior, and senior year as a high schooler at FHS. As someone who was considering becoming a teacher, “getting my feet wet” (both figuratively AND literally!) as a counselor was an immeasurably valuable experience in real-world education, classroom management, and familiarizing myself with different learning styles and motivating a wide range of students. For me, Camp T solidified my love for educating and I did go on to graduate with an early childhood education degree.

But counseling at Camp T is by no means limited to high schoolers considering becoming teachers! The pre-camp leadership retreat taught me lessons I still revere and use today: knowing when to ask for help, finding my “big girl” voice (which even gave me an edge when I enlisted in the Indiana Army National Guard!), and gaining a deep appreciation for Indiana’s native flora and fauna.

And Camp T itself? The experience was fun as a junior high student attending…but was absolutely brilliant as a high school counselor. It’s an amazing way to bond with classmates across cliques; to build self-confidence and get comfortable in your own skin through being overly outgoing, silly, and ridiculous (as demonstrated by the photo, attached- senior skits are still one of my absolute favorite memories from my senior year!); to be reminded that learning, at its core, should be playful in order to be effective; and most importantly a beautiful, selfless way to pay it forward to younger students and show much-needed gratitude to the 7th grade teachers who go above and beyond in putting on Camp T year after year.

In short- yes. The juice is without a doubt “worth the squeeze” for students, counselors, teachers current and future. Now that I have a little one starting kindergarten in HSE school district, Camp T has even become important to me as a parent- I’d be incredibly proud to watch my son continue a tradition unique to HSE that I’m so grateful to be a part of.

-Zoe Grout


I had always wanted to be a camp counselor, but could never dedicate an entire summer to the endeavor.  Camp Tecumseh came along and offered the best opportunity for me!

Though I had not participated as a 7th grader (since I moved to the HSE district only in 8th grade), I heard countless good things from my classmates who had.

More than anything, I would say that I gained an understanding of how you can influence people who are only a “half-step” away from you (i.e. though both junior highers and high schoolers are adolescents, a few years of experience is worth sharing).  Our employer often stresses the importance of “leading from where you are” and even “leading up” when you can bring something valuable to the topic.  I feel that I have an advantage over some of my coworkers because opportunities like counseling at Camp Tecumseh already instilled the confidence in me to be a leader, even when I might feel too similar (or even inferior) to those that I am “leading”.

I never regretted my time as a Tecumseh counselor, even when it meant make-up work for the classes I couldn’t attend while at camp.  When I look back all these years later, I cannot describe a single classroom lesson from the weeks surrounding Camp Tecumseh.  However, I can tell you almost every detail of camp itself.

I’ve attached a group picture I found from 2010, though you might already have this.  I do have several photos of the junior highers, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing them, especially as I do not appear in any.

All the best/Atentamente/Mit freundlichen Grüßen/Atenciosamente

Hannah Hilbert

Corporate Audit

Daimler Truck North America

4555 N. Channel Ave.

Portland, OR, USA 97217

Hello Mr. Fassold,

I saw your Facebook post about Camp Tecumseh and previous counselors sending a testimony about our experience. I am happy to share mine, as I look back on my time as a counselor and a camper very fondly!

As a previous Camp Tecumseh counselor, I can say with certainty that being involved with this experience in junior high school is not only fun, but formative. It is a practical way to learn so many life skills, some being learned without even realizing it at the time. Being a counselor requires organization and structure, in a way that is different from school work organization and structure. As a counselor, you are in charge of other students’ schedules and equipment. It takes months of attending meetings on time to prepare and gather information. It requires responsibility and accountability, given that younger students rely on you each day for guidance and instruction. At a time in your life when you have had limited exposure and understanding to inclusion and acceptance, being a counselor forces you to be exposed to students of all backgrounds and circles, and being a camper forces you to interact outside of your friend group. In addition to providing insight into all of these life skills, camp T attendance is a fun way to learn school principles applied in nature and in real life. I have always looked back on my time as a camp T camper and counselor, both, very fondly, and still speak of how wonderful an experience it was often.

Thank you for working hard to keep the Camp T experience alive. Attached are some photos from when we were counselors (quality is questionable).

Brittany (Allen) Beasley – Counselor, 2008

Hi Mr. Fassold,

I saw your post on Facebook about Tecumseh and how that counseling experience impacted me….apparently the value and/or impact of the program is in question so here are my personal two cents!

Shocker: I was an extremely shy 7th grader. I didn’t “come out of my shell” until a few years later and those who know me now laugh at the thought of me ever being shy. I include that because as a 7th grader attending camp, it allowed me the opportunity to spend time with role models I would not otherwise have. As the oldest child in my family, I didn’t have siblings to look up to and learn from. So having an extended time with these folks helped to show me who I could become as both a person, as well as a leader and mentor. They were cool, smart and silly…not afraid of getting up and dancing (even if they weren’t any good) and helped to encourage all of us to do the same. I wanted to be able to be like that one day!

I was lucky enough to be a three-year counselor, and those are some of my fondest memories from school. Having the opportunity to encourage the kids to try new things and step out of their comfort zone had a huge impact on me and I ended up learning just as much about myself as those kids were learning at camp. School is obviously very important for learning and setting us up for college and careers. However, Camp T taught us (students and counselors) how to be present in a world that is lost in technology. How to build and form connections with people who may need that more than anything else, but aren’t aware or don’t know how to ask. To help remind everyone that while grades are important, treating people with kindness and enjoying your surroundings and adventures is a lesson everyone should learn and re-learn throughout life. Being silly and dancing around in your socks is just as important to kids growing up as learning topics on a syllabus.

It’s been 20 years since my first year as a counselor and I can honestly say that time helped me to flourish into the leader, teammate, coworker and friend that I am today. I hope the importance of this experience and opportunity for both students, counselors and teachers shines through on my and many other testimonials. It is a highlight of my schooling and one I am forever grateful for.




Good evening Mr. Fassold,

Hope you’re doing well.

Without my Tecumseh counseling experience, I truly wouldn’t be where I am today. Being trusted with the responsibility to keep a group of children safe in the middle of the woods increased my self-awareness, developed my leadership skills, increased my self-confidence, and improved my communication skills. Having teachers who saw my potential long before I could recognize it in myself has been a life changing experience and the memories are what keep me going when I need a reminder to be kind to myself.


Danielle Bellamy

College of Pharmacy

Purdue University

Mr. Fassold,

In response to your request on Facebook to provide examples of how the counseling experience has impacted me:

-Small team leadership development

  • Being a counselor was a great early experience in translating a commander’s intent (learning booklets) into actual training in a way that keeps the team engaged.
  • I used my experience as a Tecumseh counselor when I was a cadet at West Point and during US Army Ranger School when leading and motivating small teams that don’t necessarily want to listen to you. 
  • Learning the value of servant leadership and leading through listening started as a camp Tecumseh counselor.  The only way to get through to a group of adolescents (or any group) is with empathy and listening.  This is a life skill learned at camp Tecumseh that I have carried with me through the Army and in my profession in medical device engineering.

– Collaboration

  • Successful camp Tecumseh counselors collaborate effectively with other counselors in order to efficiently complete all assigned tasks for their individual groups.  This involves effective planning, communication, and a humble approach to allow other leaders to train/teach your team. 
  • Collaboration strategies learned as a camp Tecumseh counselor helped me personally at West Point, as an officer in the US Army, as an engineer in corporate America, and now as a leader at a startup company.  This is a foundational skill. 

I hope this helps!  I wanted to keep it concise.  Let me know if anything is not clear. 

It would be great to catch up someday!

John Wagner – counselor from 2003-2005.  

Hi Mr. Fassold!

I hope you are doing well! 🙂

     I’m really sad to hear that the impact of Camp Tecumseh is being questioned. Being a Camp T counselor is still one of my best memories of high school, and I feel the impact of my experiences as a counselor every day.

     Camp T was a formative experience for me, not only as a student attending for the first time, but as a counselor. I was fortunate to be a counselor for three years. Over those three years, I lead a masked mafia, a swaggy group of OGs, and a Maroon 5 parody band. I look back on those three years fondly as some of the best moments of my childhood. Leading three incredible groups of students taught me a lot about the intricacies of building friendships and finding joy in simple moments. I loved having a hand in making learning more interactive and enjoyable. Being a Camp counselor truly fostered my love for mentoring and working with students, which precipitated itself as being a Resident Assistant and Peer Mentor in undergrad. I continue to be a peer mentor in my PhD program. During my interviews for all of these positions, I drew on Camp T as a formative leadership experience. Being a counselor taught me how to be an effective and compassionate leader, and how to tailor my approach to each individual student.

     Not only did being a counselor at Camp T prepare me to be a leader, but also helped me come into my own as a person. It really taught me how to create fun in the most random things, whether it was acting over the top in a camp skit about visiting the doctor, convincing my students that the dirt in certain parts of the forest actually tasted like cinnamon (and then being nominated for it) as we perused the woods for wildflowers, or even having lip sync performances to popular Maroon 5 songs and jamming on inflatable guitars on the river while we surveyed the water. There was always some way to make what we were doing fun. It helped me learn to not take things so seriously, but instead to balance fun with work.  This is a skill that I’ve had to use time and time again not only in school but in my everyday experience. There have been many ups and downs over the years, but I learned that even though life isn’t always easy, there’s always small joys to be found. Being a Camp counselor showed me how to find these joys.

     Aside from what I learned, I also built many lasting friendships with my fellow counselors and the teachers that made the experience possible. Camp T has a special place in our hearts and my friends and I think back to our counselor experiences to reminisce often. We’ve spent many hours laughing about our nighttime treks across Camp grounds and over whose tissue paper hot air balloons came apart seconds into launch. Many of the people I worked with are still my close friends, and one of the teachers who led the experience even wrote me a letter of recommendation for college. Even after all of these years, the people I’ve created bonds with through camp are still some of the most important people in my life. 

     Any time I talk about Camp or come across old pictures, I feel my face light up. I can’t help but feel overjoyed thinking about how much fun being with the students, staff, and fellow counselors was. I have taken the lessons I’ve learned as a counselor along with me every day, and I cherish the memories greatly. I wouldn’t trade my Camp T counselor experience for anything. I’ve told every student I know that’s passed through the junior high and high schools to absolutely be a Camp T counselor if they can. I always tell them that it was one of the best things that I’ve ever done.

   Camp Tecumseh is an experience that I believe every student should get to have, not only for the educational value, but for the incredible opportunities to build friendships. And if they were chosen to be a Camp counselor, I could only say that the time moves fast, and to enjoy every moment, because these memories would be some of their best. Camp Tecumseh, without a doubt, should continue to be a tradition for Fishers Junior High. The students only benefit from its experience.

I hope that this helps! Honestly, it’s hard to describe how much Camp T means to me. Being a counselor is genuinely one of my favorite memories of all time, and I have endless positive things to say about it. I definitely miss it 🙂

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do! 🙂 I’ve attached a few pictures below!

Thank you!!  Hershey Kondeti

To whom it may concern, 

It has come to my attention that there is a question as to whether Camp Tecumseh is worth the cost. I hope the sheer volume of responses you receive to this question is enough to indicate to you that the answer is an overwhelming “YES”. However, I do hope that you read each response in detail so that you truly grasp what Camp Tecumseh has meant to so many through the years. May that provide reassurance to you, now and in future years, that the funds are certainly well-spent, and may it even compel you to find additional ways to support this amazing experience. 

As a 7th grader at Fishers Junior High School, I was already a lover of learning, particularly of math and science. I was content with learning in a classroom out of a textbook, or at least I thought I was. Just a half week at Camp Tecumseh was enough to light a whole other kind of fire in me. The lessons I learned while immersed in nature were far more impactful and resonated more deeply than any textbook or chalkboard lesson ever could. 

As a high schooler at HSE, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a counselor for two years. Even in high school, the middle school lessons and activities at Camp were enough to reignite my love for hands-on learning. But what really made an impression was the opportunity for me to be a leader. The teachers treat the counselors not as their students except older, but as their partners in teaching. I still can’t believe that I was fortunate enough to have mentors like them show me how to connect with students, then turn to me, as their equal, and help me do the same. 

Camp Tecumseh fostered my love of science by taking me out of textbooks and into real world observations, and laid a foundation of leadership & teaching. Those experiences have since propelled me through the mangroves of the Florida Keys, studying plankton across the South Atlantic Ocean, even to the classroom as a teacher, and now at Stanford University, where I lead a team supporting the global biomedical effort to characterize every cell in the human body. 

Future students deserve to have their flame stoked just like I did. Please do not take this opportunity away from them. 


Jason Hilton, Ph.D.

­­­­­­­­­­­I don’t know that you’ll remember me as you didn’t have me in class, I had the pleasure of knowing you through National Junior Honor Society, Camp Tecumseh, and We The People. I was Kate Sirk at the time (now Kate Bland). I graduated from Fishers High School in 2009 and was a student at Fisher Junior High in the early 2000s.

Camp Tecumseh was one of the greatest (and fondest) memories of my Junior High and High School experience. Flash back to my time as a counselor in 2009, I was a shy and timid young person. At the same time, I had a great desire to learn, grow, and lead. Being I was as shy as I was, few opportunities came along where I could learn and lead others.

Camp Tecumseh presented the opportunity for me to lead my own group of campers through their camp experience. I enjoyed leading my campers through the STEM related activities at Camp Tecumseh. I’m proud to say I know I learned more than they did over the couple of days of camp. Camp is one of the few opportunities students have to get out and apply skills learned in the classroom to the real world. It’s an example of application of learning in Math, Science, and other classes.

I’ve attached a few photos of me at Camp Tecumseh as a counselor with my very best friends. You may remember Jessie and Emily. Emily is still one of my very best friends (she was a bridesmaid in my wedding) and we’re still close. I’ll actually be seeing her a week from today. You’d be so proud to know she’s a physical therapist now (a really excellent one at that). I know she enjoyed having you as a teacher and we had such a fun time together at camp. Camp is fun, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a course in leadership, responsibility, and conceptualizing. 

Flashforward to 2022, I’m over eight years into my business career and I’ve proudly managed a multi level Team at Project Lead The Way since 2018. Access to hands-on learning and STEM activities for students is still a great passion of mine, one Project Lead The Way shares. 

I don’t know how much my email will help, but my thanks to you and those who make Camp Tecumseh a possibility for students is long overdue. Thank YOU, I greatly benefited from the experience as a camper and a counselor

– Kate (Sirk) Bland

Hello from the corporate side! 

I know I am late, but if nothing else I’d love to share my appreciation for the Camp Tecumseh program. Kids are the most impressionable and often times working through some of their greatest life traumas at this age (at least I was). Camp T fills that gap.   

You know in the Mr. Rogers documentary when it prompts you to reach out to those that influenced you the most? I’ve been sitting on these feelings for years, but now feels like the most appropriate time.

Camp Tecumseh and the FJHS teachers that lead its efforts are the reason I am who I am today. This camp and these beautiful souls met me at a time when I was lost to say the least. I was navigating what divorce looked like at home, while working through puberty and trying to find my voice. This was my refuge. Camp Tecumseh taught me you can have fun even when things don’t turn out perfectly (hello compass navigation / balloon making gone awry), camp levels any playground dramas and learning doesn’t always have to be confined to a classroom.

Now roaming the woods and losing Biltmore sticks was amazing…but the teachers, were the real heroes here. Mr. Fassold, Mr. Broviak, Mr. Sturgeon, Mr. Jansen. Whether you realized the role you were playing in my life or not, you took on the role of father-figure with grace and you didn’t let go through junior high or even when I was a HS counselor. You taught me the world was bigger than my circumstances and empowered me to live out my dreams. You pushed me to be my best version of myself and hit me with the tough love that I needed.

I always got the “tough kids” as a counselor, but I think the reason we got along so well is because I could see myself in each of them. I chose to see them for their potential instead of focusing on their faults. I had the ability to come in with zero perceptions of who each of my campers were and leave with an appreciation for each of their little souls / our fun little group bonded.

I’m crying, so I hope that means you are ugly crying too. Grateful for each of you and know that you impacted my life in one of the best extremes. That extra hour at NJHS, starburst candy and stopping by my open house for a proper goodbye meant the world. 

Happy Tecumseh Week!


Elizabeth Dowen (she/her)

Letters from Cabin Parents this Year

Good morning Dr. Stokes – 

I wanted to take a moment to share my feedback, as a parent, from my recent experience with Camp Tecumseh with the 7th grade students at Fishers Junior High School.  I am thrilled that the students were able to experience this unique learning adventure after a 2 year hiatus due to Covid.  While our daughter’s (now freshman) class was not able to go, it was so refreshing and encouraging to see these young people experience the classroom setting in a non-traditional way through camp.  I first experienced Camp Tecumseh myself as a 7th grader 39 years ago so I was very excited to have the opportunity to accompany my son and see how the program has evolved over the years.  

The kids and teachers worked incredibly hard to create an experience that will never be forgotten – literally!  I only know a fraction of the hard work and logistics that goes into making all of this happen and the rewards are evident in the smiles, sweat and memories that these kids experience at camp.  It was not until attending camp as a parent, did I realize how much this camp also means to the high school counselors.  They work tirelessly to foster an environment of learning, fun and inclusion for all of the kids.  These young people showed incredible leadership and there is no doubt that their time at camp will help them become future leaders.  

If ever there is a question, “Is Camp Tecumseh worth it”, then I would say absolutely YES!  I hope that our school system continues to support this endeavor for years to come.  For some, it is their first and possibly only encounter in a nature setting.  Camp Tecumseh can truly be a life changing event for these young people.

My best – 

Jeff Lawson



I’ve been to Camp T three times as an adult cabin parent. Twice with my son, as a student and as a counselor, then with my daughter as a student. It was a unique to spend time with my kids and their friends. My daughter has remained friends with two of the girls in her cabin. Last summer they were over and at age 25 they were telling me how fun it was and retelling stories of Camp T. To have that kind of impact with the kids is priceless. 

Our youngest went as a councilor this Spring and came back considering going into teaching as she enjoyed leading her group so much. Each of the kids drew something different out of Camp T and all of them shifted their focus towards teaching after being councilors at camp- David is teaching high school government, Amanda is a GA at IU working on her masters and Erica is looking at student teaching her senior year. Camp T has been a pivotal point for all of them and a meaningful experience for me.

David Duba

Team Tecumseh, 

I wanted to take a few moments to say thanks for all you do. Secondly, if you ever need anyone to go to bat for you to defend the program, don’t hesitate to reach out. Those 2.5 days certainly made a believer and advocate out of me. I figure you know the kid’s experience from what you’ve heard and seen, so maybe I’ll just take a few moments to relay my experience as a Cabin Dad. To be honest, it was unexpectedly a little emotional for me (in a good way, I assure you). I grew up in Detroit and never got to experience anything like this as a kid. Aside from maybe a sports coach or running into a teacher at the grocery store, I never really had much interaction with teachers outside of the classroom. Throughout camp, I couldn’t help but think how great it would have been to be a part of something like this. 

I think there was a ton of value for the kids to see you let your hair down a little and be silly, have fun. It humanizes you for them and, I believe, helps them along in their own maturation and social development. My Son Lucas, for example, was afraid of teachers in elementary school. Afraid to speak up when he had questions and whatnot. It’s been a journey but he’s mostly past that now. Anyhow, I saw this experience as another important step in the right direction for him.

The High Schoolers were phenomenally well prepared and executed flawlessly from my perspective. I was impressed with the maturity and professionalism I saw from them. My Son who usually resists signing up for ANY after school events is now excited to possibly join the ranks of Camp Tecumseh Counselor someday. They inspired him and there’s a ton of value in that. My wife and I probably sound like a broken record talking about the value of college to our boys, but seeing someone closer to their own age who they’ve gotten to know in Camp take the stage and talk about their college and career plans probably resonates more than anything we can ever tell them. That was a very nice “cherry on top” during our final breakfast together.  

As for being a Cabin Dad, I loved it. It was certainly a bit of a challenge managing eleven 13 year old boys every night and morning. They were all good kids though, and it didn’t take much. Funny story, I told them on the first morning: “Your teachers BEGGED and PLEADED with me to make you wear deodorant each day.” I hope for your sake that left an impression beyond just the 2.5 days of camp. Good luck with that.

Not much else to say except great job everyone. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the efforts and execution. Learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom, of course.It takes a village and each of you are certainly helping to raise the next generation. From what I saw at camp, you’re more than doing your part to set them up for success!


Chris Sandlin

Dear Ms. Donsbach, I hope this letter finds you well. I’m sure things are busy with the school year wrapping up. I was hoping to take a moment of your time to share a success. My son attends school at Fishers junior high. He is in seventh grade, and he has spent his entire life within the HSE district. Over these many years, he has received exceptional education from the teachers in our district. During the beginning of Covid, while quarantined, his teachers did everything right. They worked hard to ensure that the children were learning everything they needed, and did their best to keep them interested and engaged. Because of some personal health issues, we chose to keep him home for the entirety of his sixth grade year. He completed the year virtually without any concern for setbacks. He even learned how to play the saxophone, from the safety of our living room. Having him home during this time allowed me to get a better understanding of the curriculum and expectations that he had in the intermediate school. All of these experiences were positive, and gave me additional insight, but that is not the purpose of this letter. I’m writing to you because I want to applaud the staff at FJH and the high school students who acted as counselors over the last three days at Camp Tecumseh. I attended as well, as an adult chaperone, and cabin parent. It was incredible to witness these kids thriving in an environment that was devoid of electronics, social media, and other worldly distractions. I was able to witness them putting all of the knowledge that they had gained over the course of the year into use. They started their day at 7 AM, and didn’t end until 11 PM, and they were learning, experiencing, laughing, growing, and creating friendships with people they may have never spoken to before. I witnessed them taking water samples and examining them under the microscope, calculating the velocity at which they exited the black hole, measuring trees and determining how much lumber each tree could provide, and the total cost of that lumber, crafting balloons out of tissue paper and watching them take flight after being filled with hot air, conquering fears of heights by climbing Mt. Hood and exploring across the suspension bridge, working together with a partner to navigate a canoe across the lake, Square dancing, listening to stories, engaging in skits, and learning in an environment that was so rich with the love for teaching. There were many other things that I did not observe directly, as the kids separated off into their study groups with their high school counselors. I did, however, hear from my son about many of the lessons, experiments, and projects that they completed. Each child had a packet to work on throughout the three days. It was 49 pages in length! My son is a great student, and when I asked him about His experience at camp, this is what he said, “ I had such a great time! I am so tired, but I learned more at camp, than I ever would have in three days at school! I just wish that I had an opportunity to go back again!” He is now contemplating the possibility of becoming a high school counselor for other students at FJH when he is old enough. I would be incredibly honored for him to have that chance. Watching those high school kids teach, engage, organize, and lead their study groups made me so proud! I was in awe of their maturity and their ability to maintain a positive learning environment for those kids I spent much of my time sitting back, and watching those students teach, and it was incredible! I know it is a sacrifice for those high school students to be out of the school, but I do believe that it was an incredibly powerful, rewarding, and positive experience for them as well. Leading groups of 12/13 year old students is difficult in itself, but they were able to guide them, and teach them as well. They maintained their safety, addressed minor disciplinary issues, encouraged those who were struggling, supported those with additional needs, and provided preliminary grades to their students. These high school kids worked so very hard, and watching them gives me hope for our future! The teaching staff who organize, attend and prepare for this trip have put on an incredible opportunity for our Jr High and HS students. It truly feels like a “right of passage” and I am so very glad that they were able to experience it this year. I am looking forward to chaperoning again in a couple of years when my daughter goes through. If there was ever any question regarding the value of this trip, I hope my letter can alleviate some of those concerns. I sincerely hope that Camp Tecumseh will be something that the students at FJH will continue to experience for a very long time. I pray that you can see it’s benefit and worth and will continue to include it in the curriculum planning for years to come. Thanks for your time!

Sincerely, Cheryl”

Final Thoughts

I understand the logistics are hard sometimes for administration. I don’t really mind the questioning of established programs to see if the merits are still there.

If you have experienced the program…at Camp…then you understand its impact.

  1. My seventh graders get to be in a pure outdoor learning classroom with “real world” relevant learning.
  2. My seventh graders get to unplug and be kids again; they dance, they have recess, they laugh, they chase tissue paper balloons waving folders keep them aloft, they push past fears to climb and canoe.
  3. My counselors learn to really lead…they impact my seventh graders by being role models and mentors to a generation desperately lacking these models.

Thanks for reading.