Making camp accessible to all

Camp Fish Tales provides a place for individuals with special needs to experience the outdoors, connect with peers and develop skills that enhance their quality of life. They reached their goal of 500 votes and doubled their donation to reach $10,000!

Creating happy campers

 

Making camp accessible to all 1

Ieuter Insurance Group employees participate in a ribbon cutting celebration for a new sensory cabin at Camp Fish Tales.

Attending camp is a memorable rite of passage for many kids and young adults. Camp Fish Tales was founded in 1989 to help ensure that those with disabilities have the same chance to experience camp in a safe, supportive and accessible environment.

In 1996, the camp expanded to its current location when it purchased about 67 acres near Pinconning, Michigan. This location provides a place for those with special needs to make new friends while enjoying fishing, hiking, boating, swimming, archery, crafts, talent shows, bonfires and other classic summer camp activities.

The organization offers weekend or weeklong sessions tailored to different needs and age groups. Along with experiencing the joy and camaraderie of camp, the programs are designed to build confidence and help campers develop social, emotional and cognitive skills. For many of them, it’s a rare opportunity to be independent and away from home while having fun with their peers. The time away also gives parents and caregivers a respite while knowing their loved ones are entertained and well cared for.

Making camp accessible to all 6
Vicky Goodall, Karl Ieuter and Allison Lambert from Ieuter Insurance Group pose with Shannon Forshee, Executive Director of Camp Fish Tales. These plaques went on a cabin to recognize Ieuter’s sponsorship of the camp.

Raising money and spreading joy

Making camp accessible to all 2

Karl Ieuter cleans up in preparation for another camp season. He and other agency employees spend many weekends each year preparing the facilities for the next round of campers.

Located in Midland, Michigan, the Ieuter Insurance Group has supported Camp Fish Tales in multiple ways for more than five years. Along with generous financial support, Ieuter employees volunteer at the camp, help with fundraisers, provide printing and postage services and contribute in other ways. In addition, independent agent Karl Ieuter is the vice chair of the board of directors and serves on several committees.

Karl also won the camp’s “Keep the Fire Burning” Award. The tradition at camp is to save the ashes from the last campfire and use them to start the first fire of the next season, which symbolizes his ongoing passion for Camp Fish Tales and its campers.

The insurance group also supports the annual Fish Races, one of the camp’s major fundraisers. This popular event is supported by local businesses that decorate and sponsor wooden fish that “race” to the finish line based on dice rolls to raise money.

“This camp means so much to those with special needs, especially those who have never been on a pontoon boat, slept in a cabin or walked in the woods,” said Ieuter. “The camp offers a fun, safe space for campers to be themselves among peers without barriers or limits to accessibility.”

Making camp accessible to all 7
Vicky Goodall, Corrie Van Eck, Karl Ieuter and Dawn Sczepanski of Ieuter Insurance Group pose with their fish — the “Ieuter Insurance Grouper” — at Camp Fish Tales’s Annual Fish Races fundraiser.

Specially designed for fun

 

One of the most popular camp features is the inclusive playground equipment. A wheelchair platform swing, specialized merry-go-rounds, the only handicap-accessible zipline in Michigan and a tailored archery range allow everyone to enjoy a full summer camp experience.

Everything at the camp, from lodges to cabins to all outdoor recreation areas, is barrier-free and accessible to everyone. Spending time in a facility tailored to their unique needs gives those with disabilities the chance to be independent and in greater control of their environment — which creates a feeling of freedom that everyone deserves.

 

“The camp offers a fun, safe space for kids to be themselves among peers without barriers or limits to accessibility.”

– Karl Ieuter, Agent, Ieuter Insurance Group

Making camp accessible to all
Ieuter Insurance Group is also a financial supporter of the nonprofit. Here Karl Ieuter has the honor of handing over a donation check to CFT Director Shannon Forshee.

Expanding access to scholarships

 

Camp Fish Tales’s policy is to never turn a camper away because of an inability to pay. But as interest in the camp increases, it’s becoming more challenging to offer scholarships to all who need them. A $10,000 donation from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance would help 15 deserving campers attend a weeklong summer session, at no cost to their families or caregivers.

 

To vote, share this story using the blue icons to the left, comment below or both. Every vote or comment gets Camp Fish Tales closer to a $10,000 donation. To learn more, visit Camp Fish Tales and Ieuter Insurance Group.

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Beth Clark
24 days ago

So excited to support this goal!

Elizabeth
23 days ago

Rooting for you, Ieuter!

Kaitlyn Muirhead
23 days ago

Voting for Camp Fish Tales! 🙂

Tom Asiala
23 days ago

Great Organization!!!

Alisa Davidspn
23 days ago

Way to go Ieuter, go camp fishtails

Kait
23 days ago

Everyone loves Camp Fish Tales!!

Lauren Martin
23 days ago

I love Camp Fish Tales!!

Melissa Grzegorczyk
23 days ago

Happy to support this goal! Go Camp Fishtales!

Muriel Scott
23 days ago

Go get ’em Camp Fishtales.

Drew Marshall
23 days ago

This is amazing!

Jeff
23 days ago

Great organization!

Jenny McNulty
23 days ago

This is awesome!

Beth
23 days ago

Don’t forget to click the social icons in the top left to vote 3 more times, everybody! Thanks for all the support.

Allie Tillman
23 days ago

What an amazing cause to be a part of! Camp Fish Tales has my support!

Shannon Forshee
23 days ago

Whooo hooo! let’s do this!

Lauren
23 days ago

How exciting! Go CFT!

Jessica
23 days ago

Awesome organization!

Kerri Diamond
23 days ago

Great organization!

Andrew
23 days ago

Camp Fish Tales is awesome!

Karl Ieuter
23 days ago

Great organization!

Kellie
23 days ago

Great work!

Kathy Snyder
23 days ago

Such a worthwhile cause!

Marsha Standler
23 days ago

Camp Fish Tales is one of the most worthwhile causes I can think of. What a godsend!!

Jennifer Reid
23 days ago

My Louise loves camp fish tales they are amazing group of people ❤️

Kimberly Jones
23 days ago

Cheering for Ieuter & Camp Fish Tales!!

Andrew J Kowalczyk
23 days ago

Amazing organization.

Rose Smith
23 days ago

The staff and camp experience is awesome!

Margaret R Smith
23 days ago

Go camp fishtales!

Timothy Atkinson
23 days ago

Thanks to Ieuter Insurance Group for helping to send individuals with special needs to experience Camp Fish Tales.

CarolW
23 days ago

Awesome opportunity

Ben
23 days ago

such a cool story. Way to keep the fire burning.

Maureen Duley
23 days ago

Great charity!

Shianne
23 days ago

Nice work !!!

Clark Beth
23 days ago

Commenting on a second device for maximum impact!

Penny
23 days ago

Camp Fish Tales is the Best Ever!!!

Bill
23 days ago

Great to see involvement in the needs of the community. Keep up the good work!

Vicky Jezewski
23 days ago

Congratulations!

Christine Davis
23 days ago

Thanks for supporting Camp Fish Tales

Ryan Shepard
23 days ago

Keep up the great work everybody! Great organizations!!

Wallace Jill
23 days ago

Go, Camp Fish Tales!

Stacey Mitchell
23 days ago

Great cause!

Andrew Buis
23 days ago

Keep sharing everyone!!

Barb Hebert
23 days ago

A great place doing great work!

Loretta Belfiore
23 days ago

How wonderful. Love being able to help children. Good for your O’Quinn Agency

Dan Sonkowsy
23 days ago

Such an awesome organization

Andrew
23 days ago

Go Ieuter!

Kelsey ward
23 days ago

Camp fish tales

Adrienne Fazi
23 days ago

I love that children of all abilities can have a great time at this camp! Great work!

Linda Rocco
23 days ago

You have my support!

Robin Wolford
23 days ago

Voting Ieuter for Camp Fish Tales

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