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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Dorothy Jones
2 months ago

Camping has constantly been exciting and an adventure for me. And if there are right things like fishing, trekking, and bonfires, everything could be all in one. After studying your blog description, I am very excited to visit camp fish stories to sense the entertainment & journey. I wish this camping could be exciting for me. Thanks for sharing such stunning camping.

Travis Nunez
5 months ago

Camping has always been a joy and adventure for me. And if there are desirable things like fishing, hiking, and bonfires, everything will be all in one. After reading your blog description, I am very excited to visit camp fish tales to feel the enjoyment & adventure. I hope this camping will be very thrilling for me. Thanks for providing such a piece of beautiful camping location.

Rachel
9 months ago

So glad the goal was reached!

Last edited 9 months ago by Rachel
Lisa Johnson
9 months ago

Proud to be a partner with this agency who cares about their community!

kurt c bender
10 months ago

go camp fishtails

THOMAS METTLER
10 months ago

I really like the cause. More kids need to get outdoors! Thank you.

Jennifer Vredeveld
10 months ago

This is awesome!

Emily Wortman
10 months ago

Love this organization.

Steve Reder
10 months ago

Camp fishtails!!

Beth Flower-Brail
10 months ago

Yes Camp Fish Tales

Janet Keinath
10 months ago

My son looks forward to this camp every year

Jacqueline Cook
10 months ago

Great work!

Drew Talbott
10 months ago

Well done Ieuter Insurance and Camp Fish Tales

Mary White
10 months ago

Voting for Camp Fish Tales!

Greg Phillips
10 months ago

Voting For Camp Fish Tales

Kristin Swanson
10 months ago

Thank you for this! Simply amazing.

Alex Webber
10 months ago

Voted!

Kristen Squires
10 months ago

Voting for Camp Fish Tales! How exciting!

Emily Scharnott
10 months ago

Awesome camp! Thank you Ieuter Insurance for supporting this organization.

Anne Marie
10 months ago

My son has such a wonderful time there. Thanks to all!

Beth
10 months ago

500! We did it!!

Candace Cowen
10 months ago

This is an awesome chance for all kids to be kids.

Vicky Jezewski
10 months ago

#campfishtales # inittowinit

Ryan Howell
10 months ago

Love camp!!

Connietion
10 months ago

Camp Fish Tales is awesome!!

Brent Theisen
10 months ago

Good luck Camp Fish Tales

David Stickles
10 months ago

Good luck, great cause

Heidi Varner
10 months ago

Awesome camp

Christy
10 months ago

This sounds like a great program!!

Emilia Gutierrez
10 months ago

Go CFT! Providing amazing experiences to our community!

Johnny Hunt
10 months ago

An excellent program!

Debbie Holzinger
10 months ago

You have my vote!

Larry Willis
10 months ago

Good luck

Stacy Bartell
10 months ago

What a great program!!!!

Mary White
10 months ago

Supporting this great place!

Nan Spadacene
10 months ago

Go Camp Fishtales!

Kathy Jaffer
10 months ago

Voting for Camp Fish tales!!!

Kathy Fisher
10 months ago

Voting for Leuter and Camp Fish Tales!

Karen Muehlfelt
10 months ago

Can’t wait too see this goal met!!

Justin
10 months ago

Thank you.

Becky Cerame
10 months ago

Go Camp Fish Tails!

Renee Tellez
10 months ago

Great organization and cause!

Vicky Jezewski
10 months ago

#winning. #campfishtales #teamieuter. #$10,000

Kathy Miller
10 months ago

Geat oganization!

Kerri Diamond
10 months ago

Go Camp Fish Tales!

Janice Reynolds
10 months ago

Awesome camp! Good luck!

Kate MacKenzie
10 months ago

Good luck Camp Fish tales!

Sandy Laundra
10 months ago

Everyone please keep the votes coming

James Willis
10 months ago

What a great cause and a great story!

Christy Marker
10 months ago

Such a wonderful organization helping so many kiddos!! Love Camp Fishtails!!

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