DIRECTORS/OWNERS

VIC NORRIS
Senior Director/Owner – 46 years

Vic first arrived at Tamakwa in the summer of 1967 and hasn’t looked back since!  Under the tutelage of Tamakwa’s founding owner Lou Handler, Vic rose up the ranks quickly from counselor, to CIT Director, Section Head, Assistant Director and Camp Director.  As the saying goes, he loved camp so much; he bought it.  Vic took on co-ownership of Tamakwa in 1980 as a labour of love with a fresh vision and commitment to rebuild every aspect of Tamakwa, particularly the physical plant as well as expanding and diversifying camp’s activities and programs.  Tamakwa now offers more than twice as many activities since Vic became co-owner. Vic has also spearheaded maintaining Tamakwa’s most revered traditions.  Vic has served as an accreditation visitor for the Ontario Camps Association, is an affiliate member of the American Camping Association and provides a host of risk management consulting services to other summer camps.  Vic enjoys a well-deserved stature in the camping community and has complemented his love of camping, kids, sports and the outdoors with a law career spanning over 40 years.  Since 1980 he has been with the Michigan firm of Hertz Schram PC, most of those years as managing partner.  His wife Ronda spends as much time at camp as permitted by her medical practice as a board certified pediatric & adult allergist.  Their children Max and Jessica have literally grown up at Tamakwa and have loved every summer as campers!

CRAIG PERLMUTTER
Camp Director/Owner – 28 years

Craig first arrived at Tamakwa in the summer of 1981 and stayed for 13 years straight.  He then returned to Tamakwa in April of 2002, after an 8-year hiatus, and soon became Camp Director and Co-Owner with Vic.  Between 1981 and 1993, Craig was a camper, CIT, counselor, Landsports Director, Assistant Boys Camp Director, and Program Director.  Even during his hiatus, he was part of the Tamakwa landscape, whether helping out during routine visits, being a valuable resource in our off-season preparations, or reviving and spearheading our Alumni Camp Weekend in the fall.  He is a true member of the Tamakwa family in more ways than one:  his parents, Howard and Carol Perlmutter, were owners of camp from 1980-1984 alongside Vic and Dave Bale as they took over the ownership.  Craig graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and, before his return to Tamakwa, worked in sports marketing as well as in other marketing endeavours in Chicago, Michigan and then back in Toronto, closer to his family.  Craig has spent many hockey seasons teaching and coaching youth hockey in Michigan and in Toronto.  Craig’s wife is Margot Perlmutter, who started at camp full-time in the spring of 2006, and their son Nate (born November 2007) and daughter Molly (born April 2010) will be enjoying yet another amazing summer in the fresh Algonquin air.  Craig is also in his second term as Vice President of the Ontario Camps Association, representing summer camps across the province of Ontario, as well as across Canada as part of the Government Relations Committee.

MARGOT PERLMUTTER
Camp Director – 21 years

Margot began her Tamakwa career in 1986, travelling from Montreal, Quebec as a young camper and then staff member for 10 summers.  In 2006, after a decade long hiatus, Margot returned to Tamakwa to work alongside Vic and husband Craig (yes, they are a true Tamakwa couple, having met at camp in 1986).  Since Margot’s return, she has worked hard to learn every aspect of camp life and can be seen doing anything and everything around camp.  As it is often said,  Tamakwa is a “people” camp and that saying couldn’t be more fitting for Margot.  She is the warm, nurturing, energetic, friendly, bubbly persona, setting just the right tone at camp and  in the off-season in the Toronto office. In addition to overseeing the business administration of camp, Margot is continually interfacing with parents year round, particularly during the summer.  Providing that little extra TLC to a camper who now and then needs a little extra attention and special friend at camp is just a part of what Margot adds to camp on a daily basis. Margot is passionate about the environment and promoting a  healthy lifestyle and habits for campers and staff and also helps manage our camp menu and food service, including the special dietary needs of some of our campers.   Margot graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BA in English and spent 9 years working as a Media Director in the advertising industry with Media Experts.  Each summer, we can expect Margot to be running around camp, enjoying activities with her and Craig’s daughter Molly (born April 2010) while their son Nate (born November 2007) had already become a full-fledged camper.

YEAR-ROUND STAFF

DAVID STRINGER
Associate Director – 64 years

David grew up at Tamakwa, literally.  His parents were possibly the first Tamakwa couple.  His father Omer Stringer, a legendary canoeist and outdoorsman, co-founded Tamakwa and built the first buildings in camp in 1936.  His mom is Edie (Brooks) Stringer, who worked in the camp office in the 1940’s.  They met at camp, got married, and brought David to camp for the first time in 1952.  He has been at Tamakwa ever since.  He actively contributes to every aspect of Tamakwa’s operation, but he is best known as creator of hundreds of camp movies, videos, and DVDs, as operator of C.A.M.P. Radio and CAMP T.V., master of all Tamakwa program “breaks” and special effects, master of all computer & hi-tech operations, repairman of anything in camp, and a unique program resource person when it comes to entertaining campers.  He is the ultimate camp musician (piano, clarinet, guitar, and tuba/sousaphone) and magic man.  When current Tamakwans and alumni try to describe how different and special Tamakwa is from all other places, in part, they unknowingly are referring to the myriad special tangibles and intangibles David Stringer brings to our Tamakwa community.  Stringer loves telling the stories and ballads Unca Lou told, taking kids on the lake to show them the stars and constellations, playing clarinet in his golf cart during twilight and so much more.  Outside of camp, David is a computer programmer and independent film maker who has produced and hosted hundreds of educational television programs aired on TV-Ontario, PBS in the U.S., and in many other countries.  Best of all, David is fantastic working and having fun with kids.  David’s son Alex was a Tamakwa camper for 8 years and worked in the kitchen for 2 summers.  Alex is a very talented musician in his own right and graduated from Guelph University in 2014 and just completed a Masters in Statistics from the University of Toronto.

KEN ELDER
Chief Engineer – 39 years

Ken has been a full-time resident of Algonquin Park for over 45 years.  He worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources as an information and enforcement officer from 1969 to 1979.  He started working part-time for Tamakwa in 1978, but came on board full-time in 1980 and has been with us ever since.  Ken’s tenure with the Ministry and his engineering degree, experience, and training has provided him the skills to renovate or rebuild every structure in camp and modernize Tamakwa’s physical plant systems.  Before the current water system regulations came into law, he designed and implemented what is probably the most sophisticated, effective and efficient water purification plant at any summer camp.  He is also instrumental in the design and implementation of many of Tamakwa’s safety and emergency procedures.  Tamakwa is proud of its campaign over the past 35 years to rebuild, restore, and upgrade every physical aspect of camp. Ken is the chief architect of that campaign, and as the person responsible for the entire physical plant and maintenance program, he engineers and supervises every construction project.  While preserving the traditional Tamakwa look, Ken designs new camp cabins and buildings with his own unique style and passion.  Ken is the envy of every camp owner.  He and his wife June live in a cabin at Tamakwa’s landing across South Tea Lake during the camp season and in Huntsville during the winter.

LIBBY SADICK VON NEUMANN
“The Woman Who Can Do It All” – 44 years

Libby started her incredible run at Tamakwa in the summer of 1973.  If there is such thing as a “Jill of all trades” in the camping world, then Libby is it. She has been a camper, CIT, Counselor, Canoe Tripper, Canoe Tripping Director, Section Head, Girls’ Camp Director, and CIT Director, and has been our official camp photographer for years. She even works on our pre and post-season construction crew helping to maintain Tamakwa’s infrastructure.  In addition to her summer duties, Libby is a key resource person in our post-season as a liaison for schools and other after camp rental groups and camp weddings!  Libby formerly resided in San Diego, California, where she worked in a pre-school and in photo studios.  Her formal training is in photography, and for proof, look at the photos on our website (and across the internet) and our other print literature.  In 1998, she and her husband Ric made the permanent move to Algonquin Park. They now live across the lake from camp and both are part of our full-time team that maintains the physical plant.  Libby’s biggest claim to fame is as the longest tenured Girls’ Camp Director (and Section Head) in camp history. Given that credential, Libby continues to be an all-purpose resource for staff and campers. But when you have a multitude of talents, you’re called upon for a multitude of tasks. Libby will continue with a variety of staff, camper and behind the scenes administrative responsibilities. Whatever her title, the most universally understood job description for her is the word that’s worth a thousand pictures:  “Libby”.

RIC VON NEUMANN
Woodshop Director & Year-Round Work Crew – 19 years

Ric first arrived at Tamakwa in the summer of 1998.  Two years later, he and Libby began working year-round, alongside Ken, to continue to rebuild every aspect of Tamakwa’s infrastructure.  Ric is an accomplished artist, finished carpenter and jewelry maker by trade.  Not only is he an integral member of the year-round work crew at camp to keep Tamakwa in great condition, but he is also the director of our summer Woodshop Program.  When Ric decided to move to Tamakwa, camp built a fantastic Woodshop for him to impart his knowledge and love for woodworking and paddle making to our campers and staff.  His Woodshop activity fills up each and every week during camper’s individual choice periods where they learn to safely use power and manual tools, and make projects to take home for mom and dad. Ric’s make-a-paddle and adopt-a-paddle program has become a favourite activity for campers and staff.

SUE BINDER
Administrative Assistant – 21 years

Sue’s history at Tamakwa spans 6 decades dating back to 1969.  She was a camper for several years then a CIT, counselor, JT Director and Camp Coordinator.  Sue moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and began a 15 year career in film and television working for Renaissance Pictures (for distinguished Tamakwa film director Sam Raimi) on such films and TV shows as Army of Darkness (Evil Dead 3), Darkman II and III, The Legendary Journeys of Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess, starting out as a production assistant and moving through the ranks to Production Associate and then Office Manager.  Sue’s heart has always been with Tamakwa and after 15 years in LA, she returned to Michigan and Tamakwa in 2005.  During the off-season, Sue helps run the Michigan office and then transitions to the summer camp office, working closely with Margot and helping campers and staff day in and day out while making everyone feel special.

GUY TETREAULT
Chef / West Park Catering Owner – 20 years

Tamakwa is truly blessed to have such a talented, compassionate and dedicated Chef working tirelessly at camp for 2 decades.  After two summers working for a different catering company in the 1980’s, Guy then started his own catering business (West Park Catering) and rejoined Tamakwa years ago.  Guy hires his own hard-working staff each summer and together they put in almost 16 hours a day in the Tamakwa kitchen.  Guy’s claim to fame is an article written by a Toronto Star food columnist, featuring his Tamakwa catering service and menu items as setting the standard for all camps.  We couldn’t agree more.  Guy plans a menu with nutritional balance, variety, and children’s tastes.  Other than providing camp with a great menu, Guy’s high energy provides campers and staff alike with a lot of laughter.  He has an infectious personality and sense of humour that no one can match.  Just ask him to say “Shore Lunch” for you, you’ll completely agree.  Guy lives in the off-season in Huntsville and has two children, Rebecca and Olivia.

JARED BARNES
Transportation Director & Year-Round Work Crew – 11 years

Jared first arrived at Tamakwa in 2006 as a member of our hard-working Transportation / Maintenance crew and we’re lucky he never left.  After 7 summers, including numerous spring and fall work contracts, Jared moved north to become an important part of the year-round work crew.  During the off-season and the summer, his tireless work ethic and commitment to maintaining the physical plant of Tamakwa under Ken’s tutelage is an incredible asset to camp and we are lucky to have him oversee our summer Transportation team.  Jared grew up in Hamilton with his brother Levi, who also worked alongside Jared for 8 summers at camp.  Jared graduated from Brock University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Business Administration where he was also a tutor for students of all ages.

ANDREA BASEN
Activity Leader Director & Director’s Assistant – 3 years

While Andrea has always been a camper at heart, she joined the Tamakwa family as a staff member in 2014.  Andrea’s camp journey started as a horse-loving camper at a small horseback riding camp in Ontario.  After a few summer as a counselor and riding instructor it was time to move to the big leagues of traditional  summer camp.  In 2007, Andrea moved to Camp Arowhon (on Teepee Lake in Algonquin Park) as a riding instructor.  Over the next 7 years, Andrea spent spring, summer and fall working as an Activity Instructor, Canoe Tripper for Alive Outdoors and Arowhon Program Director.  In the winter, Andrea worked multiple outdoor adventure jobs around the world… always looking for ways to have fun in the outdoors with kids!  Some highlights include working aboard the Princess Cruise fleet around the world as Youth Counselor, working as a kayak and horse riding instructor in New Zealand, a dog sled guide at Deerhurst Resort and a gardener in Hawaii.  In 2014, Andrea was thrilled to return home to Toronto to work at Tamakwa full-time.  In the off-season, Andrea works in our Toronto office developing our social media presence, assists in screening most staff applicants and helps with numerous other behind the scenes office work.  In the summer, Andrea is excited to share her knowledge of camp and to work alongside our Activity Leader team to help them run incredibly fun, safe and exciting activity areas for all of our Tamakwa campers!

SUMMER LEADERSHIP TEAM FOR 2016

JEFF AVIGIAN
Boys Camp Director – 14 summers

Jeff first arrived at Tamakwa in the summer of 2002 as our Landsports Director.  Two years later he transitioned to Head Staff as our Voyageur Section Head, then CIT Director in 2006 and now as one of our longest running Boys Camp Directors.  Jeff is a true camp personality and certainly keeps everyone on his or her toes. Jeff adds not only a great element of charisma and humour as one of camp’s most colourful characters, but even more so, a great amount of professionalism given his teaching, youth recreation, and coaching experience. He was born and raised in Boston, where he is a teacher for grade 11-12 math at Danvers High School. He also coaches the school’s teams in golf, basketball, and baseball. Jeff’s own education includes a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of South Florida in 1992 and an MBA from University of Mississippi in 1994. And as a true-blue Bostonian, he is an avid Red Sox fan. He loves them so much he spends his spare time as a groundskeeper at Fenway Park so he won’t miss a game. As a seasoned teacher and coach, who is also steeped in the ideals of camping, Jeff will once again be an important leader for Boys’ Camp, not to mention an incredible asset to the overall administration of camp.

NATE ZAHN
Canoe Tripping Director – 12 summers

Nate has been an integral part of Tamakwa’s canoe tripping program for over a decade and has led every trip Tamakwa offers.  Stepping up as Tamakwa’s Trip Director in the summer of 2011, Nate is looking forward to another amazing summer on the job.  Indeed, Nate has taken out more cabin trips and long trips than any other Tamakwa canoe tripper (in Algonquin Park & Temagami) and is renowned for lively campfires with his guitar playing and singing, which he also does professionally. Tripping has always been the quintessential Tamakwa activity and Nate’s experience and enthusiasm has enabled him to develop the program to even greater heights.  As one of the most highly regarded programs in North America, the caliber, personnel, popularity and reputation of Tamakwa’s tripping program have never been stronger and this summer Nate is sure to once again lead a very successful tripping program.  Before Tamakwa, Nate was a long-time camper and staff member at Camp Wabanaki where he capped off his career with them as the Leadership-In-Training (LIT) Director in 2003.  Nate graduated from Lakehead University in 2008 with an H.B.A. in Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, followed by a B.A. in Biology in 2009 and then completed an H.B.A. in Education in 2010.  Nate is currently a teacher in the Limestone District School Board in Kingston, Ontario.  Nate is thrilled to be fulfilling his passion of working with kids year-round.  Nate and fellow Tamakwan Snaige Jogi became an official Tamakwa married couple in August 2015, when they tied the knot on Tamakwa soil!

JODIE SCHRAM
Girls Camp Director – 18 summers

Jodie enjoyed her first summer at Tamakwa back in 1998 and except for one brief hiatus in 2014, she hasn’t missed a summer since!  Jodie was a long time camper, CIT, Junior and Senior Counselor, Section Head for our 13-15 year olds and now, is once again returning as Girls Camp Director.  Jodie has always proven herself as an outstanding staff member from day one.  Even as a counselor, she was often in charge of our senior campers, a position generally given to our most experienced and qualified staff.  She easily stepped up to the role of 49er Section Head in 2012 and then easily transitioned to an even bigger role as Girls Camp Director in 2015.  Jodie brings a wealth of experience to girls camp and our Head Staff team. Jodie has always been adored by her peers and friends at camp and by so many campers lucky enough to have her as their counselor. In addition to being an athletic and active camper and staff member, Jodie is best known for spending untold hours with her campers behind the scenes forging close relationships with them and fostering unified and fun-filled cabin groups. Of course, she is also known for her love of dance and can be seen dancing just about anywhere in camp… in her cabin, at the sail dock, and of course the rec hall.  It is often said, “Tamakwa is a people camp,” and Jodie is a great camp personality. Jodie graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in Neuroscience. She currently lives in Michigan and is an assistant teacher in the Early Childhood Center at Hillel Day School.

DANIEL GARFINKEL
Program Director – 6 summers

Daniel began his Tamakwa career in 2011 and worked year-round learning the ropes and all the ins and outs of his new camp home at Tamakwa.  In 2013, he jumped into the programming world and quickly showed his many creative talents to all Tamakwans. After two summers working alongside long-time Tamakwan Michael Kaufman, Daniel is thrilled to be spearheading the programming this summer as Program Director. Daniel’s zany, high energy, do-anything for a laugh attitude has made him a favourite amongst campers and staff.  Best known during his many years at Tamakwa for his “bib of awesomeness” award each morning, we are certain there will be many more new and creative ideas hitting camp this summer.  Daniel spent 14 summers at Camp Northland where he was a camper, counselor, canoe tripper, head of paddle sports, Section Head and Program Director.  He currently works full-time in Toronto with a company called Dynamix doing team-building for kids and teens.  Daniel completed a 4-year sociology degree from York University and Athabasca University.

JULIE HIRSCH
Junior Tamakwan (JT) Director – 5 summers

If you think Julie is high energy during one of her popular Zumba classes, you ought to see her in action every day at camp, running around with our Junior Tamakwan (Foresters & Trailblazers) campers and staff.  Julie first set foot on the South Tea shores in 1985 as a Junior Senior Girl (maiden name Feldman).  After a 22 year hiatus, she returned in 2007 with her husband Ron, a long-time Tamakwa camper and counselor, when he began serving as one of our camp physicians.  Not one to sit back and just relax, Julie always knew she was ready and able to take on more at Tamakwa.  In 2013, Julie stepped into a new and exciting role as Tamakwa’s Junior Tamakwan Director and has been loving every minute.  She is already planning special goodness and new activities for this summer’s Junior Tamakwans. She loves working with children and has been the PTO President and a Girl Scout leader for the past decade. Julie and Ron have three wonderful children: Rachel, Stacey and Melanie, all long-time Tamakwa campers.  In addition to her legal career, Julie is a group fitness instructor in the Metro Detroit area.  Given her experience and background, Julie is the perfect person for parents to entrust their children to in their early camper years at Tamakwa.

MICHAEL (MIKEY) DAVIDSON
CIT (Counselor-In-Training) Director – 12 summers

After a brief hiatus (of a couple decades), Mikey is thrilled to be returning to the shores of South Tea to share his love of the Park and all things Tamakwa.  Mikey started his camp career in 1987 and spent 11 years growing up at Tamakwa.  Having started as a Ranger camper (he grew up with Margot at camp – and yes Vic was Director then too), then on through his Voyageur years, CIT, Junior and Senior Counselor and then Canoe Tripper. Mikey understands how Tamakwa can challenge kids of all ages to accomplish daily milestones.  As a CIT he was assigned to the Ropes Course in its inaugural year despite his terrifying fear of heights and as a Senior Boy he was the first camper to participate in two 13-days in a single summer.  During the year, he is a high school teacher in Toronto, so he’s well-prepared and excited to work with our CIT group.  For the past four summers, he was the Camp Director of Camp Katonim, a children’s day camp and was voted one of the top 5 Camp Directors of Distinction by Nyquest Canada.  Mikey’s Tamakwa history and other experiences make him the ideal person to give the CITs a fantastic summer full of leadership, training and fun.  Mikey couldn’t be more thrilled to be returning to Tamakwa – especially now that he can share this special place with his wife Leora and amazing daughters; Coral (10), Sadie (8), and Marlowe (4).

HOWARD & CAROL PERLMUTTER

Carol (Rotenberg) had already spent four summers at Tamakwa as a camper, CIT and staff member when she coaxed Howard to come to camp in 1955 and 1956, before being married in 1957.  While she was a counselor, Howard was a tripper and then Canoe Director under the tutelage of Tamakwa’s co-founder Omer Stringer.  Howard graduated from the University of Toronto and Carol received her teacher’s degree.  Amid a career as a real estate executive in Toronto, Howard found the opportunity in 1980 to fulfill a dream by returning to Tamakwa to ensure its success for future generations for Tamakwans.  That year, with Vic Norris and Dave Bale, he purchased Tamakwa from the Handler and Kraft families and they spent numerous weekends and weeks at each of the next 35 summers at camp.  Howard and Carol are the proud parents of Camp Director Craig Perlmutter.  Even without an ownership interest in camp since the mid-1980’s, Howard continued to contribute to camp in many tangible and intangible ways until his passing in September 2014.  Their other sons Lloyd (married to Dawn Gold) and Michael spent their formative summers at Tamakwa and Lloyd and Dawn’s children (Jake, Jamie and Jaxon) are all Tamakwans.