How does someone become an artist? A basketball player? An actress? Is it a talent inherently born within or is it repeated exposure that allows the skill to take its grasp? While the supporting evidence is unclear, most presume it’s some combination of both nature and nurture.

David Goldman gets campers to stretch before learning to ride unicycles

Tamarack Camps has leveraged the idea that exposure to unique experts — or, as they call it, Artists in Residence — encourages campers to undertake unique experiences. And maybe, just maybe, it will lead a camper down a road that will positively impact his or her life.

This plan to bring artists in residence began a few years ago with traditional artists who specialized in pastels, watercolors, mosaics, etc.  Each year, however, the program has expanded from artist to experts in a wide array of fields.

In 2016, the artists at Camp Maas included a variety of specialties: swimming instruction, a professional Israeli basketball player, a fly fisherman, unicycling, soccer and even a Young Engineers program. Each expert teaches a course that allows interested campers to dive deeply into their specialty for three to five days.

During their residency, artists enjoy staying at camp — or, if necessary, they commute.

“I worked with two different villages on learning how to ride,” said unicylcist extraordinaire David Goldman. “With a total of three hours together, many of the kids established a solid foundation. The experience brought me back to 1986, when I spent a summer teaching unicycling and juggling at Camp Chi in Wisconsin. My stint as artist in residence allowed me, once again, to witness the look of satisfaction and pure joy when working hard to learn a new skill.”

Campers at Camp Maas learn how to fly fish from an expert

Each year, the program has improved, and summer 2017 will be no different.

“Campers and artists love the program equally,” said Carly Weinstock, Camp Maas associate director and Artist in Resident program manager. “Parents also thank us after camp. I always get several phone calls and emails saying how much they appreciate that their child had this opportunity.”

This year, Tamarack Camps is opening the door to the community for suggestions. With a virtual suggestion box on the Tamarack Camps Facebook page, campers, artists and community members now have the opportunity to submit ideas they believe would be exciting for campers.

“It’s a win-win,” Weinstock says. “Artists love coming to camp and teaching their skill to a younger generation, and kids love learning something new and different they can show off when they get home.”

Tamarack Camps prides itself on 115 consecutive summers of happy campers. This program is another example of how this long-standing community gem continues to push boundaries and helps campers grow on their own journeys of self-discovery.

Artist Mona Engel helps a camper learn to use pastels

To submit an idea, visit Tamarack’s Facebook Page,; or
contact Carly Weinstock at (248) 647-1100 for more information.