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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Battalion May 4, 2024

First Fish Camp session to begin Tuesday

 
 

Before freshmen arrive to for a fall semester full of Texas A&M traditions, approximately 6,100 of them will spend four days experiencing their first tradition – Fish Camp.
The first of seven Fish Camp sessions will begin Tuesday at the Lakeview Methodist Conference Center in Palestine, Texas. Grace Farrar, the director of operations for Fish Camp Staff, said the 6,100 freshmen participating represent an increase of around 1,000 students from last year’s attendance.
Fish Camp strives to provide a welcoming atmosphere for freshmen to spend time with their future peers and to learn more about the University they are to attend.
“Besides their New Student Conference, it’s the students’ first taste of the Aggie experience,” said Allyson Peters, sophomore interdisciplinary studies major and Fish Camp crew counselor. “It’s memorable because they not only make friends, but they are able to learn about the traditions, ask questions and gain knowledge from those that have been in college.”
Camps divide the freshmen into small discussion groups (DGs), each led by two counselors who have spent the spring and summer preparing to guide their DGs throughout their first year of college.
Erik Linde, junior nutritional sciences major and Fish Camp counselor, said DGs play a role in forming a “universally
accepting environment.”
“[Counselors] are all so different, so if the students have any questions at all, they can come to us and ask,” Linde said. “There’s someone for everyone there.”
Ariel Koester, class of 2013, said she still keeps in contact with people from her camp.
“It’s such a welcoming and heartfelt experience,” Koester said. “You were able to make these new friends before you set foot on campus.”
During the camp, students are given informational presentations throughout the day covering subjects such as The Aggie Honor Code, traditions, the Southeastern Conference and campus services. In the evening, freshman can participate in “mixers” or go to “The Aquarium” for a more relaxed atmosphere.
Peters said most of the programs are “put on in a fun and entertaining manner,” however programs like Silver Taps and Muster are enacted so freshmen are able to understand their importance.
“The programs teach them about some of the biggest traditions on campus and how current and former Aggies hold those traditions so dearly,” Peters said.
The organization was involved in controversy in June when photos of Fish Camp counselors posing in the Bonfire Memorial portals surfaced on social media sites. The pictures incited outrage in current and former Aggies for the seeming lack of respect for the memorial built in honor of the 12 students who died in the collapse of the 1999 Aggie Bonfire.
Farrar noted that “every single camp and every single counselor,” including the camp pictured at the Bonfire memorial, received enhanced traditions education and the “expectations” they are to follow were made clear.
“I think we’ve really come out stronger,” Farrar said. “It really exposed an area that we were lacking. It helped us to prepare a better training for our freshmen.”
Martha Mikhail, a junior health major and Fish Camp counselor said she believed the incident did not represent the entire organization of Fish Camp.
“We all work really hard at what we do,” Mikhail said. “We just want to make sure something like that does not happen again.”

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