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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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Fish Camp goes lime

Graphic+by+Josh+Sheen

Graphic by Josh Sheen

In less than 30 days, the first of seven sets of students will arrive at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center, in Palestine, Texas, for four days of Fish Camp, a freshman’s first tradition.
2014 marks the introduction of the largest freshman class to date, said Alex Kalin, head director of Fish Camp for 2014, and the introduction of a Lime Camp, the seventh color added to the Fish Camp spectrum.
“Last year, the freshman class grew a lot more than it was predicted to and so Fish Camp found itself unprepared to accommodate all of the freshmen that wanted to attend camp,” Kalin said.
Kalin said in 2013 approximately 6,500 incoming freshmen registered for Fish Camp, and the organization had only allowed space for 6,000.
Ashley Holder, the 2014 chair for the Lime Camp, said it was important that all students have the opportunity to attend.
“I didn’t see [behind-the-scenes] of denying freshman, but after camp in my hometown and on campus, I heard people saying ‘oh I didn’t get to go to fish camp’ and that was really disappointing,” Holder said.
Ike Ntube, one of the seven assistant directors of Fish Camp, said the organization anticipated a similar increase in incoming students this year.
“The prediction we were given was 10,600, but this upcoming fall there’s going to be just under 11,000 freshmen on campus, which is probably 1,500 to 2,000 more than we had even last year,” Ntube said. “We know that we get approximately two-thirds of the freshmen at fish camp, and so in order to capture that two-thirds, we knew we needed to also grow with the student body.”
Kalin said when the idea for a seventh camp was proposed and presented, one of the foremost questions asked concerned “sister camps.” In the past, the even number of six camps provided the opportunity for sets of camps to pair up and interact more regularly, Kalin said, and seven camps would not allow for this opportunity.
“Our answer to that question was that session unity is more important,” Kalin said. “We made that clear from the get-go. Each of the assistant directors is in charge of the session, and they’ve done a good job of making sure that everyone sort of — shares the session love equally.”
Kalin said as Fish Camp has expanded, Lakeview has expanded too and has worked hard to accommodate the larger class. Kalin said that Crew has been an integral part of behind-the-scenes work at camp and merited its own color to even out the new fish camp logo.
“Part of the reason why we’ve worked so hard to keep it at Lakeview is, if it were in College Station, maybe you could go home and spend the night at your house, you don’t have to worry about fish camp, but if you’re two hours away in Lakeview you can’t get away from it, and you don’t have to worry about all that other stuff,” Kalin said.
Ntube said the directors’ goal is to break the borders of identifying as part of only one discussion group, or one camp or one session.
“Well, maybe you weren’t in our camp, but you’re still a freshman, you’re still an Aggie,” Ntube said. “That’s all that counts. We’re hoping that will grow.”
This year, Fish Camp is organizing more activities after fish camps that include all freshmen, not necessarily just the ones that went to camp, Holder said.
“We want to include the freshmen that don’t get to go to Fish Camp,” Holder said.
“Our job as counselors is to be ambassadors for A&M, and transition the entire freshmen class, not just those students that were at our four days of camp.”
Kalin said that the addition of Lime Camp was one of the biggest changes that had happened since he’d been part of the organization. He said he thought that Fish Camp as a whole has become more self-aware and more intentional this year.
“The changes in the past few years have been freshman-focused,” Kalin said. “It’s who camp will actually affect. It’s more of a culture shift than anything else. We’re just excited for the class of 2018. This is, for the three of us, our last year at Lakeview, and we’re less than 30 days from camp. The work is building at the same time the excitement level is rising. We’re going to go into it knowing this is our last shot at making sure the freshmen have a great time.”

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