The Battalion editor-in-chief Brady Stone spoke with Ryan Brown, the Head Director of Fish Camp and discussed the camp’s recent move to virtual delivery, what students can expect with an online camp and how camp counselors feel about the change.
THE BATTALION: How did your staff come to the decision to make Fish Camp 2020 an online event?
BROWN: Originally, we had a detailed and comprehensive plan to hold Fish Camp safely on-campus, but with sharp increases in the number of cases in Brazos County and Texas, we determined that it would no longer be feasible to carry out those plans. We continually monitored the number of cases and the hospitalization rates across Texas on a day-to-day basis, which increased to the point where we really had to reconsider our program in a quickly changing environment. We also had to consider where freshmen were coming from, such as areas across Texas deemed "hotspots" for COVID-19.
THE BATTALION: Overall, how are Fish Camp counselors feeling about the move to online?
BROWN: Obviously people were disappointed given that so many people have put in a lot of time and effort into this program, and that the Class of 2024 wouldn't have an in-person Fish Camp. Fish Camp has never been done virtually before and so I think there's a lot of curiosity surrounding it which creates motivation to be a part of something that's never been done before. There will be a tomorrow. One day things will start to look normal again and Fish Camp will continue to remain a unique tradition for freshmen for years to come.
THE BATTALION: What should campers expect with online Fish Camp?
BROWN: While we are continuing to develop the content of the program itself, freshmen can expect a variety of different things, not only during the three days of camp but also throughout the year. Virtually, freshmen will be a part of individual camps and discussion groups, which will include various activities and programs that will help them learn more about Texas A&M and their freshman year. Throughout the year, freshmen will have a support system within their camps and DGs so that we can support them in finding success in transition into college.
THE BATTALION: Will students be refunded their initial Fish Camp fee? If so, what will that process look like?
BROWN: The updated registration fee is $25 and covers a t-shirt, 12th Man towel, water bottle, informational packets and other materials that will be shipped to the freshmen prior to the beginning of the fall semester. If students have already registered and paid, they will be refunded the difference and that process will begin on July 1.
THE BATTALION: What do you have to say to students who may be less excited for online camp?
BROWN: While the idea of an online program can be discouraging, what makes Fish Camp unique is the community that is cultivated between Aggies. I have a great amount of respect for the Class of 2024 for the challenges they've overcome, and I can promise you that we will continue to conduct a program that is engaging and excites them for the opportunities they have awaiting them at Texas A&M.
An update regarding registration and refunds: pic.twitter.com/zS6GeT7ov2— Fish Camp (@FishCampTAMU) June 30, 2020