COLLEGE STATION -- Two milestones will mark Texas A&M University’s Fish Camp for 2014 – this is the 60th anniversary for the institution’s unique orientation program and it will be attended by a record 6,500 Aggie freshmen.
Members of the first Fish Camp session for the Class of 2018 will gather at 8 a.m. Friday (Aug. 1) outside Reed Arena where they will check in and be welcomed to Aggieland. They will then board buses at approximately 9:30 a.m. to travel to Lakeview Methodist Conference Center near Palestine.
Freshmen at Texas A&M are called “fish” and those who attend Fish Camp get a running start on college life and the opportunity to quickly learn Aggie traditions, make life-long friends and have lots of fun doing it. In addition to the record number of fish attending one of the four-day sessions this year, more than 1,200 Aggie upperclassmen — men and women — will be on hand to make the experience memorable for the new students.
Underscoring their sense of giving back to their university, they will pay their own camp expenses to lend their helping hands by providing leadership and advice based on their Aggie experiences.
The first four-day session of Fish Camp, called “a freshman’s first tradition,” is scheduled to start Aug. 1 and the last session will begin Aug. 19.
There are a total of seven camp sessions and each session has seven individual camps. These camps are each designated by a color and a namesake. Namesakes are individuals nominated by Texas A&M students, faculty, staff and friends of Fish Camp. It is considered an honor to be selected as a Fish Camp namesake. A list of namesakes for 2014 can be found in the links to the right.
In addition to Aggie traditions, the new students will learn about the university’s core values: integrity, excellence, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service. They also will learn about the university’s 1,000 student organizations and how to join them, how to find the help they may need while on campus and much more.
Counselors, crew and staff members have been working since last October to create a special experience for the members of the Class of 2018.
In addition to welcoming the new freshmen, the student leaders and counselors work to create a support system that allows the new Aggies to build relationships and share in the Aggie Spirit. The Fish Camp staff and counselors say they are aware that they are role models, as well as leaders for the freshmen class and, as such, it is important to act with utmost integrity and to set an example.
The days at camp are filled with information sessions and fun. They also include team-building exercises such as intramural sports and small group discussions.
Fish Camp began in 1954 when the late Gordon Gay, a former YMCA director, took a few students camping as a way to help them adjust to life at college. The program has evolved over time, and the result is the record number of participants this year.
Fish Camp is still unique, even though other schools across the country have discovered the value of such a positive program and have begun somewhat similar programs in recent years, university officials note.
For more information, contact the Fish Camp office at (979) 845-1627.