“Trapper” Oliver Reid grew up outside of London, England, and was the first of several English “Trappers” to be on Agawam’s staff. He’s lived in the US continuously since 1976, returning to Agawam regularly. He’s served on Agawam Council in a variety of roles since 1986 particularly on the Finance Committee. We’re looking forward to embracing “Trapper” as he returns for the 100th Celebration and Alumni Reunion in August.
What years were you at Agawam?
1970-72 and 1976 as a staff member focused primarily on tennis. Frequent Main Idea volunteer thereafter. I was never a camper.
Who or what originally brought you to camp?
UK/US Summer exchange program in 1970. There were a couple of groups that recruited college aged students to work at summer camps. Camps in the UK were very different than ones in the US. They were “scouts camps” or run by the Church—and they only lasted for a week or two, while in the US you were looking at camps that last 7 or 8 weeks. I believe that “Scout” Jeff Young (who also came in 1970) and I were the first international staff members that Dave hired.
Where do you live now? And what occupations have you held?
I live in Bridgeport CT and run my own IT and business consulting firm. After Agawam, I worked at Citibank, got an MBA at the University of Chicago, worked as a consultant for McKinsey, moved back to NY and worked for the banking division of American Express. Then I got into teaching (mostly mathematics) at Greens Farm Academy in Connecticut and The Park School of Baltimore. While at those schools I actually developed a software program that coalesced student grades. Later the proficiencies I acquired doing that helped me to create my firm when I decided to retire from teaching 2004.
Has Agawam had an influence on choices you’ve made?
Sure, in many ways. I cofounded, along with Mickey Kydes, Beachside Soccer Club in Connecticut. This all started in 1994, as Mickey and I held Saturday morning soccer clinics for kids. It eventually grew to be a full-fledged club, adding more and more competitive teams throughout the years. In 2013-14 it was accepted by US Soccer Federation as a Development Academy. Today we have about 400 high level players in the club. We’ve had some great players come through who have played for excellent college programs and US National teams. But the foundation of the club lies in its core philosophy—which is to develop character traits, through soccer, that will last a lifetime. Our mantra is “Success is a Choice”. We aim to teach young people that success in any area of life results when long-term goals drive daily choices. In our program you will face challenges, and setbacks, but you will be in a safe environment to overcome adversity and find the support to press on. My experience at Agawam influences everything I do at the club.
Do you have a particularly favorite Agawam memory?
So many… the first Main Idea in 1971 stands out. It was held after the regular season. The staff was pretty tired, but the energy of those kids picked us up. A bunch of boys were from Portland—and some were pretty tough. But in some ways not so different from the boys we’d just been working with for 8 weeks. A few of these kids got to into fights, and one even walked off along Rte. 85 – not realizing it was 30 miles to Portland!
Nevertheless, there were some great kids at those early Main Ideas: some now great friends of Agawam, like Rick Hickman, Billy Symonds, Bobby Dow and Capt. Diehl Estes.
Do you have any memories of the director that stand out for you?
I remember watching Dave comfort a homesick camper – his caring and his craft were remarkable. One boy was fine when he was active, but melancholy when not. Dave sat next to the boy but did not put his arm around him – juts rested his hand on the lad’s head for a few seconds to underscore his empathy for him. Dave gave him his space, listened and spoke quietly with him. They agreed to give it one more week to see how it worked out. When they were done, the boy asked if he could go home after a week. Dave said “we’ll talk about that then.”
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Agawam?
Tranquility, Caring, Learning, the view of Lake.
What are you most looking forward to at the 100th Reunion?
Meeting old friends, Celebrating Agawam and its values
Ag or Wam?
Having never been a camper, neither. Both, I suppose.