The Alumni Spotlight is a monthly series leading up to Camp Agawam’s 100th Celebration & Alumni Reunion in August 2019. It features interviews with individuals and families who share some of their Agawam stories and some of what they have done since their Agawam days.
November Alumni Spotlight:
“Capt” Tom Gammill (camper ’68-’71; staff ’72-’75; Main Idea volunteer ’71-’72)
A: What years were you at Camp Agawam?
T: A camper from 1968-1971, Senior Club in 1972 and Counselor 1974-1975.
A: Who or what brought you to camp?
T: My big brother! (Jim camper ’66-’68; Senior Club ’69) And the bus.
A: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
T: I wish all those hours at the archery range led to a career as a professional archer but I had to settle for TV writing. I’ve been a writer/producer on “The Simpsons” for the last twenty years and before that I was a writer/producer on “Seinfeld.” My son is a comedy writer now and my daughter is working in the business too.
A: Best job you’ve ever and worst job you’ve ever had?
T: I’ve worked on a lot of terrible TV shows but they’ve all been fun. Some of the worst shows had the biggest laughs, they just didn’t happen when the cameras were rolling.
A: What are you most proud of?
T: When we were cleaning out my Mom’s house in Connecticut I found my “Junior Oarsman” card, I put it in my wallet. Which didn’t make a lot of sense because one thing you learn as a Junior Oarsman is not to bring your wallet with you when you get into a rowboat.
A: How long has it been since you’ve been back to Agawam?
T: Many moons.
A: What are you most looking forward to at the 100th reunion?
T: I still have the bugle Dave gave me at the first “Main Idea” when he needed someone to play taps and reveille and he gave me the day off to learn. It’s been forty years but I wouldn’t mind trying to play it again. (Maybe not Flag Raising, that might kill me.)
A: What is your favorite memory from your time at camp?
T: I was a senior camper and it was July 1st and Dave said to me, “Tom, at flag raising on the 4th of July could you say a little something about the Declaration of Independence and the founding of our country?” “Sure, Dave. Anything you want,” I said. Well, the 4th of July came and we were at flag raising and Dave said, “And now here’s Tom Gammill to tell us a little something about the founding of our country.” I had totally forgot I was supposed to say something! It was the summer, I wasn’t thinking about school stuff, I was just trying to have fun. So I just started talking and making stuff up and flop sweat was pouring down my face and my talk morphed into “The First Thanksgiving” and I will NEVER forget the look on Dave’s face; it was partly incredulous, a little pissed off, kind of amused, etc. At the end he just shook his head and said “Wow,” and went on with the morning announcements. “Wow”. I still laugh when I think of that look on his face.
A: Do you think your time at Camp Agawam shaped who you are today? How?
T: I still look for Dave to come around the corner when I’m goofing off at work.
A: Do you have a favorite counselor/staff member that really impacted your experience positively?
T: I’m sure a lot of people will say this but Dave Mason was my first boss and still my favorite.
A: Ag or Wam?
Thanks, Capt! How How! See you next summer!