NEWTON, NJ — Fairview Lake YMCA Camps’ new senior director has strong ties to the year-round camp and environmental center, having served a decade as its summer programs director.
“It’s like coming home,” Marc Koch said. “Fairview Lake is such a meaningful place for me both professionally and personally. I met my wife here and have been raising my kids at this camp.”
Koch’s YMCA career spans more than 20 years, mostly with the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. He spent the past three years as executive director of the Somerset Hills YMCA in Basking Ridge.
“Marc’s institutional knowledge of Fairview Lake YMCA, along with the many relationships he already has with our guests and alumni, are extremely helpful,” Fairview Lake YMCA Executive Director Bob Kahle said. “He understands the community and lives the mission of the Y. YMCA camp is the place you see the immediate impact of the Y’s mission."
He attended a YMCA sleepaway camp as a child and then worked as a counselor there before it closed. In his early 20s, he tried his hand managing restaurants, but he said the experience left him unfulfilled. Koch decided to return to camp counseling for a summer while he figured out his future. He remembered attending a rodeo at Fairview Lake YMCA and applied. The summer of 1998 began Koch’s professional journey as a ‘Y’ guy, he said.
While an environmental education instructor, he met his wife, Carolyn, and proposed to her on the summit of Mount Washington during an Environmental Trips for Challenge backpacking trip in 2000. A year later, he became Fairview Lake YMCA’s summer camp director.
“This is the kind of environment I thrive in,” he said
He was appointed associate executive director of the Wayne YMCA when it became the sixth branch of the Metro YMCA in 2011. Four years later, he took the reins of the Somerset Hills YMCA, where he spearheaded annual campaigns totaling nearly $1 million over three years and introduced programs for veterans.
As senior director of Fairview Lake YMCA, Koch will oversee marketing and staff and program development for summer camp, environmental education, and conferences. He’ll also support the alumni department, Kahle said. Summer camp attracts 1,000 children each summer. About 8,500 guests attend weekend conferences annually, and more than 13,000 schoolchildren a year take part in the environmental education program, Kahle said.
Ensuring safety and quality of programs at Fairview Lake YMCA are paramount to Koch. He also plans to implement volunteer opportunities for corporations to exercise social responsibility — a pillar of the YMCA mission, along with youth development and healthy living.
Several members of the Fairview Lake YMCA staff were campers when Koch was camp director.
“That’s pretty fulfilling,” the 45-year-old said.
Koch and his wife live in Fredon Township with their children, 13-year-old Marc, 9-year-old Benjamin, and 7-year-old Meike; two dogs: a 2-year-old Boxer named Buster and a 13-year-old Weimaraner named Reagan; and two cats.