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“Dusty” Bob Dow began his career as a Main Idea camper in 1980. At that time, his family lived in a log cabin with no running water in Wells, Maine. Today he lives with his family in Merritt Island, Florida and is a founder/partner in The Dow Wealth Management Group. Dusty regularly returns to Agawam and volunteers for the week-long Main Idea, living in cabins with boys and passes along his enthusiasm for both Agawam and life. This year he was a trip leader with the 15-year old Main Idea boys during their trip on the Rangeley Lakes.

What years were you at Agawam (camper, staff member and BOD)

I believe I was a camper from 1980 to 1983 (age 10 to 13). Chief Dave Mason later hired me and a few other Main Idea campers, age 15, to work in the kitchen for the summer (which I’m sure he later slightly regretted! lol). I didn’t return until a couple years after college when I volunteered for the Main Idea in 1992. I then moved to FL and started a family, but returned in 2003. I believe I’ve volunteered for about 13 Main Ideas…spending the full week in the cabins with the boys. I have also served as a Director on the Agawam Council for several years.

How did you find out about Agawam?

My Mom, Bella, found out about Main Idea through her teacher colleagues and was adamant about getting me there year after year. She has also helped the camp identify many boys for Main Idea over the years and is almost as passionate about it as I am! In the years to follow I was able to get my two younger half-brothers (Mike and Matt Dow) and my nephew (Paul Wing) into Main Idea as well.

What feelings and thoughts come to you when you drive down the camp road?

Every single time I drive down the camp road and am first able to look over our gorgeous camp I am filled with gratitude, empowerment and excitement. Gratitude for the amazing memories I have from my days as a camper and now as a volunteer counselor. Empowerment for the way the staff had always accepted me, challenged me and inspired me as a camper. Excitement for what ways I will be able to help facilitate and inspire these same feelings in the Main Idea boys of today and in the years to come.

Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Feel free to share anything about your family, too

I ultimately went to college at Maine Maritime and worked for Exxon Shipping Company for about 7 years. During that time I moved to Merritt Island in Florida, started a family and now have two amazing Daughters Avia and Capriel (now 18 and 17).  In mid-1996 I decided I didn’t want to be away from home so many months out of the year so I had a complete career change. I found that I had an amazing passion for financial and wealth planning so I joined Merrill Lynch as a Financial Advisor, created The Dow Wealth Management Group, and have absolutely loved my job and my clients for the last 23 years. A year and a half ago I got remarried and now Jamie and I love to travel in our free time.

How did your years at Agawam influence who you are today?

For a couple of the years while going to Main Idea we lived in a log cabin in Wells without running water. I look back and appreciate life’s difficulties as character building opportunities. One amazing piece of my life that I cherish and attribute to my Mom’s adventurism and my love for Camp Life was buying an RV and taking almost a month off from work 4 summers in a row to take my Daughters around different parts of the country.

How did your time at Agawam help shape who you are today?

Agawam and Main Idea have had a powerful impact on me, specifically from camp’s culture of unconditional acceptance and encouragement. As the years go by I find myself wanting to give back to camp in an equally meaningful way of time, talent and treasure. I passionately do this through volunteering for Main Idea, giving to the Annual Appeal and by making a Life Statement via the Hiawatha Society / Capital Campaign. It is my ongoing challenge for everyone positively impacted by Camp Agawam to reflect and see how you can ensure its success for the next 100 years.

Any specific recollections of the Camp Directors?

I have fond memories of both Chief Dave Mason and Chief Garth Nelson. Somehow I always felt as personally connected to them as I did the camp. Chief Mason continued to visit Main Idea every year until his passing and would always greet me with “Bobby Dow – how are you?” Chief Nelson and I had many discussions of how much we felt that Main Idea was impacting the boys.