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By MYRON LOVE Three years ago, Dr. Richard Tapper was taken from us – by cancer - at the very young age of 36.

In just the few short years that he had in life, Richard Tapper left a huge imprint on our Jewish community both locally and nationally. Among the community organizations that was particularly close to Tapper’s heart was Camp Massad and the feeling was mutual.

In appreciation for Tapper’s long association with North America’s only Hebrew-speaking Jewish camp experience, Camp Massed on Sunday, June 28, held a ceremony to dedicate the expanded residence for Massadniks in their last year as campers in Tapper’s memory.
More than 200 people (including Tapper’s four-year-old son, Gabriel, and all of the counselllors for this summer’s Massad program) were in attendance for the unveiling of Mercaz Tapper.
“Richard was an old friend to many of us,” said Danial Sprintz, Massad’s executive director, in introducing the dedication program. “He was a camper, counsellor and board member. He exemplified loyalty, inclusiveness and creativity – all that is best about Massad. There have been very few Massadniks who were more creative than Richard.”
Sprintz noted that Tapper developed the machshirah counsellor in training program and returned to camp year after year as a motivational speaker. “As a chiropractor and a motivator, Richard helped make people feel better,” Sprintz said. “Richard would always say after an adjustment that he had turned the power on. We are today turning the power on at Mercaz Tapper.”
Speaking on behalf of the family, Tapper’s cousin, Gerald Olin (who is also a chiropractor) recalled that Tapper also found ways to get things done where no one else could.
He recalled how Tapper built his own private suite in the cabin that is now Mercaz Tapper when he was the counsellor in charge of the oldest campers and staying with the group in that cabin. “Richard brought in an old couch, a TV and a VHS machine,” Olin recalled. “His room became the place where the other counsellors hung out.
“Throughout his life, Richard always had a strong passion for and commitment to Camp Massad.”

In his remarks, Camp Massad Board President Michael Ritter acknowledged the generosity of the Tapper Family, Richard Tapper’s friends and other friends of Camp Massad in making possible the expansion of Mercaz Massad.
Ritter reported that close to 200 donors contributed to the project and added that Tapper’s uncle, Lou Cogan created a scholarship in Richard’s name (administered through the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba) that helps Jewish children from disadvantaged families to attend Massad.
(As well, the Jewish Foundation and the Asper Foundation contributed $108,000 and $56,000 respectively toward renovations to the camp Choder Rochel/diningroom.)

Mercaz Tapper was designed by Dov Secter, an award-winning architect and friend of Richard Tapper. “Richard was the centre of everything in our social group,” Secter recalled. “He was the glue that held us together.
“Similarly, this building (Mercaz Tapper) will be the centre of activities and programs at Camp Massad.”
The design, he pointed out, has added two wings to the building. On one side will be creating and staging areas and rooms for planning programs. The other wing will be staff quarters.
The main building will continue to house the oldest group of campers – the counsellors in training. The central open area between the two wings will serve as a stage for camp gatherings.
Secter adds that a basketball net beside Mercaz Tapper is also going to be part of the plan.

Congratulations to Dov Secter for Architectural award
Incidentally, Secter recently added another accolade to his growing resumé. On May 28, Secter was recognized by Subzero/Wolf Luxury Appliances as the Best of the Best for Western Canada in kitchen design out of about 70 submissions.
“It was very exciting to have received this recognition,” Secter says. “All of the competitive designs were stunning. I was honoured to have been chosen.”
The next stage in the competition for Secter will see him vie for an international award in the fall in Scottsdale, Arizona
Secter comes by his interest in design naturally. His father is prominent local architect Lloyd Secter - who has always maintained a home office.
The younger Secter – who has a Masters Degree from the University of Toronto – has worked with his father, Lloyd, for many years.
While he was originally involved in commercial design, he says that he gravitated to the residential market because he likes the process of dealing with clients and being involved in a project beginning to end rather than being restricted just to one area of a project.

Watch a video of the Mercaz Tapper dedication on this website at http://www.jewishpostandnews.ca/video-library/viewvideo/184/local/dedication-of-mercaz-tapper-june-28-camp-massad