Remembering Chip Piatti

On Thursday October 8th we lost Chip Piatti, a great friend and family member to NCE. Chip taught a variety of NCE classes for kids and adults, but he was best
known as the Director of our beloved Camp Innovations.
We have established a scholarship fund in Chip’s honor. To donate Click here. The proceeds will be used to help students with need attend our programs.
Former campers, students, and co-workers gathered to share memories and stories over Zoom and many others emailed us their fond remembrances. There rememberances can be found below.

I was a "new kid on the block" as an instructor for Chip's brain child: Camp Innovations three summers ago. I was assigned to several different "blocks" of instruction but was fortunate to be paired with Chip for the theatre production block. He made me feel welcomed and valued. Chip included me equally and respectfully, consulting on decisions and also trusting me to accomplish portions of the production with minimal supervision. He made it fun. It was a pleasure to watch him create theatre magic, utilizing a huge range of students' ages and talent as his cast, in under 4 hours during a single week - magic in itself! I discovered as I watched him teaching architecture, making artifacts and other "grown up" concepts to 8-10 year olds, that we shared a common philosophy: we both engaged with students by believing that they could do whatever we presented - we believed in them and therefore they accomplished amazing things.

I observed what a connection the campers had with Chip - truly a pied piper. This was obvious in that there were young counselors there who had initially come as campers years ago, returned to be junior counselors and evolved into responsible leaders for those just experiencing the unique camp for the first time. Chip envisioned and created this special place. How wonderful is it that the enrolled campers designed the camp!!!!????? Chip would survey the enrolled campers ahead of time with a list of possible activities and only scheduled activities that the campers selected. Where else does THAT happen??? Chip then mixed in water battles, hawaian shirt days and crazy hat fun - in which he himself participated enthusiastically, and the result was a sell out - year after year.

I'm sure he's already leading the learning through fun, wherever he is now, and that place is better for his presence.

Teach and play on in peace, wonderful man.

Kim Vanaman


I have three small children--currently grades 5, 4, and 1--so there are LOTS of teachers, coaches, advisors, administrators... involved in their lives. I'd love to say all are memorable, but that's just not the case. Intentions and kindness are remembered, but names are often lost. Interestingly, this is not the case with Chip, who taught my oldest child in an NCE class several years ago. Chip's firm leadership, excitement for the subject, connection with the students, and patience for their learning was impactful and lasting. We're sorry to hear of his passing and assure the NCE staff that he will be remembered far beyond the walls of your offices.

Danielle Bourdreau


The first time we met Chip was at the annual camp fair.  We had never heard of Camp Innovations, but within a few minutes of speaking with Chip, my two kids were signed up.  For the next 6 summers, it was the one camp they could not miss.  I think Chip was a contender for most interesting man in the world.  He could converse with knowledge on just about any subject, and his life experiences were both inspiring and entertaining - what good fortune to learn from him.  Chip leaves a wonderful legacy and will be greatly missed.


The Huang Family (Connor and Natalie, CIT/Campers)


Dear Lisa and all the staff


We are so sad to hear this. We knew Chip was having health issues but did not know how serious it was.

He was a remarkable person and Jonas and Anna are very upset. He had a way of reaching and giving less confident kids a boost.

As parents we are so thankful to him.

We will celebrate his life and are so happy to have known him.


Best Bea and Kin,Jonas and Anna


Hi there,


As a parent who knew Chip through the Innovations camp for many years, I'll miss the many yearly rituals he established in and out of camp for kids.  Chip took the unusual but effective approach of focusing on the camper, not the parents or camp boundaries.  As in his life apparently, Chip leveraged a work and moral ethic to go beyond any and all expectations.


I trust I'm not the only parent who trusted and admired Chip's daily efforts, and made the camp the center around which the rest of the camper summer revolved.  The many opportunities Chip helped establish - daily gatherings and song, counselor field trips, cooking, theme days, mentorship interviews - were not only impressive in scale but highly valuable for those lucky enough to participate.


Sitting in the packed theatre on the last day of each camp session, it was easy to be sentimentally overcome by Chip's culminating orchestration of camper energy and freedom.  He was always stepping aside to delegate authority, give kudos or simply clear a better view of the campers on stage or screen.  However he was the star and campers and parents like myself appreciated each point of this star.  Chip's passing is a large loss, but there is consolation in knowing his mentorship and educational works have left an indelible impression on many, young and old.  Chip would probably sum it up for us by citing the line in Tennyson's Ulysses: "I am a part of all that I have met"


All the best,

Brian Savage


I remember coming to Innovations because of my friend who went there, telling me that it was a great camp to attend. I thought I would give it a try, and started as a camper when I was in third grade. On my first day, Chip struck me as  being kind of scary, but after joining one of his classes, in just those two weeks, I learned so much from him and he pushed me to do things I had never done before. I also remember the trust he put in all of us, especially campers. He never really gave you the answer, but helped you find it, and let us learn from experience. One time when I was in sixth grade, in Swimming and Water games, him telling me how he thinks this camper will take over this activity at some point, or how this camper is really interested in this other activity. Chip always seemed to be genuinely interested in the growth of campers just as much as them having fun. Chip made camp not only a place for fun, but for growth and learning. I will always be grateful to Chip for being a great mentor to me and helping me grow immensely.


-Andrew Hsu, CIT at Camp Innovations.




Sorry I had to leave the Zoom meeting about Chip the other day: I had to bring Nico to his camp site for 2 nights of camping with his scouts' troop.

I could not believe how many kids and ex-kids were in the meeting to reminisce about their interactions with Chip.  I did not know that Camp Innovations had been going on for so long; I knew it had reach a cult-like status, but not to this extent.  You must be proud of the legacy of this program.

Attached is a picture of the stained glass window for Saint Paul in Cambridge that Chip and I pretty much designed in your office at North.


Au revoir,