North Star Camp for Boys

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Blog Update

First session is now in full swing, and today our campers are in their second day of their second set of projects. Since the blog post, many unique events have occurred, such Wednesday night’s staff show, a new evening program on Thursday called “Infection”, our friendship fire on Friday night, and our first Green-White series of the summer on Saturday.

Each week, boys request their top 10 choices for activities and are placed into 6 of them. While it has been a little chilly over the last few days, campers and staff have not let weather impact their fun, and have continued making the most of each project period. Our objective based programming means that campers are focused on improving their skills on any program area in addition to having a ton of fun. Campers will sign up for their second week of activities soon, giving them the chance to both progress in areas they enjoy and try some new activities.

At the beginning of each summer we put on a staff show as a way to introduce the campers to the entire staff. It allows the staff to show their humor and talent off to the boys. This year we had a variety of great skits put on. A few staff members told their best bad jokes (keep on the sunny side), others adapted the well-known J.C. Penny skit to T.J. Maxx. In the skit, many people walk through the stage with interesting clothes on. As they enter, they are asked where they got their outfits, and respond “T.J. Maxx”. At the end, someone comes on stage and asks, “Have you seen my clothes? I’m T.J. Maxx”. Andy and Laney read a book called “The Invisible String” and two of our counselors pranked some of their unsuspecting peers into sitting on a wet towel as part of their skit. It was a fun evening program filled with plenty of laughs. Check out the North Star Instagram account for one of the highlights from the staff show, where Dan’s dog Leo was used as a prop!

Thursday night's evening program was a game called infected. A few of our staff members adapted it from the video game call of duty. One person in all of camp starts as infected, and once the bell rang, it was their goal to infect as many others by chasing them and tagging them out. If you became infected, you tied a shirt around your head and then tried to infect the remaining healthy people. The goal of the game was to stay healthy for the entirety of evening program. Infected was a great new addition to the program and the campers had a ton of fun playing!

Our first Friday Night Service of the summer was the friendship fire. As is tradition on Friday evenings, all of camp put on nice clothes to head down to the Council Ring for the service. The Friendship Fire focuses on the importance of friendship and how we can all be better friends to each other. We heard a musical selection, a counselor chorus and a camper-counselor chorus, and each sung a song that fit the theme of friendship. We were also treated to a fantastic sermonette by counselor Jake Kraemer, who spoke of the value he places on his friendships made at camp and how the supportive nature of a camp friendship makes it special. The Keylog Ceremony associated with the friendship fire is somewhat atypical. The friendship fire keylogs represent the bond between North Star and the many places our campers and staff come from this summer. At our last count, we have campers or staff from 30 states and 14 countries. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity to have friends all over the country and the world.

Green-White is an all-session event. All of the campers are split into two teams and compete throughout the session in various activities. Two captains were elected in each village based on good behavior and leadership. The captains then drafted each camper onto one of the teams. This session’s Green-White captains are Brandon L. and Charlie J. in the Junior Village, Jayden C. and Lucas F. in the Intermediate Village and Joe S. and Tagir N. in the Senior Village. Last night’s series was the first of three for the session, and included events such as football for the junior village campers, a doubles tennis match where one team wore matching sweatshirts and team-scored climbing.

As of the writing of this blog, we have already had I4 and S5 return from their trips on the Lower Flambeau River and the Brule River respectively. Later this afternoon, cabins S3 and S1 will return from a 5-day hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. Our trip leaders are staying quite busy and as early as tomorrow more trips will head out, with cabins S4 and S2 heading out on their hiking trips. The Pine Manor campers are on the 5th day of their trip in Quetico Provincial Park and we are looking forward to their return on Friday.

Tonight we will have our first Sunday night of the session, so evening program is unorganized free and cabin campfires. Unorganized free allows the campers to find creative ways to play and spend their time. This is followed by cabin campfires, during which the cabins recap the week and talk about growth and goals, both as a group and personally. These campfires are an opportunity for the boys to reflect in front of their friends and talk about what they want out of themselves and each other in order to maximize their camp experience. The cabin campfires are finished off with S’mores around the fire.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 20: The first full day of camp!

Today was the first full day of camp after the campers arrived just after 4 p.m. yesterday. It was a busy day and we were lucky to avoid the rain (we all know it never rains at North Star). We had pancakes and bacon for breakfast before heading into the first cabin cleanup of the summer. The villages rotated through swim tests, health checks and village activities for first, second and third periods.

For their village activity all three villages played games of continuous dodgeball. Continuous dodgeball is an every man for himself dodgeball game played on a big field. We play with the traditional dodgeball rules, so if you get hit, you are out, and if you catch a ball, the person who threw it at you is out. If the person who threw you out gets out themselves, you are back in. We play with large groups, so there is never a winner. These games of dodgeball are a great way for the boys to have an early bonding experience with the other campers and staff in their village. Additionally, continuous dodgeball is a great introduction to our competitive philosophy. While no one wins continuous dodgeball, it is still important to give a full effort and have a great time while playing.

In lieu of continuous dodgeball, our oldest campers in Pine Manor spent the time allotted for village activities practicing for their upcoming trip to Quetico Provincial Park. The boys canoed from Brewers Bay around camp to the Council Ring and then portaged back to the canoe racks. They leave early Wednesday morning for their 10-day trip.

After third period there was an organized free, giving the boys the opportunity to go to any of the activities available at camp, or just hang out in their cabin if they prefer. We then had our opening night banquet and welcomed the campers into the dining hall for a meal of pasta. After dinner we celebrated the 13th birthday of Avi Rubin and learned a few rules for camp that were not covered in our opening night announcements. Wanegan King Drew Lorimer then held the first wanegan of the summer and then we had a game of all-camp capture the flag before bed.

In addition to Pine Manor leaving on the Canadian, S1 and S3 will leave Wednesday morning on a hiking trip, and S5 and I4 will leave on their respective river trips. The rest of camp will begin their summer activities with our first normally scheduled day of the summer.

Monday, June 19, 2017

First Night of Camp

The 73rd summer at North Star Camp has begun! Our 2017 campers and staff come from 30 states and 13 countries and now come together to make one incredible community. The buses from Minneapolis and Chicago pulled into camp together at exactly 4:15pm and the campers unloaded to meet an amazing group of staff members who were jumping and cheering at their arrival. The excitement quickly turned to warmth as the counselors were greeting new friends and old. We quickly gathered around the flagpole to announce the cabins, and then lots of happy faces ran off toward their cabins to unpack.

The boys unpacked and new campers received a tour of camp. As they walked around camp, they saw many of the improvements from the off-season. Our senior village campers were excited to see their newly renovated washhouse with more showers. Everybody saw the continued improvements in the Fieldhouse, which has the completed basketball courts in addition to a new and improved fitness center, a multipurpose room, and an upstairs clubhouse that features ping pong and foosball. Behind the Fieldhouse, a new batting cage is being installed for our baseball players to get their swings in. There is a brand new rocketry room, a new home for ecology, as well as an expanded trip shack. By the time they go to sleep tonight, they'll have played games with their cabins and met some of the other guys their age as well.

Dinner this evening was burgers, fries and jello, plus the ever present salad bar and Sun Butter and jelly. There were vegetarian burgers available for those that prefer, and Gluten free options for those that needed it. And of course brownies for dessert. Immediately following dinner, the campers chose their first week's activities.

The evening activities will be followed by the candlelight ceremonies, where each cabin will have a meeting led by their counselors. They will share their goals and expectations for the summer, while continuing to get to know one another. This will be the first of many cabin discussions that are an important part of the team-building goals that we have for each cabin group, and helps develop the strong sense of community that we strive for at camp.

One of the reasons that this community is so strong is because of the role models that your boys have at camp. Dan and Andy searched far and wide to find empathetic and caring counselors who represent our values. Each year during orientation, we do an exercise called Leaving a Legacy, where we discuss the importance of role models and set goals for what kind of role model each staff member wants to be this summer. They spoke of teaching kindness and generosity, perseverance and grit, strength and compassion. They spoke of the importance of character and integrity and their dedication to living with both. And they affirmed their commitment to helping create a North Star community that allows every boy to feel comfortable being himself, so that he can experience social and emotional growth at camp. It was an emotional evening that had us very excited to see what a wonderful impact these guys can have on our campers.

Tomorrow the kids will have a busy day as our medical team checks in the boys. The campers will take a swim test and find time to play several games of dodgeball. Evening program tomorrow will be our first game of All-Camp Capture the Flag. First thing on Wednesday morning the boys will begin their first week of regular activities. Wednesday morning our oldest campers will leave for their Canadian adventure, where they will spend 10 days in the Canadian wilderness in Quetico Provincial Park. Some of our 8th graders (we use the grade they just completed) will leave that day for five days on the Superior Hiking Trail, while other campers will depart straight away on the Brule River or the Flambeau River. Wednesday evening will be the staff show, where our very talented group will be on display.


From here on out, you can follow along with the summer of 2017 on our website at

We will also be posting updates on Facebook at, on Twitter at and on Instagram at

We post pictures online on a regular basis, and you can access those directly from your CampInTouch page. To access your CampInTouch page, go to and click "login" in the upper right hand corner. From there you can click on "Photos" to see those smiling faces. If you'd like to set up guest accounts for friends or family you can do that from your landing page by clicking on "Guest Accounts."

Thank you for trusting us with your boys!

Staff Spotlight: Jacob Sosler

Jacob Sosler returns to camp for his sixth summer at camp and first on staff as a CIT. He lives in Highland Park, Illinois and is finishing up his sophomore year at Beacon Academy in Evanston, Illinois near Chicago. At school, Jacob plays on the varsity tennis team, writes for his school’s newspaper and recently participated in his first Model United Nations tournament. At camp, his favorite activities are tennis, disc golf, windsurfing and team sports.

More about Jacob

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?

I never said THAT! 

What TV show or movie are you ashamed to admit that you love?

I’m not necessarily ashamed, but some of my friends think that the excessive amount of football I watch is a little odd. 

Where is your favorite spot at camp?

There’s not a bad place at camp, but the Council Ring is tough to beat.

What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation would probably be to spend a couple months traveling around Europe, eating food and visiting new places. 

If you had a super hero power, what would it be?

The ability to fly

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

The Constitutional Convention 

What is your favorite quote from a movie?

“Was it over... when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” (Animal House) 

What's your favorite restaurant in the Hayward area?

Angler's Haven 

What is your hidden talent?

It’s (hopefully) not hidden, but I consider myself a pretty talented writer. 

 What advice would you give to someone coming to North Star for the first time?

My advice would be to keep an open mind and not be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Camp provides a unique chance to participate in so many incredible activities and opportunities, so keeping an open mind and not being afraid to try something new will allow you to have the best summer possible. 

Share one notable camp memory:

My favorite camp memory was the Canadian trip during my Pine Manor year. It was an amazing experience full of experiences that I will never, ever forget. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Pre-Camp 2017

Pre-camp officially began on Sunday the 11th, with a few late arrivals filtering in throughout the week. Many staff got to camp earlier to complete certifications in lifeguarding or at various program areas. Once orientation began, the focus shifted to preparing for the arrival of the firsts session campers. We have been filming all week to show the North Star community see all of the great things that have been going on as we await the arrival of the campers. Clink on the image below to see some of what we've been up to this past week.

Our pre-camp is designed to give counselors as many resources as possible so that they are prepared to give campers the individual attention they need. We have sessions about topics like risk management and conflict resolution so the staff can keep North Star a safe place, physically and emotionally. Many sessions include a role-play element so our staff can practice having important conversations with campers. We spend a lot of time sharing the importance of creating the supportive and growth oriented culture that we value so much at North Star.  Highlights included a session where staff members presented the group with an item that represents what they bring to camp and the Leaving a Legacy session, where the staff share about their role models and dissect what those people did to have an impact on their lives.

In addition to being a time to learn about what it takes to be a great North Star staff member, pre-camp is hugely important as a team building exercise. We make sure to mix in fun events throughout the week so that by the time the campers arrive, the staff is a cohesive team ready to make this summer the best yet. These events included some team building games, a 2 on 2 basketball tournament with randomly selected teams and a staff show.

The Final preparations are now underway, and camp is looking great. It's shaping up to be a great summer!

Staff Spotlight: Andrea Evans

Andrea grew up in Syracuse NY, but moved to Chicago three years ago and is loving it! She has a degree in Psychology and hopes to eventually work with children and families in a hospital setting. She is currently nannying for two of the coolest kids in the world, who will also be at camp this summer.

More about Andrea

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?

The kids I nanny for are the children of Kia Beickert, a Child Therapist who will be working at camp this summer. When she was offered the job, I not-so-subtly offered to tag along and watch the boys there… and it is happening!

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?

“Can I Pet Your Dog? An Autobiography”

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

I would love to have witnessed the moon landing.

What is your dream vacation:

I would love to visit Thailand some day!

If you had a super hero power, what would it be:

The ability to read minds

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?

I spent a summer painting dorm rooms in college, nannied for a family with seven boys under the age of ten, and worked as a 1:1 aide for a preschooler with behavioral issues. 

What TV show or movie are you ashamed to admit that you love?

I have watched “The Lord of the Rings” an embarrassing amount of times. 

What did you do last summer?

I worked, volunteered at a local hospital, and spent as much time with family and friends as possible. 

What is a little Known fact about yourself:

I took a gap year with a volunteer program in between high school and college, and mentored underprivileged middle school girls in Dallas TX.  

What, if any previous camp/outdoor experiences have you had?

I went on a lot of family camping trips as a kid, and a few as an adult. I worked as a camp counselor for a girls camp three years in a row, and love the enthusiasm and sense of community in the camp setting!

Staff Spotlight: James Herity

James Herity is 19 years old andfrom Co. Meath, Ireland. I've just my finished my first year of college at Dublin City University where I am studying Actuarial and Financial Maths.

More about James
How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?

I learned about North Star when I was contacted by Dan through a camp hiring agency in Ireland. After a few interviews with Dan and Andy where I learned about the experience and values of North Star I gladly accepted the offer to work at camp this summer.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?

'James,Jambo,Hames,Jimmy Herity'
If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

The 1916 Easter Rising
What is your dream vacation:

To travel along the east coast of the U.S, through the centre and then along the West coast
If you had a super hero power, what would it be:

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?

One of my first jobs was working at a Trampoline Park near my home.
What TV show or movie are you ashamed to admit that you love?

Desperate Housewives
What did you do last summer?

I went on a volunteer trip to Lourdes, France with the Dublin Diocese where we helped sick and elderly pilgrims to make their pilgrimmage. I also went a holiday with my friends to the Greek island of Crete for a week.
What is a little Known fact about yourself:

I used to attend a performing arts school when I was 6-10 years old
What, if any previous camp/outdoor experiences have you had

I've a lot of outdoor experience such as surfing in Portugal and the west coast of Ireland, outdoor rock climbing, lake and sea swimming in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and camping trips in Co. Kerry, Ireland.