North Star Camp for Boys

Monday, September 25, 2017

Camp Moves Me 2017

Join Team North Star and help raise money to send kids to camp!

2017 Team North Star Members
Andy Shlensky
Dan Lichtenstein
Oliver Rockman
Nathan Margrett
Gabe Katz
Are you on Team North Star? email

October 2017 marks the 4th annual Camp Moves Me. Camp Moves Me is an effort on the part of the American Camp Association to get people moving and get kids in need to camp. And for year #4, we need your help to make sure that North Star stays on top as Camp Champion! Camps from all over the US and Canada participate in Camp Moves Me, and as three time Camp Champion, North Star has raised more than any other camp each year. In 2016, Team North Star participants helped us gather 168 pledges, raising $14,835.

Here's how Camp Moves Me works... Participants have to run, walk, bike or do other physical activity throughout the month of October. Upon creating their registration page, they commit to do a specific amount of physical activity over the course of the month. They they ask their family and friends to support them by pledging a donation based on the amount of activity that they do! So if you're already a regular runner, walker, biker or do other regular exercise, join in and see that activity help get kids to camp!

Once again, money raised by Team North Star will go to the Camp for All Kids Foundation, which helps send kids from underserved communities to North Star as well as Camp Birch Trail, Chippewa Ranch Camp, Camp Kamaji and Camp Timberlane. The Camp for All Kids Foundation has been North Star's scholarship fund for many years and we're excited to see the organization benefited this year.

We need your help to see North Star remain the Camp Champion in 2017! Any and all campers, staff, alumni and family members can join by going to the Team North Star Page. Then reach out to all of your friends, family and co-workers to have them pledge to support you. You can also donate directly to support Team North Star if you aren't able to participate by clicking the green "Contribute" button on our team page

Camp Parents, please help us by telling your camper about Camp Moves Me and encourage them to help give the gift of camp that they've been so lucky to be a part of!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The North Star Family Gives Back

One of the things we talk a lot about at camp is doing the right thing for the right reasons. Though we've now settled into our "off-season" homes, I would like to invite the entire North Star family to do just that by joining us in three great philanthropic events throughout October.

First, the entire month of October is Camp Moves Me. Camp Moves Me is an effort on the part of the American Camp Association to get people moving to send kids in need to camp. We hope that all of our campers, parents, staff and alumni will join our team and commit to walking, running, biking and doing other physical activity over the course of the month of October. Participants ask their friends and family members to sponsor them and donate based on how much activity they accomplish. Money raised by Team North Star during Camp Moves Me will go to the Camp for All Kids Foundation, which sends underserved kids to North Star as well as Camp Birch Trail, Chippewa Ranch Camp, Camp Kamaji and Camp Timberlane. Make sure to join team North Star so that the money raised by our community can go to Camp for All Kids.

This year's Lynn Sage Pink Path 5k is dedicated to Vickie. We are hoping that you will join Team VICtory in our efforts to raise money for the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Research Foundation to cure breast cancer and support other patients. On October 14th, please join Team VICtory to honor Vickie at Diversey Harbor and walk or run with us. Let's continue to honor Vickie's legacy to fight this fight and make a difference.  

On October 21st, Camp for All Kids is hosting Camperships for Cleveland. Join other Cleveland area camp enthusiasts for a great day of fun for the whole family including live music, camp activities, food trucks and s'mores. Proceeds will benefit the Camp for All Kids Marc C. Krantz Memorial Campership Fund which raises money to send kids to camp. Marc was an alumnus of North Star and was an active member of the Alumni community. His son Ross and daughter Tara were both on the North Star staff this past summer.

Learn more about the event on Facebook or Reserve your tickets here

If you have any questions about Camp Moves Me, Camperships for Cleveland, or joining Team VICtory, please reach out. We are so proud of this community's generosity.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2017 Staff News

Our staff have been busy since leaving camp a few weeks ago. Read below to see what your favorite staff members from the summer will be up to during the upcoming year!

Ben Meyer - starting his senior year and Windward High School in Los Angeles. At school, Ben is on the tennis team and is involved in the investment club, film club and the psychology club.

Micah Jona - beginning his freshman year at University of Wisconsin - Madison where he is studying computer science and business. At school, Micah is joining Brody’s euchre club and looking forward to becoming a Badger sports fan.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bully to our September Birthdays

9/2 - Noah Broutman
9/3 - Kim McCormack
9/5 - Adam Gerard
9/6 - Josh Lederman
9/7 - Jaden Beltzman
9/9 - Micah Jona
9/10 - Benjamin Buchman
9/10 - Quinlan Rothschild
9/10 - David Oliveri
9/13 - Beckett Dreyfus
9/14 - Jalen Barrett
9/18 - Jack Forrester
9/18 - Louis Scheinfeld
9/21 - Dylan Baum
9/22 - Eli Alter
9/22 - Terry Sedberry
9/23 - Andrea Evans
9/24 - Charlie Fies
9/25 - Jared Marcus
9/25 - Kia Beickert
9/26 - Jack Heller
9/27 - Brandon Buchman
9/27 - Oliver Katz
9/28 - Nathan Ford
9/28 - Ross Krantz
9/29 - Aireon Jones
9/29 - Lake McCormack

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Importance of a Well Rounded Staff & A Call for Action

The J-1 exchange visa has allowed us to bring International Staff to North Star and make camp a more well rounded community. We've learned that the Trump Administration is considering executive action to reduce or eliminate the program. Please take some time to read more about the J-1, its importance to camp and what you can do to help preserve it. A quick warning before we get started...this isn't a typical Siren entry. It may get a bit serious and even a touch political, but it is really important... and we need your help, too. So please read on and stick with me!

Whether you're a camper, staff, alumnus or camp parent, you know the importance in having a great camp staff! Putting together the best team possible cannot be understated and it is the most important thing that Andy and I do. A camp can have an amazing philosophy, impactful policies and safety procedures that leave no stone unturned, but without the right men and women to execute that stuff, they're just words on paper and ideas in someone's head. 

And if you've spent any time talking with Andy or I, you know that we take our hiring process very seriously. It starts with our Counselors in Training program. Moving from camper to counselor at North Star is neither a given nor a rite of passage. We've known some of our prospective CITs for eight years, but they still go through an application and interview process to make sure that they're ready to assume the role of taking responsibility of caring for our campers. Jeff McCormack runs a program that is intentional and carries on the tenants established by Lou Rosenblum and Jack Weiner. Staff members are not guaranteed to return, either. Every counselor completes a reapplication and then has a re-interview with Andy or me... each and every off season.

Our hiring process for new staff is as comprehensive as you'll find. It starts with finding the right people. Sometimes we're lucky and applicants find us as they search the internet for a camp job. For most of our staff, however, we cast a wide net. This means posting to countless sites that will connect us with prospective staff. It also means traveling... a lot! In a typical hiring season we'll visit up to 20 college campuses to attend hiring fairs or just set up a table in a student union or campus rec center. There is nowhere we won't go to find the best counselors and support staff.

And once we have the applicants, our hiring process involves interviews with Andy and I (assuming they make it through the first interview). It's better to put in an extensive effort in February, March and April than to be trying to correct the wrong hire in June, July or August. 

So what are we looking for in our staff? Beyond having the empathy to work well with kids and the work ethic that it takes to complete eight weeks of camp, there are lots of different attributes that make great staff. In reality, there is no one profile that we look for. We see our staff as a puzzle. We need a wide variety of people to put together a complete staff. We need different personality types as well as a host of other attributes. Diversity is a key in many different ways.  With a wide variety of campers, we want a variety of staff who can meet their needs. We also want to expose our campers to a host of different folks with different backgrounds and stories. 

This gets us to the topic at hand, International staff members. Our International staff members play a fundamentally important role at camp. They are a major part of the diversity of our camp. They bring different traditions, background and world views. They open our campers eyes to a world that exists beyond their front door. Having counselors from Europe, Africa, Australia (and more) have undoubtedly made North Star a more complete community. Those who joined us at post camp last week saw this in full force as Manfred Frank, one of our first International staff members (beginning his NSC career in the 1970s) came all the way from Germany to spend the week at camp. He not only resumed friendships with those he knew, he built new friendships, too. For people like Manfred and others, those relationships are ongoing and show the true reach of North Star.

So here is where we may get a bit political and I ask for your help. In April of this year, President Trump issued the "Buy American and Hire American" executive order. There has been some question about what that executive order would target, but as this article in Monday's Wall Street Journal indicates, there is some indication that the Trump Administration is targeting some of the J-1 visa exchange programs. The J-1 covers a few programs, among them is the Camp Counselor program as well as the Summer Work Travel program (which brings support staff to the US). Both of these programs are ones that North Star uses to bring staff members to the US. There is real concern that both programs will either see their numbers reduced significantly or eliminated all together. 

There are lots of reasons why these programs are important and the benefits for our campers, staff and community have been tremendous. If you haven't been fortunate enough to spend time at camp with our staff members from abroad, take a few minutes to talk to someone who has. No doubt you'll hear great stories about having a trip leader from Calcutta, a sailing instructor from Edinburgh or a co-counselor from Dublin. Just as important is what North Star has given those staff to take back home as we've seen the North Star ripple effect truly go global. 

From what we are now hearing, however, both from executives at the American Camp Association as well as from the agencies that sponsor the visas, the threat to the J-1 is real. Some believe that executive action may be coming within the next ten days. And that's why we need your help. We urge you to reach out to those who are a part of this decision. This page will allow you to reach out to the Trump Administration as well as your Senators and Congressmen. Action that may eliminate the J-1 will likely be in the form of an Executive Order, so if you know of anyone within the current administration (or anyone that has a connection within the administration) please reach out to them. 

For decades we've had staff from across the globe come to North Star, help make our community a more well rounded place, and take the values of North Star back home with them. Please help make sure that this amazing tradition can continue for generations of campers and staff!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Carry On Vickie

There is still plenty of camping left in North Star's 73rd summer. We are currently in the middle of Lazy Day. Campers had an opportunity to sleep in this morning and have a made-to-order breakfast. For much of the day they are in charge of their own schedule, with the project areas around camp are open. Evening program will be casino night, where they will play a variety of games for the opportunity to win a small prize. Tomorrow is camper counselor switch day, where the senior village campers will switch clothes with the staff and assist in leading cabins and activities for a day.

As we approach the end of the summer, it is important to reflect on one of the circumstances that made this summer unique. Before the summer, we sent an email to our parents and explained how we planned to help our community mourn the loss of Vickie Shlensky and carry on her legacy. We began by hiring a child life specialist and grief counselor, not only to provide individualized support for campers and staff, but to train our staff to better support their campers. We held pre-camp orientation sessions that dealt with topics like coping with adversity and showing empathy and compassion when communicating with children. The aim was to equid our staff with the tools to facilitate conversations about loss and other life-changing events. The staff did a spectacular job of supporting their campers and each other through this summer.

We took a few opportunities throughout the summer to remember Vickie and process her loss. We offered a Friday Night Service each session that honored Vickie and discussed North Star values that were reflected in her life. The themes of these services were perseverance and community, and in the keylog ceremonies many campers and staff chose to dedicate their keylog to Vickie. Vickie’s strengths throughout her illness and end of life and were delivered through readings and moving sermonettes to teach our campers about the important North Star values that she instilled in all of us.

In addition, the fieldhouse was dedicated and named “VICtory Fieldhouse” and a space within the building called “The Wall of VICtory” was created to exhibit modified keylogs filled with personalized messages. A plaque on that wall reads “small VICtories that have made a big impact on us all” and is intended to be a lasting reminder of the qualities that made Vickie a role model. The wall invites future campers to add their own keylogs in an ongoing effort to carry on Vickie’s legacy.

The efforts of campers and staff made all of this possible, and it is with the love and support of this community that we will indeed carry on Vickie's legacy through a lifetime of North Star summers.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Alumni: Settle Up Challenge 2017

Even though there is always “plenty of camping left,” it’s hard to believe there is only one more week left of second session. It’s been an amazing summer at camp. Saturday was the 73rd Pow Wow Day. Camper favorites such as Espionage, Lazy Day and Camper-Counselor switch day are still to come. 

Over the next week Andy will also be settling up with the hard-working counselors and staff members who make North Star such as special place. Lou and Leb have long asked the staff to “Remember the Scholarship Fund” in that settle up meeting, and Andy has carried on that tradition. The staff have been making a donation from their salaries to Camp for All Kids, the successor to the North Star Scholarship Fund. Many of you were counselors at North Star so you know that giving back part of a modest camp salary is quite generous for these guys. This is year two of the Settle Up Challenge. We had tremendous results last summer when 60 North Star staff members donated a total of $2,934.00, and 40 North Star alumni pledged matching donations totaling over $22,000. As a result, the Settle Up Challenge raised more than $25,000!

Camp for All Kids promotes and facilitates racial diversity by sending kids from underserved communities to North Star and four other summer camps. These kids not only make lifelong friendships and experience the magic of camp, they also contribute so much to the camp culture. This summer, we were lucky to have 20 campers through this program from J-1 to Pine Manor.

The Settle Up Challenge is a gift matching campaign that invites you, our camp alumni, to match donations made by our current staff from their camp paychecks at the end of the summer. This is a great way for North Star alumni to model their philanthropic behavior for our current staff. Our current staff hear stories, read your names on plaques, see your photos in the Lodge and feel the history of camp every day. It’s people like you who they look up to lead the way.

The Settle Up challenge will increase the impact of each of our current staff members. If they know that their $20 (for example) may turn into $200 because we have 10 alumni matching them, that provides even more incentive for them, and we can send more deserving kids to camp! You can make your pledge by simply emailing Andy ( with your commitment. You can set a cap on your matching gift. Last summer, staff donations were nearly $3,000. We are asking for a minimum of $500 from a matching gift. Staff donations are currently being matched by $16,750, but we are looking to beat last year's total!

We will total up the donations from current camp staff and contact you during the week of August 15 to tell you the amount raised by the staff. You can then go to the Camp for All Kids website and make your tax-deductible matching gift.

North Star has been the heart and soul of Camp for All Kids since its inception. Our alumni are consistently the most generous donors and active participants. Paul “Nate” Nathanson and Rob Porter have served as co-presidents many years. Moreover, four of the five Camp for All Kids partner camps are owned by North Star alum: North Star, Birch Trail (Gabe Chernov, Richard and Barbara’s son), Chippewa Ranch Camp (Cliff Lissner, who purchased camp from Tom Adler), and Timberlane (Mike Cohen). The fifth, Kamaji, was purchased last year by Kat Martin and Jason Nelson from North Star alums and Camp for All Kids founders Mike and Kathy Jay. The Settle Up Challenge is a great way to further instill on our current camp staff two of the distinguishing characteristics of North Star alumni – your generosity and your dedication to make the world a better place.

Please contact Andy if you have any questions and, as always, Remember The Scholarship Fund!