North Star Camp for Boys

Monday, September 14, 2020

First Day Of School!

Today our campers did something at camp that we have never done in our 76 year history: they went to school.  After getting settled this weekend, our boys were up bright and early to begin their first day of school at camp.  We’ve arranged camp so that every camper has a “classroom cabin” located next to their regular cabin.  Each classroom cabin is equipped with tables and chairs to create a desk space for each camper (and picnic tables right outside to use for when it’s nice out).  Of course, we’re also encouraging the boys to get outside to attend their classes around camp if that environment will not be distracting for them.  Most of the campers opted to do school for their first day in the cabins, but I did see a few virtually learning from some of the hammocks around camp!

Each school day, we will have to “Recess” periods, which are modeled after our summer Organized Free periods. Today, we had riflery, arts and crafts, waterskiing, and a few other activities open for the campers if they didn’t have class and needed a break from doing schoolwork.  I mean, has there ever been a cooler recess period than going waterskiing in between math and science class?!

At 2:30 PM today, we rang the bell to officially open the Fall Camp Cafe for the first time ever.  The Fall Camp Cafe will give the campers a chance to take a break towards the end of their school day and grab a snack.  It will be open every Monday through Friday at 2:30 PM (and closed on weekends -- aka camp days!).  There was quite a selection of snacks to choose from today: bags of pretzels, popcorn, cookies, string cheese, and some homemade Rice Krispies treats.  And since it was a perfect fall day today, we also had some hot chocolate for those with an even bigger sweet tooth.  Everyone at the Fall Camp Cafe could relax at the picnic tables with their friends, fill out a First Day Chalkboard to get their picture taken, or listen to the tunes being played on guitar by one of our awesome counselors, David.

After the Fall Camp Cafe closed and homework was completed, we went right into a jam-packed afternoon of camp activities!  Once school is over, our goal as much as possible is to get the boys out around camp, moving around and having fun.  First up was “After School Activities” which gave the campers the options to go sailing, swimming, or biking today. Next up was “Club” time where we had Arts & Crafts, Disc Golf, Chess, and Fishing open.  Lastly, before dinner, we had “Evening Program” where the younger boys went on a Nature Hike along the nature trail and the older boys played a game of speedball on the athletic field.  We finished up the day with a delicious make-your-own taco bar.  

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful weather outside (a high of 80 degrees!) so we expect to see a lot of the kids doing their remote schooling outside and taking advantage of the waterfront during their recesses and post-school activities.  The first day of school was a great success today; we’re looking forward to what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fall Camp: The Adventure Begins

The first weekend is in the books and it has been a huge success. Over the last two days, the boys have spent time getting to know one another and getting settled into our Fall Camp routine. Today was filled with dodgeball, softball, riflery, archery, climbing, waterskiing, kickball and more. The boys had the opportunity to shoot some hoops in the Fieldhouse and watch some football outside of the Lodge. All of that only came after we took time to set up the study cabins and test our hotspots, as well as our introductory health checks.

And we are feeling ready for tomorrow. All of the remote learning schedules are mapped out to allow not only for the boys to get their studies done, but for them to have opportunities for “recess” during the mornings and afternoons, followed by “afterschool activities” at 3:30, their clubs at 4:30 and an all-camp program at 5:30. Our education coordinators have the boys prepped and ready for this “first day of school” at camp. Most importantly, it has been so great to see the boys so happy and relaxed. While we’re getting used to the slower paced experience at camp (and seeing technology here), the campers and counselors alike are expressing their gratitude for being able to be here. I’m feeling that way too.

Whenever I have to travel away from Laney, even if only for a day or two, it always looks to me like she’s changed so much when I return. I know that the reality is that she changes gradually over time, but having that break allows you to see it in a different way. I went down to Chicago for the pickup there and it was the first time I had really seen the city since the beginning of May, and in a way I had that same feeling about my city. While I have been reading all of the news about how Covid and protests have changed the city, seeing it for myself was jarring - shops boarded up, some open like nothing had happened, some streets completely quiet, others with full traffic, some people wearing masks and face shields and gloves, and others wearing none. Most of all, it was filled with a tension that I have not gotten used to. Being up here for the whole summer and most of the spring, I haven’t had the chance to learn to tolerate all of it.

So returning to camp with our Fall Campers filled me with joy and gratitude. While we’re figuring out a great many things about what this new program will look like, this adventure here is filled with laughter and cheering and active, happy, socially engaged kids who are getting to still be kids. Thank you so much for trusting us with them during these wild times. With the first weekend of Fall Camp in the books, and the first day of school in the morning, we can’t wait to make the best of every day with this group for the next six weeks.

Chairs up, pencils down,


Monday, August 10, 2020

Laundry Day and Guten Gallop!

You’ll be happy to know that we shipped off laundry today for one final round before packing day this Thursday. Counselors helped their campers check under their beds, in their cubby areas, and on their clotheslines for any dirty or wet belongings that need to be washed before returning home. We sent in staff from the Leadership Team to each cabin to give their final stamp of approval before the bags could be sent off to the laundromat. If there were unchanged sheets on the bed or even loose socks in the middle of the cabin, all the boys had to wait to take out their bags. We’re hoping this will make packing day a little easier (and cleaner) for campers and counselors alike! 


Today we had one of the final Organized Free periods of the summer, and the boys enjoyed activities such as climbing, archery, riflery, swimming, and disc golf. The J-Village boys really love fishing, so they got fishing as an activity for two days in a row! The I-Village got their turn in the Arm & Hammer to make their cabin plaques, and on Wednesday, the S-Village will have time to finish theirs up during the final Organized Free period. There won’t be Organized Free tomorrow, as tomorrow is Camper Counselor Day! 


Tonight’s Evening Program was the Guten Gallop. This is a race against oneself - each camper predicted the time it would take for them to get from the Council Ring to the middle of Boys Camp Road and back. Counselors time each camper, and whichever camper predicted their time most accurately wins. Boys dressed up in goofy outfits for this program, and while most boys chose to walk at their own pace, some did jog at times throughout the path! The campers are really glad we could still put on this event this year. We’re ready for the amazing Camper Counselor Day that’s headed our way!

Today’s Grace:

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

-Thomas Jefferson


 Be seated.

North Star Games and Sunday Smiles

As crazy as it sounds, today was the last Sunday of camp for the summer! After a very busy day of North Star Games yesterday, the boys had the chance to sleep in for an extra 30 minutes today and went back to a normal camp schedule. The campers got extremely into North Star Games, especially since activities for the competition started back on Thursday and scores remained close between teams. We tried to switch up a few activities from UN Days - canoeing without oars was definitely a fun one to watch during North Star Games, as well as leg wrestling on the ball field. We have some incredibly strong guys here! The evening ended with ice cream for dessert and cheers from all four teams, and then final scores were announced. Orion came in first place, followed by Pegasus, Lynx, and Taurus. Although the competition is fun, the boys know that at camp, win or lose, It Just Doesn’t Matter. 

Every year, cabins have the opportunity to create cabin plaques with everyone’s names on them. Nearly every cabin wanted to make their own plaque in the Arm & Hammer, so each village has a day this week to go in during Organized Free and put the plaque together. Today the J-Village got their turn!


Although we’re heading into the last week of camp, there’s still so much fun to be had. Tuesday is camper counselor day with round two of Espionage in the evening and Wednesday is Lazy Day. Today, Pine Manor boys had their own schedule to replace the trip to Duluth that happens every summer. The boys had a cook-out breakfast (omelets, those lucky guys!) and got to do activities as a big group, such as waterskiing and a movie night. They have day two of their private schedule tomorrow, and they will finish by Tuesday morning so they can participate in camper counselor day. We’re looking forward to another great, warm day at camp tomorrow! 


Today’s Grace:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “what are you doing for others?”

-Martin Luther King Jr. 


Be seated.