North Star Camp for Boys

Friday, July 10, 2020


Today we can confirm that every member of our community, both camper and staff, has again tested negative for Covid-19. We will continue to be vigilant about our two-week cabin quarantine until we have completed the time period and have again tested every member of our community with a negative result. While I know that the cabin quarantine was a source of anxiety before the summer, it has been widely considered a huge success here at camp as the boys have really enjoyed spending time with their friends and counselors as well as appreciating the consistency as they emerged from their own quarantines at home.

As we have rounded the corner into our second full week of camp, the overnight rains were a poignant reminder that many cabin groups have entered the second phase of group dynamics referred to as the “storming” period. When everyone arrives at camp, or in any new situation, a group starts in the honeymoon phase. During the honeymoon, everyone is looking to find common ground, impress one another and tend to be anxious about deviating from the group. Then, after things get settled, the group starts storming, which is defined by the emergence of conflict. The boys begin to bicker about small things, call each other names and test boundaries. Even though this period of time comes with some hurt feelings, it’s an important learning experience for every camper to learn how to address his own feelings and communicate his own needs with his cabinmates and counselors. While people often try to avoid conflict, we are working to teach that conflict is a natural part of life, and we want our campers to be able to appropriately address disagreements to be able to work towards new solutions. 

All of that is happening on days filled with archery, mountain biking, fishing and arts and crafts. The heat returned this afternoon and we had another evening filled with water activities, sprinkler fun and slip n’ sliding. Cabins I1, I2 & I3 ventured out on day trips today to explore Copper Falls, Morgan Falls and St. Peter’s Dome. Add in tubing, yoga, dodgeball and a Green-White challenge period, and it was a great full day up in the Northwoods.

Today’s Grace:

“I am more interested in the future than in the past,

For that is where I expect to spend the rest of my life.”

  • Charles Franklin Kettering

Be seated. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Addressing the Anxieties

For evening program, we decided to take a minute to address the many anxieties related to coming to camp during a global pandemic. While there are no suspected cases of Covid-19 and all of the tests completed have been negative, we know that our boys are curious and nervous about what the world looks outside of our camp bubble. We sat down as a camp outside of Mike Hall and took the campers' questions. They asked what might happen to them if they became ill with coronavirus. They asked about what camp would look like if somebody tested positive and what camp would look like if everybody remained negative. They asked about special days, camp traditions and some of the new things that they’ve loved from the first ten days at camp. They asked how close we are to a vaccine. They asked what school might look like in the Fall. And one camper asked me if I thought things would ever return to normal. We sat as a camp for about an hour and talked through these hard questions, and I did my best to answer honestly and factually.

These boys have spent the better part of four months hearing about sickness and death. They’ve been separated from their friends, their extended families, their schools and their extracurricular clubs. Members of our community from our J-1 campers to our Senior Counselors asked questions that have been weighing on their minds, and together we shared in gratitude for our health, for friends and family, and for the opportunity to be in our camp bubble during this moment in time. While this won’t set aside all of the anxieties related to Covid-19, I was proud to see the boys so willing to express their fears and feelings and to see the North Star community supporting each other in this moment.

The rest of the day was filled with fun and games as we returned to a normal schedule. The campers ate eggs and biscuits for breakfast under cloudy skies, but we were lucky to only have a few drizzles of rain during first period, and we were dry the rest of the day. The boys had more opportunities to try new activities and learn new skills - some cabins went to the climbing wall, some went to archery, some played nine square, some went tubing, and some even played tennis baseball. Only a couple sailboats capsized during organized free, so we consider that a pretty good period out on the lake. 

We passed out mail and some packages for campers over lunch which gave the campers time to look through their mail during rest period. They do love hearing from their friends and family. Just as a reminder, the boys are only allowed to receive reading material - letters, books, magazines, comics, or the newspaper. Please do not send food as we have already had some critters in search of that contraband. Trust us, we are keeping your boys well-fed!

After an extended heat wave to start off the summer, an overnight rain tonight looks like we might finally see some evening temperatures in the 50s to cool us down. But it never rains at North Star!

Today’s Grace:

“Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

-Muhammad Ali

Be seated.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Cruiser Day All the Way

We have received nearly all of the Covid-19 test results, and every one so far has tested negative. Covid-19 can present for up to 2-weeks after exposure to Sars-CoV-2, which is why the two-week cabin quarantine remains in place, but this first round of testing is a strong positive indicator. We will continue to proceed as though covid-19 is here and our protocols remain in place until we have cleared a second round of testing at the 14-day mark. I know that it was challenging to make the quarantine period work prior to camp, but I just want to again thank you for your part in protecting our camp community. 

Tuesdays at camp are Cruiser Days, which in some ways is like our camp weekend. It is a day for each cabin to do fun, unique activities at a different pace than the normal days. All cabin counselors stay with their campers at all times throughout the day and there are no counselor days off on Tuesdays so everyone can be together. Cabin groups had the chance to sign up for specific activities they wanted to do throughout the day, and followed that schedule from morning to night. We kicked off the day with freshly baked donuts and cereal for breakfast, and campers had the opportunity to clean up their cabin before starting their first activity of the day.

In a normal summer campers can go to one of the resorts on the lake to get a candy bar or a soda on Cruiser Day, but this year is different. Instead of going to the resort Musky Run across from swim point, we instead created “Musky Fun,” a pontoon boat in the lake where a couple of our staff are sitting with candy and sodas for the campers. We also offered sponge fights today, after which one of our campers exclaimed, “this is my new favorite activity!” We cut sponges into strips, tied them together, and let the campers dip them in buckets of water before throwing them at their cabinmates. Tubing is always a fan favorite for Cruiser Day, as is swim point, and with such warm temperatures today, the lake felt like a bath. And our J-6 boys decided that they would cool themselves down by rolling in the mud as well!

Dinner was what we call tin foil surprise. Campers butter up a piece of tin foil and mix in meat, potatoes, and carrots and onions, and cook their meal over a campfire. This is a nice way to wind down from a long day of activities, and it’s an extra excuse to eat s’mores for dessert! There’s something about campfires that really help calm the boys down before bed, especially with good company. Some of the older boys even squeezed in an extra activity after dinner before showers and bedtime! 

Tomorrow will function as a “normal” camp day, though we are well aware “normal” doesn’t really exist at a place like camp. And that’s exactly how we plan to keep it!

If you haven’t seen it, check out our 4th of July Highlight Video!

Chairs Up,


Monday, July 6, 2020

Overcast Skies and Happy Guys

Happy Monday! Every day, the boys are getting better and better about masking up at the appropriate times and sanitizing in and out of activities without reminders. Today was laundry day, so the counselors made sure the buffs and masks went in with the rest of the laundry load to come back clean on Wednesday. There are still no suspected cases of Covid-19 at camp, and we plan to get our test results back tomorrow. 

Overall, we were lucky with the weather today, with cooler temperatures and just a short burst of rain before lunchtime. We still ate outside for every meal, and just asked that the boys bring their raincoats or Crazy Creeks to sit on so they didn’t have to sit on the wet benches. Campers still got to do all of their favorite activities throughout the day, and even with overcast skies, the water was still very warm for swimming, fun bugging, and logrolling. 

We’ve had quite a lot of birthdays since campers arrived last week. Whenever there is a birthday, we make sure to celebrate at dinner with our own rendition of the birthday song (which is a bit of a strange tradition that you should definitely ask your son about) and a cake for the birthday boy to share with his cabin. The birthday boy gets to stand up on a chair and give a speech before indulging with his cabinmates. We had fun celebrating yet another birthday this evening, and whenever there is a birthday, the camper and his cabin also get an extra special surprise that evening...a pizza party! Counselors put the boys to bed, and once the campers are asleep, the counselors run in with pizzas and sodas in hand to share. But shh, don’t’s a secret!

Tonight’s evening program was Music Monday in the style of an open mic night. Immediately following dinner, campers had the chance to get up on the J3 porch to perform a song, skit, poem, or any other form of talent they wanted to show off to the rest of camp. Campers in the audience went crazy for Wanegan and bug juice as they watched the show. The acts included campers playing guitar, piano and singing, mocking TikTok videos, some other short skits, and a brand new rap about wearing masks by counselor Jared Marcus under his stage name Saucy J! We plan to make this a weekly event since we have so many musically-inclined boys this session. 

The boys had another great day of playing their favorite games and bonding with their cabinmates and counselors. The campers received their Cruiser Day schedules this evening and are super excited for what tomorrow will bring!

Today’s Grace:
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” 
-William Shakespeare

Be seated.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Little Rain Can’t Stop Us!

The extra 30-minutes of rest this morning was much needed for campers and counselors alike! The J-Village always gets the first meal shift, so they gathered at their picnic tables at 9am today to eat bagels, fruit, and cereal for breakfast. Once the I and S Villages got their turns through the food line, morning announcements were made and cabins were dismissed to get ready for the day. The hot temperature has remained fairly consistent for the past week, so we’ve been making sure the campers are sunscreened up and hydrated throughout the day. And hey, great news: there are still no suspected cases of Covid-19 at camp. We are looking forward to getting results back in the next couple of days from the tests we all took on Friday. 

Because it’s so warm and sunny out, there is a high demand for water activities each day. We try to accommodate as many cabin groups as possible to have turns in the water, whether that be paddle boarding, sailing, water fights, or tubing. In a normal summer, tubing is only an available activity on Cruiser Days, but this year, we took the extra step to make sure tubing is offered every day of this quarantine period! Campers have also really enjoyed activities like canoeing and fishing during organized free; on days as warm as these, campers will take the fishing rods out on the pontoons with their cabin group, but end up just taking a joy ride around the lake to get the wind in their faces. 

During lunch, the campers loaded up on chicken nuggets, mac n’ cheese, sweet potato fries, and salad, and for dinner, we enjoyed chicken fajitas. Of course, those with dietary restrictions always have an alternative option to the main dish, and our kitchen staff has been working around the clock to make sure everyone is properly fed and dishes and picnic tables are properly cleaned and sanitized before the next meal. Before cabins are called up for each meal, we make sure masks are up before they can leave their bench. In an effort to keep our camp property beautiful and animal-friendly, we ask that campers pick up any trash around their table before and after they eat. The five camp dogs like to run around and greet all the campers during meal times, and we want to keep their meals to dog food only! 

Around 5:30pm today, we had a random rain disruption which led to our first dinner indoors. Cabins were called to the lodge in shifts such that no more than ten cabins were eating in the lodge at one time. They had to come to the food line with masks up, which everyone was already used to, and they were told when to clean up their tables and head out. 

By the time every person in camp had a chance to eat dinner, the rain was gone, so the evening program went on as planned. Tonight’s activity was Cabin Campfire, where each cabin gathered at their own campsite to build a fire, roast s’mores, and reflect upon the week. Reflection leads to growth, so it’s important to get the boys talking about the best parts of the past 7 days, as well as the moments that could have been better. During this time, the counselors help their campers set goals for the week ahead before heading to the washhouse to clean up for bedtime. Even with wet wood, our boys still know how to make an amazing campfire. 

Crossing our fingers for a dry day tomorrow, though the rain helped the temperature drop significantly up here. We’re ready for whatever comes our way!

Be sure to check out our latest video:

Today’s Grace:
“Do I not destroy my enemy by making him my friend?”
-Abraham Lincoln

Be seated.

2020 Week 1 Highlights!