North Star Camp for Boys







Sunday, September 11, 2016

Settle Up Success!


Last month I wrote to you about the North Star Settle Up Challenge, a gift matching campaign that invited our camp alumni to match donations made by our current staff from their camp paychecks at the end of the summer for the benefit of Camp for All Kids.

I am very proud to announce that 60 North Star staff members donated a total of $2,934.00 and that 40 North Star alumni pledged matching donations totaling over who donated a total of $22,000, resulting in the Settle Up Challenge raising more than $25,000!

Thank you to our staff members and alumni for your generosity!  The funds raised will support Camp for All Kids camperships for kids from underserved communities to attend North Star and the other partner camps.

There is still time to contribute to the Challenge! Donations are being accepted through the end of September.

If you have pledged money to the Settle Up Challenge or want to make a pledge, you can “settle up” online by clicking here (designate gift to North Star and write in second box “Settle Up Challenge”)  or send a check written to Camp for All Kids, P.O. Box 50149, St. Louis, MO 63105 (please write in the memo line “Settle Up Challenge.”)  All donations are tax-deductible. You can learn more about Camp for All Kids at www.campforallkids.org.

Thank you again to our great staff and alumni for your donations and making the Settle Up Challenge a success!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Alumni: The Settle Up Challenge


Vickie and I hope you are enjoying your summer. 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 with some big new additions. We built the brand new Fieldhouse, an indoor recreation facility that has forever changed rainy days and villa nights. We cleaned out the old dump and turned that into a new and improved archery range. We built a double sided bouldering wall with an incline, and channeled Lou by adding boxing back to the program.
And though some things change, camp remains the same. Our last Friday Night Service even featured the music of Bob Feller and Don Gibson, playing with Jon Sherman’s son Noah.

Next week I’ll 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 I have 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. I match these donations, and last year a camp alum also made a matching contribution, thereby tripling each staff members donation.

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.

This year, to further incentivize staff donations and send more kids to camp, we are announcing the North Star Settle Up Challenge.

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 me with your commitment. You can set a cap on your matching gift. In previous years, the staff donations have totaled about $1,000. We are asking for a minimum of $500 from a matching gift.

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 for the past six 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. I believe that 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 me if you have any questions and, as always, Remember The Scholarship Fund!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Welcome to Second Session!


Now that we are a couple days into second session, it is time for an update on how the first few days are going. After the busses rolled into camp on Sunday, we immediately got underway with unpacking and then challenge games.  challenge games are when cabins compete with each other in a sport.  We do this the first night in order to get everyone moving and getting to know each other.  After challenge games, every cabin had a candlelight ceremony where the campers expressed their goals for the summer. 

On Monday we had our swim tests and physicals.  Each cabin went down to swim point and took a swim test to make sure they were ready for waterfront activities and the cabin trip.    They also went down to the health center to get checked out.  On Monday night we had a game of all-camp capture the flag to finish off the game. 

On Tuesday, we had our first full day of activities.  The campers signed up for six three-day projects for the first week of camp.  After lunch, we had another challenge games and an organized free period. 


On Thursday, we will have our first cruiser day of the session.  Cruiser day is a day where the entire cabin stays together and does various activities.

Welcome to Second Session!


Now that we are a couple days into second session, it is time for an update on how the first few days are going. After the busses rolled into camp on Sunday, we immediately got underway with unpacking and then challenge games.  challenge games are when cabins compete with each other in a sport.  We do this the first night in order to get everyone moving and getting to know each other.  After challenge games, every cabin had a candlelight ceremony where the campers expressed their goals for the summer. 

On Monday we had our swim tests and physicals.  Each cabin went down to swim point and took a swim test to make sure they were ready for waterfront activities and the cabin trip.    They also went down to the health center to get checked out.  On Monday night we had a game of all-camp capture the flag to finish off the game. 

On Tuesday, we had our first full day of activities.  The campers signed up for six three-day projects for the first week of camp.  After lunch, we had another challenge games and an organized free period. 


On Thursday, we will have our first cruiser day of the session.  Cruiser day is a day where the entire cabin stays together and does various activities.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Second Session is Underway!


The second session of North Star’s 72nd summer is officially underway! When we got off the bus, the staff and the 8-week campers were cheering like crazy to welcome our new campers.

It was a beautiful sunny day and it dried out the puddles from last week’s rain. As the boys introduced themselves to one another, it was easy to see that North Star really does have the nicest boys in the world. Even on the bus, the campers were so supportive of one another as they talked about all of the fun they’re going to have, the special events coming up, the camp traditions and the friends they are going to make. We gathered around the flagpole to announce the cabins, and a lot of cheering, high fiving and hugging ensued. From there, the boys headed to their cabins to get unpacked, and that is where the relationship building begins. It is our expectation that by the time everyone goes to bed, they feel that they have one counselor that they are comfortable waking up with a problem or a question and one friend that they are excited to play with in the morning. Because that is when camp starts to feel like home.

The boys are now unpacking and new campers are receiving a tour of camp. There is a lot of excitement as they head out by the athletic fields and get their first glimpse of the new Bouldering Wall, the new and improved Archery Range, and the brand new NSC Fieldhouse! The bouldering wall is now double sided with the back side being inverted by about 15-degrees, a great challenge for our advanced climbers. The new archery range will more than double the capacity of the old range, allowing more boys to get more opportunities for practice. And the Fieldhouse has already revolutionized rainy days at North Star, as we can play giant games of basketball, dodgeball, floor hockey, indoor soccer and more in this new addition. 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 will be burgers, fries and jello, plus the ever present salad bar and Sun Butter and jelly. There will be vegetarian burgers available for those that prefer, and Gluten free options for those that need it. And of course brownies for dessert. Immediately following dinner, the campers will choose 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.

At our Friday Night Service, counselor Jacob Sherman gave an amazing sermonette about character and what that means at camp. Jacob defined character as the gap between who we are and who we want to be. At camp, we work close that gap by talking about what it means to be a good friend and a good person. Between Friday Night Services, cabin campfires, weekly check-ins and the rest of our program, our goal is that every boy leaves camp more mindful of their own growth, strengths and values. The whole program at camp is set up to make sure that not only do the boys have a blast, but that they are able to grow, learn to overcome obstacles and develop real self-confidence.

Tomorrow the kids will have a busy day as Vickie and our medical team check in the boys. They will take a swim test and find time to play several games of dodgeball. The 8-weekers will he headed out on some great day trips. Evening program will be our first game of All-Camp Capture the Flag. And on Tuesday, we'll be right into regular activities. The boys will have their first three instructional periods that they chose tonight.

Thank you for trusting us with your boys!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Revolutionary Spirit


One of our Intermediate campers summed it up this way. "Fourth of July is one of those days that makes you wish camp went on all year." When you walk into the dining hall, the guys are singing and dancing.  Born in the USA, Party in the USA, Proud to be an American, and the Star Spangled Banner echoed loudly through the Lodge this morning. Then we read the Declaration of Independence and talked about what the day means to us at camp. In a community with campers and counselors from around the world, this day commemorates not just pride in our country, but also the important of standing up for what you believe in. We emphasize at camp the importance of always doing what's right, even when it's hard, and Independence day is a great reminder of that.

The morning was our Green-White Marathon. This is a relay race that includes nearly every event in camp. It starts with a running race and includes fun-bugging, swimming, canoeing, climbing, archery, riflery, biking, skipping, tent building, tennis volleying, bed making, basketball shooting, bucket filling, singing, and more, before leading to Boil Water Boil. In this final event, the whole camp gathers around as the two teams compete to build a fire that can boil a tin can full of water over the top first. It was a very close race with the White team squeezing out Boil Water Boil to take the lead and win the Marathon.

After lunch, we gave the boys some time to pretty themselves up for our Fourth of July picnic with camp Birch Trail. We took the bus over to Minong and were greeted by the girls disguised as pirates. It was a great night filled with games and dancing, and of course the ritual of trying to out-cheer each other.


Friday, July 1, 2016

The Hatchet Hunt



Last night was our annual Hatchet Hunt!

The Hatchet Hunt is an event where every cabin competes to try and find a hatchet hidden somewhere on camp property first. The game is a combination of a scavenger hunt and a race and requires every camper’s participation. 

During the hunt, the entire camp is given a series of clues one by one and each cabin is able to send two runners to the location where they believe the hatchet is located. 

In the end, cabin S1 was the winner when the campers eventually realized that the hatchet was hidden at Swim Point.  It took the campers until the very last clue to narrow the location of the hatchet down to its location under a bench near the waterfront