North Star Camp for Boys

Friday, June 18, 2021

Introducing our 2021 Counselors!


Our counselors have been in training for the past two weeks preparing for our boys' arrival! They have been working to make sure that when our campers get here everything from the waterfront to the archery range is in top shape. The past couple of weeks we have had improv shows, talent shows, covid protocol workshops, activity preparation, basketball tournaments, and lots of delicious food. While it has been a blast, we cannot wait for our campers to come by trains, planes or automobiles to the northwoods of Wisconsin.

Only three days until the start of our first session!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

 Our staff has been at camp for a full work week as of this Friday, though we define “work” a little differently over here. This first week we have been focused on getting to know each other and creating a wonderful community for our staff and campers. At each meal, Dan puts out name tags (written on keylogs) on the tables so staff have had the opportunity to sit with different people each meal. Our goal is to take our staff of 115 wonderful individuals and create a single community. 

Over the past three nights, we have facilitated discussions that have allowed our staff to open up to each other, have a better understanding of what makes us different, and, in turn, what brings us all together. Thursday night our staff headed up to the tennis courts to participate in an inclusion activity. We lined up on the line separating the two courts as Molly Montgomery, one of our Health Aides, read out statements, such as “I have a skill that I can contribute to the North Star community,” or “North Star actively fights against racism and other forms of discrimination.” Our staff would move to the side designated to agree or disagree. When Molly stated “I have a friend here,” and “I have someone here I can talk to,” even though we’re only a few days in, the entire staff agreed. 

As Molly asked us to point to the person they could confide in, people lifted both arms, turned in circles to find multiple people, and the warmth and compassion of this community was easy to see. With still 9 days left before our boys arrive, our staff continues to learn more about each other and themselves. 

Yesterday we had the pleasure of listening to Brian Corley, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Single Story Inc. Brian specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion training in professional environments, schools, and diversity policies. He took us through a series of exercises to reflect on our own cultural differences, from how individualistic or collective our mindsets are, how we react to informality versus a hierarchy, and even how we perceive a person late to a meeting. This was part of our continuing mission to create a more diverse and inclusive community.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Building Resilience

 As we work to prepare our fantastic staff for the arrival of the boys, we wanted to pay special attention to the unique needs that come with the Summer of 2021. Under normal circumstances, our campers arrive after a year in a classroom, sprinkled with extracurriculars and other opportunities, and a year spent learning and socializing in conventional ways. This year is different. Many of our boys have not been in classrooms, cafeterias, soccer fields, after school programs or their friends' houses. We don’t pretend to know everything else your family has experienced in the past 15 months, but we are working hard to ensure that our 110 acres are the active, positive, nurturing and fun environment that will allow our campers to thrive. 

Because we know the campers' education (social, emotional and academic) has been disrupted this past year, we invited Dr. Deborah Gilboa, M.D., an expert in child development, parenting, and resilience, to speak to our staff. She joined us for breakfast by the lake and presented about stress, why it is necessary, and how campers will experience it over the summer. Our boys will experience stress this summer, whether it be nerves about getting up the climbing wall, trying a new food, learning how to portage a canoe, or simply making a new friend. 

Dr. Gilboa explained to our staff the eight skills of resilience and our staff participated in parallel activities that encouraged vulnerability, team work, communication, creative problem solving, and a little bit of roof ball. When reacting to a difficult situation, your camper might be frustrated with their tennis stroke, feel cheated in a game of Euchre, or feel upset with a person in their cabin, Dr. G stressed three things that you always have control over: behavior, attitude, and purpose. Regardless of the situation, these three things are always in your control and we’re going to work to work to teach each camper how to do these things.

Dr. Gilboa and our staff were troopers through the heat wave, but Dr. G, putting her resilience training and creative problem solving into action, surprised our sweaty staff with the last lesson in the water at Swim Point. While the camp dogs were less attentive listeners than our staff, they too participated in many of our activities and are looking forward to an active, exciting summer with our boys. 

Ultimately, we want your campers to grow as problem solvers, friends, cabinmates, and caring, confident individuals. For the next 11 days until camp, our staff are training, bonding, and practicing skills to help your children bounce back from failure, feel comfortable to make mistakes, make friends and have fun.

Today's Grace:

"If we have our own 'why' in life, we shall shall get along with almost any how."

-Fredrich Nietzsche

Monday, March 15, 2021

2021 NSC March Madness

The NCAA Men's basketball tournament is back, so we're excited to invite all North Star people, past, present and future to join the NSC March Madness Challenge. There is no cost to participate and winner gets a wanegan of their choice, to be redeemed at camp, during the summer of 2021.

Here are the links and log-in information:

Direct Link to group -
Group: The Council Ring
Password: keylog

One entry per person, please. We have changed the group limit size to one, so if you have multiple family members, you're going to have to make additional accounts.

Please extend an invite any and all North Star people. We want to make sure that as many North Star people as possible are included. We know that a lot of our current campers and staff will enjoy seeing as lots of alumni participate. Don't worry about sending this to someone who may have gotten it already.

If you choose to join in, please put your name and perhaps even the years you attended North Star within your bracket name or entry info. Feel free to be creative, but it will be nice for people to see some names and know who all is involved.

You are able to sign-up now. You can fill out your brackets any time before tip-off on Friday, March 19th (you do not need to fill out brackets before the play-in games).

There is also a second March Madness that we want everyone to know about. The Camp For All Kids Foundation is having their annual March Madness competition. Camp for All Kids helps send kids in need to camp and is the organization that is responsible for bringing scholarship kids to camp. There Camp for All Kids March Madness is a great fundraiser aimed at making camp possible for more kids. Find that fundraiser here:

As always a big quick keylog to Doug Willson who opened up his Crunch Island Challenge to North Star guys many Marchs ago.

Keep those fires burning!

Past Winners:
2019: Gabe and Jake Goldstein
2018: Leo Auerbach
2017: Zach Garfinkel
2016: Noah Glick
2015: Ezra Kornberg
2014: David Shakno
2013: Jonah Baim
2012: Charles Eisner
2011 - Zach Garfinkel
2010 - Alex Sharrin
2009 - Peter Tauber
2008 - Eli Fried
2007 - Kenny Grider
2006 - Jeff Schrager
2005 - Alexander W Heldman

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Summer 2021 Update

Happy Valentine’s Day! We love our North Star family so much, and we are so grateful that you have chosen to be a part of it.
So much has unfolded since this time last year, and now we sit four months away from the Summer of 2021. While we’re still living in the yellow-light world we discussed so much last spring, we enter this spring confident that we will provide a safe and fantastic experience for our campers this summer. The plan that we put in place last year continues to guide us, yet we know there are still many questions about what this summer will look like. With that in mind, though everything is subject to change, here is where things stand today:

Two 4-Week Sessions
One of the hardest things about last summer was knowing that over 150 of our own campers were not able to attend camp under the circumstances. Camp is always critical, and it feels as important as ever given what we’ve faced throughout the pandemic. It is with that in mind that we continue to work towards two 4-week sessions, so that we can give as many boys as possible a summer at North Star. After last year’s great 7-week session, we have more 8-week campers than we’ve had in a long time, and we are excited to provide an incredible 8-weeks at camp so that the boys can be active, spend time with their friends, be outdoors, and gain the social and emotional intelligence that we work to teach at camp. 

No Parents Visiting Weekend
While we know how much you love visiting your children and seeing camp in action, and while we love being able to share the Northwoods with you, inviting outside visitors into our camp bubble is simply not a risk I’m willing to take. Our goal is to minimize outside exposure to the greatest extent possible, and so it will not be possible to invite in the hundreds of visitors we customarily have. Just like last year, we will replace visiting weekend virtually for 8-week campers.

Quarantine Prior to Camp
We will require a quarantine period prior to camp. While we cannot guarantee that COVID-19 will not come into camp, we owe it to each other to do everything that we can to work to keep COVID-19 out. During the period leading up to camp, we will ask that campers have no indoor interactions with anyone outside of their household. We will also ask that members of the household take all reasonable precautions to support this effort. Last year, that time period was 14-days, though in conjunction with testing, it is likely that this year we will be able to shorten that period.
There are many more details still to come on this, including how to handle school within that window, but we know that we will be asking families to monitor for symptoms, complete contact tracing forms, and acquire a negative PCR test immediately before camp. The quarantine time at home is incredibly important to mitigate the risk that a camper brings COVID-19 to camp, so we expect everyone to adhere to our requirements closely. Failure to adhere specifically puts your son’s cabin at risk. If you do not believe that your family will be able to comply with these restrictions, please contact us immediately.
Small Group Cohorting at the beginning of each session
Because COVID-19 may come into camp even with the best pre-camp precautions, the best way for us to contain the spread is to once again require a cabin-based cohorting at the start of each session. Thanks to improvements in testing and updated information, we are again likely to be able to shorten the timing from last year, and are hopeful that we can limit that initial phase to 7-10 days maximum.
8-week campers will need to re-pod at the start of 2nd session. While the 8-week campers will likely have cleared all COVID-19 hurdles by the end of the first session, welcoming all of our second session campers to camp means we’ll need everyone to re-enter our first phase of cohorting to ensure our “camp bubble” is intact and we can stop the spread of COVID-19 if it enters camp at session changeover. 

More Activity Choices during initial cabin-based cohort time
We have learned a lot since last spring about COVID-19, and with more time and information, we have plans in place to allow the boys to have more choice over their activities. It will still be slightly more restrictive than the usual freedom they have during the summer, but boys will have elective periods and will be able to participate in instructional activities of their choosing during this time. 

Travel to Camp
We are still ironing out details about transportation procedures including locations and transportation methods. We are working on a comprehensive strategy to combine transportation with the latest testing methods to make camp travel as safe as possible and as convenient as we can make it within those confines. For now, we simply ask for your patience and understanding while we put the best plans in place, and we will have more information for you shortly so that you can plan accordingly.

Much will change between now and the start of camp. It hit a low of -38 degrees this week, so good thing there’s still lots of time before the summer! We promise to stay on top of the latest developments to work towards an incredible Summer of 2021. As always, please reach out to us directly if you have any specific questions.