North Star Camp for Boys







Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Wishes from North Star


All of us at North Star wanted to take this time to wish you all a happy holiday season. Whether you're spending the next week or so skiing or in the sun, or at home with family and friends, we hope that you have the best. For those of you spending time else where, travel safely and good luck dealing with airport security!

For your holiday enjoyment, I wanted to share with you some of the winter pictures that I've taken at North Star. Over the past ten years I've had the opportunity to be at camp several times during the winter, and while camp is very different under the snow and without campers running around, its no less a magical place.



Again, have a safe and healthy holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Siren is Online


The December Siren is now online. So for those of you about to head off on vacation, print off a copy as it makes great airplane reading material! There is lots of news in the December Siren, including our first group of returning staff (its a large group, and there are more to come). We also have more returning campers as well as news on both campers and staff. Leb and Andy have done a lot of traveling, so there better be lots of news!

Get to the December Siren here, or go to www.northstarcamp.com, click the link for current families, and then you'll find the newsletters in the media room.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coming to a Theater Near You


Many of you have seen or heard of the American Camp Association's Because of Camp public service announcement. The ACA announced earlier this week that the PSA will be shown in movie theaters across the country over the next month and again in February and March. The PSA features several well known personalities, one of which happens to be North Star's very own Paul Adelstein. Adel, who plays Dr. Cooper Friedman in ABC's Private Practice was a camper and counselor and spent ten years at North Star.




Let us know if you see the Because of Camp PSA!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Camper Jake Kraemer in the News



As I was scanning through the November 30th Deerfield Review I stumbled upon a familiar picture. As a University of Wisconsin alumnus and football season ticket holder it took me a second to realize that the photo wasn't former Badger running back PJ Hill, but it was North Star Camper Jake Kraemer.

Props to Jake for his participation in the Thanksgiving Day charity Turkey Bowl. We're waiting for a copy of Jake breaking into his best Heisman pose.

If you haven't read about North Star's annual Thanksgiving week "Wanegan Bowl", check out last week's Leb's Rambling.

Friday, December 3, 2010

2010 Wanegan Bowl Recap


For many, the Thanksgiving holiday brings an opportunity to get together with family and friends. Along with great food, many people play in an annual Turkey Bowl type of football games. For North Star folks in the Chicago area the game of choice isn't football but speedball, a hybrid game that combines elements of football, soccer and basketball. The day after Thanksgiving is our annual Wanegan Bowl.

Seven years ago about 20 of us gathered at West Ridge Park in Highland Park and while the game has moved and the participation has grown, the game still marks a great opportunity for current and former campers and staff to get together and play a game that we all love. The Wanegan Bowl is open to anyone who has been either a camper or staff at North Star and is currently 16 years of age or older.

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-Wanegan Bowl 2010 Participants-

Last Friday Nov. 26th about 50 of us descended upon Brickyard Park, ignored the fact that we weren't in mid season shape and didn't care about the 20 degree temps. Two nights before the game AJ Bayard, Mike Blumberg, Jack Silverstein, and Mike Swiryn drafted the teams in typical United Nations Day style. It didn't matter that none of the captains were at camp this summer and probably knew about half of the players. Teams were split up (pretty evenly).

In order to ensure that everyone gets to play, we now have four teams and play tournament style. It means a little more time outside, but it also gives everyone more time to hang out and catch up. As usual the displays of athletic prowess ranged from impressive to forgettable. In the end, Team Swiryn was victorious in winning the Steven A. Hitchens trophy.

Following the game NSC Alum Brian Glickman was presented with the 3rd Wanegan Bowl Lifetime Achievement Award. Think of this as our version of the Oscar's Thalberg Award. We honor someone when we feel its appropriate and this year Brian was honored for his lifetime of (blind) dedication to North Star, Illini basketball and The Dave Matthews Band. Following the afternoon's festitivites, we all head over the Michael's Hotdogs in Highland Park.

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-Brian Glickman recieves the Lifetime Achievement Award from Jack Silverstein-

We'll play again in 2011, so if you missed this year's game, we encourage you to come out next year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from North Star!


We wanted to take a minute to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at North Star.  We also wanted to take the occasion to tell you that we are so thankful that you have chosen to be part of our North Star family and either spend your summers with us or have your son spend his summers with us.  We wanted to throw a keylog into the fire(place) to thank all of our great campers and their families, our awesome staff and alumni for helping make North Star such an amazing community. Whether you're in the Northwoods of Wisconsin or thousands of miles away, we hope that you have a great holiday. We cannot thank you enough for your support of North Star!

Thank you for the summers past and the ones in the future.  If your son can return for the Summer of 2011, we hope that he will do. We know the Summer of 2011 will be a great one. If you have any questions about Registration, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Thank you as well for all of the ways you continue to support North Star! Whether it is by referring your friends and family, by being active Alumni, by giving to the scholarship fund, or just by keeping us up to date on your life, we appreciate everything you do for North Star.

Thanks again for being part of the North Star family!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Leb, Sue, Dan and Andy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New NSC Apparel Preview


Over the past few months we've been working with the folks at Cloz Company to redesign our NSC logo apparel. We've been working on new designs for our shirts, hoodies, shorts and everything else. In a few days we'll be sending out information and a link to the online Cloz Store, but things are still in the works... but we're happy to give everyone a sneak preview of the new designs.

Many items will be available in green, gray and black, so you'll have more options, as well as a greater selection of items to choose from. As soon as the new items are online and for sale, we'll be sure to spread the word.

Friday, November 19, 2010

2010 Alumni Newsletter


The 2010 NSC Alumni newsletter is on-line. Click the newsletter below or go to the alumni section of the NSC website and then select the Alumni Newsletter link.


We're always looking for more alumni news and we collect it all year long, so if you have an update, send your news to office@northstarcamp.com. Of course, we will utilize Leb's Ramblings all year long to keep everyone up to date on the latest alumni info!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NSC Chicago Reunion Sets a Record


This past Sunday saw one of the off-season hallmarks, the North Star Chicago Reunion. With many of our families in either the suburban Chicago area or on the city itself, there is always a great turnout, and this year was no different. We gathered at the Takiff Center (formerly the Glencoe Community Center), enjoying the newly renovated facilities.

The reunion is always a great opportunity to catch up with camp folks. While it feels like late summer these days, its hard to realize that almost three months have passed since second session ended back on August 13th. So there was reason for all the excitement as everyone saw their camp friends, caught up, and shared news. Sue was diligent taking down news bits and we've got lots of info to share in the upcoming Siren, not just from Chicago, but from all of our reunions.

Then it was time for what everyone had been waiting for... the Chicago premier of "The Summer of 2010", the video made by Joe Riccitelli. As per usual, the video was great. Joe again traveled from Rhode Island to be at the reunion, but he wasn't the only one who traveled to the reunion. Dan Riemersman came from the Univ of Iowa, John Sheehan and Brant Schrage came from U of IL, Jon Weiss flew in with Leb and Andy from Cleveland, Jordan Santo came up from St. Louis and Trevor Van Laanen came from school in Wisconsin.

And yes, we did sent a new North Star record. After the reunion Leb and Sue take all of the staff and prospective CITs out to dinner. With a large CIT group and a few alumni in tow, the folks at Fuddruckers were pros at dealing with our large group. Several CITs and at least one JC attempted the various one pound burgers on the menu, however I don't believe that any were successful. The record that was set...the bill for all food. There were, however, Fuddruckers punch cards. Needless to say, Leb and Andy are going to get their fair share burgers on the road.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Newsletter is Online


The November Siren is online. Read the latest news and check out the updated list of campers who have signed up for the summer of 2011.


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Houston Reunion Announced


Join us in Houston as we get together to watch Joe Riccitelli's world famous Reunion video!

Saturday, December 4th
3:30pm at the home of the Schneider's
116 Whipple Drive in Bellaire, TX

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Send us your "North Star" Pictures


No...not your camp, pics... but your "North Star" pics. It seems like there are lots of businesses with "North Star" in the title, or other things with "North Star" in their name, and who can blame them. So we're trying to collect as many "North Star" pictures as possible. If you're somewhere and see "North Star" on a store sign, on a billboard, on the side of a van, snap a pic and email it to office@northstarcamp.com. We'll add the pic to our photo album, too. Send us a description of where you took the picture, too, so we can add that as well.

Here is the North Star Coffee Bar, located near Cass Lake. Leb, Sue, Dan and Andy were on their way to visit our friends at Camp Kamaji when we drove by. We decided to take the picture and see how many "North Star" pics we could collect. Don't take pics if you're driving... we don't want anyone to get hurt. But lets see how many places we can find North Star.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NSC in STL


This last weekend Leb and Andy headed down to St. Louis for a full weekend slate.  First was the Camp for All Kids benefit dinner honoring Mike and Kathy Jay of Camp Kamaji. Proudly we can say that both Mike and Kathy are North Star alumni as both worked at camp and Mike "Moose" Jay was a camper at North Star as well.  Even their son Aaron worked at camp a few summers back.  The two of them have done so much for the organization over the past 19 years, and the recognition was well deserved. The event took place at Hendri's and the entertainment even featured Hayward, the bluegrass band of NSC alumni.  In St. Louis, the band was represented by Jon Sherman, Mike Simons and his fiancĂ© Heather.  North Star is represented on the board of Camp for All Kids by Rob Porter, Paul Nathanson, Joe Mendes and Mark Holz, who all flew in for the event.  Other NSC alumni in attendance included Tom Adler and Mike Cohen, as well as Julie and Marty Schack - parents of 2010 CITs Jordan and Jonathan.


On Saturday we kicked off the Reunion tour with our St. Louis reunion at the Weiser's. This was the worldwide premier of Joe Riccitelli's 2010 Reunion Video, and it was clear that it is going to be a hit.  Jordan Santo joined us and even gave us his commitment that he'll be returning this summer!
The Weiser's put together a great afternoon for us.

Look for us coming to a city near you!

Fall Begins for NSC


Though 70 degree temperatures are still showing up in parts of the Midwest, Fall has fallen on the Northwoods. The leaves are off the trees and covering the ground, and camp looks great.  Leb and Andy spent a couple days at camp closing up the office before heading down to St. Louis.



As Leb and Andy were getting ready to leave for St. Louis, Andy noticed that the rock that has been used as the doorstop in the office for the last three decades had some interesting writing on it.  It said "Howi Weiser 7-17-73." Howi, a North Star alumnus, was hosting the St. Louis reunion last weekend.  Andy wanted to bring the rock with, but Leb thought the picture would suffice!


Monday, October 11, 2010

NSC Reunion Dates


St. Louis - October 16th
1pm at the home of the Weiser family
748 Kraffel Ln in Town and Country, MO

Omaha - November 4th
6:30pm at the home of the Goldberg family
1314 Ridgewood Ave in Omaha, NE

Cleveland - November 6th
3pm at the home of the Porter family
21476 Claythorne Road in Shaker Heights, OH

Chicago - November 7th
3:30pm at the Takiff Center
999 Green Bay Road, Glencoe, IL
PLEASE NOTE THE NEW LOCATION

Detroit - November 8th
6:30pm at the home of the Mendel family
440 Madison in Birmingham, MI

Nashville - November 9th
6:30pm at the home of the Yalowitz family
1700 Stokes Lane in Nashville, TN

Dates and times to be announced shortly for reunions in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Milwaukee and other locations.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hoover Dam


After one last stop at the Hoover Dam, the travelling trio of Leb, Sue and Phoebe are back home in Tuscon.  It was an action-packed road trip.  Look for more in the next Siren!


This means that the summer office is officially closed.  If you are looking to get in touch with Leb and Sue, you can do so at 520-577-7925. Thanks again for a great summer!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On the Road with Leb and Sue


So Leb and Sue left camp early Friday morning. Their trip home would consist of a nice road trip through some of the Western United States finest sights... as well as some of other kitschy tourist attractions. They have been sending along pictures from their road trip for everyone's enjoyment.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Closing Up Shop


Camp is a quiet place this time of year and it's always very sad when Sue and I begin packing for the trip home. We've truly enjoyed our paradise in the North Woods and have spent time biking, fishing, sailing and golfing for the past month and a half since camp ended.  We've also spent time gardening and I've reseeded the softball and parts of the athletic fields  hoping the fall rain and winter snow will create enough moisture to grow grass in the bare spots that were created as a result of the 7 year drought we've had. Speaking of the drought... it's over and the water levels in Spider Lake are almost back to normal. You frog hunters will be glad to know that there is water in Sue's slip and frog hunting should be awesome next year.
Tomorrow we head for Tucson by way of Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park.  We just hope we don't run into an early winter blizzard and we'll try to keep Phoebe from chasing Grizzly Bears and Elk.

We always hope it's raining and cold when we leave making it easier to say goodbye to camp.  But not this year, it's spectacular fall weather and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and yellow. I've taken some pictures to show you how beautiful camp is this time of year. We'll honk as we leave and be doing the same thing many of you do when you leave camp for the summer. We'll be counting down the days until we can return.

Carry On,
Leb

Monday, September 27, 2010

Help the Scholarship Fund


Camp for All Kids (CFAK) is applying to the 2011 Highland Park High School Charity Drive and needs your help. CFAK is the organization that is responsible for sending most of the North Star scholarship campers to camp.

No matter where you live, if you have brothers or sisters, relatives think cousins) or friends who attend Highland Park High School please talk to them about Camp for All Kids and why it's so important to you and how it has had a hugely positive impact on the North Star community

You also might want to tell them that:

• Camp for All Kids sends kids to camp who couldn't otherwise go to camp.

• Camp for All Kids provides renewable camperships so that kids can return to camp each summer.

• Camp for All Kids adds diversity to 5 camps - North Star, Birch Trail, Chippewa Ranch Camp, Kamaji and Timberlane - all of which have campers/staff members who attend Highland Park High School.

• Since 1992 Camp for All Kids has made camp possible for almost 1000 kids.

Obviously, if you attend Highland Park High School, we hope you'll talk up Camp for All Kids to everyone at HPHS!!

Later this school year all the Highland Park High School students will have a chance to vote for the 'cause' they think is most deserving. Choosing CFAK will provide the summer camp experience for campers who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

If you need more information, visit the Camp for All Kids website at www.campforallkids.org.

Thanks for your help in supporting Camp for All Kids by spreading the word to Highland Park High School students!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back to School Project


Even though he's now back at school in Tampa, FL, Spencer S. is still thinking about camp.  Check out his "1st week back at school" project.

video

Thursday, August 26, 2010

NSC Council Ring Recieves Improved, Expanded Seating


Hayward, WI (Reuters) - Unveiling the first major off-season camp improvement, North Star has announced that the Council Ring has seen several of its half log benches replaced. The work, which began towards the end of the summer of 2010 has been a multi-stage process, first seeing several of the seats in the South Section (Junior Village) replaced. Following some organizational discussions it was decided that the North Section would also receive additional seating, with one bench being added to each row, increasing capacity in this section by 33%.

The work on the J-Village section was completed earlier this week, while simultaneously work has been ongoing in the North Section (Senior Village). While capacity here will remain roughly the same, replacement was extensive. Following removal of existing benches, supports were replaced, ensuring level seating with optimal sight lines towards both the Council Ring Fire Pit and speaker's podium.

According to Chief Engineer and project foreman Thomas Brokaw of Hayward, the benches were replaced with a rough hewn half log of the poplar variety while supports were treated 6'X6'. Brokaw stated "what a guy could do is take some poplar and peel the bark. Once the benches are in place we'll put some linseed oil and clean it up. It'll be good enough for who its for." Brokaw confirmed that all of the materials came from local suppliers, furthering North Star's commitment to utilizing Hayward area businesses.

Further investigation revealed that this expansion and improvement was part of North Star's long term goal of better utilizing the Council Ring. With the nearby LCO landing big names for their concert venue, its no surprise that North Star has gone in this route. Acts traveling to the area include Great White, Bret Michaels and Ted Nugent. According to property owner Robert Lebby "The Council Ring is one of the preeminent campfire circles in the Northwoods, if not the country. We've been closely following the Wrigley Field model. Following their success with the Winter Classic, not to mention Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel and Elton John, we're confident that this is the right direction." Lebby would neither confirm or deny a pending deal with popular recording artist James Taylor to headline the potential opening concert. Previous national acts to appear at North Star include singer/songwriters Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary), Wendy & Willy Welch (wrote "Right Field"), and The Billys.

Lebby was also unwilling to comment on a rumored deal to sell Council Ring naming rights. A source familiar with the deal, but preferring to remain anonymous stated that several local and
national companies have expressed an interest in some sort of naming rights deal. "While compensation has dropped drastically since the Citigroup/Mets deal, there is no reason that the Council Ring shouldn't be able to fetch North Star a nice deal. North Star should be able to net a long term deal or they could opt for a sorter term deal and negotiate a new deal when the market has recovered." Amongst the companies rumored to be interested are LP Lumber, Stihl Chain Saws, Jack Links Jerky, UHaul and Crazy Creek outdoor chairs.

There is no proposed work to the East Section (Intermediate Village) of the Council Ring, which has been upgraded in the past few years. Mr. Lebby has confirmed that the upgrades will not impact seating regulations which allows campers and staff to bring Crazy Creek (type) chairs to the council ring for all events, however on Friday nights everyone must sit on benches.

Editors Note: While not April Fools Day, this clearly is a joke. The Council Ring has been expanded and benches have been replaced, however there are no plans to convert the Council Ring to a concert venue, nor are there plans to sell naming rights. Alumni should NOT contact Leb with offers to purchase Council Ring naming rights.

2011 Early Enrollment Discounts


Register now for the Summer of 2011!

You can SAVE OVER 10% ON TUITION by taking advantage of our Early Enrollment Incentives.

Click here: http://bit.ly/cUAHEe or click "Registration" in the upper right hand corner to get started.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

All Is Quiet in the Northwoods...



Amazingly it has already been a week since camp ended. After the campers left, we had a great week of Post Camp with over 20 families. Now as they scatter around the country, camp is growing quiet. Even the animals have noticed as they have started to take camp back for the winter.
We truly had an awesome summer! Over the last few weeks we have been receiving word from parents and campers alike letting us know how much they enjoyed and learned from their time at North Star. We’re always thrilled to hear from our camp families in any capacity, and it is always rewarding to hear the positive outcomes for the summer. Most of all, we want to thank you for trusting us with your sons. We often boast that we have the nicest campers in the world, and we mean it. So thank you for making the decision to have them spend the summer with us.
Now it’s on to the Summer of 2011! As we winterize the facilities here, we are well underway with our planning for a great 67th camping season at North Star, and we hope that you will again join us. We already have enrollment open for 2011 and already have many families on board, both new and old. We know it’s still early, but we are offering discounts for enrolling before September 1st, so take advantage now! Deposits are fully refundable until November 1st, and we offer Cancellation Insurance that allows you to protect your tuition payments beyond then as well. You can Register Online at www.northstarcamp.com. If you have any questions, please give us a call up at camp at 715-462-3254.
Thanks again for a great summer. We look forward to an awesome Summer of 2011!
Leb, Sue, Dan & Andy

Friday, August 20, 2010

Post Camp Report


Its hard to believe that its already been a week since second session ended. This morning, at the start of breakfast, Leb mentioned that it was exactly one week ago that the buses were on their way to Chicago. As most of you know, the buses leaving doesn't exactly mean the end of things up at camp.

Once the buses roll out all the counselors who remain at camp finish up some final work details and get all the cabins cleaned. Those cabins will all be inhabited for the next week by families who come up for our post camp week. So for those of you who have never been to post camp, here is a little rundown on the week.

About 100 people come up to camp for post camp. Some of these are families of current families while others are North Star alums who return to camp for the week (often with their spouses and children). Some post campers have been coming up for many decades while others are enjoying their first or second time here. For the most part, our post campers come up here for many of the same reasons that everyone else does.

We have lots of fun programming during the days. The climbing wall, waterskiing, riflery, and archery are some of the more popular daytime activities. We also have organized sports like softball, basketball, and soccer. Evening programs this post camp included a campfire, a talent show, and, of course, a dodgeball extravaganza.

Beyond the activities, though, a lot of post campers just like hanging out with their friends. For the former campers and counselors, they have the opportunity to catch up once again. For long time post campers, they have the opportunity to see each other again. Many of those who spend the week here may or may not have known each other before they started at post camp, however their friendships have certainly grown stronger because of it. At night post campers hang out in the lodge playing instruments, taking each other on in cards and board games, or just enjoy others company.


Tomorrow marks the official end of our post camp, however most families have headed home already. We'll be sure to keep everyone informed of more camp news and also try to give you all an inside look into what's going on here as we pack up camp and work towards 2011 and NSC's 67th summer.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pow Wow Day 2010



The last week of the summer is always marked with lots of special programs and events. The start of this week is highlighted by Pow Wow Day, where the entire camp (staff included) is separated into four different tribes. This year those tribes were Yuki, Kickapoo, Stono and Cree. Our captains (called braves for the day) and advisers (Medicine Men) worked tirelessly for several days beforehand picking teams, assigning team members to their events and writing more than a few cheers.

The day started with great weather as we had our traditional opening ceremonies, complete with Leb riding a horse. After that the tribes separated by village for leg wrestling. Each village narrowed down to a final four and eventually a winning leg wrestler. This was followed by two morning series of events. One of things that makes Pow Wow Day unique is the diversity of the events. There are plenty of sports as well as events like climbing and archery, however there are other specialty events that really give all of our campers an opportunity to excel. Campers compete in events like orienteering, scavenger hunt, not to mention several Arts & Crafts and canoeing events.

Some counselors will tell you that the highlight of the day is lunch, but not because of the food. While the food is great, the lunch is actually a silent lunch where campers and staff have to figure out how to communicate for the entire meal without talking. After lunch and the announcement of scores, we had our traditional staff "one pitch" softball game along with running relays and camper and staff tug-o-wars.

The afternoon continued without a hitch until 4th series, which takes place exclusively at swim point. The rumbling of thunder could be heard off in the distance and we decided it was better to be safe than sorry, so, like during United Nations Day (a first session event like Pow Wow Day), we decided that if the weather improved, we'd swim after dinner. The weather cooperated for the most part and we were able to get most of the swim point events in. We were able to witness some great inner-tube relay technique from several campers and we had a few impressive log rollers this year as well. The final event is intermediate and then senior water polo. With it getting late the entire camp cheered on the water polo games as darkness was descending upon swim point.

We ended Pow Wow Day in Mike Hall as the inclement weather returned. This did not dampen our campers' spirits nor did it quash any of the final cheers. It did, however, mean that Leb wouldn't be able to string out his typical stalling... if you've never seen it you wouldn't believe it possible for one person to take so long to announce the final scores. Congrats to the tribe of Yuki, winners of Pow Wow Day 2010, as well as those on Cree, Kickapoo and Stono for a great day!

Friday, August 6, 2010

1 Week in Review, 1 Week to go


We have had an amazing week at camp.  It's been action packed, so here goes nothing:

Green-White Egg Marathon
On Sunday we had our annual Green-White Egg Marathon, which is our biggest Green-White event of second session.  To sum it up, it is a giant relay race around camp that involves almost every activity we have.  The campers from each team participate in everything including running, swimming, biking, canoeing, three-legged race, climbing, archery, riflery, and more.  The whole event concludes with "Boil Water Boil," in which each team has two campers who work to boil a No. 10 tin can of water.  The catch is that each team has to carry a raw egg throughout the whole competition.  If the egg is broken, the team must send its egg runner to the office porch to retrieve a new one.
This year's marathon was as close as they get, with the White team edging the Green team by only a few seconds.  It was a great event that demonstrates the enthusiasm we have at camp, as not only does everybody participate in their own event, but they show up at the other events with positive words of encouragement for their teammates, and everybody gathers around the final Boil Water Boil to give their teammates a much needed boost.

Elections
On Monday we elected our President and Vice-President of the Great and Glorious North Star Party! We undergo this democratic ritual every summer, and the contest was heated as always.  To the victors go the spoils, and the ability to attend the staff meetings as well as to be Leb and Dan on Camper-Counselor Switch Day.  We had contestants from each village, and after a wonderful presidential debate in front of the whole camp, the people spoke.  Pine's Josh B. and Alex F. were elected to serve as President and Vice President for the next year.  They ran their campaign like a well-oiled machine, starting on Facebook well before the summer even began.  They plastered camp with their signs, and all of their hard work has paid off.  Now we're looking into campaign finance reform at North Star.

All-Camp Campfire
Tuesday we had a great All-Camp Campfire showcasing many of our campers' talents, most notably in the category of "stupid human tricks." We saw everything from Max P.'s dazzling yo-yo tricks to Noah C.'s contortionist ways.  It never ceases to amaze us how talented our campers are, and we love giving them opportunities to show it off.  No camper ever leaves North Star with a fear of public speaking!

Cruiser Day
While there is never a Cruiser Day that goes by that fails to showcase the creativity of our staff, this one was a cut above.  Intermediate Village Director Jon K. planned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Day for the whole Ridge.  The campers and staff were divided into four teams - Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael - and participated in a full day of Turtle themed activities. These rained from "Ninja Ball" to a "Pizza Hunt" in honor the crime fighting amphibian's favorite food. Then, to continue the theme, the turtles were rewarded with a pizza dinner.  Cowabunga dudes!


The Fun-Bug World Record
On Thursday during our organized free period, Ben M. and Jeremy S. decided that they were going to take being the Fun-Bug Dudes to new heights.  They decided that they wanted to set the all-time record for Fun-Buggers in one period.  They invited representatives from the Guinness Book of North Star Records to officiate the event and they rallied the troops.  They had it set up so that you could stop by and quickly become a Bronze member just by hopping on one of the Fun Bugs, or you could take one out for a spin around the sailboats and back to become a Gold Member.  When all was said and done, over half of the camp had come through to participate in yet another display of the goofy and wacky creative energy that our staff brings to the table everyday!


Professor John "Little Bird" Anderson
Thursday night the whole camp gathered in Mike Hall for a special guest.  A professor of Native American History named John Anderson came to speak to camp in preparation for Pow Wow Day.  John was raised and spent much of his life on the Lac Courte Orreilles Reservation right here in Hayward.  John taught us many things about the beliefs of his tribe regarding the land and the animals among us.  He explained the meaning of his tribal name "Little Bird" and taught us about his traditional garb.  He taught us different dances and chants, and gave us new appreciation for what we have hear at camp. Along with his Wigiwagan (life partner) Mourning Dove, all of the campers and counselors alike really learned a lot.

The Commando Raid
One of the great camp traditions, Friday afternoon it was time for the Commando Raid - an all-camp water balloon fight.  Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the CITs for filling all of the balloons, the camp was able to spend a hot afternoon doing battle with water balloons.  Everybody set after camp's favorite target - Leb.  He knows what to do however, and has his oversized balloon ready to go for any passers-by.

Friday Night Services
On the eve of Pow Wow Day, tonight's service honored the Native American roots of this region.  We talked about the Ojibwa ideal that we are just guest on this land, and that it is our duty to protect it and maintain it for future generations.  We talked about understanding our past and learning from it, so that we can always continue to improve.  One of our readings pointed to finding the equilibrium between man and nature, and resisting the temptation of greed.  It was a beautiful service with a record-length keylog ceremony with so many campers and counselors wanting to give their appreciation.

We are now geared up and ready for the final week of camp.  It is hard to think that at this time next week, all the campers will be back in their hometowns.  We have an exciting week ahead starting tomorrow with Pow Wow Day and continuing with the Arts and Crafts Show, Espionage, Lazy Day, the Staff Show, Request Night, the Final Banquet, the Dodgeball Extravaganza, the Camper-Counselor Hunt, Camper-Counselor Switch Day and more.  It's going to be a jam-packed week at camp.  We've got plenty of camping left!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

It might be...


... it could be... it is! The Big Ten.

At North Star we honor those people who are at camp for their tenth summer. We do this by inviting their family as well as friends from camp summers past, we tell embarrassing stories (all of which are 100% real), and then we eat some cake. The Big Ten, as we call it, is meant to be a surprise and throughout the summer we have "fake" Big Tens as we try to psych out the honorees. When the Big Ten happens is supposed to be a surprise to everyone except the planners.

Last night was the Big Ten for two camp veterans, Mandy Stanek and Ben Mizel. Mandy has been on staff for the last ten years, starting out as Sue's assistant and has worked the last several years as Waterfront Director. Ben started out as a camper, rose through the ranks as a CIT, cabin counselor and now is one of our Senior Village Directors.

The planning started early in the summer as we considered dates and ultimately we'd settle on July 30th. The weekend worked our perfectly as we had a large group of alumni who wanted to come in on this weekend and we set things in motion. A small group of us worked on the details and when the day got closer, we tried figuring out how we'd get things going. Typically we have a van drive in with counselors jumping out in costume, going crazy.

Friday night is also our Campfire Service, which is a quieter, reflective program. At the end of that service, Leb calls down all those who have been at camp for ten years or longer to sing our camp song "Forest Green". Well, eight of our visitors were ten year folks, so we figured that when Leb called us down to help sing, there would be a few extras to lend their voice. As our guests filed down to the surprise of Ben and Mandy, as well as Sue and pretty much the rest of camp, the reactions were priceless. You can see the group picture with Leb explaining to Sue why there were a few unexpected individuals down to help us sing.

The Big Ten was a great time for all. Thanks to all of our visitors who traveled across the country to be at camp for the weekend.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

College Days!


For our Senior Village campers, there are few things that they look forward to more than College Days.  Over the course of the last three days, these young men were split into four teams for an ongoing competition that had them doing it all - testing everything from their athletic prowess to their wit, from their skills in various camp activities to their culinary proficiencies.

This year's colleges were Air Force, Boise State, Dayton, and UC-Santa Cruz.  This random assortment of universities illuminates the fact that College Days gives our Senior Village campers the opportunity to run their own teams.  There are no captains or advisors to oversee the process, and each team's success relies on their ability to collaborate with one another.  
They have played football, basketball, softball, speedball and soccer.  They have played tennis, shot archery and riflery, climbed, sailed, swam, disc golfed and canoed.  They have played cards, chess, board games and done trivia.  And those are just the basics. They have written cheers and dressed up mascots (see pictures).  They have participated in Lincoln-Douglas style debates.  They have created plaques to honor their schools.  And I'm probably still missing a bunch.

On Monday night the teams competed in the College Days Cook-off. The object was for each team to prepare a gourmet three-course meal to gain the favor of the esteemed food critics.  Their kitchen: a campfire.    The teams successfully whipped up some flavorful creations including quesadillas, salads, and pita pizzas.  The main courses were all chicken dishes, and we had top-notch pineapple chicken, chicken parmigiana, jerk chicken and a chicken stir-fry.  For dessert, we had fried bananas and dipping bananas, and a marvelous fruit tart.
While the food was delicious, there's more to the cook-off than taste.  The teams are also judged on service.  In addition to having chefs and sous chefs, each team is required to have a waiter, and assistant waiter and a busboy.  These guys work their tails off to ensure the satisfaction of the judges.  Some teams even went above and beyond providing entertainment in the form of serenades from Andrew R.'s ukelele and Grant G.'s rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  These guys all fared very well against the judges tough questions that ranged from an in-depth knowledge of the ingredients, to an understanding of the difference between Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Parmigiana.
All in all, it was a great three days for the Senior Village, and one they won't soon forget.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wedding Bells for a NSC Alum


I just returned to camp from a three day trip to Columbus, OH. My leaving for an extended period of time in the middle of the summer isn't usual, but this weekend marked a special occasion. I had the honor of attending the wedding of NSC alum Aaron Hamer to his lovely wife Lauren. Aaron spend nine years at North Star, first as a camper and then as a counselor (his last year was 2005). Aaron and Lauren celebrated their nuptials surrounded by family and friends... more than a few of whom were tied to Aaron through North Star.

In total, there were sixteen of us at the wedding who were either current or former campers and/or staff. Aaron's younger brother, Zach, as well as three of his cousins spent time at North Star. In his wedding toast, Zach recalled his first year as a camper at North Star, when Aaron (who was already a counselor) took Zach under his wing and helped him adjust to life at camp.

One of the things that the wedding weekend represented to me was the impact that camp has on each of us. Obviously, without North Star, the dozen or so of us never would have been there to celebrate Aaron's wedding. I imagine that when each of our parents first decided to send us to North Star one of their goals was that we make friends. Whether they realized that years later we'd be celebrating each other's weddings is a another story.

Whether its at North Star or another camp, when you talk to someone who has spent a good portion of their summers at camp they more than likely will tell you that they consider their camp friendships to be amongst their strongest. When you are a part of a community like a camp, when you live together in a bunk, go on canoe trips together, spend days together while on staff, you share experiences that aren't found in many other walks of life. We regularly hear from staff who only spent one year at NSC and they tell us about the friends that they are still keeping in touch with, long after their time at camp.

Camp isn't just a summer thing. We know that throughout the year campers get together with the friends they made during the summer. Counselors often travel to see their long time friends. And camp certainly goes beyond the summers you spend in the Northwoods.

Friday, July 23, 2010

2011 Registration is Online


Register now for the Summer of 2011!

You can SAVE OVER 10% ON TUITION by taking advantage of our Early Enrollment Incentives.

Click here: http://bit.ly/cUAHEe or click "Registration" in the upper right hand corner to get started.

Friday Night Services


Tonight was our first Friday Night Service of second session, and it was a huge success.  Friday Night Services are at the core of our philosophy at North Star.  All week long, the campers play hard at their chosen activities all over camp, then on Friday Night we take time to reflect. 
It all begins with a special dinner.  Every Friday night we have dinner of roast beef, potato pancakes, apple sauce, rolls and vegetables.  Dinner is a quieter affair with the kids dressed up - by camp standards.  All our boys get extra time to shower and put on some clean clothes.
After dinner concludes, we gather around the flagpole for a formal retreat.  A representative of each cabin announces that his cabin is, "All present and accounted for," before we sing a patriotic song, state the Pledge of Allegiance, and lower and fold the flag.
From there everyone heads up to the Council Ring.  The evening consists of a values-based campfire program with a rotating theme.  Tonight's theme was Teamwork.  Other themes include friendship, independence, character, global citizenship and more.  Each service includes stories, responsive readings, musical selections and a sermonette. Tonight Mark Y. lead the service as our reader and Joe G gave a great sermonette on how a team comes together.  Our music directors led great songs for the Camper and Counselor Chorus, helping to perform great renditions of "The Weight" by The Band and "The General" by Dispatch.  Mitchell L. and Alex B. did a great reading about community living as well.

Towards the end of every service is the Keylog Ceremony, which presents each camper and staff member with an opportunity to give thanks to other members of our community that have done something special for them.  They do so by throwing a stick into the fire, which is a symbolic representation that goes back to the regions logging days.  It is very common to hear our boys thanking their new friends for being so nice to them, and to hear them thanking their counselors for making it "the best summer ever."
And as the fire burns down every Friday, the sun sets between an opening in the trees over Clear Lake and creates the most perfect scene for all of us to enjoy.  We stand and together sing the camp song, "Forest Green," taps, and recite the Camper Benediction.  
We believe that if camp was just fun, we would be missing out on a valuable opportunities to teach our campers valuable life lessons and for character development.  Friday Night Services are an important part of that mission. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Crank Up the Volume


We are off to a great start with second session!  By now our second session campers have settled in, made new friends and reunited with old. They have played at least two games of dodgeball, been in the lake for swim tests, and spent several activity periods at their favorite projects.  And until lunch today, we thought that they had already rounded into form when it comes to cheering in the Dining Hall.
Then the girls showed up.
Now our guys can cheer, but when the CITs from Chippewa Ranch Camp joined us in the Lodge for lunch, you would have thought you were at a ballgame.  You could hardly hear yourself think! The Senior Village began the festivities with their ritual Conga Line into the Outer Lodge.  Jumping up and down, they began chanting their traditional cheer, "V-I-L-L-A, Villa, Villa, All the Way!"
Not to be outdone, the Juniors and Intermediates (Ridge) got into the action quickly and noisily.  "J-U-N, I-O-R, Juniors, Juniors, Best by Far!" And, "R-I-D-G-E, On the Ridge is Unity!" All in all, there were fewer than 20 ladies from Chippewa, but when they took to the singing and dancing, they held their own.  Our boys unloaded the whole songbook and even unveiled some new moves for the occasion.

Today was our first day of our regular program during second session.  Each week, the boys choose their activities for the instructional periods. They choose from a wide range of programming in adventure, athletics, creative arts and waterfront activities to make up their schedules.  Every successive week, they will again choose a new set of activities and each camper can choose to build on the ones they enjoyed as well.  Read More About Our Program.

Very quickly, chess has taken North Star by storm.  Bruce W., who is here creating a new Promotional Video for us, also happens to be a chess master. The fascination started when Bruce challenged all the campers and counselors to take him on.  The catch was that he was going to play 10 games at once!  After Bruce set up three picnic tables side-by-side, he prepared the boards and lined up his challengers, whom ranged from 5-year-old Lake to not-5-year-old Leb. On Monday, Bruce went 9 and 1, losing only to counselor Charles E.
But that was not good enough. He wanted to go undefeated, and he took on a new crop today and succeeded, defeating all 10 opponents.  Bruce does have a chink in his armor though as he lost to our very own camper chess master Asher B. 

Tonight we had a modified challenge games that included several intriguing challenges.  We had an Ohio State versus Michigan football game, fueled by our Wolverine alumnus I-Village Director Jon K. and our Buckeye alumnus Senior Village Director Adam H.  Nano had the Fun-Bug area rocking. We had a soccer match led by Brant and Ben M., a blobbing contest spearheaded by Blumy and Blumy with nickname rights at stake, tennis courts filled with doubles matches, floor hockey, dodgeball, basketball and more; and all this while the sun was on its way down for the evening.  Tomorrow our first cabin trips of the session will head out, and we'll keep rolling with the projects.

But that's all in a day's work at North Star. Second session is off to a great start!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Second Session is Underway!


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The campers have arrived and camp is in session! The buses arrived ahead of schedule to beautiful weather and some very enthusiastic staff.  As we announced the cabin assignments around the flagpole our counseling teams were having dance parties, building human periods, and having mock tea parties.  Anything can turn in to a production around here.

The campers have unpacked and all of the new campers are getting tours of camp. The staff are running games so that they can all of the campers can learn each others names.  At 6:00pm we will have a delicious dinner, as the food has been fantastic all summer long.

After dinner each cabin will play in challenge games with another cabin, which will be followed by our traditional opening candlelight ceremony.  The counselors lead a cabin meeting that includes each camper sharing his goals and expectations for the summer.  The candlelight ceremony is part of the team-building process at camp, which the counselors continue to develop all summer long.

Tomorrow we get busy right away.  The kids will get checked out by our medical staff, take their swim test, choose their schedules for the first week and play several games of dodgeball and capture the flag, and that's all before dinner.  Evening program will be staff introductions.

The staff has been everything we could ask for thus far and they continue to impress us with their energy and creativity, and, more importantly, the level of care they have for each camper.  It is these guys that allow us to have the special community we have here.  We had a 9-year-old here who said, "I've only been here a little over an hour, and I can tell that for everyone here it feels like home." We can guarantee that your kids are going to have a fantastic summer.


Leb's Ramblings, Pictures and Camp Updates
Aside from the letters you receive from camp, you can also stay informed about what is going on at camp through a few other means.  From here on, all of the communication will be on Leb's Ramblings (www.northstarcamp.com/blog). You can access Leb's Ramblings by going to www.NorthStarCamp.com in "The Lodge" under the Media Room. The pictures can be found in the same area under Summer Pictures. On a regular basis we will be posting pictures online.  Pictures will be available as soon as possible. We will post the cabins with the pictures tonight


You can also stay informed on Facebook and Twitter.  You can read a little bit more about what is going on at camp on North Star Camp's Facebook Fan Page (www.facebook.com/northstarcampforboys), North Star's Facebook Profile (www.facebook.com/northstarcamp), or our Twitter Page (www.twitter.com/northstarcamp).

To us our official word of the summer, camp is going to be "Awesome!"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another "North Star Moment"


There was Magic in the Northwoods tonight. Where else can you find 15 years old playing soccer, football, tennis and softball at the same time… with 9 years olds who were also playing all 4 sports at the same time… on the same field? I venture to say that this game was only played in one place on the planet this evening. Right here at North Star! I would also venture to say that creative, fun and exciting games were being played all over the world at summer camps, they just happened to be different games. But, I have the pleasure of writing about our game at North Star this evening.
But, I choose to look at a bigger picture and I’d like to give you a little in site into what makes North Star… well, North Star. The origin of the game took place last Wednesday evening at our weekly staff meeting. Our administrative team knew we had Monday evening open and we thought it would be a good opportunity to give our counselors an opportunity to prepare a special event for the camp to enjoy. We brainstormed for 7 ½ minutes, that’s all the time any creative team needs, isn’t it? In that time we came up with all sorts of ideas, another version of Brave Heart, a dodgeball extravaganza, Minute To Win It game show night, and then out of the corner of the room came, “How about Mob Ball?” The room went quiet, “Mob Ball” Sounds perfect for a boys camp. Well, Tim Edwards, from Manchester, England described this game with basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, tennis balls, and softballs all used in the same game. There would be different colored balls that could only be used by certain age groups. And of course, we would use the entire camp as the playing field.
I knew we had something good going when I saw 5 counselors carrying the huge soccer goals to the middle of the junior village before dinner. I knew we had something really good when there wasn’t a sound while Tim explained the rules and I knew we had a huge hit when I saw kids running everywhere with all sorts of balls all over camp. It is actually quite humorous to see a 9-year-old dribbling a basketball down the road with his buddies scrambling behind.
I think the real story is the creativity that camp gives to young people. After all, Tim, at 23 years old is a young person. Tim solicited help from 15 other staff members to put this program together and it was a huge success. I’ve always felt that giving opportunities for leadership is a central part of our success and allows everyone here to feel a part of something bigger than himself.
Speaking of creativity, wait till you read about our Espionage Game that will be taking place Wednesday evening. Espionage is a game of mystery, intrigue and suspense and takes place after dark. Every cabin will have some challenge to complete and something about crawling around camp in the dark is captivating to the kids. More to come after Wednesday...
As I write this we have campers participating in sign-up trips out of camp. There are 9 kids on a horseback riding overnight. Tomorrow we have 27 boys going to a local disc golf course where they will play on a championship course. We have other canoe and hiking trips planned and any camper has the option to participate in a sign up overnight camping trip.
The play, an adaption of The Producers, is in its final stages of rehearsals and we are looking forward to watching the world premiere on Thursday evening.
And of course, the biggest weekend of the year begins on Friday as we have many visitors coming into camp in the evening, our 1st session campers leaving on Saturday and a new group arriving on Sunday.
The craziness continues and I can assure you that the creativity and fun never stops at camp. We’re having a blast and I am confident your son will have wonderful stories to tell you when you see him this weekend.
Chairs Up,
Leb

Sunday, July 11, 2010

United Nations Day 2010


As we prepared for North Star's 2010 United Nations Day there was some question as to whether or not the day would even happen. Last night the odds of rain consuming the day looked like a decent possibility as thunderstorms were foretasted for much of the day. We arose half an hour early to some overcast skies but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits as campers and counselors alike got painted up and we began our opening ceremonies.

In Olympics style we have a torch run with all 12 captains that ends with one of the senior captains lighting the NSC cauldron. Counselor and Senior Village Director Adam Heldman read aloud the same UN Day proclamation that was written decades ago by Jack Weiner. 1st and 2nd series flew by. Throughout the morning the sound of vuvuzelas were heard throughout camp and excitement was definitely in the air. The usual keystone events like softball, basketball and speedball created a lot of energy, but they definitely don't overshadow junior curtainball, or four square, where campers have a way of emphatically making their cases to referees.

Post lunch we had some great staff games of speedball followed by running relays and camper and counselor tugs. Then, as we went into 3rd series, Leb "aka Tom Skillings"didn't like the look of some incoming clouds and combined with his view of local radars he called for the rainy day bell to be rung. He predicted a quick storm and within 40 minutes rain, thunder and lighting had moved through and everyone was back at their third series events. This left us with the dilemma of what to do with 4th series.

3rd and 4th series (our last two series) typically happen before our dinner feast and we then go into our evening program where scores are announced. Instead we'd have to do our swim point events after dinner. To make this even more interesting 3rd series ended with the scores just about as close as possible... a tie for 1st place and a tie for 3rd place. The margin between first and third place was a slim, single point.

4th series at swim point was all the more exciting with everyone knowing how close things were. Along with swimming we had chess and checkers and after a great time at swim point we found that Mark Yellon and Mitch Laski were still in the midst of a great chess battle.

As the sun was setting on North Star it was time for Leb to read the scores and he had to restrain himself and not draw out his typical stall. Some of our staff were able to get in a quick Big Ten psyche before Leb read the scores and all four teams had their final cheers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Update from the Northwoods


We've had a busy few days at camp since the 4th of the July.  There's been so much going on at camp, it's been hard to find time for a Rambling!

The Green-White Marathon
We had a great Green-White Marathon on Monday, and though the White team jumped out to a big lead, it still came down to the wire at Boil Water Boil.  The Green-White Marathon is a race that involves all over camp and includes every camper participating in events anywhere from running, swimming and biking, to softball throws, bed making, and singing songs with crackers in your mouth.  In the end, it all concludes with "Boil Water Boil," where two campers from each team work to boil water so that it is running over the top of their No. 10 Tin Can, all while the whole camp stands around cheering them on.  It always makes for a great day.

All-Camp Campfire
The evening of the 5th we had our All-Camp campfire, where we all gathered at the Council Ring for an evening of stories, songs and jokes.  We shared many laughs, especially at the traditional "Talking Contest," where our campers square off to determine the best talker in camp.  The Talking Contest has two boys standing eye to eye, and on the command "Ready, Set, Talk!" both are to begin talking simultaneously until they can talk no more. The contest ends when one participant hesitates, stutters or repeats himself.  Our championship match between heavily favored senior Andrew R. and underdog Spencer M. went on so long that Leb had to postpone the conclusion for a later date.  There is no doubt that our boys can talk!
We also heard from Alex F. on behalf our Pine Manor group about their experiences on the Canadian.  Alex told the camp a little about the week and a half long camping trip to Quetico Provincial Park, and more importantly about what it meant to all of them. Alex told us about how the trip really brought them all together as a group, as they needed to work together to accomplish the daily tasks that they faced in the wilderness.  This year our group really had beautiful weather throughout the trip, and they caught a lot of fish as well.  The consensus was that the trip was a memory that they will share forever, and that it help to cement these camp friendships that will last a lifetime.

Cruiser Day
We had another great Cruiser Day yesterday with some perfect weather for a great day.  The Junior Village had their Village Cruiser Day and they went to the Hayward waterslide, played mini-golf and jumped on the giant air pillow there.  Then they were off to Hayward Beach for some frisbee and a cookout dinner, before stopping at Dairy Queen and heading back to camp.  Back at camp, we had all kinds of great things happening, including J-3 filming their own remake of Rambo!  We had the slip-and-slide set up and as you can see by the look on Jon Kohl's face above, there are few things our Intermediate Village Director would rather be doing.

Now we've got a busy week coming up as we make preparations for United Nations Day this Sunday!  The summer is just flying by...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Social


As the rest of the nation celebrates our Independence Day with fireworks and parades North Star gets together with Camp Birch Trail for our annual social. We were serving as the host camp this summer and that sprung our staff into action. About a week and a half ago I overheard lots of commotion coming out of our staff room and decided to take a peak. About 25 counselors were wedged into the room which comfortably seats about a dozen debating various themes for the social. My favorite idea was a Spanish theme which would include the BT ladies arriving to find themselves amidst the "Running of the Bulls", being charged by NSC campers and counselors.

Our counselor committee whittled the list down to five and decided that the theme would be Avatar. Campers and staff would dress up in blue and hopefully more than a few would paint themselves. So today when the Birch Trail buses arrived at 3:30 they were escorted out to the athletic fields by three "military officers" and finally our guys came running out of the woods from every direction, many painted blue and most sporting NSC-BT 2010 social t-shirts. Needless to say the visitors were a bit taken aback. After some opening skits campers went with their respective villages to engage in some ice breakers and then we had an organized free. My favorite activity was definitely continuous dodgeball, where participants were only allowed to get out members of the opposite sex.

Our kitchen staff works hard to get dinner ready on a normal night, but tonight it meant getting dinner ready for all our campers and staff... and 350 visitors. Following dinner we all headed up to the tennis courts for music in Mike Hall and other games on the courts. We also had a rocket launch on the athletic fields. Of course, more than a few North Star campers were willing to give the BT girls the shirts off their back. The blue Social T-shirts were a big hit and our visitors took every opportunity to plead for one. There were a few extras and at the end of the night Leb decided to give them away in true North Star fashion... with a good old Horsengoggle.

As the BT visitors loaded their buses our NSC guys decided that we needed a half our later and would not let the buses depart until they had their way. We had a sit-in style barricade and singing of the infamous "all we are saying is give sleep a chance". North Star will be sleeping in tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Glen's Game


Evening program tonight is a camper favorite... Glen's Game! This game sees our staff set up four different spots that campers need to get to by the end of the game. These spots are unknown to the campers at the start of the game and once they find out what these spots are, they need to avoid counselors as they try to get there. If successful the camper gets a mark on their hand and hopefully, by the end of the game they have four different marks representing the four different spots.

However, as campers try to get to these areas, there are counselors waiting to get them. Each camper has a flag tucked in their pants and counselors chase them in an attempt to get their flag. Campers who get their flags taken away must report to jail and wait for a jail break in order to re-enter the game.

Glen's Game has become a key North Star activity and when it gets put on the calendar, campers inevitably get excited. Even campers new to North Star know about Glen's Game. One of the really neat things about Glen's Game, though, is that it shows that every staff member and camper can make a lasting impact at North Star. About nine years ago Leb was looking for an idea for an evening program and one of our first time counselors, Glen Miller suggested a game he had played elsewhere. Now "Glen's Game" has become a regular.

This is one of the great things about camp... maybe its an idea for a special program and before you know it, it becomes a fixture on the camp calendar... or maybe its a cheer or song that a few campers come up with and it becomes a regular part of village cheers in the lodge. Campers and counselors, new and old, come up with the ideas that become the key parts of camp. Camps are places of tradition and we often thing that "this is the way its always been" or "that program has been around forever", but it takes individuals to come up with those things that become traditions and each day provides opportunities to create new traditions.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Who is Connor Jackson?


Who is Connor Jackson? That is the question haunting Leb over the course of the past week.  We have no campers at North Star by that name.  We have no staff by that name.  We do not even have any alumni by that name. Yet Connor Jackson is the biggest name at camp.
It all started at the beginning of last week when Sue, our very own Inspector #12, was doing her daily inspections of the cabins.  When she arrived in cabin J-2, she found more than she bargained for.  On the floor of the cabin was a bouquet of flowers and a poem to Sue.  While reading this, keep in mind that the residents of cabin J-2 are 10-years-old!

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Our cabin is clean,
and I love you.

- Connor Jackson

Every day for the last week, the same thing happened - more flowers, new poems.  Then it started to escalate! The poems started to include P.S. notes like "Leb is great, but he has nothing on me," and "Sorry Robert, you can't keep Sue away from me." And each day, Sue would bring her flowers and love letters to announcements to flaunt her secret admirer.  And each day, Cabin J-2 was earning Cabin Pride Awards, North Star's highest achievement in cleanliness.  But Connor Jackson's true identity remained unknown.
Then yesterday at announcements, our staff decided to replicate the scene from Spartacus with everyone standing up and yelling "I am Connor Jackson!" "No, I am Connor Jackson!" Until the whole camp was claiming to be Sue's secret admirer.
Things became really quite complicated today when cabin J-7 left a teddy bear and a love poem from Connor Jackson yet J-2 still had their latest rendition available to woo Sue into another Cabin Pride Award.
As darkness falls on another great day of camp, the mystery of Connor Jackson remains...

Aside from these shenanigans, we've had a great couple of days.  Beginning on Sunday, all of our campers began their second set of projects and are getting to dabble in new activities.  Sunday night's evening program was a "Recess Remix/Schoolyard Rocks" medley.  Every camper went on a rotation between the games of Settlers vs Rustlers, Freeze Tag, Wall Ball and Sharks and Minnows.  It was the creation of our brilliant Village Directors, who made the night a blast for all.
Cabins I-6 and S-1 returned today from their five-day hiking trips in the Porcupine Mountains and both trips were a great success.  Tonight's evening program was Village Campfires - where all three villages had their own campfire programs including group games, village cheers, songs, stories, and, most importantly, s'mores.  It was an opportunity for each village to showcase the talents of its campers and staff alike, and boy are there a lot of talents.
With one week of camp in the books, we are off to a fantastic start! The North Star community is buzzing with enthusiasm, talent, and friendships new and old.  Stay tuned for more Leb's Rambling's and Summer Pics.