North Star Camp for Boys

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bully for Leb! Old Man Lebby Hits 60

"Bully for Leb! Bully for Leb! Bull-bull-bully for Leb! First in war, first in peace, first in the hands of the city police! Boom-ditty-atta, boom boom! Speeeeeech..."
North Star's very own Robert "Leb" Lebby is turning 60 today and on behalf of the North Star community, we want to wish him a very happy and healthy birthday! Though it may seem a little vein that a blog called "Leb's Ramblings" is wishing it's namesake a happy birthday, Old Man Lebby and his much younger bride are off on vacation to celebrate the occasion and won't see this post for days. So while they are away, Dan and Andy are up to their usual tricks and want to make sure that Leb know's he's appreciated.

With Leb turning 60 and the upcoming summer marking his 40th summer at North Star, we want as many campers, staff, parents and alumni to give Leb a proper North Star birthday greeting as possible. So even though we won't be able to get him to stand on a chair in the Outer Lodge and make a speech, or even throw him a pizza party tonight, we want him to know that the Great and Glorious North Star party didn't forget this big occasion.

So here's the plan: Let's flood his inbox with Birthday greetings. Whether emails or e-cards, make sure you take a minute to send off a greeting to  sometime before the day is out. Hopefully there will be so many birthday wishes that his head will be spinning as much as it was when Asher B. was playing him in chess this summer (See picture)! You can also post your fondness to the North Star Facebook Page or to our Twitter account. Thanks for joining us in wishing Leb a very Happy Birthday!

"Happy Birthday, Ugh! Happy Birthday, Ugh! Misery and despair, people dying everywhere, Happy Birthday, Ugh! Happy Birthay, Ugh!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Join Leb in Supporting Global Camps Africa

Many of our campers and staff may remember a visitor that we hosted at camp during the summer of 2009. Phil Lilienthal founded Global Camps Africa after owning and directing Camp Winnebago in Maine for 30 years. Global Camps Africa provides a 10-day camp experience for children living in South Africa who have been effected by HIV/AIDS.

Camp Sizanani, which is located just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, serves kids between the ages of 10-15 years old. There are six different ten day sessions, where alternating groups of boys and girls come to the camp. Each session serves up to 130 campers, with 30-35 counselors.

Leb recently joined the Board of Global Camps Africa and for those of you in the Washington D.C. area, there will be a fundraiser next month. The details of the event are below.

Leb and the Board of Directors of GLOBAL CAMPS AFRICA invite you to a reception to


Come and bring your friends to toast 38 sessions serving more than 4,300 boys and girls in South Africa, Uganda, and Lesotho. Enjoy South African wine, food and music and meet the Board and Counselors of this local organization that has been empowering HIV/AIDS-affected youth in South Africa for an AIDS-free tomorrow since 2004.

Saturday, April 16, 2011
7-9 pm
Walker Nature Education Center
11450 Glade Drive
Reston, VA 20191

To purchase tickets online please choose one of the following options:
*$500 donation as PATRONs (4 tickets)
*$250 donation as SPONSORs (2 tickets)
*$100 donation per person as FRIEND
*$50 donation per person
*I can't attend but would like to make a donation

kindly RSVP via e-mail: so we can be sure your name is included on our list.

For more information, please visit

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cause for Celebration

We in the North Star offices take March Madness pretty seriously. There is no doubt that the first weekend of the tourney is amongst the greatest sports events of the year and while North Star takes pride in its non-competitive philosophy, we all love the non-stop action of the opening round of the NCAA Basketball Tourney (and no, the "play-in games" don't count as the first round...). This year Leb was able to land tickets to the regional games played in Tucson and he also made me promise not to schedule any staff interviews during Friday's University of Arizona game.

On Friday those of us who live in Chicago gathered at Andy's apartment and created quite an impressive viewing arena/work space. Ahead of the games we made a quick trip to Costco with alum Mike Blumberg to prepare ourselves for the day. When it came to televisions, though, we were able to set up three screens for three different games. The highlight was the NSC projector which we focused onto the wall, allowing us to watch a game streaming from the internet at a whopping 72 inches. We were joined by Andy's wife Vickie (who also spends about 1/2 the summer at camp), counselor Ben Mizel as well as Mike's girlfriend Sarah and alum AJ Bayard.

When we were at Costco, we decided that we had purchase a birthday cake since it wasn't only gameday, it was also Ben's 22nd birthday. Of course, when you go to Costco, you need to be prepared to buy a cake for dozens, but that was okay because we realized that there was ample cause for celebration. Not only was it Ben's birthday, but just the day before he finished his last college final and was now a graduate of the University of Chicago. Also on Thursday, Vickie had matched at Lutheran General Hospital, where she'll be spending her residency. But wait... there was more. Joining us later in the evening was NSC Alum Marc Siegel and his fiancee Blair Sterling who we found out this week were newly engaged.

We had a great turnout in the NSC March Madness contest. This year we had 148 campers, staff, parents and alumni post their picks. At the end of the first round many of our participants had very impressive showings. We at North Star don't like to pat ourselves on the back, but it is possible that at the time of the writing of this Leb's Ramblings one of the North Star Associate Directors (not named Andy) may be atop the leader board with 29 of 32 correct picks. Current campers Asher Borstein and Simon Dinkin along with alums John Lee and Robby Rutkoff are hot on the heals of said Associate Director (not named Andy).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Breaking: (real) Broadband Internet Comes to NSC

There are many things in life that we take for granted. Modern conveniences are at the top of this list but when you're a North Star staff member and you spend two months at camp, you give up some of these things, that changes. From mid June through mid August our staff have the joy of dealing with satellite internet access that hearkens back to the days of dial-up (and for Leb, Sue, Andy and I, add a few more months to that).

Back in the fall we heard rumors that things were about to change. Several of our friends on the lake were quite persistent in their efforts to get real broadband internet access. This rumor has become a reality, broadband internet access has arrived... for the staff! Campers, leave your internet capable devices at home, high speed internet is for our counselors and will be password protected.

Now it might seem ironic that we're so excited about high speed internet on the shores of Spider Lake, so in the interest of equal opportunity we promote Richard Louv's "Last Child in the Woods". The book coined the term "Nature Deficit Disorder" as as explores the importance of kids being exposed to nature. Its a big influence behind our goal to ensure "no child left inside". We highly recommend that everyone read this book!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Breaking News for NSC Staff

The offices of North Star Camp has confirmed some very important news today. Something that we've been working on for many years is about to come to fruition. While this won't directly effect our campers, it will make a big difference to our staff...No, we're not going co-ed.

In the spirit of Leb's stall tactics... we're going to draw this one out as long as possible. Check back on Monday, March 14th for this ground breaking news.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

North Star Athletes in the News

The Deerfield Review was chocked full of news about NSC folks. Props to Mikey Spinello and Charlie Kogan who got mentions in the Review Sports Section.

Mikey had a great write-up about his participation last Friday in the State Diving meet. Mikey finished 24th in the meet, up 6 spots from last year. Perhaps just as impressive is that later that day, after the meet, he was practicing for gymnastics. We're sure that no one is surprised about what a great diver and gymnast Mikey is, but everyone should take the time to read about his diving, which he didn't do competitively until his Sophomore year in High School.

(Mike Spinello performs a dive at the state meet on Friday | Photo courtesy of the Deerfield Review, Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media)

Also, a big shout out to Charlie Kogan, the sixth man on the Shepard Middle School basketball team, and his teammates who had a great season...Well, actually two seasons. The team won back-to-back conference titles, which hasn't been done by a Shepard squad since 1992-1993. Unfortunately, in the first game of the conference tourney Charlie broke his ankle. None the less, during their two year run, the team had an impressive 25-1 run in conference play.

According to our inside reporters Charlie is all healed up and ready to go for his upcoming travel soccer season. This is good news for campers and staff as Leb has already picked Charlie as his first foe when it comes to shooting hoops for a half our later this summer.

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