North Star Camp for Boys

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Honoring our Big Ten Guys

Earlier this week we had the opportunity to honor nine guys who have dedicated the last ten summers to North Star. There are few if any milestones at North Star that are looked at the same way that The Big Ten is. These are often years spent as both camper and counselor and to be able to spend that many years at camp is something pretty special.

Planning for the Big Ten began in earnest in early June. We find a small group of staff who will help us oversee the event. It has to be a small group as the Big Ten is supposed to be a secret and while occasionally someone will find out, we want to surprise as many of the Big Ten folks as possible. Our honorees will do their best detective work to figure out the date of the event, looking for days on the calendar that are likely to end with the Big Ten. 

Once the date is set, we invite a large group of guests, from parents to camp friends. This year we were lucky to have over 30 guests make their way to camp for the Big Ten, with visitors coming from as far away as New York. Over the course of the summer, we will do our best to fake out the Big Ten guys. We'll call them up in front of the camp, send in  guys with banners and costumes, only to unveil a banner declaring it to be a fake. This year the Big Ten coincided perfectly with the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward. We took the entire camp to the first night of LWC at the Lumberjack Bowl and as the event was ending, we were lucky enough to have some of the competitors come out to answer our questions. 

We did some pre-planning, however, and our friends and competitors Abby Hoeschler and Lizzie Horvitz. Both are log rollers and they helped get Big Ten rolling. Towards the end of the Q&A, our Big Ten guys were called down to the front of the main stage at Lumberjack Bowl and Abby announced that it might be, it could be, it was, the Big Ten. After some fanfare, We quickly loaded campers and staff into the buses, headed back to camp, where the guests were waiting to fete the guys. 

Stories were told as the Big Ten guys were presented with a framed pic of North Star, as well as a poster of pics of them over the years. Everyone gets a kick out of seeing these young men from their younger days! 

We thank Jonah Baim, Eli Fried, Holden Greenberg, Chip Kass, Jacob Lehr, Ethan Levy, Lake McCormack, Philip Rasansky, and Danny Verb for ten great years at camp and look forward to ten more!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It Never Rains at North Star

Or so the saying goes. For some reason the polar vortex decided to rear its head down into the Northwoods of Wisconsin and turned a mid July day into what felt like fall in the midwest. The truth is that rainy days are often welcome, but not on the first full day of camp. A rainy day allows the campers to have a more relaxed day, hang out with friends and play some card games. We've got a lot of stuff that we have to get through just after the campers arrive. Swim tests need to be taken. Each camper needs a physical, and last but not least, there is continuous dodgeball to be played. When we looked at the weather forecast a few days ago, however, it seemed as though mother nature wasn't going to do us any favors. 

More importantly, a rainy day just after campers arrive isn't the best way to welcome campers to camp. We want campers out and running around, having fun and really getting into things. This is the key to ensuring an easy transition and minimizing homesickness. But if its going to rain, there isn't much we can do about the weather. There is, however something that we can do about making sure that the kids are still having a great time.

The radar didn't really lie and we woke up with temps that were a bit cooler than normal and intermittent rain... but we went ahead with our normal first day anyway. We had a hot chocolate station set up in our main lodge for after swim tests. Continuous dodgeball was a blast for everyone and the brief rain seemed to make the great games even more fun. Our health staff got everyone through physicals with ease. 

It was all a matter of attitude. Campers and staff alike could've complained about the weather, but instead they made the most out of it and made a great day. Campers were at camp for less than 24 hours and were rearing to go. Their energy was contagious and all across camp you could hear the excitement that was infused into camp after saying goodbye to our 1st session campers just two days earlier. Attitude was truly everything and the afternoon was capped off by our first organized free of the session. 
We ended the day with our opening banquet dinner, wanegan and capture the flag. As this blog goes online, the first set of schedules are printed and at breakfast on Tuesday campers will find out their activities for the coming week. There's softball to be played, walls to climb and fish to catch and if today was any indication, a little bit of rain isn't going to hold our campers and staff down!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Second Session is Underway!

The second session of North Star’s 70th summer is officially underway! The excitement level has been on high since the time we boarded the buses in Chicago. Our Minneapolis pickup was dealing with MLB All-Star traffic incoming today, fitting as today marks the arrival on our second session All-Star campers to North Star. Since 1945, North Star has set out to partner with parents to help raise the world’s nicest boys in a community designed as a safe place for boys to grow, play, learn and develop lifelong friendships. Seventy years later, with the support of our All-Star campers and families, we are proud to see this community as strong as ever.

The boys arrived at camp to find 90 staff members and our 8-week campers jumping around like crazy. After the enthusiastic welcome, the staff all began to shake the hands of the campers to learn about all these great kids, find out who they are and where they come from, and what their interests are.  As we announced cabin assignments around the flagpole, the counselors' enthusiasm was again on display. This mix of compassion and enthusiasm helped make for a fantastic first session, and I know your sons will love these guys.

The campers are now unpacking 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 other’s names.  At 6:00pm we will have a delicious dinner of hamburgers and fries, jello,salad and the ever present 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. The food this summer has been fantastic, and we're looking forward to a great dinner and many more great meals.  After dinner, each camper will sign up for his first week of activities. He will get a list of about 100 activities, and, with the guidance of his counselors, he'll narrow it down to six.

Tonight each cabin is playing in challenge games with another cabin, which will be followed by our traditional opening Candlelight Ceremony. As is tradition, the counselors will lead a cabin meeting that includes further introductions, goal-setting and sharing everyone's 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.
The Cabin Lists are attached.

Tomorrow we get right to it.  The kids will get checked out by our medical staff, take their swim test, and play several games of continuous 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.

Having just wrapped up a fantastic first session and a wonderful visiting weekend, we feel so lucky to be a part of such a supportive community. The theme of our visiting weekend Friday Night Service was “Character Counts,” and seeing all of our boys and families over the last few days has been so reassuring that the North Star Family is filled with character. As we start our second session, I look forward to four weeks of not only fun, but the building and fostering of strong relationship and great character.


From here on out, you can follow along with the summer of 2014 on our website at We will also be posting updates on Facebook at and on Twitter at

We post pictures online on a regular basis, and you can access those directly from your CampInTouch page. To access your CampInTouch page, go to and click "login" in the upper right hand corner. From there you can click on "Photos" to see those smiling faces. If you'd like to set up guest accounts for friends or family you can do that from your landing page by clicking on "Guest Accounts."

Thank you for trusting us with your boys. We are psyched for a great second session of the Summer of 2014!