North Star Camp for Boys







Saturday, May 31, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Nick Rubnitz


After three years as a camper at North Star, we're excited to have Nicholas (aka Nick) Rubnitz join the North Star staff. Hailing from Chicago, IL, Nick is finishing up his sophomore year at Francis W. Parker High School. There he is on the varsity baseball team, playing center field.

He joins a great group of Counselors in Training. At camp you'll find Nick instructing softball and other athletics.

More about Nick

Favorite special program at camp
- All Camp Capture the Flag

Your best memory of camp
- Coming back from Canada

Favorite Sports Teams:
 - All Chicago Sports teams besides the White Sox

What would you choose for your last meal:
- Tacos

If you could be any animal, what would you be
- a Lion

Your two favorite books
- Harry Potter 7 + Heat

A secret hobby or skill that you have
- a Monster at Wii Tennis

How has camp impacted you
- It has taught me maturity and responsibility.

Staff Spotlight - Jacob Zionts


Jacob Zionts returns for his ninth summer at North Star. A native of Highland Park, IL, Jacob is completing his junior year at Highland Park High School.  There he's a pretty active guy. He's involved in DECA as well as congressional debate. He's been in several competitions for both this past year. Jacob is also an avid reader.

At camp, you can usually find Jacob on mountain biking, disc golf and wakeboarding.


More about Jacob

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- Assuming the deserted island is Teepee Island, I would bring a Fun-Yak (paddle included), a life-preserver (safety first!), which I would hang back up in the boat shed later, and hearty supply of Hudson-Bay bread to keep me full during my journey back to the mainland.

Favorite special program at camp
- Friday night services & Predator vs. Prey.

Your favorite TV or movie character
- TV: Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation. Movies: Maximus Decimus Meridius—commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And he will have his vengeance, in this life or the next. Harry Callahan, Jules Winfield, Neo, and Darth Vader are all close behind.

Your best memory of camp.
- Can I say all of it?

Favorite Sports Teams
- Da Bears...Da Bulls!

What would you choose for your last meal?
- A 12 ounce medium-rare Filet Mignon.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- SelectSmart.com tells me that I am sort of claim, lark, peacock mix; however, I've always thought I am more of a grizzly bear type, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Your three favorite books
- Watership Down, by Richard Adams, Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo &; Beloved, by Toni Morrison.

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I'm not sure if this qualifies as hobby or skill, but I have a rather extensive sticker collection. Also, I like to consider myself in the elite class LEGO builders.

How has camp impacted you?
- Camp has taught me how to be open-minded, adventurous, and sympathetic. It has helped me forge a deep bond and appreciation for nature, and, most importantly, camp has taught me to love myself for who I am.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Nick Kasle


Nick Kasle joins us for summer number nine.  A native of River Hills, Wisconsin, Nick just completed his sophomore year at High Point University in North Carolina. There he's majoring in physics. In his spare time he likes to go swimming and watch soccer. He's a big fan of FIFA and while he used to take on Oliver Rockman, he was tired of losing. Nick and Oliver are now a team and regularly defeat random people. He takes every opportunity to head to Evanston, IL to visit Andy Rodheim.

Nick just got back from a birthright trip to Israel. He headed there with Oliver and Zach Blumenfeld. At camp Nick can be found on Waterskiing and in the Arts and Crafts.

More about Nick

 If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- A soccer ball (to occupy my time), an Encyclopedia (to become a genius), and swim goggles (to swim in the ocean with)

Favorite special program at camp
- Predator vs. Prey

Your favorite TV or movie character
-0Vincent Chase from Entourage

Your best memory of camp.
- Having a pizza party/sleeping in the Tee-Pee my Pine-Manor year

Favorite Sports Teams
- Tottenham Hotspurs, River Plate, Green Bay Packers

What would you choose for your last meal?
- Pizza

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- A camel

Your two favorite books
- Oh, The Places You'll Go! and The Lorax

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- A hobby is swimming, I joined my school swim team. A skill is beating Oliver in FIFA.

How has camp impacted you?
- My best friends are all from camp and it has given me the best summers for the past 7 years. Im hoping for another 7 great summers ahead.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Ned Shashoua


Ned Shashoua returns to North Star for summer number nine. A native of Boca Raton, FL, he's graduating from Pine Crest High School. There he's on the tennis team and in his spare time he likes playing  guitar and hanging out at the beach. He'll give up the warm Florida temps in the fall when he heads off to Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

At camp you're likely to find Ned instructing tennis, disc golf and waterskiing. We're excited to have Ned back! 

More about Ned

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- A bottle of tabasco, a TV, and a jacuzzi
Favorite special program at camp
- My favorite special program is Glenn's Game
Your favorite TV or movie character
- Brick from Anchorman
Your best memory of camp.
- Being a UN Day captain back in 2008. I was the Junior captain for Team Morocco
and although we didn't win I had an absolute blast getting all painted up and supporting my teammates.

Favorite Sports Teams
- The Bears, Cubs, and Heat (Dad's from Chicago but couldn't help jumping on the Heat bandwagon
when Lebron came down)

What would you choose for your last meal?
- A surf n' turf steak and lobster tail dish as a main course and then a slice of raspberry cream cheese
Norske Nook pie for desert.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- I would be grizzly bear.
Your two favorite books
- Moneyball and The Things they Carried
A secret hobby or skill that you have?
-  I am a pretty good ping pong player
How has camp impacted you? 
- Camp has impacted my life in a tremendous way. It has definitely helped me mature as a person and has also allowed me to make friendships that will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Nick Hill


Nick Hill was born in South Bend, Indiana and is a senior at Indiana University. With Interests in Business, and fine arts, nick is a general studies major with a knack for outdoor education. Through his many trips to Colorado as a young child, he has developed a love for the outdoors in which he spends most of his time. His interests include backpacking, Mountain biking, paddling, and underwater basket weaving.

He has hiked extensively through north carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, Utah, and most recently Oregon. He previously worked as a diesel mechanic in South Bend where he learned to fix anything from pink tricycles to heavy machinery.

More about Nick

What is your dream job
- My dream job is to someday race rally cars. that has been a dream of mine and my codrivers since early high school.

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- A secret hobby of mine is that i enjoy creating unique ceramic pieces either on the wheel, or hand built. This is something that i have been able to expand on in my studies at IU.

Your favorite TV character
- Given that I don't watch a lot of TV, but do get to watch some movies, i would have to say my favorite Movie character would be Ace Ventura, because humor plays a major roll in my life.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- If i were stranded on an island, the first thing i would bring would be the essentials to stay alive such as thermal layers to protect from weather, materials to make an emergency shelter plus fire starter. Then i would bring with me the means to play music (music box) and one album. This album would either be Red hot chilli peppers, alt-j, pink floyd dark side of the moon.. not sure. To many to choose from.

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
- I learned of camp North Star through first applying to camp Timberline. Things didn't work out there, so they sent my application into Camp North Star, and so the process began. After i had interviewed with Dan, i knew that this would be the kind of environment that i wanted to be in.
 I applied to work as a tripper this summer to use the skill set that i have learned through my last semester in CORE.

Favorite Sports Teams
- I don't have a favorite sports team, but was part of a competitive paintball league in my younger years. The professional team that i looked up to the most was team dynasty. 

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
- As far as jobs go, I have worked as a mechanic nearly all my professional life. This has taught me patients that no matter what happens, things can always get worse, and to appreciate and celebrate when things are going smoothly.

What did you do last summer?
- Last summer i was hired as a part time extended hand to demo around 6 acres of trees. Alot of hard work was put in, but had a blast running heavy machinery, and chainsaws.
And lastly, this will not only be the first summer, but the first time ever working in a camp environment. I am stoked to see what North Star is all about and build a community of friends!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Forest Lemon


Forest Lemon returns to North Star for his second summer. He's from a small town in East Texas called  Nacogdoches. He and his family grew up off the grid, without electricity, television and other amenities. He actually built his house at the age of nine (with the help of his dad).

He's just finished his sophomore year at the University of Arkansas where he's majoring in mechanical engineering. In his spare time he likes to rock climbing and is an avid fisherman. The outdoors is a passion of his and he's done quite a bit of trip leading, working in Atikokan, Ontario leading trips two summers ago for Northern Tier in Quetico. We're lucky to have Forest back as a wilderness trip leader.

More about Forest

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- Fishing gear,  H2O and Matches

Favorite special program at camp
- As a trip leader I love the trips!

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Jerry from Tom and Jerry

Your best memory of camp.
- My Canadian experience was all that I could have asked for

Favorite Sports Teams
- Dallas Mavericks and Arkansas Razorbacks

What would you choose for your last meal?
- Steak and fresh vegetables

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- A Hawk

Your two favorite books
- My Fathers Dragon and Hatchet

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I play the fiddle

How has camp impacted you?
- North Star has given my something to look forward too

Monday, May 26, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Daniel Levine


My name is Daniel, and I'm currently a junior in high school at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago.  This summer will be my 8th summer at North Star and 2nd on staff.  At school, I'm the sports editor of my school's newspaper and the captain of the tennis team. I've been playing doubles and hoping to make it to State this year! 

At camp, I'll probably be at the tennis courts or over by waterskiing, which were my two favorite activities when I was a camper.  Looking forward to this summer!

More about Daniel

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- I'd bring a good bed (with pillows included), an endlessly charged iPod and a lot of food.

Favorite special program at camp
- Glenn's Game. 

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation

Your best memory of camp.
- My best memory was during my Canadian when we took a layover day after 6 days of paddling, and lied out by the rocks, rested and recovered, and ate a lot food. 

Favorite Sports Teams
- Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Northwestern Football (Go Cats!) and University of Wisconsin Football and Basketball

What would you choose for your last meal?
- A lot of steak and fries. 

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- I would be a dog. 

Your two favorite books
- A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I am double-jointed in just my left thumb, pinky and pinky toe. 

How has camp impacted you?
- Camp has allowed me to participate in new experiences, meet so many new friends, and make a lot of great memories. 

Staff Spotlight - Kathy Luy


We're excited to have Kathy Luy back at camp this summer. A native of Brookfield, WI, she just finished up her junior year at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where she's in the secondary education program. When she's not studying, she's keeping busy playing soccer for a club team, leading a bible study and training for running races.
This will be Kathy's second summer at North Star. She's one of two Kathy's who helps out running the office and also spends time on the waterfront instructing waterskiing. 

More about Kathy

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- I would bring a ukulele (and then learn to play it), an ax (to chop trees for fire and log
rolling), and an American Flag (to claim to the territory).
 
Favorite special program at camp
 - My favorite special program is UN Day
 
Your favorite TV or movie character
 - My favorite movie character is Katniss Everdeen.

Your best memory of camp.
- Getting up early to participate in the polar bear club and singing the polar bear song super loud!

Favorite Sports Teams
- Green Bay Packers (duh), The Wisconsin Badgers, Chelsea FC and
then obviously The United States for any international competitions.
What would you choose for your last meal?
- New York strip steak with grilled mushrooms and onions, a side of mashed potatoes and peas and then my mom’s homemade apple pie for dessert.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- I would be an eagle, so I could fly and see all the beauty in nature.
Your two favorite books
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Green Eggs and Ham

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I enjoy doing pushups, decorating cakes, and longboarding.
 
How has camp impacted you?
 - Camp has helped me appreciate the little things, like loon calls and the billions of stars you can see on clear nights. It has also shown me the beauty of friendship. To see 100 strangers become best friends in the span of 4 weeks is a true gift.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Staff Spotlight - David Glass


David Glass returns to camp for his eighth summer. A native of Highland Park, IL, David is finishing up his junior year at Highland Park High School. He’s very involved in volunteering and he spent time this year working with students at Indian Trail Elementary school who have learning disabilities and language barriers.

We’re excited to have David back. Around camp you’re likely to find him instructing sailing and climbing. He’ll also be helping out on biking, windsurfing and theater games.

More about David

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- I would bring a tent, clean water, and a fishing rod so I could utilize my survival skills.

Favorite special program at camp
- Glen’s game. It is a game of speed where campers try to achieve locations around camp without being stopped by the counselors.

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Sponge Bob Square Pants. He is just such a goofy guy but takes on responsibility for himself and a pet. We should all strive to be like him.

Your best memory of camp.
- the first time I climbed to the top of the climbing wall. I hope everyone else who signs up can get to the top also.

Favorite Sports Teams
- My favorite sports teams are all from Chicago. I like the Black Hawks, the Bears, the Bulls, and as far as baseball goes, I am a Cubs fan.

What would you choose for your last meal?
- King crab legs served chilled with melted butter.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- I would be a dog. I always get jealous of my dogs when I leave for school in the morning and they get to lie in bed.


Your two favorite books
- My favorite book series is the Percy Jackson series. My favorite individual book is Sam Walton’s Bibliography.

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- Very strong mental math skills.

How has camp impacted you?
- Camp has completely impacted my life on so many levels.  The greatest thing I have taken away is how to have fun. There is a story that Andy Shlensky likes to tell. He was showing the camp to a family and they didn’t believe that we could have an environment where kids could be competitive during games and still maintain good sportsmanship. Andy took them to the Athletic field where every boy was dripping with sweat and running as hard as they could. Andy proceeded to ask what the score was and not a single boy was able to answer. They were so consumed in the game they didn’t even know who was winning. This is the way that I play sports all of the time and I think it is the right way to play. Everyone truly is a winner at North Star. I hope to see many new and old faces this summer at camp. It will be the greatest summer yet!

Staff Spotlight - Christopher Rodriguez


Christopher Rodriguez joins us for his second summer. A trip leader in 2013, he'll serve as the director of our trip program this summer. Christopher is originally from Fort Worth, Texas but has lived in Nacogdoches for 7 of the last nine years. He just graduated From Stephen F Austin University and he wants everyone to know that their mascot is the Lumberjack. At SFAU he was a trips logistics manager of the Outdoor Pursuits program. In that role he oversaw trip leaders, was in charge of logistics for the program and also led trips. 

He's a big sports fan but unfortunately he didn't get to see SFAU's big March Madness win over VCU because he was visiting his niece who wanted to watch Frozen. He's also a big baseball fan, cheering on the Texas Rangers and is always up for checking out a new ballpark. 

More about Christopher

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- A really good book, guitar, and lighter.

Favorite special program at camp
- Tripping Program!

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Benjamin Button

Your best memory of camp.
- Meeting so many great people, co-workers and campers!

Favorite Sports Teams
- Texas Rangers, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars

What would you choose for your last meal?
- My mom's homemade chicken enchiladas

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- Easy, a Panda Bear

Your two favorite books
- Better Off by Eric Brende and Dances With Wolves by Michael Blake

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- No secrets from this guy.

How has camp impacted you?
- In just one summer, North Star helped me build upon my professional and personal experience. I love meeting new people and that's exactly what I got to do all summer long. I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about the people I will be working with this summer!

Camp Prep Tips #4 - Setting Your Camper up for Success


Check our our previous Camp Prep Tips:

Chances are you've seen a bit of ambivalence and fear from your son about going away for the summer, especially if  its his first overnight camp experience. Even more likely, you've probably experienced your share of anxiety. Sending your child away for the summer isn't easy on lots of levels and we  don't take our responsibility lightly. With that in mind, we wanted to address  preparing for camp from the emotional side of things, both for our campers and our parents.

First and foremost, we hope you realize that homesickness happens. If your child is nervous or anxious about going to camp for the summer, know that this is completely normal. This isn't just a 1st year camper issue. Often times, returning campers who have spent previous summers at camp will experience anxieties, even if they had tremendous camp experienced and even if they never were nervous about going away before.
So how do you handle it? First, reassure them that being nervous and having some emotions about going away is completely normal. Let them know that there are lots of other kids going away for the first summer and they're feeling the same thing too. Let them know that there are awesome counselors whose job it is to help them have a great time and are there to talk to if they are having any problems during the summer. For those returning campers who are nervous, let them talk to you about the great things that they did the previous summer, and if they were homesick, ask them how they got through it.

Beyond that, don't dwell! Having a long drawn out conversation about it isn't productive, nor is talking about it over and over again. Let them know that you're confident that they are going to have a great summer and you have total faith that if they have any challenges, that they're strong enough to get through it. 

When talking about the summer ahead, you may actually want to avoid using the word "Homesick". This doesn't mean that you shouldn't discuss homesickness, but its better to focus on what they may actually feel. They may miss their parents and their family pet. Maybe they're nervous that they may not make friends. They might be concerned about the unknown. Homesickness tends to be a catchall term for a variety of different emotions, so focus on the emotions, not the homesick term. We've even seen kids who will use the homesick word as an attention seeking tool and its clear that they aren't homesick.

Perhaps the most important thing we can tell you... DON'T MAKE THE PROMISE! This is something that happens and is extremely detrimental to your child's camp experience. What is the promise? It's one simple line; "If you're not having a good time,we'll come and pick you up." It may seem totally innocent and you may feel that this is all that your child needs to get on the bus. It may be something you say to placate your child when he's stressing about going to camp. In reality, however, the promise will often be something that impedes a camper's adjustment to camp. If they are nervous about going to camp, dealing with homesickness or are dealing with the adjustment and they think that mom and dad going to come pick them up, they have little incentive to overcome the challenges and enjoy themselves.

So what happens when you make the promise and your child calls you on it? It has happened where a homesick camper demands to call home because his mom said she was going to come and pick him up.  You'll then be faced with two choices. One is going back on your promise and not picking him up. You've then undermined the trust between you and your child. Option two is actually coming and picking him up, thereby robbing him of a tremendously valuable experience. While no one wishes homesickness on their child, but once a camper overcomes homesickness, he gains added confidence and self reliance.

We hope that has provided some guidance on how to deal with your son's emotions. The next question is how to deal with your own anxieties and nerves about sending your child away from the summer. Like with your kids, you being nervous is completely normal. If you ask most veteran camp parents they will tell you that sending their child away wasn't easy. They may tell you that putting them on the bus and the ride home afterwards without them was emotional. What you should do is practice what you're going to preach to your kids.

All that we really can ask you is to not burden your child with your emotions. It's okay to be nervous but letting your child know isn't helpful. It may seem like telling an anxious child that you are anxious too is a good, empathetic tool, but in reality, telling your child this will just compound his nerves about going away to camp. If a child knows that his mom or dad is more anxious because of him it adds to their stress level.

It may seem like telling your child over and over again how much you're going to miss them or how sad the family pet is going to be without them is showing them how valuable they are. Ultimately, it will provide an additional emotional burden that will make the camp transition more challenging if they're worried about how sad mom, dad or the dog is all because of them.

You are giving your child a significant gift this summer. Time away, on their own, developing relationships with peers and young adults will give them incredible tools for social success. The achievements that they make in new activities and the ways that they push themselves will help their self confidence and give them tremendous personal growth. Allow them to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Staff Spotlight - Amanda Chin



Hi Everyone! My name is Amanda Chin and I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I am the oldest of three younger brothers and have a very special place in my heart for my dog, Barney. I graduated from Ohio State University College of Nursing in 2011 and worked for 2 years as a staff pediatric nurse at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. I always had a dream to move to the West Coast. So, in September 2013, I started my career as a travel nurse and completed an assignment in Oakland, CA as well as Orange County, CA.

This will be my first time at North Star and I am beyond excited to be one of the camp nurses for 2014!

More about Amanda

What is your dream job
- My dream job is to become a pediatric nurse practitioner…living and working near sunshine and beaches :)

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I love to karaoke, even if sometimes I don't know all the words. I also learned to surf while living in Huntington Beach.

Your favorite TV character
- Barney from How I Met Your Mother or Olivia Pope from Scandal

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- I'd bring my dog, a hammock, and a good pair of tennis shoes.

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
- A nurse practitioner I worked with in the OC worked at North Star as her very first nursing job and said it was one of the best summers of her life. I applied because my nursing friend could not say enough great things about North Star, but most of all, I love working with kids of all ages and I knew this would be a wonderful new experience.

Favorite Sports Teams
Go Buckeyes!

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
- At 16, My first job was at a pizza place…where my role was to make the spaghetti.

What did you do last summer?
- Last summer, I was preparing to move cross country. This past April-May, I took some time to explore 12 different countries in Europe.

What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?
- In high school, I went to church camp for a week. I've also volunteered at various kids camps over the years.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Scott Plonsker


Hey everyone, my name is Scott Plonsker and this will be my ninth summer at North Star.  I come from Deerfield, Illinois and just finished my first year at the University of Illionis.  There, I am studying business and have been very involved with my fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and my business fraternity, Phi Gamma Nu.  

Last summer I spent three weeks in Israel for the Maccabiah Games.  The first week was spent training in the mornings and touring in the afternoons.  The second week was the week of the competition, and the last week was filled with events to bring together the entire US team along with other countries there.  It was a fantastic experience that I'll never forget, and it was a perfect way to end a twelve year karate career. This summer, I'll likely be teaching climbing, archery, and waterskiing.  

More about Scott

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
-Sufficient food, Superman, and Beyonce

Favorite special program at camp
-Glen's Game

Your favorite TV or movie character
-Easily Batman.  Easily.

Your best memory of camp.
-The entire Canadian trip was an absolutely fantastic experience

Favorite Sports Teams
-The Blackhawks and the Bulls

What would you choose for your last meal?
-A deep dish pepperoni pizza

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
-A Gorilla

Your two favorite books
-By the Rivers of Babylon and Charm School

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
-I've been doing karate since I was 5 and have a black belt

How has camp impacted you?
-Camp has impacted me in more ways than I could put into words, but the main reason that camp has had such an impact on me is that it has provided me with both a family and a home away from home.  I never want to miss a moment while I'm at camp, whether it's playing dodgeball, eating dinner, or a Friday night service.  I've made lifelong friends from my years at camp, and I can't wait to come back for another summer.

Staff Spotlight - Spencer Marks


Hey everyone.  My name is Spencer Marks.  I'm from Chicago, and I am a junior at Francis W. Parker School.  At school, I play for the soccer team, write for the school newspaper and act as managing editor, and participate in Model UN.  My hobbies include reading books, photography, and hanging out with friends.  I love sports, and my favorite teams include the Cubs, Bulls, Bears, and the University of Michigan's football and basketball programs.

This will be my 8th summer at camp and 2nd on staff. I'll be instructing riflery, disc golf, and most land sports.

More about Spencer

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- A book,  Sunscreen (lots of it) and a tasty snack

Favorite special program at camp
- U.N. Day

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Woody from Toy Story

Your best memory of camp.
- That's a tough one.  Either the Canadian or playing cards with my cabinmates at night.

Favorite Sports Teams
- Bulls, Cubs, Bears, Michigan football/basketball

What would you choose for your last meal?
- Steak and pizza, and cookies and brownies for dessert.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- Honeybadger

Your two favorite books
- The Kite Runner and The Book Thief

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I'm a really good dancer.  Watch out, Birch Trail.

How has camp impacted you?
- Camp has had an immense impact on my life.  I've learned many invaluable skills-- leadership, resilience, empathy--  but it is the friendships I have made with campers and counselors that will stay with me forever.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Stuart Wriglesworth


Stuart Wriglesworth joins us for his first summer at North Star. He was born in Leeds, England. He's currently a student at Manchester Metropolitan University in Cheshire. He's a big sports fan, including Rugby Union, Cricket, Golf, Basketball, Skiing and Sailing. He is in his second year of university studying coaching and sports development. 

He applied to work at a camp  to gain more experience working with children and coaching. He first became a coach when he  was 16 after his local cricket club needed volunteers to help out with the junior section. At School he was always an active member of different clubs and societies including the combined cadet force. He's got a wide variety of skills and at camp you're likely to find him instructing sailing and riflery.

More about Stuart

What is your dream job
- To be ski instructing during the winter season and sailing during the summer.
A secret hobby or skill that you have?
-  longboarding
Your favorite TV character
- Michael Mcintyre (comedian)
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- Three things for a desert Island: A Knife, A Camping Stove, A Pan. I would want to survive!

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
- I heard about North Star camp through camp leaders which was the organisation I applied to.

Favorite Sports Teams
- My favourite sports teams are: Leeds Rhinos, Leeds Carnegie, Leeds United, New York Knicks, and Yorkshire C.C.C.

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
- I have worked as a caterer in many different forms, I worked at a Christmas adventure park for three winters, I have coached sport through different companies, I worked for a landscape gardener, I have even worked in an insolvency firm. I have also worked abroad in a ski chalet in France, along with working on a campsite/theme park/waterpark in Holland last summer.
What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?
- My previous camp experiences have mainly been in the Lake District where myself and family used to go quite regularly, along with this I used to go on similar outdoor camps to North Star based in Shrewsbury, England with a company called PGL. Further to this I have spent many nights in a tent whilst with the cadets out on exercise.









Thursday, May 22, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Sam Friedland


Hi Everyone!  I'm Sam and I'm from Deerfield, Illinois.  I just finished up my freshman year at the University of Illinois and plan on majoring in Creative Writing and Food Science Nutrition.  I'll be returning for my 8th summer at North Star!

I can usually be found instructing sailing, fitness training and anything else pertaining to the waterfront.  I can't wait for this Summer!

Check out Sam's guitar/harmonica skills

video

More about Sam

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- I'd bring flares, iodine tablets, and a kindle.

Favorite special program at camp
- Pow-Wow day

Your favorite TV or movie character
- The Joker

Your best memory of camp
- My cabin's Friday Night Service on our Lake Superior campsite on our hiking trip last summer.

Favorite Sports Teams
- Bulls, Bears, and the Fighting Illini

What would you choose for your last meal?
- Chicken Kiev, Chocolate milk, and dirt and worms for dessert!

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- Buffalo (my spirit animal)

Your two favorite books
- Unbroken, Entire Game of Thrones series

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I love playing the harmonica and guitar even though I'm improving very slowly!

How has camp impacted you?
- North Star has not only taught me concrete skills such as camping, water sports, and riflery, but also provided me with invaluable friendships and memories from each summer. 

Staff Spotlight - Michael Becker


After several years as a camper, Michael Becker joins the North Star staff as a Counselor in Training. Hailing from Nashville, TN, he was born in Chicago and moved to Nashville at the age of eight.  He's a big sports fan and has been playing baseball and basketball his entire life. He's on his school's varsity basketball team and junior varsity baseball team.

Michael is also active in the community. He's involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters as a mentor for a third grader. At camp you'll find Michael instructing athletics as well as disc golf.

More about Michael

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
-  I would bring Melon Gatorade to drink, chicken fingers to eat, and a basketball for leisure. 

Favorite special program at camp
- My favorite special program at camp is UN Day. 

Your favorite TV or movie character
- My favorite TV/movie character is Ricky Bobby. (or Spongebob if that's not appropriate)

Your best memory of camp. 
- My favorite memory of camp is the Canadian trip in Pine Manor.

Favorite Sports Teams
- Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Illinois Fighting Illini, and the Cubs.

What would you choose for your last meal?
- I would choose crab as my last meal. 

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- If I could be any animal, I would be a monkey. 

Your two favorite books
- The Phantom Tollbooth and The DaVinci Code. 

How has camp impacted you?
- Camp has been a very important impact on my life. I really enjoy the experience at North Star, not only the fun but also the bonds of friendship made at camp. That is what has really impacted me, the friendships made that will last a long time.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Chad Prater


Chad Prater returns to North Star after a year absence. He just completed his bachelors degree from Winona State University in Minnesota. He majored in Elementary Education and minored in Middle Level Mathematics. He spent the last semester student teaching in two different classrooms, firat at a fourth grade classroom in Arcadia Elementary in WI, and then in a seventh grade math classroom in Minnesota

In his free time he enjoys playing sports, cards, reading books and watching movies. Chad has lots of experience teaching swimming lessons and life guarding, which he'll do at North Star. He'll also instruct tennis. We're excited to have Chad back at camp!


More about Chad


If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- Katy Perry, a pillow, a frisbee

Favorite special program at camp
- UN day

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Walter White from Breaking Bad

Your best memory of camp.
- Flipping the J-1 campers off of the blob at swim point!

Favorite Sports Teams
- Packers, Badgers, OKC Thunder

What would you choose for your last meal?
- Chicken wings, curly fries, and a strawberry/ banana/peanut butter smoothie

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- Gorilla

Your two favorite books
- The Outsiders, The Pact

How has camp impacted you?
- Camp has impacted me a great deal. Being an education major, camp has helped hone my skills in behavior management of young kids. I met a lot of friends at camp that I still keep in contact with throughout the school year which is pretty neat. The most important way that camp has impacted me was by teaching me that what is most important in life is the people you share it with.

Staff Spotlight - Jack Walker


Hi, my name is Jack and I'm just finishing up my first year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I'm currently an Economics major, but I hope to change into English next year. I was born in Chicago but grew up in suburban Wilmette as the oldest of four boys. This is where I started playing guitar and rock climbing, which is what I essentially spent all of high school (and most of college so far) doing. 

This is going to be my first summer here at North Star and I'm super excited to get to work! During the summer you'll find me instructing climbing, rocketry and canoeing.

More about Jack

A secret hobby or skill that you have? I'm really good at 2048.

Your favorite TV character: Doctor Zoidberg

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?  
- A surfboard (I don't know how to surf but I figure I'd have plenty of time to learn) climbing shoes, and a guitar. 


How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
- I learned through the rock climbing club at Illinois that the camp was going to have a booth set up outside the gym. I applied to North Star because I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach something I am passionate about to people who may not know much about it and also spend my summer outside and in a new environment.

Favorite Sports Teams:
- Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?:
- I did a little bit of grunt work for a stained glass artist, moving around the colored glass and being very careful not to break it.

What did you do last summer?
- I worked as a laborer/bookkeeper at a construction company for a couple of months, then I went to Rockaway, New York with my church in order to help rebuild homes that were hit by Hurricane Sandy.

What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?
- When I was young, I went to Day Camps over the summer and I went on Makajawan when I was a Boy Scout.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Jeff McCormack


Well hi!  My name is Jeff McCormack and I am the CIT (Counselor In Training) Director and “disc golf guy” at North Star.  This will be my 19th summer on staff.  In my role as the CIT Director, I support the CITs as they make the transition from camper to counselor.  As the disc golf guy, I head up the disc golf program and maintain the disc golf course (let me know if you see a wasp nest on the course…I’ll take care of it).  

 I hail from Westminster (a suburb of Denver), Colorado.  During the year I teach Special Education for 18-21 year old young adults with disabilities (I have the most amazing students!).  I’ve been married to Kim McCormack for 11 years and we have two children, Lake (9) and Summer (almost 2).  For fun, my hobby of choice is disc golf. During the winter, a friend and I lead a weekly disc golf series called Winter Warriors that raises money for the Food Bank of the Rockies (this year we raised almost $10,000!).  My favorite disc golf course in the world is the North Star course and I can’t wait to get up there and play it (hopefully with many of you)!  Looking forward to seeing everybody very soon for the Summer of 2014!  

 More about Jeff

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- It’s a given that I would want to have Kim, Lake and Summer there, soooooo I’m going to assume that they are stranded with me.  I would love to have an iPad (in a lifeproof case) with great wifi or 4G service and a solar charger, a portable disc golf basket with all of my discs and a yurt to live in.

Favorite special program at camp
- In camp, I have to go with Pow Wow Day (the enthusiasm, the Staff Softball game, the silent lunch, Brokaw’s meat roasting all day…just so many great things about PWD).  Out of camp I’m going with the Camp Clash disc golf tournament vs. Camp Interlocken at Sandy Point Disc Golf Ranch!  We’re defending our title this year!

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Walter White/Heisenberg, Tyrion Lannister, Michonne & Doug Heffernan.

Your best memory of camp.
- Oh…too many to pick just one, but I’ll give it a shot.  The summer of 2000 with Cabin Manor and the Canadian trip was a camp experience I will always treasure.  I wish I could remember when I first met my wife Kim there, but unfortunately I have no recollection!   

Favorite Sports Teams
- Da Bears.  The NFL is pretty much the only sport I really follow.

What would you choose for your last meal?
- The Bellagio Brunch buffet…I could make it last all day.  If you’re ever in Las Vegas, DO THIS buffet!  It is out of this world.    

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- A Rhino…tough when they need to be, but usually soft natured.

Your two favorite books
- Where the Sidewalk Ends and the Harry Potter series.

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I am a hardcore fan of The Walking Dead.  I love the show and I have all of the graphic novels.  Also loved Breaking Bad and miss it dearly.  I’m currently engrossed in Game of Thrones.  Would love to talk with you about any of these three shows (although I just started season 3 of Game of Thrones…so no spoilers!).  A secret skill is that I can bounce a basketball on my knuckles 100+ times in a row.

How has camp impacted you?
- I owe so much of my current life to camp’s influence.  It has truly shaped so much of who I am.  For me camp is more than just a place and a set of activities, it’s my second family; my home away from home.  I call upon skills that I’ve developed at camp every single day of my career as a teacher.  Without camp, I may not have met my wife Kim and I wouldn’t have my children, Lake and Summer in my life.  I really can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not started working at North Star.  It truly changed…and created the life that I have today.


Staff Spotlight - Daniela Vargas


Hi, my name is Daniela Vargas and I’m from Hidalgo, Mexico, so I live in a little city called Pachuca (located next to Mexico City). I am 22 years old and I’m in 7th semester cocinar of  my B.A. in Gastronomy where I’ve learned English and I’m also learning french.

When I was 8 years old I started cooking thanks to the teachings of my mother and I dicovered that I really love cooking. This will be my first summer working in the kitchen at North Star. Last winter I worked in Xel-Ha Park, Riviera Maya, it is a beautiful and  tourist place in the Mexican Caribbean, where I worked like waitress, bartender and preparing big amounts of food.


More about Daniela

What is your dream job
- At first I want to work and learn in several places around the world like restaurants and hotels to meet people and other cultures, then I want to have my own restaurant.

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- I like to dance any kind of rhythm.

Your favorite TV or movie character
- My favorite TV character is Walden Schmidt of “Two and a Half Men”

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- I would bring my best friend, lots of food and a boat to return.

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
- I learned about North Star Camp thanks to one of my friends, so I decided that I need to put in practice all that I have learned about english and improve my pronunciation, also I am very excited to meet new people.

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
- When I started my B.A. in gastronomy I worked in a call center for 1 year so I made these annoying calls to charge credit cards.

What got you interested in cooking?
- I have several reasons, the first and most important is because my parents used to cook food for selling since I was 6 years old and I used to help them, also my father had his own bakery several years ago and he taught me to bake cakes and pastries. I think I was born into a family that loves cooking.

What are your favorite things to cook/bake?
 -I like to cook mainly lasagna, pizza and tiramisu because they are my favorite dishes but also I like to bake and decorate cakes and cookies.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Zach Voigt


Zach Voigt, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, has spent much of his life with a pack on his back or a paddle in his hand. An avid sailor, backpacker, and CrossFitter, Zach’s lack of an outdoorsman’s beard is a source of constant disappointment, but he hopes his Irish genetics will kick in before he reaches the age of thirty. Until then, he embraces his Korean half as he attempts to grow an epic top-knot hairstyle. 

Trekking in Argentina, Colombia, Israel, Vietnam, and India, among others, have provided him with unique cultural experiences on which relies daily. In particular, Zach’s time apprenticing with a Nepali artisan crafting traditional knives teaches him patience, endurance, and mental fortitude in the face of adversity, useful traits in the outdoors. A sophomore at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, Zach intends to study Athletic Training and Exercise Science in the hopes of pursuing his interests in fitness and wellness and medical care of athletic injuries.

More about Zach

What is your dream job
-  Zach’s dream job is food-tester for a well loved, benevolent queen and/or king with fantastic taste in food. Applying royalty must fit the following criteria: low chance of coup d’etat; prefer food with minimal-to-moderate spiciness.

 A secret hobby or skill that you have?
-  If recognizing relatively obscure Battlestar Galactica and Firefly references doesn't counts as a skill, though not that Zach keeps his love of science fiction a secret, Zach would say that the ultimate search for the perfect cup of coffee is one of his true passions.

Your favorite TV character
- Zach has an abiding love affair with Michael Weston of USA’s Burn Notice, though he admits that Daryl from AMC’s The Walking Dead is a close, close second.
 
 If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- Assuming his normal Snow White-like charm over animals is not an item he can bring, Zach would bring his handy Steri-Pen for water purification, batteries to last as long as necessary, and his ever-present kukri, a Himalayan survival tool he made while in India.
 
How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
- To Zach’s constant frustration, a North Star alum, now a fifty-some year old board member (of the Camp for All Kids Scholarship Foundation) and school teacher, routinely kicks his butt up and down their local CrossFit gym, known as a box. Upon post-workout commiseration, Zach and Joe spoke of their shared love of the outdoors and the opportunity they provide for teaching lessons from which everyone can benefit, prompting very fond memories of North Star and a suggestion to apply as a Wilderness Trip Leader. Zach’s experience leading, guiding, and designing trips for high school and college students, along with his own camp experience, has taught him many valuable lessons about leadership, responsibility, and logistics, to name a few newfound passions, so many that he would like to see shared effectively in the context of group living in the outdoors.

Favorite Sports Teams
- Zach admits that the Cleveland Browns are a tough team to root for, but his love for his local underdog team persists. If you promise not to tell his friends, Zach also admits he has been known to root for the Cincinnati Reds every once in a while in hopes of an Ohio team actually doing well in any sport.
 
What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
-  Zach’s unlikely past as an office assistant and data entry employee have shown him the way to the jobs he loves and seeks, including guiding college orientation trips in the Adirondack Mountains in New York and college recreational rock climbing and bouldering trips in Joshua Tree National Park. Admittedly, not a lot of life experience comes from working in an office, but working jobs to pay the bills has led Zach to appreciate the time he has spent in the outdoors and in the box as an interning coach.

What did you do last summer?
- Zach spent the summer guiding a backpacking and canoeing trip for rising freshmen at Kalamazoo College. Attending his second Wilderness First Responder course, Trip Leader Training, and leading nine students with a co-leader will forever be one of Zach’s fondest memories.

 What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?
-  Zach attended several different camps before settling on Camp Wise in Chardon, Ohio. There, he found lifelong friends and first learned about communal living. Playing various sports, playing and teaching guitar, and learning about the local ecology helped solidify Zach’s love of the outdoors and his connection to them.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Mike Storms


What can we say about Mike Storms? Twenty one years ago he joined us as our tennis pro and while he's still hard at work all summer long teaching private tennis lessons, his impact at camp is so much more than that. He's an expert popcorn maker and once a session each village is treated to a popcorn snack courtesy of Mike. He's also known for his corny jokes and unique sense of humor. Beyond that, his work ethic and positive, upbeat attitude is an amazing example to us all. Even on the hottest of days he's out on the tennis courts hard at work.

During the rest of the year Mike teaches music lessons in the Twin Cities. This year he'll also bring his wife Kathy Tietze with him for the entire summer. Mike and Kathy were married last fall and we're glad that not only will Kathy continue to share Mike with us, but she'll be at camp as well.

In honor of Mike, its time for some popcorn!


More about Mike

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- I HAVE been on a deserted island--and I am going back this year:  I will bring my wife, my flugelhorn and a golf club and a few balls...(I am counting the club and balls as one package/item)

Favorite special program at camp
- My favorite special program?  1st session--no... 2nd session!  I guess it is Friday night service as we all express thanks for all, all, ALL the special programs...

Your favorite TV or movie character
- Fav tv/movie:  so many...perhaps Phil Connor, the weatherman in Ground Hog Day...he shows a comedy-filled path
to a fulfilling life...

Your best memory of camp.
-  over twenty years??? Far too many to start here:  Sometimes at camp lunches us "oldtimers" go on and on about the best of memories:  We run out of summer before we run out of stories....

Favorite Sports Teams
- Fav sport teams:  Grite! (all NSC green/white teams)

What would you choose for your last meal?
- Last meal:  Pizza,  popcorn, ice cream...

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- any animal?  a camp dog!

Your two favorite books
- Calvin and Hobbes--the complete collection and anything else that has as much life wisdom and perspective...

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- secret skills/hobbies:  what you see is what you get...

How has camp impacted you?
- Camp's impact:  North Star has enriched my life on all levels since I was welcomed 20 years ago as an old boy of 33 years on the planet...

Staff Spotlight - Kathy Tietze


Kathryn Tietze has lived in Minnesota all her life.  Her earliest memory of camping was the night she caught a skunk in a box trap that she set up.  Ever since then she has been a lover of animals and the outdoors.  She graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and has recently retired after teaching 7th grade English for 32 years.  

One of her reasons for coming to camp is that she married Tennis Mike last summer.  However, her real reason for coming is that she discovered what an awesome place North Star is during the two years she dated Mike.  This summer Kathryn will be one of the office staff.

More about Kathy

What is your dream job
- Having just retired, she doesn't have a dream job--other than one that has her with Tennis Mike all summer.  Oh, that means this is her dream job!

A secret hobby or skill that you have?
- In an earlier life, she was a fencer and her favorite weapon is an epee.

Your favorite TV character
- Her favorite TV characters include Robin Hood (from the '50s), Captain Kangaroo and Casey Jones (from the '60s).

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three things you'd bring?
- If she were stranded on a deserted island, she would bring the Complete Sherlock Holmes, a good knife, and a large supply of dark chocolate.

How did you learn about North Star and why did you apply?
- She learned about North Star from Tennis Mike.

What noteworthy/random/menial jobs have you held?
- Her earliest jobs included waitressing and office work, but the most rewarding and challenging of her jobs was teaching in the Minnetonka Public Schools in Minnesota.


What did you do last summer? 
- Last summer Kathryn drove from Minneapolis to NSC and back once a week for an adventure day with Tennis Mike.  She made plans for their wedding and sewed a wedding dress, and  she and Mike enjoyed their honeymoon on the North Shore. 

What, if any previous camp experiences have you had?
- This summer at North Star will be her first camp experience.