North Star Camp for Boys

Monday, June 22, 2015

We Kickoff the Summer of 2015!

The campers have arrived safely and North Star’s 71st summer has officially begun! We arrived to sunshine and a warm and wild greeting from our staff. We gathered straight around the flagpole to announce the cabins. The campers and staff alike jumped for joy! And as we were about halfway through, it began to pour! We ran into Mike Hall, where the fun of the opening celebration continued. We finished announcing the Intermediate Village, and before we could even finish, the sun was again shining. The energy and enthusiasm carried us right back to the flagpole to announce the Senior Village cabins. The cabin list is attached.

The boys are now unpacking and new campers are being given a tour of camp. For the first time the boys are even excited to shower! The showerhouse has been renovated to include twice as many showers as before and tankless hot water heaters, to ensure that the campers never run out of hot water. By the time they go to sleep tonight, they'll have played games with their cabins and met some of the other guys their age as well.

Dinner this evening will be burgers, fries, jello, salad and the ever present Sun Butter and jelly. There will be vegetarian burgers eavailable for those that prefer, and Gluten free options for those that need it. And of course brownies for dessert. Immediately following dinner, the campers will choose their first week's activities.

The evening activities will be followed by the candlelight ceremonies, where each cabin will have a meeting led by their counselors. They will share their goals and expectations for the summer, while continuing to get to know one another. This will be the first of many cabin discussions that are an important part of the "team" building goals that we have for each cabin group, and helps develop the strong sense of community that we strive for at camp.

The candlelight ceremony is a longtime camp tradition, but it fits right into one of our big goals this summer. We work very hard every year to create a safe (both physically and emotionally) and fun community where our boys are able to grow and develop. This year, I have asked the staff to pay particular attention to helping them process that development. From camp every summer, boys at North Star are building confidence, developing relationships, growing more mature and independent, and working to always do the right thing for the right reasons. Our parents always take note, but the campers often don’t realize it until much later. That is why we have added Sunday night cabin campfires for this year as a time to reflect as individuals on the week behind. It is why we are also adding a weekly “Unorganized Free period” to give the boys an opportunity to experience child-directed free play that is essential to their development. My goal is that every boy leaves camp more mindful of their own growth, strengths and values.

The secret is still that they will spend their days playing with each other and with great role models. Tomorrow the kids will have a busy day as they get checked out by the medical staff, take a swim test, and find time to play several games of dodgeball. Evening program tomorrow will be our first game of All-Camp Capture the Flag. First thing on Wednesday morning the boys will begin their first week of regular activities. Wednesday morning our oldest campers will leave for their Canadian adventure, where they will spend 10 days in the Canadian wilderness in Quetico Provincial Park. Our 8th graders (we use the grade they just completed) will leave that day for five days on the Superior Hiking Trail. Wednesday evening will be the staff show, where our very talented group will be on display.

Thank you for trusting us with your boys!