North Star Camp for Boys

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

First Week Update

It is hard to believe that it has been over a week since the busses pulled up and the first session of summer 2016 began.  Now that we have finally settled into the camp routine, it is time for an update of how the session is going. 

We began our summer long Green vs. White competition on Sunday.  Green vs. White is where the entire camp is divided into two teams that compete in various sports and events throughout the summer.  This includes an all camp relay race marathon on the fourth of July. 

On Sunday night, we had our first cabin campfire of the summer.  Cabin campfires are a weekly opportunity for the campers to show appreciation for each other and air out any ongoing cabin issues. Each cabin went to their respective campsite and discussed their cabin’s accomplishments as well as there own while enjoying some delicious s’mores.

Yesterday was our first Cruiser Day of the summer.  Cruiser Day is a weekly occurrence where each cabin stays together and does activities for the entire day.  These activities can range from normal activities like a cabin game of basketball or soccer to activities that happen once a session like tubing or visiting a resort across the lake.  They can also get creative and take on a theme.  For dinner, cabins will cook out at a camp site on camp property.  Last night we had tin foil surprise which is made by putting hamburger patties, potato, carrot, and onion in tinfoil and cooking it over the fire.  Our Junior Village had an all-Village Cruiser Day where they went to the Wilderness Walk, which is a small zoo and outdoor activity center, and spent an awesome afternoon on the Hayward beach. 

After completing their first week of activities on Monday, the campers began their second week of activities this morning.  This afternoon our Intimidate Village campers had a beach party.  Our evening program tonight was North Star Ball which is similar to capture the flag but uses four big rubber balls instead of a flag. 

Finally, our oldest campers will arrive back at camp from their Canadian trip on Friday evening before our weekly Friday Night Service.  They have been canoeing in Quetico Provincial Park since June 22.   

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Those Camp Moments

At camp, not everything goes as planned. Tonight was supposed to be our opening Green-White Series, but the weather had other plans. Instead, we waited out the rain in the Lodge as only our guys can...

Our first trips of the summer returned back to camp today with the return of cabins S-3 and I-4. The two cabins completed their journeys on the Brule River and Flambeau River respectuflly and came home with great stories and enthusiasm for what they had accomplished.

Last night was our first Friday night of the summer, which marks our first Friday Night Service. Every Friday the whole camp gathers at the Council Ring (see below) for a values based campfire program. For 72 years at North Star, the first one has been the Friendship Fire.

When Lou and Renee Rosenblum founded North Star in 1945, they not only wanted to start a camp but also to create a place where boys could develop meaningful relationships with their fellow campers and counselors. In addition to sharing the history of North Star, we talk about how to treat one another at camp and how it is different from the rest of the world.

Part of the Friendship Fire is appreciating the diversity of our camp community. A representative from each city goes up and throws in a “keylog” to represent the bond of friendship between their city and North Star. Before all is said and done, there are over 100 cities represented by our campers and staff, and it is very neat to hear them all spoken.

In addition to the keylogs, we had some stories, songs and readings. Brody Poss gave a great sermonette about the importance of friendship. We had great music from the Camper and Counselor Chorus including "Lean on Me" and "You've Got a Friend in Me." And it was a picture perfect sunset for our first night at the Council Ring. But the real beauty will be in the friendships that continue to develop over the rest of the 2015 summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Off and Running

After a busy day of swim tests, physicals, and capture the flag, we are finally underway with our normal schedule of activities. 

The day started with our oldest campers beginning the drive to Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada for their ten-day canoeing trip known as “The Canadian”. Our fifteen year olds will be back from Canada on July 1st.  This wasn’t the only trip that went out this morning, our 14-year-olds began their five-day hiking trip on the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota and our first group of 13-year-olds began their four-day canoeing trip on the Brule River.

After breakfast, the 14 cabins still in camp began their first three-days of activities. For the first time this summer, all of our program areas are filled with campers playing and learning new skills.  From the climbing wall and archery range to the athletic fields and waterfront, camp is fully underway. 

Tonight, we had our staff skit show where our counselors and non-cabin staff were able to introduce themselves to our campers by showing off talents, performing skits, and playing music.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Summer of 2016 is Underway!

All, all, all of the campers have arrived safely and North Star’s 72nd summer is officially underway! The boys arrived to a perfect Northwoods day of 77 degrees and sunny and were welcomed by the most energetic staff you could imagine, jumping up and down to celebrate their arrival. Thanks to well-timed arrivals, the Chicago and Minneapolis buses arrived at the same time, and we quickly gathered around the flagpole to announce the cabins, and a lot of cheering, high fiving and hugging ensued. From there, the boys headed to their cabins to get unpacked, and that is where the relationship building between counselor and camper will begin. The cabin list is attached.

The boys are now unpacking and new campers are receiving a tour of camp. There is a lot of excitement as they head out by the athletic fields and get their first glimpse of the new Bouldering Wall, the new and improved Archery Range, and the brand new NSC Fieldhouse! The bouldering wall is now double sided with the back side being inverted by about 15-degrees, a great challenge for our advanced climbers. The new archery range will more than double the capacity of the old range, allowing more boys to get more opportunities for practice. And the Fieldhouse is going to revolutionize rainy days at North Star, though the forecast looks good on that front. 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 and jello, plus the ever present salad bar and 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. 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 also an important introduction to our goals and values at camp. The North Star Mission Statement reads:
“North Star exists to create and promote a safe, fun environment in which the community ensures the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and spiritual growth of its members”
It is that development, in addition to the meaningful relationships that form, are the real reasons we do this. 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. Between Friday Night Services, cabin campfires, weekly check-ins and the rest of our program, our goal is that every boy leaves camp more mindful of their own growth, strengths and values. All of that starts by assembling a community of the nicest boys from around the country and the world, and bringing them together with a staff full of caring and empathetic role models.

Tomorrow the kids will have a busy day as Vickie and our medical team check in the boys. They will 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!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Welcome To Pre-Camp 2016!

Pre-camp has officially begun!

As the last of our staff is making their way to the north woods from all over the world, we are ready to begin pre-camp 2016. For the next week, our staff will be participating in a one-week orientation to prepare for the campers' arrival next week.

Throughout pre-camp, the counselors will be getting the camp ready for the campers.  Our goals throughout the week are to build counselor unity, prepare project areas for the campers, and to make sure that our staff is ready to be the best that they can be. 

We kicked off our orientation on Sunday with canoeing practice and an introduction to camp games led by our new counselors in training. We started off today with our “new staff orientation” headlined by sessions about being a camp leader, our daily program, and overall expectations for the summer. Tonight, we will be playing ice-breaking games to bring our staff together. 

We have a packed schedule over the next week filled with program preparation, educational sessions, and hands on learning experiences.  Its going to be a busy week, but we know it will go by quickly and the campers will be here before we know it.