North Star Camp for Boys







Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Carry On Vickie


There is still plenty of camping left in North Star's 73rd summer. We are currently in the middle of Lazy Day. Campers had an opportunity to sleep in this morning and have a made-to-order breakfast. For much of the day they are in charge of their own schedule, with the project areas around camp are open. Evening program will be casino night, where they will play a variety of games for the opportunity to win a small prize. Tomorrow is camper counselor switch day, where the senior village campers will switch clothes with the staff and assist in leading cabins and activities for a day.

As we approach the end of the summer, it is important to reflect on one of the circumstances that made this summer unique. Before the summer, we sent an email to our parents and explained how we planned to help our community mourn the loss of Vickie Shlensky and carry on her legacy. We began by hiring a child life specialist and grief counselor, not only to provide individualized support for campers and staff, but to train our staff to better support their campers. We held pre-camp orientation sessions that dealt with topics like coping with adversity and showing empathy and compassion when communicating with children. The aim was to equid our staff with the tools to facilitate conversations about loss and other life-changing events. The staff did a spectacular job of supporting their campers and each other through this summer.

We took a few opportunities throughout the summer to remember Vickie and process her loss. We offered a Friday Night Service each session that honored Vickie and discussed North Star values that were reflected in her life. The themes of these services were perseverance and community, and in the keylog ceremonies many campers and staff chose to dedicate their keylog to Vickie. Vickie’s strengths throughout her illness and end of life and were delivered through readings and moving sermonettes to teach our campers about the important North Star values that she instilled in all of us.

In addition, the fieldhouse was dedicated and named “VICtory Fieldhouse” and a space within the building called “The Wall of VICtory” was created to exhibit modified keylogs filled with personalized messages. A plaque on that wall reads “small VICtories that have made a big impact on us all” and is intended to be a lasting reminder of the qualities that made Vickie a role model. The wall invites future campers to add their own keylogs in an ongoing effort to carry on Vickie’s legacy.

The efforts of campers and staff made all of this possible, and it is with the love and support of this community that we will indeed carry on Vickie's legacy through a lifetime of North Star summers.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Alumni: Settle Up Challenge 2017


Even though there is always “plenty of camping left,” it’s hard to believe there is only one more week left of second session. It’s been an amazing summer at camp. Saturday was the 73rd Pow Wow Day. Camper favorites such as Espionage, Lazy Day and Camper-Counselor switch day are still to come. 

Over the next week Andy will also be settling up with the hard-working counselors and staff members who make North Star such as special place. Lou and Leb have long asked the staff to “Remember the Scholarship Fund” in that settle up meeting, and Andy has carried on that tradition. The staff have been making a donation from their salaries to Camp for All Kids, the successor to the North Star Scholarship Fund. Many of you were counselors at North Star so you know that giving back part of a modest camp salary is quite generous for these guys. This is year two of the Settle Up Challenge. We had tremendous results last summer when 60 North Star staff members donated a total of $2,934.00, and 40 North Star alumni pledged matching donations totaling over $22,000. As a result, the Settle Up Challenge raised more than $25,000!

Camp for All Kids promotes and facilitates racial diversity by sending kids from underserved communities to North Star and four other summer camps. These kids not only make lifelong friendships and experience the magic of camp, they also contribute so much to the camp culture. This summer, we were lucky to have 20 campers through this program from J-1 to Pine Manor.

The Settle Up Challenge is a gift matching campaign that invites you, our camp alumni, to match donations made by our current staff from their camp paychecks at the end of the summer. This is a great way for North Star alumni to model their philanthropic behavior for our current staff. Our current staff hear stories, read your names on plaques, see your photos in the Lodge and feel the history of camp every day. It’s people like you who they look up to lead the way.

The Settle Up challenge will increase the impact of each of our current staff members. If they know that their $20 (for example) may turn into $200 because we have 10 alumni matching them, that provides even more incentive for them, and we can send more deserving kids to camp! You can make your pledge by simply emailing Andy (andy@northstarcamp.com) with your commitment. You can set a cap on your matching gift. Last summer, staff donations were nearly $3,000. We are asking for a minimum of $500 from a matching gift. Staff donations are currently being matched by $16,750, but we are looking to beat last year's total!

We will total up the donations from current camp staff and contact you during the week of August 15 to tell you the amount raised by the staff. You can then go to the Camp for All Kids website and make your tax-deductible matching gift.

North Star has been the heart and soul of Camp for All Kids since its inception. Our alumni are consistently the most generous donors and active participants. Paul “Nate” Nathanson and Rob Porter have served as co-presidents many years. Moreover, four of the five Camp for All Kids partner camps are owned by North Star alum: North Star, Birch Trail (Gabe Chernov, Richard and Barbara’s son), Chippewa Ranch Camp (Cliff Lissner, who purchased camp from Tom Adler), and Timberlane (Mike Cohen). The fifth, Kamaji, was purchased last year by Kat Martin and Jason Nelson from North Star alums and Camp for All Kids founders Mike and Kathy Jay. The Settle Up Challenge is a great way to further instill on our current camp staff two of the distinguishing characteristics of North Star alumni – your generosity and your dedication to make the world a better place.

Please contact Andy if you have any questions and, as always, Remember The Scholarship Fund!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

College Days and The Green-White Egg Marathon





It has been a busy week here at North Star. The senior village played in College Days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The sportsmanship during the three days was exceptional and all four teams had a ton of fun. The rest of camp were in their regularly scheduled activities, but got to enjoy smaller class sizes with the seniors in College Days. On Friday night our service focused on the value of community. We then welcomed a group of prospective campers and their families for our second Rookie Weekend of the Summer. Today, we had our Green-White Egg Marathon, and tomorrow many of our boys will travel to Camp Nebagamon for our Bi-Camp Competition.

During College Days, the entire senior village was split into four teams for three days of varied events. The colleges this summer were the North Carolina State Wolfpack, the Florida National University Conquistadors, the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. In addition to competing in team sports such as softball, full-field soccer and basketball, the teams participated in less traditional events. There was a spelling bee, a Shark Tank style entrepreneurship competition a cheer-writing event and a cook-off over the campfire. Dishes as diverse as Mexican style chilaquiles to broccoli with bacon left the judges very satisfied at the end of the event. All four of the teams had a great time in a closely contested College Days, and at the end Hawaii pulled out a victory.

The theme of this week's Friday Night Service was community, with a focus on our former director Vickie Shlensky. We not only spoke about the importance of being a positive member in the communities you are a part of, but we touched on the value of a tight-knit community. As a group, we reflected on how Vickie shaped our North Star community and the supportive effort of the community when she passed away in September.


This afternoon we had the Green-White Egg Marathon. The event is similar to the marathon that takes place during first session, with one notable exception: the campers in each event have to carry a raw egg with them. If the egg breaks at any stage of the marathon, the team must run to the office porch to get a new egg. The marathon is one of the biggest events in our Green-White competition each session. Each of the two teams races to complete a massive relay race that features most (if not all) of the activities at camp. The marathon begins with a running relay and then moved to funbugging and paddle boarding. A runner then heads to the lower tennis courts for a floor hockey passing competition which precedes the Junior Obstacle Relay. Other camp activities such as archery, climbing, riflery, canoeing, swimming, log-rolling and biking are included in the Marathon. There are also some events that are not activities at camp but add to the fun of the marathon. Examples include the soda chug (smart campers get lemonade), tent making, bed making, setting and clearing a table and making a sun-butter and jelly sandwich. The marathon ends with "Boil Water Boil", which is a race to boil a pot of water over an open fire. The fires are always quite impressive and this event is a favorite because the rest of camp gathers around and cheers on their teammates as they build the fire. The 2017 egg marathon was a close affair with multiple lead changes. The White team capitalized on taking a lead into "Boil Water Boil" and boiled their water first. The marathon is the biggest team event we have at camp. Each event matters, and it is always great to see campers cheering on and encouraging their teammates throughout.

Tomorrow campers will travel to Camp Nebagamon for our annual Bi-Camp competition. Campers enjoy spending this time with our friends from Nebagamon each year, and they also enjoy showing off their skills in many areas. We are sending teams in the following events to Nebagamon: canoeing, swimming, sailing, riflery, archery, cross country, tennis and chess. We know our campers will represent North Star with exemplary effort and sportsmanship! This evening we announced the captains from each village for our upcoming Pow Wow Day. Pow Wow Day is the biggest competitive event of second session, and everyone at camp is split into four teams. Captains are elected because of their leadership and good behavior by the staff in their village. Congratulations to the captains for 2017 Pow Wow Day:


Seminole: Jack Yonover, Leo Falender, Max Rosenfeld
Illinois: Max Kaplan, Cole Degodny, Alex Burstein
Sioux: Andrew Harris, Oli Katz, Justin Sanger
Mission: Eli Gould, Josh Degodny, Noah Zemel




























Monday, July 24, 2017

The Start of Week 2!


While second session campers have only been at camp a little longer than a week, we are already into a great routine and it feels like this group has been together for much longer! Today we are finishing up our first set of activities for second session and each of the campers will sign up for new activities this evening. After tomorrow's cruiser day, they will have an opportunity to participate in new activities or sign up for higher levels in the activities they have enjoyed during the past week.

Since the last blog entry we have had a Friday Night Service with the theme of the importance of being yourself and a fantastic sermonette on accepting individual differences from counselor Oliver Cruddas. Friday Nights are such a special time at camp because of the Keylog ceremony, which gives campers and staff a chance to thank those they choose to in front of the entire community.

Saturday was a fantastic day on the programs as the campers started their second set of activities for week one. Evening program Saturday night was North Star Ball, a variation of capture the flag. At the beginning of the session, each camper is drafted onto one of two teams, Green or White. North Star Ball is one of the activities that takes place in these teams. Similarly to capture the flag, camp is split into two sides and campers are tagged out by pulling a sock hanging off their back. The main difference is that instead of a flag on each side, there are two balls. These balls can be passed between teammates as they try to get them across to their side. To win, a team must get all four of the balls in play to their side. The boys really enjoy this variation, as it adds elements of teamwork and strategy into an already beloved game in Capture the Flag.

Pine Manor went on a bit of a field trip on Saturday afternoon, as they were able to attend the final day of the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward. Our oldest campers were able to see some of the best in the world saw through logs, speed climb up and down 90 foot poles, run the boom run and try to knock their opponent into the water in log rolling. They were also proud to come back to camp with some party favors, as they received some of the leftover wood from the chopping competitions.

Sunday was another project day with an evening program of unorganized free and cabin campfires.  Unorganized free gives the campers an opportunity to find creative ways to play and spend their time. Later in the evening we have cabin campfires, during which the cabins recap the week and talk about growth and goals, both as a group and personally. These campfires are an opportunity for the boys to reflect in front of their friends and talk about what they want out of themselves and each other in order to maximize their camp experience. The cabin campfires are finished off with S’mores around the fire.

This afternoon we had another round of challenge games, when cabins challenge each other to various sports around camp. We even had two of our senior village cabins challenge each other to a "blob-off". This evening was another Green-White event, as the junior and intermediate village campers played in a Green-White series. The senior village kicked off College Days by watching an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University. College Days is a three-day program where the entire senior village is split into four teams without captains or staff advisors. They compete in various events throughout the three days ranging from athletics like basketball and soccer to a cook-out and a spelling bee.

Tomorrow is our second cruiser day of the summer, cabins are looking forward to spending some quality time together. Cabins I2 and I4 left on their trips on the St. Croix and Lower Flambeau rivers this morning and will return on Wednesday. I5 will leave on their own trip on the Flambeau tomorrow morning as well. It is hard to believe we are already more than a week into the session, but we are looking forward to all of the fun to come!






Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cruiser Day Update


Today was our first cruiser day of the session. Cruiser day is a departure from our regular schedule and is a day the boys spend with their cabins. Cabins decide their schedule as a group. Many of the everyday camp options are available to the group, with the addition of a few activities that are only offered on cruiser day. Cabins have the opportunity to go tubing on the lake, head to a resort across the lake to buy some pizza or candy and hang out and even cook a small snack as a cabin. This week the food offering was M&M cookies, which looked and smelled delicious. Cruiser day ends with a cabin cook-out. This week we made walking tacos. Walking tacos are when you cook taco meat and add it (along with some toppings) into a bag of Fritos. Once you mix the meat with the chips you have a great meal! For desert we had candy cones, which is ice cream cones stuffed with chocolate chips, miny M&M's and marshmallows. You wrap them in tinfoil and cool them over the fire so the ingredients melt. Yum!

The Junior Village had a village cruiser day. They spent their morning at the Wilderness Walk in Hayward, a small zoo with local animals. In the afternoon they headed to the K.O.A. park, where they enjoyed a waterpark, mini-golf, a bouncy pillow and snacks. They made their walking tacos at Hayward Beach where they also threw a few balls around and hung at the beach. The Juniors were treated to Ice Cream for desert from West's Hayward Dairy, the best ice cream in town.

We have had an eventful few days since the last update. On Tuesday night we had staff introductions. A few of our more creative staff decided to do them in the form of a WWE show but with a North Star twist: the staff would be LEG wrestling! Each cabin filled out a bracket with their favorite counselors winning and then we were treated to our staff members leg wrestling. The event was filled with pageantry and costumes and the campers were cheering on their counselors throughout. Chase Hanson ended up taking the crown before the camp chanted for our C.I.T. Director Jeff McCormack to try his hand. You can see the result of that bonus match on our Facebook or Instagram page. The following evening we played a series of games on the athletic fields including human battleship. Tomorrow is a normal day filled with programs and will end in our first Friday Night Service of the session. We are also awaiting the return of cabins S1, S2, S3 and S5 tomorrow, as well as S4 on Saturday!





Monday, July 17, 2017

The First Full Day of Second Session! Including a special trip for 8-week campers


Today was the first full day of second session after the campers arrived yesterday. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast before heading into the first cabin cleanup of the session. The villages rotated through swim tests, health checks and village activities for first, second and third periods.

For their village activity all three villages played games of continuous dodgeball. Continuous dodgeball is an every man for himself dodgeball game played on a big field. We play with the traditional dodgeball rules, so if you get hit, you are out, and if you catch a ball, the person who threw it at you is out. If the person who threw you out gets out themselves, you are back in. We play with large groups, so there is never a winner. These games of dodgeball are a great way for the boys to have an early bonding experience with the other campers and staff in their village. Additionally, continuous dodgeball is a great introduction to our competitive philosophy. While no one wins continuous dodgeball, it is still important to give a full effort and have a great time while playing.

Since they completed swim tests and health checks earlier in the summer, our 8-week campers went to Wisconsin Point Beach in Superior, WI for a beach day. They spent the day swimming in Lake Superior, playing games, and hanging out on the beach.


After third period there was an organized free, giving the boys the opportunity to go to any of the activities available at camp, or just hang out in their cabin if they prefer. We then had our opening night banquet and welcomed the campers into the dining hall for a meal of pasta. After dinner we learned a few rules for camp that were not covered in our opening night announcements. Wanegan King Drew Lorimer then held the first wanegan of the session and then we had a game of all-camp capture the flag before bed.

The cabins of S1, S2 and S3 will leave tomorrow for hiking trips in the Porcupine Mountains, and cabin S5 departs for their trip on the Brule River. The rest of camp will begin their summer activities with our first normally scheduled day of the summer.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Second Session - We're off and running


After arriving at camp to a perfect Northwoods day, the second session of North Star’s 73rd is off and running! The staff and 8-week campers gave us quite the welcome, jumping and yelling with excitement as we got off the bus through a tunnel of raised arms. One of my favorite things about North Star is the interaction across age groups. From the time we boarded the buses, our older boys were introducing themselves to the younger campers, getting to know them, telling them about camp and what was going to happen when we arrive. That continued as we gathered around the flagpole to announce the cabins. From there, the boys headed to their cabins to get unpacked, and that is where the relationship building begins. It is our expectation that by the time everyone goes to bed, they feel that they have one counselor that they are comfortable waking up with a problem or a question and one friend that they are excited to play with in the morning. Because that is when camp starts to feel like home.


The boys are now unpacking and new campers are receiving a tour of camp. As they walk around camp, they will see many of the improvements from the off-season. Our senior village campers will be excited to see their newly renovated washhouse with more showers for them. Everybody will see the continued improvements in the Fieldhouse, which has the completed basketball courts in addition to a new and improved fitness center, a multipurpose room, and an upstairs clubhouse that features ping pong and foosball. Behind the Fieldhouse, a new batting cage is being installed for our baseball players to get their swings in. There is a brand new rocketry room and home for ecology as well as an expanded trip shack. 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.


On Friday night, Ben Mizel spoke at the Council Ring about gratitude. He told a story about getting a van stuck in a ditch. Despite the adverse circumstance, being able to feel grateful for the people who offered him help and the company with him was the difference between joy and sorrow. Throughout the next four weeks, the boys at camp are going to have an amazing time, but it won’t be without some bumps in the road. I am so grateful for our fantastic staff who dedicate their summer to helping each boy, not only when the road is smooth, but also when they feel stuck. Those moments provide incredible opportunities to learn and grow in a safe way. That is what camp is all about and I’m looking forward to a great 4-weeks with your boys.


Tomorrow the kids will have a busy day as our medical team check in the boys. They will take a swim test and find time to play several games of 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.  


FOLLOW CAMP ONLINE
From here on out, you can follow along with the summer of 2017 on our website at www.NorthStarCamp.com/blog. We will also be posting updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/northstarcampforboys and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/northstarcamp.
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 www.northstarcamp.com 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!


Thanks,


-Andy


Monday, July 10, 2017

United Nations Day


Rain did not stop us from having an amazing U.N. Day! Almost all of the events ran normally, with the exception of tennis which we modified into a serving competition and staff speedball, which became basketball in the fieldhouse. It was a spirited day and many campers reported that the rain was a fun new wrinkle to U.N. Day. The nations of Ireland, Iceland, Jamaica and India competed with great effort and sportsmanship and were lead by fantastic captains and advisors.



The teams gave their morning cheers after breakfast and then we had our opening ceremonies. After we moved into the First Series of Events, which featured riveting games of softball, ultimate frisbee and football for the juniors. Campers also played best-disc team disc golf, table tennis and line soccer. Line soccer is a variation of steal the bacon where a soccer ball is placed in the middle of a field. Each player has a number, and when a number is called each player runs from their side to try to kick the ball past the opposing team's line. We also had the modified serving competition on account of the wet tennis courts. The competition was incredibly close after first period, and only four points separated the fourth place team and the first place team.

During the Second Series of Events we had basketball in the fieldhouse, kickball, team climbing and speedball. Speedball is a combination of soccer, football and ultimate frisbee that is very fast paced. Also taking place were baggo, gaga, riflery, archery, curtainball and tushball. Tushball is one of the more popular games to play before announcements at camp and is played on the roof of the canoe racks, the goal is to not let the ball touch the ground.



After lunch we had the staff basketball games, which would decide eating order for dinner. The games had a buzzing atmosphere in a packed fieldhouse, and many campers were on hand to witness their counselor's skills. Ireland won and as a result got to eat first. Typically we have run-offs and tug of war immediately after the staff game, but we moved them to before dinner on account of rain.

We once again utilized the fieldhouse during the Third Series of Events and moved the soccer event inside. We also moved field hockey into Mike Hall. Other events during the third series were steal the bacon, dodgeball, golf, a distance run, four square and volleyball. We then moved to swim point for a series of swim events.

After swimming all of camp returned to the athletic fields for run-offs and tug of war. The fastest camper in each village for each nation competed in a relay race before the three fastest staff members per team did the same. Then we had camper and staff tug of war before heading into our traditional U.N. Day buffet dinner. Each U.N. Day we have spaghetti and meatballs with a variety of appetizers. After dinner we went back down to swim point to finish up the last few swimming events and the inner tube relay. We then returned to the lodge for a desert of ice cream cones. While waiting for everyone to get their ice cream, we played music, leading to a lot of singing and dancing from campers and staff.

We then announced the finals scores from the day around the flag pole. Congratulations to the team of India who won the day, and congratulations to all of camp for keeping their energy and morale up all day despite the rain and clouds. Instead of allowing less than ideal weather to ruin their U.N. Day, our campers and staff decided to make the rain a fun addition to the mix.















Friday, July 7, 2017

Week 3: U.N. Day incoming


Yesterday (Thursday) marked the beginning of the last week of activities for first session. There have been many trips in and out this week as we get closer to the end of the summer. We also have been busy in the run-in to United Nations Day.  U.N. Day is a tradition since camp's very first summer, where the whole camp is drafted into four nations. This year's teams are Ireland, Iceland, Jamaica and India. The teams will participate in many camp events, ranging from athletics like softball or soccer as well as adventure activities like climbing, archery and riflery. There are also relay races and tug-of-war (for campers and staff) as well as a staff speedball game that decides eating order for dinner.

U.N. Day is one of the favorite days of many of our campers because it is an opportunity to be competitive in our unique and safe environment. While a desire to compete and give your best effort is important, so is sportsmanship and being a good friend to your teammates and opponents. At the end of U.N. Day, the boys chant "it just doesn't matter." The campers realize it isn't the final scores of the day that are important, but the satisfaction of giving their all and the fun of doing so with their friends that makes U.N. Day special.

Tonight's Friday Night Service will be about the importance of being a Global Citizen. We will hear from our international staff members and campers about their home countries, and read, speak and sing about the importance of embracing the differences between people from all over the world. We are lucky have campers and staff from over a dozen countries here this summer, and we are working to ensure that everyone leaves having learned from camp the importance of being a global citizen.

For the first three project days of the week we have been treated to a special offering, courtesy of Alumnus John Knopf. John is a professional photographer working out of Las Vegas, but this summer he has an gallery open near Minneapolis. John's work has been featured in National Geographic and USA Today.

John reached out to Andy about the possibility of coming to camp for a few days to share his experience with our campers. John has run a digital photography activity each of the three project periods for the first half of the week. We are really lucky that John chose to share his expertise with our campers for a few days. If you are interested in checking out some of John's work, you can go to his website or Instagram page.

Next week is the last week of first session. It will be a busy week with a lot to look forward to for our campers. We will have the last few days of activity instruction of the session, a Cruiser Day, and some special programs and days. On Wednesday night we will have Espionage, which is a great game played late at night and allows the campers to sneak around camp to accomplish objectives (with counselors tagging along, of course). On Thursday we will have PEELS day (sleep backwards) which gives everyone in camp an opportunity to sleep in and is filled with organized free periods. On Thursday evening we will all be treated to the first and only showing of the North Star musical Freaky Friday. The cast and crew have been hard at work all session preparing the show for the rest of camp. On Friday, we will welcome parents of the 8-weekers and a few other visitors for our Friday night service before the first session campers leave on Saturday morning. 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 4th at NSC


July 4th is a great day at North Star. We started off with a patriotic breakfast grace as Andy read the beginning of The Declaration of Independence after camp was welcomed into the lodge to a playlist of America-themed music, such as "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus and "Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen. The 4th of July is special at camp as we are able to celebrate Independence Day with people from all over the country and all over the world.



After cabin cleanup, we began the Green-White Marathon. The marathon is one of the biggest events in our Green-White competition each session. Each of the two teams races to complete a massive relay race that features most (if not all) of the activities at camp. The marathon begins with a running relay and then moved to funbugging, paddle boating and paddle boarding. A runner then heads to the lower tennis courts for a floor hockey passing competition which precedes the Junior Obstacle Relay. Other camp activities such as archery, climbing, riflery, canoeing, swimming, log-rolling and biking are included in the Marathon. There are also some events that are not activities at camp but add to the fun of the marathon. Examples include the soda chug (smart campers get lemonade), tent making, bed making, setting and clearing a table and making a sun-butter and jelly sandwich. The marathon ends with "Boil Water Boil", which is a race to boil a pot of water over an open fire. The fires are always quite impressive and this event is a favorite because the rest of camp gathers around and cheers on their teammates as they build the fire. The 2017 marathon was a close affair with multiple lead changes. The Green team capitalized on taking a lead into "Boil Water Boil" and boiled their water first. The marathon is the biggest team event we have at camp. Each event matters, and it is always great to see campers cheering on and encouraging their teammates throughout.


After lunch we held the 3rd annual Dan Lichtenstein Softball Classic, which is a staff softball game during rest period. Shortly after the game Birch Trail arrived for our 4th of July social, which was Moana themed this year. After greeting the girls on the athletic fields, the campers divided into age groups for getting-to-know-you games. We then had an organized free period so that the boys could show their sisters, old friends or new friends some of their favorite activities at camp. We then had a picnic dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs, and for desert our kitchen staff made an amazing cupcake arrangement of the American Flag with over 700 cupcakes. After dinner the boys and girls showed their camp spirit in cheers. We then had another organized free, this time featuring offerings such as s'more making and a dance party on the upper tennis courts. We are glad our friends from Birch Trail joined us for such a great social!

Today is cruiser day, meaning that each of the cabins will have a unique schedule and will spend the day together. The senior village left camp in the morning for Wild Mountain water park in Taylor's Falls, Minnesota. They will spend the day there before returning this evening. The rest of camp will enjoy a cookout dinner on this beautiful evening.



Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 1 Update!


Time flies when you're having fun, so it is no surprise that July 1 snuck up on us so quickly. We have had a busy second half of the week, with a Green-White Series, Friday Night Service, and Rookie Weekend. We also welcomed back S4 and S2 from their hiking trips and Pine Manor back from their Canadian.

On Thursday we had our second Green-White series of the summer. The events were changed around so campers were able to compete in different areas than the previous series. Highlights included a canoe-relay, chess and checkers and baggo. The juniors and seniors had games of basketball and the intermediates played a fun game of dodgeball.

Our service on Friday night was on perseverance. We focused on the grit that Vickie showed in working as a doctor and camp director in the face of her illness and how that can inspire us all to persevere despite whatever obstacles are thrown are way. Dan and Leb gave beautiful sermonettes and we had a keylog ceremony, giving the boys an opportunity to thank Vickie or anyone else who they were grateful to.

Saturday kicked off Rookie Weekend, which gives prospective campers the opportunity to come get a taste of camp during the summer and try out some activities for themselves. They arrived at camp after lunch with their families, and then were given a tour of camp. The rookies participated in challenge games with J1 and J2 before heading to swim point and the blob. They played in the Dodgeball Extravaganza for evening program before being picked up by their parents. They will return tomorrow to participate in a few activity periods. We are always so excited to show off camp to prospective families because we believe our campers are the nicest guys around! If you know of anyone who might be interested in attending second session's Rookie Weekend, let us know! They are a great opportunity to try out camp and see the energy during the summer. You can see more information about Rookie Weekend on our website.

The Dodgeball Extravaganza is a Green-White Evening Program. Each village is already split up into Green-White teams. Each of those teams plays a game of bombardment dodgeball against the staff of each village (the Senior Village staff get some help from the out of cabin staff). The aim is to last as long as possible against the staff, and if possible, to have as many members of your team available at the end of an 8-minute time period. Everyone was glad to have one of our warmest nights of the summer for a great night of dodgeball.





Thursday, June 29, 2017

Week Two: Full Speed Ahead!


We are now more than halfway into first session of the summer of 2017! Since our last blog update a lot of great things have gone on at camp. We've had a few more days of activities, and yesterday we started the first day of the second week of sign-ups. Campers have now had the opportunity to try new activities as well as sign up for higher levels in the areas where they have improved. While the weather has not been ideal over the last few days, campers and staff have done an amazing job at keeping spirits high.

Tuesday was our first cruiser day of the summer. Cruiser day is a departure from our regular schedule and is a day the boys spend with their cabins. Cabins decide their schedule as a group. Many of the everyday camp options are available to the group, with the addition of a few activities that are only offered on cruiser day. Cabins have the opportunity to go tubing on the lake, head to a resort across the lake to buy some pizza or candy and hang out and even cook a small snack as a cabin. This week the food offering was mini-pizzas, which looked and smelled delicious. Cruiser day ends with a cabin cook-out. This week we made tinfoil surprise. Tinfoil surprise is a great meal that is made with beef patties and veggies and then cooked in tinfoil over the fire. Desert was S'mores which was a tasty end to the day.

The Junior Village had a village cruiser day. They spent their morning in various rotations throughout camp such as an obstacle course and spelling out their cabin names as a group for a picture. In the afternoon they headed into Hayward and the K.O.A. park, where they enjoyed a waterpark, mini-golf, a bouncy pillow and snacks. They made their tinfoil surprise at Hayward Beach where they also threw a few balls around. The Juniors were treated to Ice Cream for desert from West's Hayward Dairy, the best ice cream in town.

Yesterday was quite rainy, but we made the most of it with some great rainy day programs. We had a camp cooking class which was taught by a few of our fantastic kitchen staff, board and card games going in the lodge and the fieldhouse open for those who wanted to run around. We spent evening program in Mike Hall for a skit show. Each cabin had time to brainstorm a skit to put on in front of the rest of camp, and a few staff members provided commentary in the form of live-tweeting (on paper) the event. The show displayed the humor and enthusiasm of the boys and allowed them to come up with a skit with the other boys in their cabin!

The Canadian trip will return Friday evening, and the hiking trips of S4 and S2 are due back on Friday as well. Cabin I6 left on their Brule this morning and will return on Sunday. Tonight's evening program is a Green-White series and tomorrow we will have our second Friday Night Service of the summer.



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Blog Update


First session is now in full swing, and today our campers are in their second day of their second set of projects. Since the blog post, many unique events have occurred, such Wednesday night’s staff show, a new evening program on Thursday called “Infection”, our friendship fire on Friday night, and our first Green-White series of the summer on Saturday.

Each week, boys request their top 10 choices for activities and are placed into 6 of them. While it has been a little chilly over the last few days, campers and staff have not let weather impact their fun, and have continued making the most of each project period. Our objective based programming means that campers are focused on improving their skills on any program area in addition to having a ton of fun. Campers will sign up for their second week of activities soon, giving them the chance to both progress in areas they enjoy and try some new activities.

At the beginning of each summer we put on a staff show as a way to introduce the campers to the entire staff. It allows the staff to show their humor and talent off to the boys. This year we had a variety of great skits put on. A few staff members told their best bad jokes (keep on the sunny side), others adapted the well-known J.C. Penny skit to T.J. Maxx. In the skit, many people walk through the stage with interesting clothes on. As they enter, they are asked where they got their outfits, and respond “T.J. Maxx”. At the end, someone comes on stage and asks, “Have you seen my clothes? I’m T.J. Maxx”. Andy and Laney read a book called “The Invisible String” and two of our counselors pranked some of their unsuspecting peers into sitting on a wet towel as part of their skit. It was a fun evening program filled with plenty of laughs. Check out the North Star Instagram account for one of the highlights from the staff show, where Dan’s dog Leo was used as a prop!

Thursday night's evening program was a game called infected. A few of our staff members adapted it from the video game call of duty. One person in all of camp starts as infected, and once the bell rang, it was their goal to infect as many others by chasing them and tagging them out. If you became infected, you tied a shirt around your head and then tried to infect the remaining healthy people. The goal of the game was to stay healthy for the entirety of evening program. Infected was a great new addition to the program and the campers had a ton of fun playing!

Our first Friday Night Service of the summer was the friendship fire. As is tradition on Friday evenings, all of camp put on nice clothes to head down to the Council Ring for the service. The Friendship Fire focuses on the importance of friendship and how we can all be better friends to each other. We heard a musical selection, a counselor chorus and a camper-counselor chorus, and each sung a song that fit the theme of friendship. We were also treated to a fantastic sermonette by counselor Jake Kraemer, who spoke of the value he places on his friendships made at camp and how the supportive nature of a camp friendship makes it special. The Keylog Ceremony associated with the friendship fire is somewhat atypical. The friendship fire keylogs represent the bond between North Star and the many places our campers and staff come from this summer. At our last count, we have campers or staff from 30 states and 14 countries. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity to have friends all over the country and the world.

Green-White is an all-session event. All of the campers are split into two teams and compete throughout the session in various activities. Two captains were elected in each village based on good behavior and leadership. The captains then drafted each camper onto one of the teams. This session’s Green-White captains are Brandon L. and Charlie J. in the Junior Village, Jayden C. and Lucas F. in the Intermediate Village and Joe S. and Tagir N. in the Senior Village. Last night’s series was the first of three for the session, and included events such as football for the junior village campers, a doubles tennis match where one team wore matching sweatshirts and team-scored climbing.

As of the writing of this blog, we have already had I4 and S5 return from their trips on the Lower Flambeau River and the Brule River respectively. Later this afternoon, cabins S3 and S1 will return from a 5-day hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. Our trip leaders are staying quite busy and as early as tomorrow more trips will head out, with cabins S4 and S2 heading out on their hiking trips. The Pine Manor campers are on the 5th day of their trip in Quetico Provincial Park and we are looking forward to their return on Friday.

Tonight we will have our first Sunday night of the session, so evening program is unorganized free and cabin campfires. Unorganized free allows the campers to find creative ways to play and spend their time. This is followed by cabin campfires, during which the cabins recap the week and talk about growth and goals, both as a group and personally. These campfires are an opportunity for the boys to reflect in front of their friends and talk about what they want out of themselves and each other in order to maximize their camp experience. The cabin campfires are finished off with S’mores around the fire.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 20: The first full day of camp!


Today was the first full day of camp after the campers arrived just after 4 p.m. yesterday. It was a busy day and we were lucky to avoid the rain (we all know it never rains at North Star). We had pancakes and bacon for breakfast before heading into the first cabin cleanup of the summer. The villages rotated through swim tests, health checks and village activities for first, second and third periods.

For their village activity all three villages played games of continuous dodgeball. Continuous dodgeball is an every man for himself dodgeball game played on a big field. We play with the traditional dodgeball rules, so if you get hit, you are out, and if you catch a ball, the person who threw it at you is out. If the person who threw you out gets out themselves, you are back in. We play with large groups, so there is never a winner. These games of dodgeball are a great way for the boys to have an early bonding experience with the other campers and staff in their village. Additionally, continuous dodgeball is a great introduction to our competitive philosophy. While no one wins continuous dodgeball, it is still important to give a full effort and have a great time while playing.

In lieu of continuous dodgeball, our oldest campers in Pine Manor spent the time allotted for village activities practicing for their upcoming trip to Quetico Provincial Park. The boys canoed from Brewers Bay around camp to the Council Ring and then portaged back to the canoe racks. They leave early Wednesday morning for their 10-day trip.

After third period there was an organized free, giving the boys the opportunity to go to any of the activities available at camp, or just hang out in their cabin if they prefer. We then had our opening night banquet and welcomed the campers into the dining hall for a meal of pasta. After dinner we celebrated the 13th birthday of Avi Rubin and learned a few rules for camp that were not covered in our opening night announcements. Wanegan King Drew Lorimer then held the first wanegan of the summer and then we had a game of all-camp capture the flag before bed.

In addition to Pine Manor leaving on the Canadian, S1 and S3 will leave Wednesday morning on a hiking trip, and S5 and I4 will leave on their respective river trips. The rest of camp will begin their summer activities with our first normally scheduled day of the summer.



Monday, June 19, 2017

First Night of Camp


The 73rd summer at North Star Camp has begun! Our 2017 campers and staff come from 30 states and 13 countries and now come together to make one incredible community. The buses from Minneapolis and Chicago pulled into camp together at exactly 4:15pm and the campers unloaded to meet an amazing group of staff members who were jumping and cheering at their arrival. The excitement quickly turned to warmth as the counselors were greeting new friends and old. We quickly gathered around the flagpole to announce the cabins, and then lots of happy faces ran off toward their cabins to unpack.

The boys unpacked and new campers received a tour of camp. As they walked around camp, they saw many of the improvements from the off-season. Our senior village campers were excited to see their newly renovated washhouse with more showers. Everybody saw the continued improvements in the Fieldhouse, which has the completed basketball courts in addition to a new and improved fitness center, a multipurpose room, and an upstairs clubhouse that features ping pong and foosball. Behind the Fieldhouse, a new batting cage is being installed for our baseball players to get their swings in. There is a brand new rocketry room, a new home for ecology, as well as an expanded trip shack. 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 was burgers, fries and jello, plus the ever present salad bar and Sun Butter and jelly. There were vegetarian burgers available for those that prefer, and Gluten free options for those that needed it. And of course brownies for dessert. Immediately following dinner, the campers chose 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.

One of the reasons that this community is so strong is because of the role models that your boys have at camp. Dan and Andy searched far and wide to find empathetic and caring counselors who represent our values. Each year during orientation, we do an exercise called Leaving a Legacy, where we discuss the importance of role models and set goals for what kind of role model each staff member wants to be this summer. They spoke of teaching kindness and generosity, perseverance and grit, strength and compassion. They spoke of the importance of character and integrity and their dedication to living with both. And they affirmed their commitment to helping create a North Star community that allows every boy to feel comfortable being himself, so that he can experience social and emotional growth at camp. It was an emotional evening that had us very excited to see what a wonderful impact these guys can have on our campers.

Tomorrow the kids will have a busy day as our medical team checks in the boys. The campers 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. Some of our 8th graders (we use the grade they just completed) will leave that day for five days on the Superior Hiking Trail, while other campers will depart straight away on the Brule River or the Flambeau River. Wednesday evening will be the staff show, where our very talented group will be on display.

FOLLOW CAMP ONLINE

From here on out, you can follow along with the summer of 2017 on our website at
www.NorthStarCamp.com/blog.

We will also be posting updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/northstarcampforboys, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/northstarcamp and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/northstarcamp.

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 www.northstarcamp.com 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!

Staff Spotlight: Jacob Sosler


Jacob Sosler returns to camp for his sixth summer at camp and first on staff as a CIT. He lives in Highland Park, Illinois and is finishing up his sophomore year at Beacon Academy in Evanston, Illinois near Chicago. At school, Jacob plays on the varsity tennis team, writes for his school’s newspaper and recently participated in his first Model United Nations tournament. At camp, his favorite activities are tennis, disc golf, windsurfing and team sports.

More about Jacob

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?

I never said THAT! 

What TV show or movie are you ashamed to admit that you love?

I’m not necessarily ashamed, but some of my friends think that the excessive amount of football I watch is a little odd. 

Where is your favorite spot at camp?

There’s not a bad place at camp, but the Council Ring is tough to beat.

What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation would probably be to spend a couple months traveling around Europe, eating food and visiting new places. 

If you had a super hero power, what would it be?

The ability to fly

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

The Constitutional Convention 

What is your favorite quote from a movie?

“Was it over... when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” (Animal House) 

What's your favorite restaurant in the Hayward area?

Angler's Haven 

What is your hidden talent?

It’s (hopefully) not hidden, but I consider myself a pretty talented writer. 

 What advice would you give to someone coming to North Star for the first time?

My advice would be to keep an open mind and not be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Camp provides a unique chance to participate in so many incredible activities and opportunities, so keeping an open mind and not being afraid to try something new will allow you to have the best summer possible. 

Share one notable camp memory:

My favorite camp memory was the Canadian trip during my Pine Manor year. It was an amazing experience full of experiences that I will never, ever forget.