North Star Camp for Boys

Thursday, July 8, 2021

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do

Tonight’s Evening Program was the beginning of our annual U.N. Day competition, with our Field Games competition getting us started. Before talking about the games themselves, we have to start by talking about the sunset that provided such a beautiful backdrop to tonight’s events. I honestly think all the campers stopped their games at one point or another to take a look at this one tonight.

You’ll hear much more about U.N. Day in the coming days as it ramps up, but suffice to say, it is one of the biggest days of the camp calendar. The camp is divided into 4 “nations” joining in the spirit of healthy competition, but also togetherness and sportsmanship, for a full day of competition across the full spectrum of events that camp has to offer. This year’s event features the countries of Canada, Cypress, Russia and Ukraine. The “day” has gotten so big that we can’t even fit it all in one day anymore! So tonight kicked things off with our first official competitions: cornhole, Kan-Jam, bocce ball, croquet, distance running, and a giant 60 person game of Continuous Dodgeball. While these simple games might be fun enough themselves, the spirit of the campers makes the night. Some campers came in costume, others just brought their voices, but I assure you that you’ve never seen so much cheering for bocce ball and croquet.

And that same kind of spirit of togetherness was shining from other camp programming today too. Today the cabins of J-6 and S-3 returned from their camping trips, and yesterday J-5 returned from their canoe trip on the Upper Namekagon. All three of these trips, as well as S-4 which will return tomorrow, endured a cold and rainy day on Tuesday. And all of these cabins returned joyous and proud. While we know from their trip leaders that parts of the day on Tuesday were rough, the campers got out of the van telling triumphant stories of making fires with wet wood, paddling the rapids in the rain, using warm water bottles to heat their sleeping bags, and having completed their first portages. You can feel the tremendous satisfaction from the campers in the realization that they completed tasks that they previously thought themselves incapable of. There is a great concept called Type II fun, which refers to experiences that aren’t necessarily fun in the moment, but are fun in retrospect and fulfilling experiences. These moments teach all of us, especially kids, how to manage discomfort, adapt to change, find new solutions and take action - all core skills of building resilience. While they may have been challenged both physically and emotionally, they will long tell the stories of cutting up extra garbage bags to form new rain shelters, paddling directly into a headwind during the rain, singing songs to pass the time, and growing closer to their cabinmates and counselors while doing all that. When your boys get home and they tell you of their trials and tribulations in the backcountry, make sure to ask them what they learned about themselves, what they accomplished, and how they can use those skills in the future.

Morning Grace:
“Keep your face toward the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you.”
- Walt Whitman