North Star Camp for Boys

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Night Services

Tonight was our first Friday Night Service of second session, and it was a huge success.  Friday Night Services are at the core of our philosophy at North Star.  All week long, the campers play hard at their chosen activities all over camp, then on Friday Night we take time to reflect. 
It all begins with a special dinner.  Every Friday night we have dinner of roast beef, potato pancakes, apple sauce, rolls and vegetables.  Dinner is a quieter affair with the kids dressed up - by camp standards.  All our boys get extra time to shower and put on some clean clothes.
After dinner concludes, we gather around the flagpole for a formal retreat.  A representative of each cabin announces that his cabin is, "All present and accounted for," before we sing a patriotic song, state the Pledge of Allegiance, and lower and fold the flag.
From there everyone heads up to the Council Ring.  The evening consists of a values-based campfire program with a rotating theme.  Tonight's theme was Teamwork.  Other themes include friendship, independence, character, global citizenship and more.  Each service includes stories, responsive readings, musical selections and a sermonette. Tonight Mark Y. lead the service as our reader and Joe G gave a great sermonette on how a team comes together.  Our music directors led great songs for the Camper and Counselor Chorus, helping to perform great renditions of "The Weight" by The Band and "The General" by Dispatch.  Mitchell L. and Alex B. did a great reading about community living as well.

Towards the end of every service is the Keylog Ceremony, which presents each camper and staff member with an opportunity to give thanks to other members of our community that have done something special for them.  They do so by throwing a stick into the fire, which is a symbolic representation that goes back to the regions logging days.  It is very common to hear our boys thanking their new friends for being so nice to them, and to hear them thanking their counselors for making it "the best summer ever."
And as the fire burns down every Friday, the sun sets between an opening in the trees over Clear Lake and creates the most perfect scene for all of us to enjoy.  We stand and together sing the camp song, "Forest Green," taps, and recite the Camper Benediction.  
We believe that if camp was just fun, we would be missing out on a valuable opportunities to teach our campers valuable life lessons and for character development.  Friday Night Services are an important part of that mission.