North Star Camp for Boys

Monday, August 25, 2014

We Were There...

From our 70th reunion, the "We Were There" song from 2014 through 1946!

Thank You

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I hope that all is well and that you are enjoying what is left of your summer. Last week we capped off the Summer of 2014, North Star's 70th summer, with an alumni reunion. Alumni gathered from all around the world to travel back to the Northwoods and we had representatives from each summer dating back to 1946, North Star's second summer. As we gathered Friday night at the Council Ring to share keylogs of how camp has impacted our lives, it was a wonderful reminder that the lessons learned and friendships formed really do last forever. Now with a minute to look back on the Summer of 2014, I want to express my gratitude towards the whole North Star family.

I also wanted to give you an update on my family. Vickie began chemotherapy last week and she is doing great. The prognosis is very good, and this is the next step. She will have regular treatments through Thanksgiving, and then will undergo radiation therapy after that. With her being so young, we have chosen an aggressive course to hopefully prevent any recurrence of her breast cancer and ensure that she has plenty of camping left. The North Star community has been absolutely wonderful through this process, and we cannot thank you all enough for your support. If you are interested in receiving further updates, you can do so by joining our Lotsa Helping Hands site. Vickie and I are very much looking forward to knocking this out and getting back up the Northwoods for the Summer of 2015!

And as we look to the Summer of 2015, don't forget that WE CAN ONLY GUARANTEE PLACEMENT FOR RETURNING CAMPERS IF YOU ENROLL BY SEPTEMBER 1st. Please don't wait! This is our way of protecting our returning campers. After September 1st may be too late in many age groups. If you have a younger son that is interested in coming to camp next summer, please enroll him before September 1st as well. And if you have any friends or family that may be interested, please let them know that they should be in touch quickly. You can also fill out our Refer-A-Friend Form online.

You can Register Online at If you have any questions, please give us a call up at camp at 715-462-3254.

We are looking forward to a fantastic Summer of 2015 and we hope that you will again join us.

Most of all, we want to thank you for trusting us with your sons. We often boast that we have the nicest campers in the world, and we mean it. So thank you for making the decision to have them spend the summer with us. We look forward to many more!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Celebrating our 70th Summer with our Alumni

The idea of holding a 70th summer alumni reunion was pretty much a no brainer. Its been about 15 years since we last held an alumni reunion on-site at camp and we knew that there were lots of former campers and staff who were really wanting to get back to North Star and reunite with their camp friends. We really began pushing the event in March and with a lot of support from a handful of active alums, we were excited to welcome about 70 NSC alums to North Star this past weekend.

As is always the case, we follow up our summer with a week of post-camp, where about 25-30 families spend time here at camp transitions to more of a resort. This year we ended post camp a bit early so we could hold the reunion. Even before post-camp was over we had a handful of alumni trickle into camp, joining us for our post-camp bowling extravaganza and then coming into camp on Friday morning. Not coincidentally, they started arriving right around 11am, which is when we begin waterskiing for the day. 

Over the course of the day on Friday, we went from a handful of alums to almost our entire crowd. It was truly special seeing the different reactions when people got to camp. For some, it was being at camp after decades of absence that seemed to really strike them. For others, it was seeing friends who they hadn't seen since their camp days that was truly emotional.

Our Friday evening saw that emotion continue as everyone went to the Council Ring for a Friendship Fire. We had some songs along with a few alums who spoke, including Jim Silberman, who did a tremendous job bringing the spirit of Lou and Renee to the reunion. As the sun was setting, Andy lit the fire for a keylog ceremony. At first, only a few people went down and we figured that it may be an abbreviated keylog ceremony. Almost an hour and a half later, the final keylog was thrown onto the fire. The outpouring of feelings, memories and gratitude at the keylog ceremony was truly special and really bridged the different generations that were at the Council Ring. After Forest Green and Taps, everyone headed to the Lodge for more stories and even a few Tombstone pizzas.

Saturday was a day of action as we had two periods in the morning with open programming. Reunion "campers" got a chance to shoot riflery and archery, go waterskiing and participate in their favorite camp activities. The big attraction was at Lou's Diamond as half the crowd played in a softball game. As the day went on, our "campers" continued to do their best to recapture their youth as they tried to get up on slalom skis and play speedball. 

We took time in the afternoon to have a marathon. Everyone was put onto either the green or white team and everyone was given a role in the 17-event marathon. The marathon got off to an auspicious start for the white team. Only a few events into the marathon the canoeing tandem of Jon Sherman and Joel Richman were barely off shore when they tipped their canoe. In fairness, the canoe didn't end up tipping, however both Sherm and Joel ended up in Brewer's Bay. The white team would catch up and the boil-water-boil would be the deciding event. Ultimately it was youth over beauty as Jimmy Sarnoff and Rob Kallick were able to get their water to boil ahead of Rieber Paulson, Richard Rusnack and Guy Wolff. 

After dinner, everyone headed up to Mike Hall for a talent show/request program. Everyone was treated to Manfred Frank's "Apples and Bananas", Tim Schroer's "Church Lady" and lots of other great songs and skits from years past. Everyone then rose for the "we were here" song, and it was amazing to see that every year from 2014 through 1946 had at least one person standing. After everyone participated in "Carry On" and "North Star Blues", we again finished the evening (and for many, started the morning) in the lodge, looking at pictures and telling more stories.
There were certainly more than a few sore campers on Sunday morning, and unfortunately, our reunion had to come to a close. Many left after breakfast and by lunch, we had a few final campers standing that needed to stretch their stay at camp as long as possible. 

We'd like to throw in a keylog to everyone who was able to make it to the 70th reunion. The event also served as a fundraiser and allowed us to "remember the scholarship fund" as all money taken in by the event was donated to the Camp for All Kids Foundation. We know that many more wanted to be here and were made a bit jealous as they heard continuous updates from the weekend via text message and email. Its our hope that we are able to make this a regular event and we are looking forward to celebrating with you all in August of 2019 as we recognize North Star's 75th summer. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making the Most of your Child's Camp Experience - Post Summer

While we joke at camp that "there's still plenty of camping left", there's no denying that in 24 hours, camp is going to be pretty empty. We want our campers to enjoy every last minute of their time at North Star, however today we pack up and tomorrow campers will head home not only across the country, but across the world. 

We know how excited our parents will be to see their kids. A month away is usually more challenging for Mom and Dad than it is for our campers. Processing the camp experience can be a very important tool to help wrap up the summer and for you to learn about the past four weeks. We hope that these tips help you with that.

Let your son share his camp experience on his timeline
Your camper will get off the bus and its natural for you to expect him to share story after story and to hear a dozen tales before your car enters the driveway. For some, that will happen. For many others, however, your son may not be flowing with stories off the bat. Each camper processes his camp experience a little differently, so don't be surprised if he's not as forthcoming with details about counselors, cabin mates and about his camp experience.

For many, the end of camp is very emotional. This is certainly the case for our older campers, especially those who are spending their final summers as campers. In 24 hours they go from sharing their cabin with 8-14 others, sitting in a lodge of over 250 and being a part of a unique community to often having a room by themselves and not always having 10 people to head down to swimpoint with. There is culture shock, so give your son a bit of space as he adjusts. 

Further, each kid is different in how verbal he truly is. Some will be very vocal about their camp experience and want to share every detail. Others will be more internal about it. Give your son some space as he makes re-entry and don't worry if he's not as vocal about the experience. The stories will come and hopefully you'll also see the impact of camp, not just hear it.

Build off of your Son's Growth
At camp, your son did lots of different things than he did at home. We believe that you'll see your camper return home having grown as a person, both in attitude as well as responsibility. Living in a communal environment, its essential that all campers contribute and take on responsibilities. This includes things like cleaning their areas, helping at meals and helping others. Keep that going at home! Camp is one big family and that family works much better when people work together and everyone contributes and we hope for your son, this will happen at home as well. 

Beyond that, camp tends to break campers of some habits that aren't necessarily productive. That is different for each kid, but you can help to make sure that your son doesn't fall back into those old habits when he gets home.

One specific area that we encourage you to focus on reliance on cell phones, tablets and other electronic devices. At camp we have a no devices policy and at home you can build off of this and limit the time your son focuses on a screen. This isn't to say that electronics don't play an important role, they do. This summer, however, your son has proven that he doesn't need to be device reliant, particularly at meals. 

Have them Keep in Touch!
Your son will leave camp with new friends. Some of them may live a few miles away. Others may be from a different state or country. Encourage them to stay in touch. Have them make a call every now and then, send a birthday card, or even a text or facebook message. Encourage them to set up a get together for a weekend lunch with cabin mates or other friends. These off-season communications will help them continue these great relationships and will serve to make future summers more meaningful as their friendships continue to grow and strengthen.

We'll keep in touch too!  We take advantage of social media and will be posting on Facebook (our page is northstarcampforboys) and Twitter (our handle is northstarcamp). We'll also post pics on Instagram at northstarcamp. Make sure that you and your camper keep us updated so we can share their news in our newsletter, the Siren. We work to keep the campfires burning all year long!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spending the Evening Doing Nothing

If you were to walk around camp right now, you'd see lots of groups of campers doing various random things. Head over to the waterfront and you'd see a dozen campers on paddleboards, paddleboats and other water toys. The athletic field has a soccer game going on while disc golfers head towards the Council Ring. Swim point has the blob and splashmat in full use while a few campers log roll. You'd even find a few campers ankle deep in mud as they dig through the boat slip for frogs and other animals. This is an organized free and something we do at least once a day at North Star.

Like all other camps, we tend to spend most of our time talking about the special events that happen here at camp. You can read blog entries about special programs like UN Day, Pow Wow Day, Espionage, and the Camper Counselor Hunt. We spend lots of time really highlighting the instruction provided to campers on our program. We're certainly proud of the community feel and great mentoring that are provided by our counselors. What we don't talk about very much is what quite frankly isn't all that exciting, when campers find a pick-up game to play in, when they play a game of cards with their friends, or when they decide to just do nothing. 

We have organized free periods each afternoon and occasionally in the evenings as well. Campers will raise their hands to let us know which activities they are planning on heading out to. While the majority of our boys no longer know the meaning of a pickup game, this is a chance for them to just play with their buddies. Our counselors staff many of the activity areas (archery, climbing, riflery, and lifeguards man the waterfront), and lead some other games and activities. The boys are welcome to head up to the courts, play a round of disc golf, or sit on the dock and read. They don't even need a counselor. Whoever shows up can play.

Free play is a popular subject these days when it comes to youth development. More and more, we are finding that kids are scheduled from sun up to sun down. In many schools, recess has made way for more academic learning and few states require as many periods of PE as they did ten years ago. When not in school, kids are being driven from sports practice to college prep tutors and then to other night time programs, clubs and events. This doesn't even take into account the pile of homework that awaits and keeps many high school students up later than they should be. This Stanford Study showed that homework loads in high achieving communities can lead to high levels of stress and can often be counter productive.

Over the last few years, as we've attended camp conferences, the subject of free play has gained more and more attention. The belief that kids are over scheduled and over structured has led many to believe that this has we are creating kids who lack creativity, are unable to think for themselves, are less self reliant and struggle to problem solve. The days when parents sent their children out to play and often didn't see their kids until it was dark out have all but ended. 

There is quite a bit of debate over whether kids should be out, playing on their own, there is more and more evidence that providing less structure to play time has real, tangible benefits. Instead of having their full schedule put together by parents, teachers and coaches, the onus is on kids to figure out what they are going to do. Instead of having games and activities planned for them, kids use their own creativity to figure out games and activities of their own, often inventing new, fun activities. Instead of constantly being surrounded by teammates, friends and others, kids have the opportunity to be by themselves and take stock of their feelings and emotions. 

At North Star, this is why we have organized free periods. They are organized and there is a structure, allowing campers to choose from different sports games, open activities and other water and land based activities. They're also given the opportunity explore camp, take out a ball and play catch, and find their own, safe ways to have fun. One of my favorite comments tonight was when a camper told me that he was just looking forward to checking out a stand-up paddleboard on the waterfront and watching the sun set. One of the things that we all can do to help our kids is find more opportunities for them to be self reliant, use their own imaginations and sometimes just do nothing.

Friday, August 1, 2014

NSC Log Rollers Head to Lumberjack Bowl!

 Yo Ho!

Once again this year we have had the opportunity to work with 7 time world champion Judy Hoeschler, and her family. Her husband Jay and their daughters Lizzie and Abby have been training us on our Keylog logs and spreading the love for the sport of log rolling! They have built so much enthusiasm for log rolling, that this year we were able to have five of our campers; Bobby, Jack, Jake, Judd, and Kyle compete in two amateur log rolling competitions. This past week they went to  the Namakagon River Rollers Roll Off and the 55th annual World Lumberjack Championships in Hayward, WI.

During both of the tournaments the boys were a little nervous and very excited to be rolling and meeting other boys that had been rolling for quite a bit longer than they had. Some of them since they were four years old.  During a log rolling match two boys step onto a log and roll until one of them falls off the log. The boy that stays on the log is awarded the "fall". One match consists of the best out of 5. There is also a time limit on each log and if no one falls off in 3 minutes they move the match to a small log (which is more challenging to roll on). 

On Thursday, the first day of the World Lumberjack Championships all of the amateurs had to be at the Lumberjack Bowl in Hayward at 8:30 AM. The boys waited patiently and watched the Under 10 boys and girls roll until the U13 division was called it was their turn to roll. Some of the boys rolled against boys their age from other rolling clubs and some had to roll against their fellow campers. They had to lose two times to be out of the tournament. Bobby, Jack, and Judd advanced and got to roll again on Friday. Friday we all woke up early again and arrived at the Lumberjack bowl at 8:15 AM to warm up before competing. Jack took 6th place in the U13 division!  Everyone put in good effort and Judy was very proud of all the boys.

The whole camp attended the Thursday evening opening night of the Lumberjack World Championships to cheer on Abby and LiIzzie while they both competed in log rolling and Abby competed in the boom run. All of they boys want to try the boom run now (good thing they have to be at least 16!) We also cheered on Jason Wynyard and his wife Karmyn again this year.

Now that competition is done more and more of the boys want to learn how to log roll. Judy has been back training more first time rollers and working on more techniques for the seasoned rollers. Jake is now working on jump roping while log rolling and Jay stated that he may be the first one to attempt this on a Keylog. His best is 6 jumps in a row. They are also "sword fighting" using swim noodles while rolling. There are many boats slowing down to watch the new activities! There might be many boys asking for a Keylog to log roll with this winter. Can't wait to see the new tricks and speed of their feet next year!

Keep on rolling!

- Mandy

Two Weeks Until the 70th Reunion

We are less than two weeks away  from the 70th Anniversary North Star Alumni Reunion and the RSVPs  are still coming  in every day! 

There is still time to register and join alumni from around the country at your "North Star home" on August 15-17.  We expect to have all  seven decades of North Star history represented at the reunion.  Whether you want to rehash the controversial great and glorious North Star Party presidential elections of 1974, 1987 or other years, challenge your old cabinmate to leg wrestling (we'll be checking for health insurance cards at the gate) or just sit on the lodge chairs and look out at Spider Bay (the view hasn't changed), we guarantee that you'll have a great time telling camp stories, seeing old friends and becoming a kid again for 48 hours.   

Need a ride?  There are plenty of alum arriving by car from Chicago and flying into Minneapolis.  If you need a ride, or have room in your car, please post to our North Star Reunion Facebook page.  You can also email me and I can connect you with other alumni.

It's easy to register:
1) Login to your CampInTouch page or click login in the upper right hand corner.
2) Update your contact information on your Alumni Profile
3) Click on the Forms and Documents tab and complete the 70th Year Alumni ReunionRegistration.

All proceeds benefit the Camp for All Kids Foundation (the Scholarship Fund). 

We look forward to seeing everyone at camp on August 15!

PS:  Please also help us spread the word about the reunion to your camp friends. You can invite your friends on Facebook, or send them directly to the 70th Reunion Website.

PSS - Here's an updated list of some of the North Star alumni who plan to attend:

  • Tom Adler
  • Garrett Ash
  • Jim Berger
  • Michael Blumberg
  • Mike Cohen
  • Brad Dreyfus
  • David Felsenthal
  • Manfred Frank
  • Josh Frost
  • Brian Grossman
  • Aaron Harris
  • Adam Heldman
  • Randy Holzberger
  • Ryan Jacobs
  • Mike Jay
  • Seth Katz
  • Andrew Klaber
  • Robby Klaber
  • Marc Krantz
  • Robert Lebby
  • Sue Lebby
  • Dan Lichtenstein
  • Charles Margulis
  • David Mehlman
  • Michael Mellon
  • Larry Minkoff
  • David Moss
  • Paul Nathanson
  • Top Peterman
  • Rob Porter
  • Rieber Paulson
  • Jason Olt
  • Joel Richman
  • Steve Richman
  • Marty Rips
  • LeRoy Rosenberg
  • Richard Rusnak
  • Jimmy Sarnoff
  • Jon Sherman
  • Tim Schroer
  • Ron Schulman
  • Jay Schwartz
  • Larry Segil
  • Matt Seidler
  • Michael Seidler
  • Ben Sher
  • Andy Shlensky
  • Tor Shwayder
  • Walter Shwayder
  • Elliot M. Siegel
  • Marc Siegel
  • Jim Silbermann
  • Jack Silverstein
  • Keith Wagner
  • Frank Wintroub
  • Guy Wolff