North Star Camp for Boys

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.  

From here on out, you can follow along with the summer of 2017 on our website at We will also be posting updates on Facebook at and on Twitter at
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 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!



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.