North Star Camp for Boys

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Pine Manor Returns, Keylogs & The Dodgeball Extravaganza

Welcome back Pine Manor! Our oldest boys returned to camp this evening to a tremendous greeting as they returned from their ten-day canoeing and portaging trip in Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. The Canadian has long been the seminal experience of our tripping program, as all of the campfires and overnighters have built up to this adventure.

Last Wednesday, the night before the boys left, we met with the campers and staff to do some processing pre-departure. They were nervous and they were excited. They were sentimental and stressed. They were scared and they were determined. Tonight, though, they returned with their heads held very high. The boys returned wearing their pride as plain to see as their new shirts from Canoe Canada. They took on a challenge that they didn’t know if they could complete, and they succeeded.

One of our little secrets is that our entire program is designed to do just that - to push the boys beyond their comfort zone and support them while doing so. They faced wind and weather, mosquito bites and sunburn, difficult portages and just being without a bed or shower for the length of the trip. Our staff spoke very highly of their teamwork and their attitude, and they returned excited to bring their energy and leadership as role models for our younger campers to look up to. And that was visible right as they got off the bus and celebrated their return with cheers around the flagpole.

As they were enjoying their last night in the Canadian wilderness last night, we were enjoying our second Friday Night Service of the summer. Gabe Adler and Sam Goldstein wrote a beautiful service about having a Growth Mindset. Miles Goldberg gave a heartfelt sermonette about his own growth and growing pains along the way. The chorus gave us great renditions of Learning to Fly by Tom Petty, Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel, and The General by Dispatch. But that wasn’t the only music of the evening. Some excited tourists on Clear Lake had their top-40 music blasting from their pontoon boats through the Council Ring. While that should have undermined the sanctity and serenity of our Friday Night Service, the boys still managed to sit quietly and listen to the readings, poems and songs that were shared about growth. I was very impressed and told them how proud of them I felt.

And that added to the pride that I felt watching the keylog ceremony. This staple of our Friday Night Services is an opportunity to throw a stick into the fire that represents something that you are thankful for. While it is totally optional, the overwhelming majority of our campers and staff elect to go up in front of the whole camp and express their gratitude. Many of our youngest campers threw in keylogs for all of the new friends that they’ve made, their fantastic counselors, and even expressed their appreciation for their families back home for making it possible for them to come to camp. A first time camper in the Junior Village thanked his cabin for already being his best friends in the world. A first time Senior Village camper threw in a keylog for his counselors who helped him make it through the beginning of camp even when he thought he wouldn’t. This expression of gratitude speaks to who we are as a North Star community. And gratitude is a practice that makes our boys stronger, more resilient young men.

So too do events like the Dodgeball Extravaganza, which took place on Friday afternoon. The dodgeball extravaganza is a camper versus staff dodgeball event that pins the Green and White campers against the staff from the other team, in an effort to see who can fare better in terms of timing. The campers love the dodgeball just as much as they love the hoopla that comes with it. The campers and staff spend as much energy trying to out-cheer the other team and to top the best costumes as they do working to win the dodgeball game itself. Hopefully you enjoyed the silly pictures, as we had a blast!

Today’s Grace:
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”
- Vince Lombardi