Days of Camp! June 25, 2018

Hi Folks,

In this post you will find:

We are all about Great Days.  In fact, we’re in the Great Days biz!  But ask yourself this….when someone lays his/her head down on the pillow at night and thinks, “What a great day this was,” isn’t it possible – or even likely- that there was a part of the day that was difficult or bothersome?  A purely Great Day must be a rare thing.  Like a no-hitter or a perfect game.  (Baseball analogies are the best!)

Given that, we can see that most of our campers have Great Days most of the time.  And, since it’s summer and we’re at camp, that’s how it should be.  But we don’t want to fool anyone.  We also can see that most of our campers must – from time to time each day – do things they’d prefer not to.  Does making your bed and sweeping the cabin floor make it a Great Day?  How about being your cabin’s waiter for 3 meals in the day?  Those things are necessary, but let’s be real…they don’t make a typical kid’s list of favorite things to do.

Fortunately, we’re not ONLY in the Great Days biz.  We are also in the Personal Growth biz.  We know from years and years of experience that kids are exceedingly capable of doing things they’d prefer not to, and STILL HAVING A GREAT DAY!  But that’s not nearly enough.  It’s only helpful if we make it a point to show them this truth.  To make it obvious to them.  To let them see, as clear as day, that handling responsibilities and contributing to your cabin (which extrapolates nicely to your home, your team, your community), can actually enhance your Great Day.  And that, folks, is one of the most fundamental and invaluable aspects of group living.

Because…of course….we’re in the Group Living biz!

Kudos to Mother Nature!  We’ve had 8 straight days of beautiful Northwoods weather.  It has been sunny, partly cloudy, and one day  a little overcast.  It has been mild, and we’ve had not a trace of “heavy dew” (since it never rains at camp!).  The forecast has a little bit of moisture in it, but we’re in no position to complain.  We’ll take it as it comes.  The drier weather has been most welcome as it has given our lake a little time to stop growing.  One of the best aspects of our facilities here is the fact that we’re on a bluff above the lake.  It can pour buckets (of heavy dew) for hours, and within a very brief time, our fields are dry, and we can get back to action.  So if some wet weather arrives, we can take it in stride.

Today was gorgeous!  It was mild most of the morning, and got a little on the warm side in the late afternoon.  There was a cool breeze blowing all day long.  Whether you were on the fields, the trails, or the lake, it felt nice.  This morning we had 3rd and 4th periods and then this afternoon we had clinics.  What are clinics (you ask)?  During clinics, we have a wide variety of activities open, and the kids can choose which ones to go to.  They run 90 minutes each, and kids can bounce around between them.  Some are geared towards specific skill development (i.e. waterskiing had a drop-ski clinic, baseball was hitting instruction), and others are a chance to just try the activity out and see if it’s something you want to do more often.  It all went very well.

This evening we tried something new.  The Junior and Intermediate villages got together and planned out a Water Park program that included boat rides, slip ‘n’ slide, a sprinkler on the main athletic field, beach games, music, and of course, the human washing machine and drier.  And while that was all going on, the Senior Village got the heck out of here and went to a local mini golf course to work on their putting.  They all had a nice time.

Today was also “Community Day.”  On this day our amazing Kitchen Manager, Bill Miller (25 summers with us!) serves a less expensive, somewhat more watered down menu.  There was still plenty to eat, but we left out dessert at lunch, and went with more basic menu items like oatmeal for breakfast, meatloaf for dinner, etc.  He then calculated what we spent on the food for the day, compared to what we would have typically spent.  The savings we realized will be used to buy food from our purveyors, and we will donate that to the Lakeland Area Food Pantry, which serves hungry folks who live in our area.  The cool part is, before we make the food donation, Bill will put all the food he bought with that money on display for the campers to see.  And it will be a LOT of food.  So the kids can feel good about the sacrifice they made and get a tangible sense of what that will mean to others who are less fortunate.

Yesterday was our first Lazy Breakfast of the summer.  This is a site you probably should never see.  In the morning we serve eggs short-order style from 8:30 to 9:30.  Kids can come in whenever, and order what they want to eat.  The Kitchen Staff has the morning off, so we have 6 or 7 counselors (and 2 camp directors) cooking breakfast for everyone.  We then have about 12 kids who are also in the kitchen making toast and serving the food to the “customers.”  We know what we’re doing, and the food tastes great, but it can get a bit chaotic in there with so many cooks.

Last night was CASINO NIGHT!  This is one of the campers’ favorite evening programs.  The weather was fantastic, so we set up the casino outdoors in our Central Area, in front of the Lodge.  We had Blackjack tables, Poker tables, Roulette, the Human Slot Machine, Bingo, Bozo Buckets, and of course, that most common of Casino games….War.  So the kids get some camp cash and go off and gamble.  It’s very wholesome.  They can also bet on games of staff Tushball, 1:1 Basketball, Volleyball, Arm Wrestling, Pudding Eating, and Tugs o’ War.

When the casino closes (at 8:30 like any other respectable casino), the kids then gather with their cabin mates to pool their winnings.  And they get to then bid on prizes.  It was a hoot!  Apparently the prize committee is taking it’s time, because as of today they haven’t announced the prizes each cabin won.  Hoping they’ll get to it tomorrow.

I have to tell you about last Friday night’s campfire.  Folks, it was one for the ages.  We’re not sure if it was just the perfect weather, the Great Days or just a wave of good tidings, but this campfire felt like our camp community had been together for weeks and weeks already.  We sang together BEAUTIFULLY.  We know some of the first-year kids were just learning the songs, but they got it, and they sang loud along with our veteran campers.  There were several times when we were all arm-in-arm swaying back and forth to the music.  It was breath taking when you consider that we had just started camp 4 days earlier!!  Wow!!

One of our counselors talked about how the actions we take now impact the people around us, but just as importantly, they play a major part in shaping the people we become later in life.  He expressed it in a way that was very clear and understandable to all of the kids, and you could just see it sinking in.  At our Keylog Ceremony, we were impressed with how many first-year campers said thanks to their cabin mates and counselors for welcoming them and helping them feel at home so quickly.  I am fairly certain that on my long walk back to the house Friday night, my feet were barely touching the ground.


  • We have signed up for our 2nd Series of activities.  Those new activities won’t begin until Thursday.  If your son is on a trip when we sign up activities, he will sign up when he gets back, and those activities will then appear on your Keylog page.
  • If you are a 2nd Session family and you’re reading this (good on you!), your son’s travel-to-camp information and baggage tags are on the way to you.  They should arrive within 5 days.
  • If you are a 1st Session four-week family, believe it or not, we will have your son’s travel home information coming your way in a little over a week.  Remember, if your plans for your son’s travel change, we must know about a withdrawal from the bus at least one week before travel day or you will still be charged the bus fare.


  • Taylor’s Falls, MN – 4 days rock climbing
  • Flambeau River, WI – 3 days river canoeing
  • Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, WI – 4 days sea kayaking

Now that OWLS is coming to an end for 1st year campers, they are eligible to go on trips!  We have several coming up they’re eligible for, so they’ll be getting into the wilderness very soon.

We hope you’re having some Great Days too.  We’ll write you again soon.

Benches up,

Mike & Leslie