Days of Camp! June 29, 2018

Hi Folks,

In this posting you will find:

Well, so Mother Nature has let her recent good work go to her head.  It is time for our first formal complaint about the weather.  It’s not raining outside (because, as you already know, it never rains at camp).  In fact, we are still on a string of almost no drops of moisture at all from the sky since the kids arrived.  However, today it is HOT!  We’ve crested 90 degrees for the first – and hopefully last – time of the summer.  The kids are feeling it, but fortunately, we do have a big, beautiful lake to cool off in.  So it isn’t so bad.

When things warm up like this, we spend a lot of time taking breaks, catching some shade, drinking lots of water and “bug juice” (Gatorade), and we try to dial it down a little.  Sometimes we’re victims of timing.  For instance, today was easily the warmest lunch meal of the summer.  At the same time, it is Friday, and on Fridays at lunch we like to play music in the Lodge, which inevitably results in a dance party.  So, yes, we had a dance party in the Lodge on the hottest day of the year.   Fun?  Absolutely.  Wise?  Well…..we all survived, so that’s the good news.

Today is Legacy Day.  What that really means is tonight’s campfire was a celebration of people who are at camp for a benchmark summer, as in 10th summer, 15th, summer, etc.  We talked about it a little at breakfast, and tonight was really nice.  This session we are honoring CARTER HITCHENS, STEVE “HITCH” HITCHENS, and DUSTIN COHEN.  Carter is the daughter of Hitch and Corrie Hitchens.  She’s 9, and this is her 10th summer at camp.  She hasn’t been a camper, of course, but still….10 summers is pretty cool.  Her dad, Hitch, is spending his 15th summer as our Trips Director.  We’ve been buddies since the early ’80s, and we were so thrilled when he joined our summer staff way back when.  He’s polished our Trips Program into a very well oiled machine, and while the wilderness can always throw a few curve balls, under his leadership our kids have enjoyed some spectacular experiences.

Dustin is 24, and this is his 25th summer at camp.  We’ve known him his whole life, of course, and we’re incredibly proud of him.  Dustin is now in his first summer as our Associate Director.  He played a huge role in organizing and implementing our staff training, and he’s involved in the day-to-day operations while also providing support to our staff.  We feel so fortunate to be able to work side by side with our son, and to see how he handles himself with the kids and the staff.

At tonight’s Legacy Campfire we started off with our usual singing and then I shared a little history of our camp with all of the boys.  Most of the kids have heard it before…once or twice…but we think it’s nice for them to understand that a place like camp has longevity and meaning to people in generations past, just like it will for generations to come.  It’s nice to think about being part of something bigger than one’s self.

After that we heard some stories about each of our legacy celebrants, some were very sweet and touching, others pretty humorous.  I’ve often worried that the boys might grow bored with all of those stories, but that’s not the case at all.  They love it!  We finished by singing the “year song” which lets everyone see how long some of the folks here have been part of our camp family.  It was simply a very, very nice night.

But we weren’t done yet.  After the campfire we gathered around the flagpole to recognize the 4 campers from each village who had been elected as captains for our upcoming United Nations Day!  UN Day is a very fun day we have planned for a week from Monday.  The whole camp is split into 4 “nations” and we spend the day in friendly competition.  It requires a lot of leadership and organization, so the counselors in each village elect 4 captains to run the teams.  These are boys who have demonstrated honor, integrity, warmth and friendship, and leadership in their own way.  It is an enormous honor at camp, and we have a torch ceremony that symbolizes the light of leadership.  Again…not the best thing on a hot day, but it went well just the same.

We’ll write more about UN Day when the big day arrives.

Some highlights from the past week include yesterday afternoon when we played some games with a friendly nearby boys’ camp.  Our older guys traveled to their camp and their youngins came to us.  We played baseball, basketball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, flag football, archery, riflery, and tennis.  It was a warm afternoon, but the kids played hard and kept a great, sportsmanlike attitude throughout.

Wednesday was Cruiser Day.  On Cruiser Day the normal camp schedule is suspended, and cabin groups spend the whole day together.  The Junior Village cabins each had a van and they cruised around the Northwoods.  A few groups went to a park near Eagle River that has a great swim area and a sort of inflatable playground in the water.  The Senior Village all got on a bus together, went bowling, and then went down to a water slide park near Wausau.  And the Intermediate Village stuck around camp and had the run of the place.   We had some clouds pass through, but it stayed dry and we had a very nice day.

On Tuesday night, we had Carny Night!  For the carny, each cabin puts on a booth, and the kids spend part of the time manning their own booth, and the rest of the time checking out the other booths.  Some of them included the dunk tank, the pudding eating contest, fortune telling, lawn bowling, mini golf, and more.  We had popcorn and home made brownies too.  And did we mention?  We also had a friendly nearby girls’ camp come in and join us.  That added some excitement to the formula.  Last summer our carnival was “heavy dewed” on, and on Tuesday it was looking pretty iffy also.  We had some very light showers in the mid-afternoon, and then they cleared up.  It was a cool night, and everyone had an awesome time.

Looking ahead, we have some fun events coming up.  We have a GREAT evening planned for July 4th.  We have Karaoke Night coming up very soon.  We have a sailing regatta and games with another camp on the way too.  And very soon, we’ll cool off back to usual Northwoods temperatures.


It seems we have been receiving more and more packages for campers, so we’d like to remind you of our Package Policy.  In short, we do not want packages sent to camp.  Books and magazines are the exception.  However, Amazon has been burning a path to our door with water shoes, swim suits, shirts, etc. If you followed our Packing List, your son is all set!  If he writes home that he REALLY needs something, please call and ask us about it.  We can work something out if he truly needs it.  Otherwise, we are going to return these items home, and pass along the postage expense.

Just to make sure you understand, we must open any sort of package that arrives.  This is to make sure no food or candy or gum has been inserted, which has happened more than you would believe….even this year.  In the last few days, there were several packages.  That took time for our office staff (and Leslie) to go through, which is time they should be spending directly supporting the kids and staff.  So please help us out and refrain from having things sent up to your son.  Thanks very much.


  • Brule River, WI – 3 days river canoeing
  • Flambeau River, WI – 3 days river canoeing
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, MN – 6 days lake canoeing

We’re on a roll right now, and really enjoying the great vibe in camp!  We’ll write you again soon!!

Benches up,

Mike & Leslie