Take it With You – Notes from Camp, September, 2019

Hi Folks,

With everything going on in your homes, we can only imagine how much you’ve been waiting to hear from camp, right?  Has it been crazy there?  Kids starting school, routines changing, maybe someone heading off to college?  We get it, but what a contrast that is to the happenings up here at camp.  About the most exciting thing around here is the not-so-gradual take over of the athletic fields by the deer population.  We’ve also seen some fox running around.  It’s amazing how fast this place reverts to it’s less civilized version of itself.

In case you hadn’t heard, we’ve had a little news up here.  Our longtime caretaker, GREG FUS, has retired effective the end of this summer.  We announced it to the camp towards the end of 2nd Session, but you guys who were here 1st Session may not have heard.  Greg has been our full-time caretaker for 18 years, but has been a major contributor here for many years more than that.  Having such a skilled craftsman on our year ’round staff has been incredibly fortunate, and you cannot look anywhere around camp without seeing Greg’s impact.  From the Bouldering Cave to the Trips Bayou, the Mail Shack, the Lodge Deck, and virtually every building in camp, Greg’s touch is featured.  Our facilities are truly jaw-dropping, and so much of that is because of Greg.  We are forever grateful for his skill and care, and his passion for camp.

We are very excited to tell you that our new caretaker is no stranger to camp.  DANIEL VAN BUREN has been part of our seasonal maintenance staff for 6 years.  Daniel served in the US Army prior to coming to work with us way back in 2014.  In the intervening years he has held many winter jobs, including school bus driver.  Last winter Daniel enrolled in construction classes in Superior, WI to hone the skills he knew would be important for this new endeavor.  Daniel is warm and caring, and has a work ethic that would make any parent proud.  And Daniel lives and breathes camp.  We are very fortunate to welcome him into the new role as our Camp Caretaker, effective immediately.



It’s important for so many reasons.  First of all, research proves that people who are reflective and thoughtful are more productive and happier.  Secondly, you accomplished so much this past summer!  For some of you, coming to camp was a true “leap of faith,” and embodied the whole idea of stepping out of your comfort zone.  Why is that important?  Because in the many, many years ahead of you, opportunities to do just that will present themselves to you.  If you tend towards shying away and staying in a more narrow sense of where you are comfortable, those opportunities (including the rewards that accompany them) will pass you by.

Instead, as you practice being more bold and willing to step beyond that narrow comfort zone, you become more able and more inclined towards seizing opportunities that are ahead of you and making the most of them.  Let’s remember, if all we do is stay comfortable, we NEVER grow.  You came to camp, you took that leap, you broadened your comfort zone, and…in the process…you had FUN and you made FRIENDS!  Our culture has been teaching us a dangerous lesson…that being comfortable should be the ultimate goal.  Well, that is not true, and it is not healthy.  We all need to learn how to navigate and even thrive in uncomfortable situations and in so doing, you will set yourself apart as a do-er and one who is excited about learning and growing.


One of the greatest legacies of your summer at camp can be how you utilize all you’ve learned as you move through the school year.  You accomplished group living this summer!  That means you learned about being aware of the needs of others.  You learned to accept and deal with the strengths and weaknesses of those around you.  You learned to share, compromise, empathize and cooperate.  You learned that sometimes you have to take care of the things you MUST do before you can get to the things you WANT to do.

In other words, you are equipped with skills and awareness that many of your peers may not have.  So don’t just pack that away till next summer.  Take it out for a spin!  You can be that leader in your peer group who sticks up for someone the others may not be treating well.  You can be the one who offers to help out, who places someone else’s current needs ahead of your own.  You can be a role model (yes, you!) of how to roll with a setback or a little friendly ribbing from others with a smile on your face.  These are the things that transform boys into young men and help you stand out as a positive force to be reckoned with.  You already know how it’s done.


All of us can continue to grow and learn each summer at camp.  Whether you’re a 9 year old camper coming back for his 2nd summer, or a long time counselor or Assistant Director.  Each summer brings new and unique opportunities for us to continue that growth trajectory.  And, let’s not forget, the copious amounts of FUN we will have together!  You already know how deep and lasting camp friendships are.  Each summer contributes more and more to those valuable relationships.  We have to wait some months, but we can assure you we are already very excited to see you at camp next summer!


We don’t want to forget to mention that we have opened enrollment for next summer, and already have lots of kids signed up.  We invite you to REGISTER YOUR CAMPER as soon as possible.  We have switched to CampMinder this year, so things will look a little different, beginning with the application itself.  However, we think you’ll find it very easy to navigate, and especially when it comes to sending us medical info, this will be more streamlined for you.


We are already lining up our reunions for the upcoming fall/winter.  We will get around to as many cities as we can this year, and we hope you will come and hang out with us and your camp friends when we’re in a town near you.  About a month before the reunion in your home town is coming, we’ll mail you a notice and invitation.  Please add it to your calendar so we can spend a few hours reconnecting and reigniting that camp vibe!


Not only is word-of-mouth referrals the #1 way we enroll new campers, it is also a key to how our community feels so close together.  Sending us information about a prospective family is so easy…just click HERE.  We never take for granted the selfless act of sharing camp with others, and through your help, you assure that camp remains strong and viable, able to add new programs (Woodcrafts in 2019, for example), and enhance our facilities each year.  We are counting on you, and we thank you in advance for your help.


Judah Vallejo-McCann 9/2, Christian Sieve 9/3, Greg Fus 9/4, Joey Flom 9/6, Jeremy Cohn 9/7, Eli Okum 9/8, Gavin Greenwood 9/9, Rick Jones 9/9, Jackson Ford 9/10, Scott Wolf 9/11, John Kossin 9/13, Jackson Mazza 9/14, Justin Kemp 9/14, Blake Ablin 9/15, Joey Handelsman 9/15, Solomon Mervis 9/16, Dustin Cohen 9/17, Aidan Latz 9/18, Cole Bernstein 9/19, Ari Singer 9/19, Sam Cohen 9/20, Payton Friedman 9/20, Vlad Rangel 9/20, Jaden Walkowiak 9/21, Jeremy Kalishman 9/22, Jacob Viner 9/22, Christine Kemp 9/23, Curtis Fann 9/24, Elliot Rubin 9/25, Sam Kline 9/26, Aidan Mease 9/26, Benjamin Siwak 9/29, Owen Shaffer 9/30

Now that we’ve arrived in the “off-season,” we will send you a few postings each month.  We’ll be sure to alert you by email when something new is up, and if it’s something super important, we’ll make sure you know that too.  Please keep in touch with us, everyone.  We hope to see you all at a reunion near you!!

Benches up,

Mike, Leslie & Dustin