The Stuff

Hi Folks,

ANNOUNCEMENTS: You should have received an email from us telling you about the feature on your Keylog Page that shows you a photo of your camper’s cabin group, and information about the campers and counselors in the cabin.  PLUS, we have begun activities (Yay!), and your son’s activity schedule is also available for you to see on your Keylog page.  We have 3 trips departing camp tomorrow, and those will also be uploaded at that time.  Phew!  So much information!!

Camp already has the right feel.  This afternoon, after working our way through the “red tape” stuff, we were able to get to the good stuff.  Our schedule of activities is underway, and that is awesome!  At 3 PM, the bell rang, and the kids flocked out of their cabins on their way to activities.  Everyone, from the most seasoned of campers who could probably navigate their way to the Mountain Biking area with their eyes closed, to the first-timers whose eyes have been wide open for the past two days, was smiling with excitement and anticipation, ready to get into the program. 

I like to hang out in the Central Area at the start of activity periods to chat up the kids as they go by (mostly running by), answer questions if any kids are uncertain where to go or even some forget what period it is or what’s on their schedule, and just get the feel of the moment.  Today, it felt right which is not always to be expected on the very first day of activities.  But it did.  This is what we plan all winter for, why we hire the staff we do and train them the way we do.  This is the stuff.

Made my way down to the Waterski dock to see how that was going, and got a report from a veteran camper that he was SO close to getting up on a slalom ski.  He tried several times last year and didn’t quite get there, but he is 100% certain he’s going to make that stride soon this summer.  He was pumped.  Headed out to the Weight Shack and saw some of the older kids doing some chest and tri exercises.  They were working hard and smiling all at the same tmie.  On to the Climbing Tower where new climbers were learning how to tie their Figure 8 knots, and learning about belaying.  Across the athletic field to the Archery range where some experienced archers were shooting from 15 yards.  Most were hitting close to the bulls eye, but one guy was getting reacquainted with the whole aiming process with some 1:1 help from a counselor.  A quick cut through the woods and I came across the Yoga class doing some pretty impressive downward facing dogs, into a chaturanga pushup.  They made it look easy, but there was definitely some grunting going on.  That might have just been me, come to think of it….I was on my bicycle.  On my way to watch the OWLS class, I passed by the tennis courts where 2 instructors were working with a beginning class on basic ground strokes.  Over to watch the kids in OWLS get their first introduction to paddling, with work primarily on the forward and reverse strokes.  Tomorrow they’ll practice that and hopefully move on to the turning strokes.  I didn’t get to see it, but some sailors were out for a few hours on Big Arbor Vitae lake, and they came back very happy after their first day on the boat.  All that’s just what I got to take in on my bike tour.  There was a lot more going on….all good stuff.

After dinner about 4 nights a week, the kids can have “Canteen,” which is a sweet treat, like a candy bar.  We know lots of kids don’t have that at home, but at camp they are burning so many calories, so we make this available.  For the record, there are healthier alternatives also available, like nice granola bars, but they don’t move too quickly.  Anyway, we have counselors in charge of Canteen over the summer, and it’s a fairly coveted position.  Why?  Well, when kids are getting a candy bar, they’re very happy, and very happy kids are so much fun!  One of our long-time counselors from Houston definitely upped the game a bit this year when he presented Leslie (the decision maker) with a full on printed resume supporting his bid to run the Canteen again this year.  We’re talking full page, single spaced, small font, and all business.  Among his many qualifications, he listed the following:

-Bachelor of Child Development
-Minor: Candy Distribution Studies

Work Experience:
– Canteen Director, June 2016 – Present: Planned and coordinated candy distribution to over 250 people.  Served equal proportion of healthy and unhealthy goods to promote balanced diet in the camp community.

Leadership and Activities:
-Chile Advisor (United Nations Day), 2016: Led team into the ground for 1 day, but I learned a valuable lesson about respect and camaraderie. 

-Capture the Flag General
-Most featured on @camptlane instagram

Interests (this was my favorite):
-Wylie, Yadi (our 2 dogs), Grateful Dead (Leslie’s 2nd favorite music behind country), 3 Musketeers (Leslie’s favorite candy bar), Quilting (Leslie’s hobby), Tucson (our hometown), and the list went on.

Needless to say, he retained his lofty position.  More importantly, he applied his energy and his creativity to make his point – yes – but to also bring a smile to Leslie’s face.  That’s good stuff. 

Tomorrow we’ve got some good time ahead of us.  We’ll have a full day of activities, our first trips will depart, and tomorrow night we’ll play some games to keep up the energy level.  On Friday, more of the same, and Friday evening will be our very first campfire of the summer.  We’re looking forward to that!

Tomorrow’s Trips:
– Porcupine Mountains, Michigan: 3 days backpacking
– Peshtigo River, Wisconsin: 3 days river canoeing
– Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin: 4 days rock climbing

Friday’s Trip:
– Isle Royale Nat’l Park, MN/MI: 10 days backpacking

We are so happy to have our trips program kicking into gear for our returning campers!  First-year campers are involved in the OWLS training program for the next 5 days, and then they’ll have their chances to get out there into the wilderness!

Camp feels good…it feels right.  We enjoy our time up here before the season begins and after it ends, but it is this time right now that we love the most.  We love this good stuff!!

We’ll write you again soon.

Benches up,

Mike & Leslie