Dear Campers, Parents, Staff, Alums & Friends,
There was a time in history when people had grave concerns about roads being built to connect towns and villages. It was progress, but many worried about what the new transience might mean to societies. Later, when trains arrived on the scene, traveling at “breakneck” speeds of 20 MPH, more worries accompanied them. Concerns surfaced about how the speed and ease with which people could leave their home towns would change the whole sense of locale and “home.” Technological progress almost always brings anxiety along with it…that’s been our history for centuries. So is it just more knee-jerk skepticism when those of us in the world of youth development raise the alarm about smart phones? I don’t think so. No doubt, those little gadgets are amazing! Incredible! However, for kids who use them in an unregulated, unsupervised, uninterrupted way, they have great potential for harm.
Comparing today’s technology with yesterday’s, it’s good to note that it wasn’t children who were using those roads and those crazy speedy trains…at least not without adult accompaniment. However, today it is children who are spending hour after hour after hour with their noses only inches from the small screens on their numerous devices. Children are not small versions of grown adults…they are developmentally different. And yet, in many households, they are the ones teaching the adults about this emerging technology. Who then is watching out for the kids? Some adults do, but many just leave our kids to their devices, and supervise or interject very little.
In the old days, there were some beautiful stories of people who had the itch to keep moving and could never settle down….they had to ride the rails. So, perhaps in those stories the tracks and roads had some sort of addictive quality. In modern-day real life, cell phones and video games ARE addictive, often producing an actual dopamine rush to the users. We adults can certainly attest to our own compulsion to reflexively reach for those things. Why else would well-mannered grown-ups interrupt a personal conversation or a meal at a restaurant to respond to the tiny vibration in the pocket or purse? For most of us, there is certainly nothing in our lives that has become SO urgent that we cannot be out of touch for a few moments during the day. No, it is the devices and our addiction to them that make us reach for them every few minutes, regardless of where we are or what we’re doing. If you have one of these devices, you are not immune.
Adults are in a better position than children to stop themselves or seek out help if they cannot stop themselves from acting on their addictions. The exuberance of youth, which is how kids get SO into sports or SO into music is also how they can get SO into addictive behaviors, including addiction to electronics. And since addiction to almost anything is bad, it is certain that addiction to smart phones is also bad. Want more proof? Check out this list of New York Times articles that address this very issue. Each one is compelling…there are hundreds out there. Brain researchers are adding to the discussion and point to activity in the brain that is stimulated during screen use and overtakes the development of other vital brain functions including focus and learning. Electronic devices impact sleep patterns and are major contributors to the current generation of teenagers being the most sleep-deprived generation in modern times.
So, we just want to remind you that camp is unplugged, and unplugged for a reason! Our updated Unplugged Policy is posted on your Parent Keylog pages. The only change this year is that we are no longer allowing iTouches. Kids can bring a music device so long as it cannot play videos or games and has no wi-fi capability. We strongly prefer devices that have no screens at all. We believe deeply that it is up to us to reduce our kids’ dependency on electronic devices, and we know camp gives us a great opportunity to do that. This is why we are SO protective of the camp environment, and try to keep the kids from exposure to these things while they’re with us. We believe that keeping these advanced electronics out of their hands in the summer is critical, but not enough. We actually want the boys to NOT EVEN SEE these things while they’re at camp. That’s why our staff may not have them while in the presence of the campers (with logical exceptions for safety considerations while away from camp). That’s why many of us cringe just a bit when visitors are in camp flashing their electronics around. Out of sight = out of mind = time to recuperate from all that exposure all “off-season” long.
As important, we care about all of our campers, when they are at camp and when they are at home. So we encourage all of our camp parents to establish your own rules for when, where, and for how long your kids can use their electronic devices when they’re not at camp. Camp and home are two different places. We get that. We have the setting, the people, and the active lifestyle to provide great role models, social interactions, and adventures without electronics. Still, we know parents can do a lot for their kids at home. Devise a plan, talk with your kids, have some open-mindedness and flexibility, be prepared to offer alternative ideas for your kids to spend their free time. But remember that it is so easy to get out of control with these things, and you are doing them a favor by setting some reasonable limits! Interesting anecdote…when we ask our older boys what it was like to be without their phones for their time at camp, many of them tell us that they were concerned at first, but really came to appreciate and enjoy being away from it. A frequent description we heard was they enjoyed being “untethered” during the summer. And there ain’t no app for that. There is helpful information (ironically) online, and we suggest you take a look at Common Sense Media’s website for some parenting tips. Thanks for reading along.
February’s travel schedule was a hearty one! It included a trip to St. Louis where several guys kept me company as I hung out at the annual camp fair there (thanks, guys!). From there it was off to New Orleans for a reunion and visit to the American Camp Association Conference. I love New Orleans, and tried to show JAKE REUTER, RICK JONES, JEFF MELROSE, “HITCH” HITCHENS and EMILY JONES a good time down there while also attending some great educational sessions at the conference. And we also had the pleasure of spending time with “old-timers” JOHNNY WASZCZAK and JEFF LEIKEN. We learned a lot, and we ate even more! Then it was back in the air for a reunion in Atlanta (where I forgot to take a photo of everyone! Sorry about that y’all!!) And finally, a road trip to Telluride, Colorado for some serious face to face skiing – uh…I mean conferring – with Jake. Okay, okay…we also skied a lot…so much powder! Now that March has arrived, our travel schedule winds down, with a trip to Washington, DC area early in the month.
And the enrollment train continues to roll on. If you’re still on the fence and you’re not sure if we have space, please call us. 1st Session is all booked up, but we have room 2nd session in most age groups. Welcome back to the following “old-timers” who re-enrolled this past month: BRETT MILLER and DEVIN SHAW, of St. Louis, MO.
Welcome aboard to the following new campers who will join us this summer: CHARLIE & EDDIE TEPPER of Chicago, IL; TYLER BORSTEIN of Highland Park, IL; COLE BOISVERT of Dallas, TX; GABE NEWMAN of Oak Park, IL; ETHAN SCHLESINGER of Mequon, WI; and ELLIOT RUBIN of Wilmette, IL. We are in for the greatest summer ever!!
YO PARENTS: We know it seems like you just did this, but the 3rd (Spring) deposit is due by March 15th. If you have any questions, about that, please let us know. Thanks very much in advance.
It’s March, which means we have lots of stuff to tell you about. Why? Because it’s time to start getting serious about things like medical forms, the packing list, and other goodies like that. Fun, fun, fun!!
PAPER WORK: Let’s talk a bit about forms, paperwork, and other joys of preparing for camp. We want to try and help clarify what we need from you, and how to get it to us. To begin with, we understand that some of the online stuff can be a hassle. We’re constantly working with our own web developer (a former camper/counselor, of course) and the folks at CampDoc to make it all easier and more logical to use. It’s a work in progress and we just ask for your patience. The most important thing to know is that our ONLY purpose in getting this info from you is so we are 100% prepared for your campers. We truly need everything that we ask you for so we can take great care of your kids, and know as much about them as possible. We use all of the info to prepare the counselors and, of course, our nurses, as a large part of our training in the weeks and days before your boys arrive at camp. Please bear with us, be as forthcoming as possible, and know that we can never have too much information in this effort. Thanks for your patience.
ALL MEDICAL-RELATED FORMS ARE LOCATED ON CAMPDOC.COM. You should have received an email from CampDoc with login instructions. Please let us know right away if you have not yet received login info from CampDoc. Once logged in, you can complete all of your camper’s medical information. This includes:
HEALTH PROFILE: Many of you have already completed your Health Profile forms, which is great. If you’re unsure of what sections you have not yet completed, you can login to CampDoc.com and check the status of your forms. If you have any questions along the way, please let us know.
HEALTH INSURANCE CARD: You must provide a copy of the front and back of your health insurance card for the policy that covers your camper. This can be uploaded directly to your CampDoc account. IF YOUR SON IS A RETURNING CAMPER AND YOUR INSURANCE IS UNCHANGED FROM LAST SUMMER YOU DO NOT NEED TO UPLOAD A NEW COPY.
IMAGED DOCUMENTS: There are 2 documents that you must fill out and upload to your CampDoc account. This includes:
*Medical Recommendation Form: A one-page PDF document that your doctor must fill out EACH summer. This is the doctor’s verification that your son is healthy enough to attend camp, and it is a requirement by the ACA and the state of Wisconsin. You can download the blank form from your CampDoc page OR from your Parent Keylog page on our website.
*Clinic Data Form: A two-page PDF document that we will use in the event your camper must see a doctor in town while he is with us. Having this done ahead of any such required visit greatly improves our ability to have campers seen by a doctor in a timely way, regardless of which medical facility near us we may choose. You can download the blank form from your CampDoc page OR from your Parent Keylog page on our website.
“I DON’T KNOW HOW TO UPLOAD!” Yes, it can be daunting, but honestly, it’s not that hard. If you can scan a copy of your insurance card, or the forms that need to be uploaded, then it’s easy. Just follow the instructions on the CampDoc page. If you do not have a scanner, you can take a photo of the card or form, and upload that photo to your page. Please look at the photo you are going to upload to make sure all of the information is legible. Thanks.
If all else fails, please send us the originals, and we will upload them to your CampDoc account for you.
ALL OTHER FORMS ARE LOCATED ON OUR PARENT KEYLOG PAGE ON OUR WEBSITE. On your Parent Keylog page, there are a few other forms you will need to fill out and send to us, and some important information for you as well. This includes:
SPRING INFORMATION: A one-page PDF document that explains pretty much everything we’re telling you about in this newsletter. Print that sucker out and put it up on your refrigerator so you don’t forget anything!
PACKING LIST: A two-page PDF document that is oh-so-informative about what to pack for camp. We absolutely promise you that if you follow this list precisely, your camper will have everything he will need for 4 or 8 weeks at camp.
ORDER TIMBERWEAR ONLINE: A link to the Everything Summer Camp website where you can buy most everything your son will need, as well as camp logo’d items. The ONLY REQUIREMENT we have for logo’d items is a standard camp laundry bag. If you’d like your son to have his clothing and gear in time for camp, PLEASE PLACE YOUR ORDER BY MAY 1ST!
CAMPER PROFILE FORM: A form you fill out and submit online. Good stuff for us to know about your son to help us get ready for him. Also your 2nd (and last) opportunity to make cabin mate requests. THIS FORM IS NOT REQUIRED FOR CITs. Parents, please be sure to read through this form each year….it retains any input you entered from prior years, but we really need you to keep us current. Thanks!
ACTIVITY/TRIP LIST A two-page PDF file for you to read or print out and discuss with your son. Get the ball rolling on activities and trips your camper may be interested in. Remember, there are no activity sign ups until the kids arrive at camp.
VISITING WEEKEND RSVP: A form you fill out and submit online. If you have a full season camper, or CIT, and you plan to join us for our Visiting Weekend, please let us know as soon as you can.
TRANSPORTATION TO & FROM CAMP: Your Parent Keylog page has this information for you pertaining to your son’s travel:
*Travel Form: A form you fill out and submit online. This confirms your son’s method of traveling to and from camp. Please submit this to us no later than May 15th. Please also remember our policy regarding changes in bus travel, “Withdrawal from bus travel within 1 week of travel days will still incur full bus fares. Additions to bus travel within 2 weeks of travel days cannot be guaranteed a seat on the bus.”
*Register for Flights to/from Camp: This takes you right to the Sojourn Travel website where you can see all the information regarding flights, Unaccompanied Minor arrangements, baggage concerns, etc. IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY BOOKED YOUR SON’S FLIGHTS TO CAMP, YOU ARE BEHIND SCHEDULE! The later it gets, the higher the fares will be. If you are booking your son’s travel independent of our travel agent, that’s okay, but we must know about it. And our travel agent will not be able to assist in the event a schedule change or flight interruption occurs.
**CIT TRAVEL: We have been in touch with many CIT parents already about this. We have a special email for you pertaining to CIT travel to and from camp that will come your way early this month.
*Travel-to-Camp Information: A two-page PDF document. Detailed info about meeting our bus in the Chicago area, about how we arrange flights and handle baggage for flying kids, etc. A HARD COPY OF THIS WILL BE MAILED TO YOU IN THE WEEKS BEFORE YOUR SON COMES TO CAMP. That will be accompanied by baggage tags to be placed on your son’s duffel bags.
GENERAL POLICY INFO: More fun stuff for you to read about on your Parent Keylog page.
*Unplugged Policy: One change for this year. We no longer allow the kids to have iTouch devices. We tried, we gave it a few years, and it really didn’t work for camp. iTouches have games and videos and Wi-Fi, and it posed too large a conflict for us to continue to manage. WHICH DEVICES ARE ALLOWED? We’re glad you asked. You can send any music player that meet the following requirements: *It cannot play games *It cannot have Wi-Fi capabilty *If the device is capable of playing videos, it must have no videos loaded. As in past years, iPads or iPhones (or any type of tablet computer or phone) remain prohibited. WE DO NOT ALLOW E-READERS.
*Packages Policy: Unchanged this year. You can only send reading material like books and magazines. Unplugged ones!
YO OLD GUYS: If you will complete 7th grade or older this summer, you may be eligible for one or more of our “Big Trips” this summer. You’ve certainly heard older campers talk about these trips a lot during prior summers, so you know how special they are. Next month we’ll send you a letter that will note what trips you have already completed, and what trips you are eligible for. Have a look, and if you’d like to pre-register for a big trip that you are (or soon can be) eligible for, you can do that from our website. The link for that is here, and then click the “Trips Info” link and the “advanced registration” link.
We have booked our permits for all of the trips, including the Quetico (a.k.a. The Canadian). We are required to request Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permits for all participants for this trip, not just the trip leaders. This means that we will ask those of you who are eligible for this trip to try and decide before camp starts if you want to go. If so, we’ll have a little paper work for your parents to sign, and we’ll need a photo copy of your passport that we can include in your RABC application. It’s a little more complicated, but it is just so worth it! Please call or email us if you want to talk about this or any other trips for this summer.
We also want to remind you this one last time that if you will complete 8th grade or older this summer, you are a candidate to be a Big Brother for a new camper. As we noted last month, if you would prefer NOT to be a Big Brother, that’s fine, but you need to let us know by March 15th. We will begin making Big Brother/Little Brother assignments after that, so we can send those assignments out in early April. Thanks very much.
YO STAFF: Paper work time for you too! You’re so lucky!! The Staff Health History form is now on CampDoc.com. You have received an email from CampDoc requesting that you login and create a password. From there, it’s pretty easy. We need this by May 15th, please.
We also want to remind you of the training opportunities available to you this summer. These include Lifeguard Training certification, as well as recertification courses to renew your LGT and/or First Aid and/or CPR for the Professional Rescuer. Remember, your LGT certification is NOT VALID unless your CPR Pro is current. CPR Pro must be renewed every year or 2 years, depending on when you last completed it. How do you sign up? Log in to your Staff Keylog Page, and click the “Extra Training” link. And what does it cost? Not a single penny! Please do this as soon as you know you can make those training dates.
We are so incredibly lucky to be almost fully staffed at this point. Our HUGE return of staff from last year (and as you’ll see, even from a few years ago!), has put us in a great position to be soooo choosy as we interview new staff candidates. We’re very excited about the amazing lineup of counselors, trippers, and other staff you campers will get to hang out with this summer. Take a look at these returning staff members!
Brittany is returning for her 3rd summer from Milledgeville, Georgia. She is a 21 year old Junior at Georgia College and State University where she studies Outdoor Education and Recreation. Brittany will again be our camp photographer as well as helping with the photography program.
Erik, from Wayne Pennsylvania, is back for his 2nd summer and will once again be a Wilderness Trip Leader. Erik is a 21 year old senior at the University of Colorado Boulder where he studies Mechanical Engineering.
Max joins us for his 10th summer at camp after an absences of several years. Wow! Max will be 21 this summer, and is a at the University of Texas at Austin where he is studying Economics. He will be a Senior Counselor and helping with Riflery, Water Skiing and Golf.
|Rich is back for his 19th summer at camp! Incredible!! Rich is 42 years old and works in the Chicago area as a videographer and editor. He has been a counselor for many summers, and he returns again this year as our Waterfront Director.|
Emmet joins us for his 2nd summer at camp as a Wilderness Trip Leader. He is a senior at Cornell College where he studies Geology. He is currently in the Bahamas of part of a study on the decline of corals in the Caribbean. Emmet will be 23 this summer. He is excited to return to camp & see everyone again!!
Say hi to the following new folks who have joined our staff for this summer:
Evan is a sophomore studying Exercise Science at Northern Arizona University and he joins us from Queen Creek, Arizona. Evan will be a senior counselor as well as helping with Baseball and Basketball. Evan will be 20 years old this spring.
Andres joins us from all the way from Puebla Mexico for his first summer at camp. He is a 22 year old student at Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla where he studies Actuarial Science. Andres will be a part of our kitchen utility team this summer.
Richard joins us from across the pond from his home town Westbourne, England. Richard is a self-employed photographer and film maker. He is 27 years old and will be a cabin counselor and helping with Riflery, Archery and Digital Photography.
In the Chicago area, MYLES ROSENTSEIN and ETHAN LETWAT went on a trip to Israel last month. In Atlanta, COLE KAPLAN has been playing tennis and lacrosse. Before camp this summer, Cole will go on a cool trip to Africa! MATT HOWARD was an offensive lineman on his school football team last fall, has been playing basketball, and is getting geared up for driver’s ed soon. PETER FINK has been playing soccer and basketball. HENRY ALFORD has been busy with baseball. In St. Louis, DEVON BIERMAN is playing on his school waterpolo team and is president of the student council. HARRY COOVERT is playing guitar in a rock school band, and played a gig at Blueberry Hill, a famous area venue. WILLIAM COOVERT is playing outdoor soccer, getting ready to start baseball season, and wrote a summer camp fairy tale for his English class. OWEN TAYLOR is on the student council at his school, and bumped into JACK KAHN at a Bar Mitzvah party last month. ADAM POGER is playing tennis. MAX PUGH is recovering from a broken ankle he sustained at a wrestling tournament. He managed to win 2 matches after he broke his ankle. RAYJ RIKIMARU is playing basketball on his school team and also playing tennis. DEVIN SHAW is playing pitcher and outfield on his school’s baseball team. JEREMY COHN is also playing baseball and is a pitcher. ADAM COHN is playing baseball as well and also plays viola in the honors and chamber orchestras at his school. OWEN FRENCH is starting baseball and plays 1st base. HENRY COEN traveled to London and Paris over winter break. New Orleans finds SETH BERK starting baseball season, and ARI BERK is active in his school’s newspaper and Latin club. HENRY LOVETT came in from Los Angeles and took 3rd place in a regional tennis tournament in Tucson last month.
SCOTT MAYER is finishing his senior year at Tulane University and is awaiting word from medical schools to determine where he’ll be next fall. Scott joined several camping professionals for an evening workshop during the ACA conference. DAVID GAIDAMAK is also a student at Tulane, and is hoping to work out his plans to return to camp this summer. JEREMY SUTTON has returned from his adventures in India, and is currently in Washington, DC working for an NGO called Search for Common Ground. He is also working as a JV baseball coach at a high school in Georgetown, and at an athletic facility for kids on the weekends. DOMI BRUNEAU has been on a visit to Telluride for the past few weeks, and is exploring some architecture opportunities in the Aspen area. Domi and JAKE REUTER are on a little driving tour, and will spend some time in Steamboat Springs with “old-timers” RYAN COHEN and RYAN ELIAS. On the other side of the “puddle,” BRIAN BARLOW is in England for the semester, and recently paid a visit to HENRY TARR.
BRAVO TO OUR MARCH BIRTHDAY BOYS: Parker Annan – 3/1/2002, Alexander Echt – 3/1/1999, Brett Miller – 3/1/2004, Shannon Thoits – 3/1/1996, Michael Egge – 3/3/1994, Eddie Rosenblum – 3/3/1996, Dillon Berlin – 3/4/2002, Jack Robinowitz – 3/4/2005, Dillon Aronoff – 3/6/2004, Javy Vallejo-McCann – 3/6/2003, Ben Sollinger – 3/11/2001, Jonah Gerstein – 3/12/2004, Joey Ettinger – 3/13/2003, Spencer Coplan – 3/15/2002, Jonathan Bloom – 3/20/1999, Dustin Greenwood – 3/20/2005, Sam Jaffe – 3/20/1999, Brian Strain – 3/22/1981, Desmond Brown – 3/23/2002, Max Boron – 3/26/2004, Joe Berns – 3/28/2001, Daniel Rothstein – 3/28/2003, Aaron Berkowitz – 3/29/1996, Adam Rubin – 3/29/2000, Joey Salit – 3/30/2001, and Zach Coplan – 3/31/2000.
That’s all the news for now. Busy times are coming, and before ya know it, we’ll be together in the beautiful Northwoods! Have a great March everyone!!