Dear Campers, Parents, Staff, Alums & Friends,
This is the time of year when we remember just how lucky we truly are. We love Tucson…the mountains, the desert landscape, the weather. It’s great, and when we’re packing to head to camp, there is a part that is a little sad to leave. Maybe some of that is anticipating the 30 hour drive to get to camp. However, once we arrive in the beautiful Northwoods, there’s just nothing quite like it! The driveway into camp – for those of you who have never had the pleasure – is nearly a mile long, and although the trees have not yet fully leafed out, when they do it forms a natural canopy that filters the sunlight leading you in. And as you pass by lake after lake after river after lake, and ultimately make that final turn that leads you down this pristine gravel road and into the camp area, it is overwhelming. The Northwoods has a smell of Nature, sweetness of pine, moisture in the air (compared to the desert), and soon we’ll add sweaty kids and stinky socks, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the mix, and we know, we really know, that not so many people get to experience this. Not to mention the opportunity to spend our summer with so many great kids and staff members all here to make friends, grow, and have fun. Yep, we know how lucky we are.
BILL MILLER, our amazing kitchen manager of 24 years, and I rolled into camp on a gorgeous Sunday morning. The sky was clear blue, and it was a sight to behold. Especially the lake!! My very first summer at Timberlane was in 1985, so my perspective of what a “full” lake looks like was shaped that summer. In the ensuing years we’ve had long stretches of drought, and the lake receded quite a bit. Over the past 3 years we’ve seen a mighty comeback, but nothing could have prepared us for what we encountered at our first excited walk to the waterfront. The lake is up higher now than even that very first summer in ‘85. In fact, just about the entire boardwalk is submerged! Can you imagine that? Not to worry…we have a plan to raise it up so you will still be able to walk over the water instead of in it. Lake Towanda is the healthiest I have ever seen it, and that’s 5good news.
The rest of camp is in pretty fantastic shape too. We’ve got some fun surprises for you. One you’ll see as soon as you hop off the buses and vans at take a look at the Tramp area. You’re gonna like it. The other is down at the swim area. You’re gonna LOVE that one! No leaks here, though….you’ll just have to wait till you see it.
We have a small crew of folks who are already here getting camp set up. The climbing tower and Bouldering Cave are all set up, soon the Ropes Course will be hung up, and things move pretty quickly. Leslie arrived a week after Bill and I, and we’ve already started some training with 4 of our Trip Leaders having completed in a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) course. Trip Leader training began for all Trippers a few days ago. We begin Sailing and Climbing staff training in just a couple of days, and then soon after that we’ll have a dozen folks going through Lifeguard Training. Our admin team begins training in a day or so, and then our first-year staff will be here and beginning their training at the end of the week. And finally, our entire staff of nearly 100 folks will join together on June 11th in preparation for the campers’ arrival. Sound busy? It is, and you know what else? WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE EVERYONE UP HERE! It’s time to get started!!
CAMPER TRAVEL: If your son is a first-session or 8-week camper, we have mailed you Travel-to-Camp information via US Mail. It is also posted on your Keylog Page. You will find specific instructions about your son’s trip to camp, so please read through it carefully. If your son is riding a bus to camp from Chicago or Milwaukee, we’ve also mailed you two baggage tags that you should fill out, and then attach one to each of his duffel bags. If your son is flying en route to camp, we have enclosed two vinyl baggage tags to your packet. Each duffel should get one vinyl tag filled out with your home address information. If your son is coming up 2nd session, we will mail a travel packet to you at the beginning of July.
FOR FLYING CAMPERS: A few days before your camper’s flight, we will email you with the name of the staff member we will have meeting your son’s flight right at his arrival gate in Minneapolis. We’ll include his/her address and phone number. We have been told Delta Airline may ask you for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that the person meeting the flight will have to have for the airline to release their minor. In that event, please use 1188 so we don’t have to remember so many different numbers. If you are not allowed to use that for some reason, be sure to send your PIN to us ahead of time, and we’ll have it when we meet your son’s flight at his arrival gate.
Please….DO NOT SEND MATTRESS PADS SUCH AS “EGG CRATES” TO CAMP! Folks, we mean it. They’re totally unnecessary. Our mattresses are not the “typical” 4” cot-style mattresses you think about when you think camp. No, no. Ours are 8” mattresses with springs! They’re super comfy. When kids have the mattress covers, most of the times their bottom sheets won’t fit over the cover and the mattress. So what happens? When they lie down or put any weight on the bed, everything releases from around the mattress and bundles up in the center of the bed. Not pretty, and also not comfy. And guess what happens when camp is over? Those non-bio-degradable petroleum-based foamy, yucky things end up in our garbage cans and ultimately in the land-fill. No more. Don’t buy them, don’t send them, we will NOT permit the boys to use them, and we will ship them back to you at your expense. Thanks.
We also remind you that “flip-flop” shoes are only for inside the cabins. The boys cannot wear them outside the cabin at any time. Sandals with a heel strap that keeps the foot in place are allowed up until we gather around the flagpole before dinner. At that point, everyone must be in closed-toe, athletic shoes.
Electronics? Not much use for them up here. As stated on our “Unplugged Policy” document on your Keylog page, we do not permit the boys to have phones or Internet/Wi-Fi devices of any type. If they wish to bring a music device, it must not be capable of playing games or videos. Inexpensive MP3 devices are sold at Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Music devices are for use in the cabins only.
GLUTEN-FREE? If your son is gluten-free, we’ve got ya covered. (Mike is gluten-free too!) We will provide all of our gluten-avoiding campers (and staff) with gluten-free bread, pastas, pizza crusts, cereals, and any other staples. There is no extra charge to you for this. We ask that you NOT send any of these things up to camp for your son. We know that each of us may have our favorites in the gluten-free world of foods, but it has just become too big for us to manage so many separate preferences.
LETTER WRITING: That’s right, folks, it’s Old School time. You can write letters to your son using our Post Office Box address (see below). Within a day or so of his arrival, we’ll send you an email notifying you that you can see a photo of his cabin group, a list of all the kids, and some background info on all of his counselors. At that point, you’ll know his cabin name and number, and we’d appreciate it if you’d begin using his cabin number when you address letters to him. Until then, please use:
PO Box 1188
Woodruff, WI. 54568
The very night your son arrives at camp, he’ll write you a quick postcard (we do it right after dinner, so please excuse the spaghetti sauce), which will go in Tuesday’s mail. You should have it no later than Friday. And we begin our twice-weekly Letter Writing Days later in the week.
THE CHALLENGE OF CAMP PARENTHOOD: Please remember—one of the most valuable parts of the camp experience for your camper is the separation from you that he will experience and grow from this summer. For him, it’s likely to be easily managed, even if he experiences some homesickness at first. For some parents, though, this most vital part of the camp experience is also the hardest part. You’re so accustomed to knowing all that goes on in your kids’ lives (most of it, anyway), and for four weeks or even eight weeks, you simply will not. Remember, the camp experience is all about him! This is so much fun for him and so important a part of his growth and his healthy and positive arrival into young adulthood. We’re gonna take great care of him, and you’ll hear all the details from him when he returns home. We’ll fill you in as best as we can while he’s here with a twice-weekly “Directors’ Journal,” with thousands of photos posted online, and with communication from your son’s counselors. All that said, camp parents maintain a purposeful distance from their campers during the camp session. So we just remind you that this is 100% for your son’s benefit, and we ask that you please hang in there with the knowledge you are providing him an invaluable gift. And we truly appreciate it too.
BRAVO TO OUR JUNE BIRTHDAY BOYS & GIRLS! Karen Mc Kelvey – 6/1/1949, Drew Spiegel – 6/6/2005, Hawk Peterson – 6/7/2003, Ari Kaden – 6/10/2003, Ben Kaden – 6/10/2003, Alex Peck – 6/10/2001, Henry Berkson – 6/12/2007, Grant Kibel – 6/12/2001, Ryan Hearst – 6/15/2000, Drew Mutchnik – 6/18/2004, Jackson Schneider – 6/18/2005, Zachary Segall – 6/18/2007, Henry Cohen – 6/19/2007, Ollie Lucoff – 6/19/2006, Billy Jack Boyce – 6/20/2004, Micah Shulman – 6/20/2006, Jared Settler – 6/22/2005, Mike Cohen – 6/23/1961, Charlie Lovett – 6/23/2003, Chad Ruff – 6/23/2004, Edgar Cisneros Ruiz – 6/24/1994, Alejandro Seiden – 6/24/2004, Fernando Abaroa – 6/26/2003, Eli Goldblatt – 6/27/2006, Avi Hiken – 6/28/2001, Joey Rosenblum – 6/28/2001, Sam Henson – 6/29/2003, Henry Levy – 6/29/2002, Joe Levy – 6/29/2002, David Wine – 6/29/2001, Noah Goldblatt – 6/30/2004.
Alrighty folks. We’re not ready yet, but you can bet we will be by the time those buses arrive on June 19th. Starting after the boys arrive, we will write a “Directors’ Journal” twice each week and we’ll post lots and lots of photos. From all of us here, we thank you sincerely for entrusting your kids with us. We will work hard every day to make sure that trust is well placed. Let’s get camping!!