Days of Camp! June 21, 2019

Hi Folks,


To say we are off to an incredible start is to grossly understate the truth.  Camp is rocking!  We have some typical benchmarks we can use to measure how kids and counselors are feeling, how the groups are doing, and just the overall flavor of camp.  For example, our “early riser” count has fallen off dramatically, and much earlier than usual.  The day after the boys arrived, there were at least 30 kids up waaaay before the wake up bell.  That’s very normal.  Camp feels new and different, the sun reflects off the lake and shines through the cabin windows, so it makes sense that kids might wake up.  After some time with a busy daily schedule, it tends to drop off slowly.  This year, by the 2nd full day of camp, we had less than 10 kids up early.  And this morning at 7:30, I counted 4 kids up hanging out with me.  There’s no better night’s sleep than you get at camp!

Mother Nature has been good to us too.  We are on a gradual warming trend, with temperatures expected to crest 80 degrees early next week.  Between now and then, we’ll be creeping into the high 70s.  Most days have been sunny, or partly cloudy, with the big marshmallowy looking clouds floating by.  It’s so easy to be in a great mood, enjoy being outside and playing, and forgetting entirely about using sunscreen and drinking enough water.  So we keep up with the reminders.

Wednesday was Picture Day, and that was just about perfect.  The combination of having an ideal morning for photos and being well organized helped us get the whole thing done in less than 90 minutes.  That’s very quick.  After the photos we convened our first semester of The University of Trampball.  As you (should) know, Trampball was founded at Camp Timberlane back in the ’60s.  So we take the game pretty seriously and want to make sure the kids all know how to play it, if they want to.

It was just your typical university class, with bleachers set up around the Trampball court and professors of Trampball on the court teaching, explaining, and demonstrating everything from the rules of the game to the finer points of strategy.  Not only did the boys get an education, but watching the counselors – aka professors – play was truly entertaining.  They demonstrated the dos and the don’ts very well and did it in dramatic and funny fashion.

Wednesday night we played our first Capture the Flag game of the summer.  Our kids are placed on a Blue or White team for this event and several others over the course of the session.  Naturally, when the session ends we ALL celebrate with an ice cream party…we are non-competitive, after all.  So it was Blue v White for Cap Flag, but in case you didn’t already know, our game is a very evolved, hybrid version.

Each village (Junior-Intermediate-Senior) is playing each other on the same fields at the same time.  So if you’re a Junior Blue wearing a green pinny, you’re playing the Junior Whites wearing yellow pinnies.  Get it?  What’s more, there are multiple flags for both sides to capture and try to return to their own side.  AND the flag might be a pool noodle, which can only be handed off from player to player, OR it might be a football, which can be passed between players.  How incredibly cool is that?!

It was a perfect night for the game.  It was clear and in the high 60s.  Warm enough to be comfy, but not too warm for lots of running.  The games were awesome and the night ended with some very close scoring.

Yesterday was a full on normal, typical camp day.  We just love those.  We had a full day of activities, a morning and afternoon free period, free swim, the works.  Oh so nice!  Last night we played a game we call The Quest.  For this we divide into several random teams with kids from each age group on each team.  The program is a combination scavenger hunt and team performance event.  For instance, one of the items they gather during the hunt is a bunch of t-shirts.  Then, when we convene in the Rec Hall for the 2nd half, one of the events is to see how quickly a few kids selected from each team can fold 10 t-shirts….neatly!  And, of course, while the kids are folding, the rest of the team is cheering them on, so it gets loud and raucous and fun very quickly.  As the program concluded, kids were walking out of the Rec Hall telling stories of the night with smiles all around.

Today is another “Chamber of Commerce” weather day.  It’s sunny, it’s 77 degrees, and our afternoon activities have just started.  We had a beautiful and busy morning, and after lunch our illustrious Camp Council held it’s first meeting.  Camp council reps are elected by each cabin group, with some very strict campaign finance laws.  The council provides us with some guidance and ideas for ways to make camp better, and our Associate Director, Dustin, does a great job of keeping the council on track and steering them towards…y’know…reality.  So no, we won’t be building saunas in each cabin.  Not this year, at least.

Tonight we’ll have our very first campfire of the summer, and kids are talking about it.  They can’t wait.  We’ll tell some stories, learn about the Northwoods a bit, listen to some musicians play, and have a Keylog Ceremony.  The Keylog Ceremony is a time when anyone has a chance to speak briefly in front of the whole camp to express gratitude or friendship, and the entire camp family listens respectfully.  You would be amazed at the things kids are willing to say and share in that comfortable and supportive setting.  It’s one of our most revered and significant experiences, and it happens at every campfire.

In the coming days we have a great mix of “normal” days of camp and some very special evening programs.  We’ll tell you all about them in the upcoming blogs.


  • Sand River, Canada – 7  days river canoeing

We’ll write again soon.

Benches up,

Mike, Leslie & Dustin