Days of Camp – July 24, 2019

Hi Folks,

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Believe it or not, we have a few.  We have signed up for, posted, and begun our 5th series of activities.  It is so hard to fathom how fast the summer is going.  We had a few boys out on trips when we signed up the series, so their 5th series will be uploaded to your Keylog page once they have returned and signed up.

In the next few days, some emails from camp will come your way.  One will be a mid-session update from your son’s counselors.  We email it to you so you get it quickly.  It is intended to be brief so the counselors can keep their focus where it belongs…on your kids!  So it’ll be a few sentences to let you know how things are going for the cabin and for your son specifically.  We hope you find it helpful.

The other email will include instructions about your son’s trip home at the end of camp.  Yikes!  We send this out early to help you prepare, so we are not rushing anything!  Please note we do not want any changes to your son’s travel plans unless it is unavoidable.  There are tons of logistics involved on our end, and seemingly minor changes on your end can result in a lot of work here.  Thanks!

We have been basking in some perfect Northwoods weather as of late.  Today, for example, has been sunny all day, very few clouds rolling by, and the high this afternoon was about 80 degrees.  The lake is so nice and warm, and we’ve had a little breeze blowing through camp.  As I mentioned earlier, today we started on the 5th series of activities.  This is the day we can usually expect a few kids not always making it to their activities on time because they’re in such a groove from the old series, they forget to switch to the new schedule.  Case in point today we had a boy not arrive at Archery on time, our cruiser checked in, and sure enough we found him at a different class.  Thing is, that class wasn’t scheduled for that period, so he was just looking around trying to figure out where everyone was.  No worries, we corralled him and pointed him in the right direction.  He’s unlikely to make the same mistake again.

Yesterday was Cruiser Day, and it was a beautiful day.  The juniors spread out around the Northwoods in vans.  One cabin checked out our local zoo, which is pretty impressive for such a small town.  3 cabins went up to Lake Superior to check out the ski jump at Copper Peak and then on to the park at Little Girls’ Point.  And one group went towards Eagle River and played around on all the inflatable aquatic toys at a park there.

The Intermediate Village was here in camp.  They all had a full day of activities, and last night they did the Egg Drop.  This is where kids pair up into teams, they get a set of supplies (popsicle sticks, yarn, tape, etc), and they try to build a contraption that will protect an egg that is dropped from a great height.  In this case, the eggs were dropped in their contraptions from the top of the climbing tower…70′ up!  In what can only be described as a feat of engineering magic, several eggs survived the drop.  Clearly, you are sending us some very smart kids.

The Senior Village was on the bus, and they went down to a waterpark near Wausau.  They also managed to fit in some go-carting and some bowling.  All in all, an excellent day.

Monday was your standard, run-of-the-mill camp day.  Sunny, mild, very nice.  Right after breakfast we asked the counselors to head out of the Lodge and we kept the kids in there to fill out a survey about their counselors.  This is a chance for the boys to anonymously tell us how things are going from their standpoint.  We make it pretty simple with some questions they can answer about each of their counselors by circling a smiley, a plain, or a frowney face.  When the kids are done we collect them, we look through them and write a summary of the feedback, pointing out any patterns or substantive issues we see.  Then at a meeting we had on Wednesday evening, the counselors looked over the feedback forms together.

As you’d expect, most of the feedback is very positive.  Sometimes we can see a pattern that indicates a camper hasn’t yet felt connected with one of his counselors.  If he feels that way and hasn’t verbally expressed it (which happens sometimes), then this information is like gold to the counselor who can take some very simple steps to spend extra time and make sure that connection happens.  And that is what every counselor wants, after all.

This is one process we use to collect and share feedback with our staff.  There are other processes and this coming week we will have 1:1 chats with each counselor and trip leader in camp to review all of the relevant feedback about them, solicit feedback from them about how they’re doing and how they see the summer going Most importantly – this is an opportunity for us to provide the information and support the counselors need to stay energized and positive for the coming weeks.

Last Sunday was our first Lazy Breakfast of the session.  Usually the first one is very busy right at the beginning, but this time around it was more mellow.  We had a steady pace of kids coming in and ordering omelettes and eggs and other breakfast goodies, and we had an awesome crew of kids helping us out.  It was truly a well-oiled machine.

That night was one of our favorite evening programs…Casino Night.  Yes, moms & dads, as a full service camp we take our responsibility to teach your boys how to gamble seriously.  After dinner we took a few minutes to set up our outdoor casino (it was another perfect day and evening), and then we opened up.  We had Blackjack tables, Poker tables, Taplinko, Bingo, a Horse Race card game, War, the Human Slot Machine, and even an Roulette table.  And if someone didn’t know how a game is played, the counselors running the game taught them.  Just like Vegas!

In addition, we had a sports book where kids could place bets on things like a counselor Tushball game, 2 on 2 sand volleyball, and of course, a pudding eating contest.  I may not be the most skilled adult you’ve ever met, but folks – I can eat chocolate pudding.  And I can eat it quickly.  So word has gotten out and those gamblers looking for a sure thing tend to bet on me.  The odds are set accordingly, so they had a mere 2-1 pay out if they bet on me…which they should always do.  A few bold soles placed bets on some of the other contenders (last session Leslie got in on it, but this session she declined) who had higher pay outs in the event they won.  Alas…they didn’t.

When the casino finally closed, the boys got together and pooled their winnings.  Earlier in the day they had ranked prizes in order of preference, and the casino organizers then awarded prizes to those who wanted them based on average winnings per camper in the cabin.  These are boys, so many of the prizes are – of course – food prizes.  They include cooking S’Mores over a campfire, having Leslie bake banana bread for the cabin, things like that.  One cabin is going to watch a movie in the Rec Hall after evening program, one is going to be able to go skiing during rest period, and one will have our Intermediate Village Director be their waiter for a meal.  Last session he went all out…table cloth, center piece, the works.

The boys had an awesome time, and we really enjoyed the night.

Looking ahead, we’ve got some fun stuff coming up.  Tonight is the Counselor Hunt…a giant Hide ‘n’ Go Seek game.  When that’s over, we’ll gather around the flagpole and recognize the campers who have been elected by the counselors in their village as “Champions” for the upcoming Titans Day!  I’ll tell you more about that in a future blog post, but being a Champion is a huge honor and a very big deal.  On Friday we will have our Legacy Campfire when we celebrate one of our staff members spending his 10th summer at camp.  And on Sunday night it’s Karaoke Night!  So many fun things on the horizon!!

FUTURE TRIP DEPARTURES:

  • Namekagon River, WI – 3 days river canoeing
  • Flambeau River, WI – 3 days river canoeing
  • Coastal Canadian, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Canada – 8 days backpacking

We’ll write again soon.

Benches up,

Mike, Leslie & Dustin