And We’re Off!

With the crack of thunder, we were off and the Summer of 2011 was underway! The storm in Chicago was loud, though you could hardly hear it on the bus as the noise of excitement filled the bus. As we drove North, the storm relented, but the noise did not. Old friends were catching up and the new campers were hearing stories of what’s to come. A crew was stationed at the Minneapolis to pick up the boys arriving from all over the country, and even some other countries. And as excited as they were, none of them knew what was really waiting for them at camp.

Since we started our pre-camp orientation, it has been easy to see just how much fun this staff is. Their enthusiasm has really been contagious, both while learning and while playing. Many of these guys are returning for their 8th, 9th, or even 10th summers and have been helping spread the North Star love. And the new guys have jumped right in. The first night that the whole group was together, a few of them taught the whole staff a new game that had everybody laughing and singing for hours (you can actually see some parts of the game on video on Leb’s Ramblings). 
That staff energy was on full display as they jumped for joy when the kids arrived. We gathered around the flagpole with the sun peeking through the clouds, and the campers and counselors alike went crazy as the cabins were announced. The kids have now unpacked and new campers have been given a tour of camp. By the time they go to sleep tonight, they’ll have played games with their cabins and met some of the other guys their age as well.
Dinner this evening will be burgers, fries, jello, salad and the ever present peanut butter and jelly. There will be vegetarian burgers available for those that prefer, and brownies for dessert. The pre-camp food has been delicious and I believe your boys will be well fed this summer.
The evening activities will be followed by the candlelight ceremonies, where each cabin will have a meeting led 
by their counselors to share their goals and expectations for the summer. This will be the first of many cabin discussions that are an important part of the “team” building goals that we have for each cabin group, and helps develop the strong sense of community that we strive for at camp.
Tomorrow the kids will have a busy day as they get checked out by the medical staff, take a swim test, choose their 1st week’s schedule and find time to play several games of dodge ball and capture the flag. Then tomorrow evening will be the staff show, where our very talented group will be on display. Whether musical or comedic, we have found out that this group can put on a show.
This past Friday, one of Hayward’s contestants for Musky Queen joined us for lunch in an attempt to raise money for charity by selling buttons. The inner lodge was roaring as the guys serenaded her with songs and cheers. She expertly fended off date requests in various forms as Ari Shifman and Jacob Sherman tried to out-cheer one another for her love, Josh Gilford tried to buy it in buttons. She sold buttons like they were made of gold, but was only made to blush when Nick Kasle decided that the fastest route to her heart was by showing off his muscles.
This was just another display of the creativity and enthusiasm of this group. Since they arrived, they have impressed us with their maturity and thoughtfulness, keeping us laughing hysterically all the while. We are very confident that this group will help make it an awesome summer for your son.
Our overnight trip program begins with a roar on Wednesday when our oldest campers leave for 9 days on their Canadian camping trip. Throughout their camping careers they have taken cabin trips with their bunkmates ranging in length from 2 days when they were younger and then went on 3 and 4 day trips before the Canadian adventure this summer. We’ll tell you more as the summer progresses.
This is the first of a series of Letters that we call “Leb’s Ramblings.” They will be posted on the website at in the The Lodge under the Media Room and called Leb’s Ramblings. You can also access the site directly at
We post pictures online on a regular basis, and starting this summer you will be able to access those from your CampInTouch page. To access your CampInTouch page, go to and click “login” in the upper right hand corner. From there you can click on “Photos” to see those smiling faces. If you’d like to set up guest accounts for friends or family you can do that from your landing page by clicking on “Guest Accounts.”
Best wishes,
Leb, Sue, Dan and Andy