Author Archives: Andy Shlensky

The 11th Annual Wanegan Bowl

The 11th Annual Wanegan Bowl
Friday, November 28th at 11am
Brickyards Park, Deerfield, IL

The 11th Annual Wanegan Bowl is one week away. The morning after Thanksgiving, NSC alumni will gather to relive some camp memories with a speedball game at Brickyards Park in Deerfield, IL. It is open to all current and former North Star campers and staff (2014 Pine Manor and older). With the continued growth of the game, annually topping 60 participants, we are splitting the game into an “overs” and and “unders” division. Most importantly, immediately after the game we all head to Michael’s for lunch.
This Wanegan Bowl has turned into a great camp tradition and is a wonderful alumni reunion that brings together old friends and brings out many great memories. Please RSVP on Facebook or send an email to We hope to see you there!

Siren News Update

The editors of the Siren are excited to announce some big changes. We’ve always been your place for all news North Star related. Over the years we’ve been able to branch out and utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sources to keep in touch. Going forward, we’re going to utilize the North Star Blog as a hub for North Star news. Instead of a monthly (or bi-monthly…) news letter, we’re going to bring news here, and on a more regular basis.
The print Siren, which became the online Siren was always a great way to reach out to campers, parents, staff and alumni. Truth be told, putting together a multi-page newsletter was a cumbersome task and ultimately we weren’t sending out news updates as often as we wished. The new Siren, which our blog is now known as, will have news more often. We’ll split the Siren into shorter newsletters, delivering them to you more often. We’ll continue to utilize social media and we’ll need your help sending in newsbits. Parents, make sure you let your campers know about the Siren!

– Camp Moves North Star

Throughout the month of October, the American Camp Association’s Camp Moves Me campaign has seen people all over the country work to raise money to send kids to camp. Several members of the North Star community have gotten involved to help the effort. October isn’t over yet, so see how you can either sponsor one of our campers or staff members…or get involved yourself.
Michael Thompson Ph.D will be speaking in the Northern Suburbs on Tuesday, October 21st. We’ve had the opportunity to hear Dr. Thompson speak and he has always been on our list of experts worth listening to. His sessions, “The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life” and “Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Friendship Development, Popularity & Social Cruelty in Childhood” are sure to be helpful for any parent.
Learn more about Dr. Thompson’s sessions and how to RSVP. All sessions are free to attend.
We’re setting our reunion schedule and looking forward to seeing campers and staff from coast to coast. Up first is the Chicago Area Rreunion on Sunday, November 2nd from 3:30-5:30. The reunion will be at Pinstripes in Northbrook.
– We’re proud to be a part of the Camp for All Kids Foundation. This summer, a videographer visited the five Camp for All Kids Camps; North Star, Birch Trail, Chippewa, Kamaji and Timberlane. Check out the amazing video and learn more about the tremendous organization! Campers, you may even recognize a few people.

– Recommended Reading and Other Cool Stuff

Upcoming Event for Chicago Area Parents

From time to time we post articles and other resources that we feel are valuable for members of the North Star community. For those in the Chicago area, there are some upcoming events in the northern suburbs which we feel are worth attending. Michael Thompson, Ph.D will be speaking on Tuesday, October 21st, and for those who are able to attend, its sure to be worth your while. The events are free of charge, but an RSVP is necessary.
Dr. Thompson will be speaking both in Deerfield (North Shore Unitarian Church) and at Stevenson H.S. on Wednesday on a few relevant topics that we know will be useful for parents. 
At 9:30am in Deerfield and at 7pm at Stevenson, Dr. Thompson will be presenting “The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life.” You can read the full session description here, but there is no doubt that this is a pressing issue.
At 1pm in Deerfield, Dr. Thompson will be presenting “Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Friendship Development, Popularity & Social Cruelty in Childhood”. This is sure to be a valuable session on the social complexities that children face. Here is the full session description.
We first experienced Michael Thompson a few years ago when he served as the keynote speaker at the American Camp Association’s National Conference. Dr Thompson’s straightforward and candid views were great guidance. Dr. Thompson went on to serve on the ACA’s national board. He’s the author of the book Homesick and Happy, but his expertise is certainly not limited to the summer camp world. He’s written several books on children. He and co-author, Dan Kindlon, wrote the New York Times best-selling book, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys. He is the author of Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions about Raising Sons and It’s a Boy!: Understanding Your Son’s Development from Birth to Eighteen. With co-authors Catherine O’Neill Grace and Larry Cohen, Ph.D., he wrote Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Worlds of Children and Mom, They’re Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems. He and Teresa Barker wrote The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life.
We know that Dr. Thompson is thought provoking and his knowledge of and experience working with children makes this an event that should not be missed. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP here.

The Chicago Reunion is November 2nd

North Star Chicago Reunion
Sunday, November 2nd at 3:30pm
Pinstripes Bowling – 1150 Willow Rd
Northbrook, Illinois

We hope that you will be able to join us next Sunday for the North Star Reunion. It’ll be great to catch up with friends, bowl and watch the Summer of 2014 video.  You can RSVP on Facebook or by emailing Andy ( The event is free and parents are welcome to join us too.

All, all, all are welcome to join us, whether current or former campers, staff or parents, or potential future campers. If you know of anybody in the area that might be interested in North Star for their son, please complete our short Refer-A-Friend Form and pass along the reunion information.

If you have any questions or need any more information, you can reach us at 847-943-9559. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Camp Moves North Star: Updated 10/12/14

Throughout the month of October, the American Camp Association has challenged anyone and everyone who has been impacted by camp to help raise money to send kids to camp. Their Camp Moves Me campaign encourages us all to set up accounts, be active for the month, and find sponsors to pledge us. Through our activity (running, hiking, walking, etc), our sponsors will make donations that will find camp scholarships. Check out Andy’s Camp Moves Me video below.
So we’re challenging the North Star community. You can get involved in two ways. 
Here is a list of North Star folks who have joined the Camp Moves Me fundraising campaign along with links to their pages. Click on any of their pages and become a sponsor.
Andy Shlensky:
Michael Berger:
Zach Blumenfeld:
Dan Lichtenstein:
Nate Lundin:
Nathan Margrett:
Oliver Rockman:
Dani Vargas:
Update – Added 10/12/2014:
Spencer Kent:
Jason Mann:

Or you can do one better… join the campaign and create your own Camp Moves Me page. You create a page, commit to run, hike, bike, walk, etc, and then encourage people to sponsor you. By raising just $30, you’ll receive the official Camp Moves Me t-shirt, and if you raise more you’ll have a chance to win great prizes from Toms, Chacos, Crazy Creek, and more. Once you set up your page, email us at with your page information. We’ll add your name to the list and spread the word that you’ve taken the challenge. 

Lets show everyone how much camp means to us all and lets help send kids to camp!

Camp Moves Me

During the month of October, I am participating in the American Camp Association’s Camp Moves Me fund-raiser in order to try to provide every child with a camp experience. I have pledged to run 50 miles throughout the month of October in order to help give the gift of camp to every child.
I was lucky enough to have a wonderful camp experience at North Star, and I hope that you will help contribute in my effort to make sure every child is afforded the same chance to learn and grow, experience the outdoors, gain confidence and real life skills, and form lifelong friendships.

Donate now at

I would also encourage you to get out and participate yourself. If you’ll be running anyway (or biking, hiking, etc), why not raise a little money for a great cause at the same time. Go to to sign up.

Thank You

2015 Registration is Open

Guaranteed Spots Only Until September 1st
Register Now at!

I hope that all is well and that you are enjoying what is left of your summer. Last week we capped off the Summer of 2014, North Star’s 70th summer, with an alumni reunion. Alumni gathered from all around the world to travel back to the Northwoods and we had representatives from each summer dating back to 1946, North Star’s second summer. As we gathered Friday night at the Council Ring to share keylogs of how camp has impacted our lives, it was a wonderful reminder that the lessons learned and friendships formed really do last forever. Now with a minute to look back on the Summer of 2014, I want to express my gratitude towards the whole North Star family.

I also wanted to give you an update on my family. Vickie began chemotherapy last week and she is doing great. The prognosis is very good, and this is the next step. She will have regular treatments through Thanksgiving, and then will undergo radiation therapy after that. With her being so young, we have chosen an aggressive course to hopefully prevent any recurrence of her breast cancer and ensure that she has plenty of camping left. The North Star community has been absolutely wonderful through this process, and we cannot thank you all enough for your support. If you are interested in receiving further updates, you can do so by joining our Lotsa Helping Hands site. Vickie and I are very much looking forward to knocking this out and getting back up the Northwoods for the Summer of 2015!

And as we look to the Summer of 2015, don’t forget that WE CAN ONLY GUARANTEE PLACEMENT FOR RETURNING CAMPERS IF YOU ENROLL BY SEPTEMBER 1st. Please don’t wait! This is our way of protecting our returning campers. After September 1st may be too late in many age groups. If you have a younger son that is interested in coming to camp next summer, please enroll him before September 1st as well. And if you have any friends or family that may be interested, please let them know that they should be in touch quickly. You can also fill out our Refer-A-Friend Form online.

You can Register Online at If you have any questions, please give us a call up at camp at 715-462-3254.

We are looking forward to a fantastic Summer of 2015 and we hope that you will again join us.

Most of all, we want to thank you for trusting us with your sons. We often boast that we have the nicest campers in the world, and we mean it. So thank you for making the decision to have them spend the summer with us. We look forward to many more!

Celebrating our 70th Summer with our Alumni

The idea of holding a 70th summer alumni reunion was pretty much a no brainer. Its been about 15 years since we last held an alumni reunion on-site at camp and we knew that there were lots of former campers and staff who were really wanting to get back to North Star and reunite with their camp friends. We really began pushing the event in March and with a lot of support from a handful of active alums, we were excited to welcome about 70 NSC alums to North Star this past weekend.
As is always the case, we follow up our summer with a week of post-camp, where about 25-30 families spend time here at camp transitions to more of a resort. This year we ended post camp a bit early so we could hold the reunion. Even before post-camp was over we had a handful of alumni trickle into camp, joining us for our post-camp bowling extravaganza and then coming into camp on Friday morning. Not coincidentally, they started arriving right around 11am, which is when we begin waterskiing for the day. 
Over the course of the day on Friday, we went from a handful of alums to almost our entire crowd. It was truly special seeing the different reactions when people got to camp. For some, it was being at camp after decades of absence that seemed to really strike them. For others, it was seeing friends who they hadn’t seen since their camp days that was truly emotional.
Our Friday evening saw that emotion continue as everyone went to the Council Ring for a Friendship Fire. We had some songs along with a few alums who spoke, including Jim Silberman, who did a tremendous job bringing the spirit of Lou and Renee to the reunion. As the sun was setting, Andy lit the fire for a keylog ceremony. At first, only a few people went down and we figured that it may be an abbreviated keylog ceremony. Almost an hour and a half later, the final keylog was thrown onto the fire. The outpouring of feelings, memories and gratitude at the keylog ceremony was truly special and really bridged the different generations that were at the Council Ring. After Forest Green and Taps, everyone headed to the Lodge for more stories and even a few Tombstone pizzas.
Saturday was a day of action as we had two periods in the morning with open programming. Reunion “campers” got a chance to shoot riflery and archery, go waterskiing and participate in their favorite camp activities. The big attraction was at Lou’s Diamond as half the crowd played in a softball game. As the day went on, our “campers” continued to do their best to recapture their youth as they tried to get up on slalom skis and play speedball. 
We took time in the afternoon to have a marathon. Everyone was put onto either the green or white team and everyone was given a role in the 17-event marathon. The marathon got off to an auspicious start for the white team. Only a few events into the marathon the canoeing tandem of Jon Sherman and Joel Richman were barely off shore when they tipped their canoe. In fairness, the canoe didn’t end up tipping, however both Sherm and Joel ended up in Brewer’s Bay. The white team would catch up and the boil-water-boil would be the deciding event. Ultimately it was youth over beauty as Jimmy Sarnoff and Rob Kallick were able to get their water to boil ahead of Rieber Paulson, Richard Rusnack and Guy Wolff. 
After dinner, everyone headed up to Mike Hall for a talent show/request program. Everyone was treated to Manfred Frank’s “Apples and Bananas”, Tim Schroer’s “Church Lady” and lots of other great songs and skits from years past. Everyone then rose for the “we were here” song, and it was amazing to see that every year from 2014 through 1946 had at least one person standing. After everyone participated in “Carry On” and “North Star Blues”, we again finished the evening (and for many, started the morning) in the lodge, looking at pictures and telling more stories.
There were certainly more than a few sore campers on Sunday morning, and unfortunately, our reunion had to come to a close. Many left after breakfast and by lunch, we had a few final campers standing that needed to stretch their stay at camp as long as possible. 
We’d like to throw in a keylog to everyone who was able to make it to the 70th reunion. The event also served as a fundraiser and allowed us to “remember the scholarship fund” as all money taken in by the event was donated to the Camp for All Kids Foundation. We know that many more wanted to be here and were made a bit jealous as they heard continuous updates from the weekend via text message and email. Its our hope that we are able to make this a regular event and we are looking forward to celebrating with you all in August of 2019 as we recognize North Star’s 75th summer. 

Making the Most of your Child’s Camp Experience – Post Summer

While we joke at camp that “there’s still plenty of camping left”, there’s no denying that in 24 hours, camp is going to be pretty empty. We want our campers to enjoy every last minute of their time at North Star, however today we pack up and tomorrow campers will head home not only across the country, but across the world. 
We know how excited our parents will be to see their kids. A month away is usually more challenging for Mom and Dad than it is for our campers. Processing the camp experience can be a very important tool to help wrap up the summer and for you to learn about the past four weeks. We hope that these tips help you with that.
Let your son share his camp experience on his timeline
Your camper will get off the bus and its natural for you to expect him to share story after story and to hear a dozen tales before your car enters the driveway. For some, that will happen. For many others, however, your son may not be flowing with stories off the bat. Each camper processes his camp experience a little differently, so don’t be surprised if he’s not as forthcoming with details about counselors, cabin mates and about his camp experience.
For many, the end of camp is very emotional. This is certainly the case for our older campers, especially those who are spending their final summers as campers. In 24 hours they go from sharing their cabin with 8-14 others, sitting in a lodge of over 250 and being a part of a unique community to often having a room by themselves and not always having 10 people to head down to swimpoint with. There is culture shock, so give your son a bit of space as he adjusts. 
Further, each kid is different in how verbal he truly is. Some will be very vocal about their camp experience and want to share every detail. Others will be more internal about it. Give your son some space as he makes re-entry and don’t worry if he’s not as vocal about the experience. The stories will come and hopefully you’ll also see the impact of camp, not just hear it.
Build off of your Son’s Growth
At camp, your son did lots of different things than he did at home. We believe that you’ll see your camper return home having grown as a person, both in attitude as well as responsibility. Living in a communal environment, its essential that all campers contribute and take on responsibilities. This includes things like cleaning their areas, helping at meals and helping others. Keep that going at home! Camp is one big family and that family works much better when people work together and everyone contributes and we hope for your son, this will happen at home as well. 
Beyond that, camp tends to break campers of some habits that aren’t necessarily productive. That is different for each kid, but you can help to make sure that your son doesn’t fall back into those old habits when he gets home.
One specific area that we encourage you to focus on reliance on cell phones, tablets and other electronic devices. At camp we have a no devices policy and at home you can build off of this and limit the time your son focuses on a screen. This isn’t to say that electronics don’t play an important role, they do. This summer, however, your son has proven that he doesn’t need to be device reliant, particularly at meals. 
Have them Keep in Touch!
Your son will leave camp with new friends. Some of them may live a few miles away. Others may be from a different state or country. Encourage them to stay in touch. Have them make a call every now and then, send a birthday card, or even a text or facebook message. Encourage them to set up a get together for a weekend lunch with cabin mates or other friends. These off-season communications will help them continue these great relationships and will serve to make future summers more meaningful as their friendships continue to grow and strengthen.
We’ll keep in touch too!  We take advantage of social media and will be posting on Facebook (our page is northstarcampforboys) and Twitter (our handle is northstarcamp). We’ll also post pics on Instagram at northstarcamp. Make sure that you and your camper keep us updated so we can share their news in our newsletter, the Siren. We work to keep the campfires burning all year long!