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2015 January/February Travel Schedule

We’re getting ready to hit the road! Traditionally, the last week of January through the end of February means traveling to colleges, camper fairs and the American Camp Association National Conference. This year sees us visiting many of our traditional stops as we’ll return to places like Western Illinois University, several University of Wisconsin campuses, and Winona State University. We’ll head back to Indiana University and Purdue, where we haven’t been in a few years. We’ll also visit some new campuses, with trips to places like Ohio State University, Ohio U, Ball State and (hopefully) The University of Missouri.

Besides our staff recruitment, we will be back in St. Louis for the always popular Summer Opportunities Fair, this year being held at Whitfield School. New Orleans will be hosting this year’s American Camp Association National Conference, so we’ll make sure to sample some cajun food and beignets.

Below is our schedule of for the upcoming month. We’ll add a few stops, no doubt, but if you’re in the area, please let us know as we love seeing camp friends on the road. If you know of prospective campers or staff in these areas, we’d be happy to meet with any of them, so shoot us an email at with their details. We’re happy to schedule home visits with prospective campers and conduct in-person interviews with possible staff members. Referrals from those of you who know North Star is our greatest sales pitch.

January/February 2015 Travel Schedule

1/26: Ohio University – Athens, OH
Info Table and Classroom Visits
12pm – 6pm  ■  Baker University Center

1/27: Hocking College – Nelsonville, OH
Info Table
11am – 2pm  ■  Natural Resources Building, 1st Floor Lobby

1/28: Ohio State University – Columbus, OH
Summer Job and Internship Fair
10:30am-3:30pm  ■  The Ohio Union, Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom

1/29: Western Illinois University – Macomb, IL
Summer Camp Job Fair
10am – 4pm  ■  University Union, Grand Ballroom

PENDING 1/30: University of Missouri – Columbia, MO
Info Table

1/31: Summer Opportunities (camper) Fair – St. Louis, MO
10am – 3pm  ■  Whitfield School

2/1 – 2/6: American Camp Association National Conference – New Orleans, LA

2/9: Marquette University – Milwaukee, WI
ACA Mini Fair
10am – 2pm  ■  Alumni Memorial Union

2/10: Ball State University – Muncie, IN
Campus Visit
2pm – 6pm  ■  Student Center, near Tally Restaurant

2/11: Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
IU Summer Camp Jobs Fair
11:30pm – 3pm  ■  Indiana Memorial Union, Alumni Hall

2/12: Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN
Camp Recruitment Day
9am – 3pm  ■  Stewart Center, Rm 214 B (T-06)

2/16: University of Wisconsin Madison
Information Booth
11am – 3pm  ■  Education Building, Morgridge Commons

2/17: University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
Summer Camp Job Fair
10am – 3pm  ■  Dreyfus University Center, Laird Room

2/18: University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Summer and Part Time Jobs Fair
10am – 3pm  ■  Cartwright Center, Valhalla

2/19: Winona State University – Winona, MN
Camp, Internship and Volunteer Fair
11am – 3pm  ■  Student Union, Lower Kryzsko Common

2/23: University of Wisconsin Parkside – Kenosha, WI
ACA Mini Fair
10am – 2pm  ■  Main Place: Indoor common area in front of the library, within Wyllie Hall

2/24: University of Wisconsin Whitewater 
ACA Mini Fair
10am – 2pm  ■  The University Center

The Siren: Kicking Off New Staff Hiring Season

DSC_0304Today marks the unofficial kick-off of our new staff hiring season. We’ve actually been hiring new staff for a few weeks now. This is on top of a great returning staff that we are putting the finishing touches on as well as a great group of Counselors in Training. While we have already hired new staff members, tonight is the yearly kick-off event for us. From 6-8:30pm, we’ll have a table set-up at the Summer Opportunities Fair at the University of Chicago.
Truth be told, we haven’t hired all that many staff from UofC, but we go every year for a few reasons. We enjoy talking to prospective staff, the fair is free of charge, and Andy and I usually visit Medici, a restaurant known as President Obama’s local pizza place in Hyde Park. More importantly, the Summer Opportunities Fair is like our version of spring training. We get a chance to polish up our staff fair skills before hitting the road later this month.
Along with our returning staff, some of whom are back for year #2, others back for #20, we put a lot of energy into the new staff that we hire. We believe that having a great crew of new staff is vital to North Star’s success. Having a balance of returners and new staff means that we’re able to keep a stronghold on great traditions and North Star values while injecting each summer with fresh ideas and energy. Things like Glen’s Game and Espionage are a few of many NSC favorites and that were brought to camp by people who didn’t grow up at North Star (Glen Miller & Julie Schmitt Gersch). We truly believe that new staff are vital to a healthy camp culture and a healthy camp culture will lead to new staff who love and respect camp as much as our returners.
In the coming months, we’ll visit over a dozen college campuses throughout the Midwest. We’re putting the finishing touches on a schedule that will take us to old favorites like Western Illinois University, Winona State and UW-La Crosse. We’re also excited about some prospective new stops like Ohio University, Ohio State and The University of Missouri. We truly believe that meeting face to face with as many new staff as possible helps us hire a top notch staff. Beyond the interviews,  we call references, conduct criminal background checks and do a significant amount of due diligence on each new staff member that we hire.

Putting a staff together is like assembling a puzzle and we approach that eagerly approach this process. It’s also a lot of fun to meet and interview the men and women who are going to make a big difference this summer. We’ll introduce you to all of our returning and new staff in the coming weeks and as we move towards the summer of 2015. Keep an eye on The Siren for new about where we’re headed and updates from the road.

Siren News Update: From the Office

We hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Whether you traveled somewhere or stayed home, hopefully your holiday was filled with fun family visits, good food and a bit of downtime. Its crazy to think that the calendar has now turned to December and we’re just a few weeks from winter break and the holidays!

As I wrote in my last Siren entry, Andy and I headed up to camp for a few days towards the end of November. We wanted to check in with our caretaker Tom and see how our off season improvement projects are going. While winter at camp can bring tough conditions, that can’t slow Tom down as this is when our maintenance projects have to happen. This year is no different as we have the following projects ongoing:

DSC_0326J-Village Washhouse Renovation
We know that this project will make our campers and staff very happy. Our main washhouse is in the midst of a major renovation. We started by gutting the existing shower area and enlarged it to include the area that housed our hot water heaters. The concrete floors were removed and replaced with a new drainage system. The concrete was a key because it was important that the new concrete was poured and cured before winter set in.

By the time camp starts, the new shower area will see a total of 14 showers. Those showers will be fed by new tankless water heaters which will ensure enough hot water for all of our Junior and Intermediate campers and staff. New dividers, walls and an epoxy floor will make the washhouse look great! We’ll also be adding more sinks to the washhouse and freshen up the walls!

Kings Lodge Renovation
Last summer we divided the Kings Lodge cabin into two sides. We were faced with the DSC_0342prospects of having two really large Pine Manor cabins or three more manageable cabins first session. In order to make sure that the Canadian trip experience was the best possible, we wanted to have group sizes that weren’t too big. The result was successful and this year we wanted to configure the two cabins to be as comfortable as possible for campers and counselors

Once camp ended, the building’s interior was gutted. Tom, working with his brother-in-law Art, then moved the counselor quarters from the ends of the building to the middle of the building. The finished project will mean that the camper quarters are bigger, with the cabin configured much like the J-4/J-5 cabin is.Tom and Art finished this project while we were at camp and the cabins looked great!

I-1 Renovation
Over the years, our I-Village cabins received lots of TLC, with work done both on the interior and exteriors of the cabins. I-1 was one cabin that didn’t receive an overall renovation. I-1 is a log cabin and is a really neat building with lots of character. While the logs will stay and the outside will maintain that character, the inside will receive new, knotty pine walls. This project will have some fun challenges for Tom and Art as they create a flush surface for the new walls.

Check out more pics of our off season projects!

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: November from North Star

IMG_1335Greetings from the Northwoods! Andy and I decided to take a quick trip up to camp this week. November at camp can be a great time to visit. Its often a nice time to be up in the Hayward area, just as the fall is ending. Temps are often in the 30’s and you can still get some pretty mild days. Of course, for most of you, you’re likely seeing cold weather that is far below normal. Take heart, odds are that its a heck of a lot colder here than where you are! Since we headed up here early Monday I don’t think we’ve seen temperatures north of 11 degrees.

We did come up here for a reason. Tom Brokaw, our caretaker has been hard at work on several camp projects. We wanted to check in on him, see the work that he had done, and also talk about some other projects. When we got to camp, Tom and his brother-in-law Art were hard at work in the Kings Lodge cabin. Over the past few weeks, they have been reconfiguring and upgrading the insides of the building which houses two of our Senior Village cabin. They’ll soon be relocating up to the Ridge and working on an overhaul of the interior of cabin I-1.IMG_1408

The other big project that has began several weeks ago has been a renovation of the interior of our Junior Village washhouse. It was important that some of the significant work was done before temps dropped below freezing and thankfully the early cold held off just in time for that. Keep an eye on The Siren as we’ll be posting full details of our off season camp renovations, including pictures of the work being done.

We also had quite a bit of time to walk around camp. In addition to the cooler than normal temps, the Hayward area got about 16 inches of snow last week. While this made a hike around camp a bit challenging, it certainly added to the beauty of camp. Camp in the winter is totally different than summer. The trees are without any leaves, so you can really see from one end of camp to the other, spotting cabins and other things that are normally hidden by trees. The day we arrived here, Andy and I checked out the washhouse and then headed down to swim point and up the ridge. The wind was not our friend, and while it may have been about 9 degrees at that point, it felt much colder. We did our best to brave the elements, but several layers of clothes, ski gloves and wool socks can only do so much.

IMG_1400Over the last day and a half, we’ve managed to hit up most parts of camp. We checked out the Council Ring, athletic fields, riflery and archery ranges as well as the villa. Another thing that is very different about winter at camp is the sunset. During the summer we’re used to picturesque sunsets at the Council Ring over Clear Lake. By this time of the year, the sun is setting further south in the sky, so we see the sun setting over Brewer’s Bay. A potential winter funbug dude assignment would include watching the sun set towards Timber Bay Resort.

We’ll head back to Chicago tomorrow. Again, keep an eye on The Siren for more news, including full details on the exciting off season camp projects. For more pictures of our “winter” trip to camp, check out the album on Facebook. We’ll be adding more pics in the next few days!

Author Lecture for City of Chicago Parents

zellFor those in the Chicago area, and particularly those in the City of Chicago, Dr. Wendy Mogel will be speaking on Wednesday, November 12th at 7pm at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. Dr. Mogel’s session “will discuss how parents can raise self-reliant, appreciative children in a nervous and entitled world. Her talk will be followed by a brief Q&A and a book signing.”

Dr. Mogel is a clinical psychologist, international public speaker and New York Times best selling author. She wrote The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B Minus. Both books help navigate some of the challenges of parenting  children and teenagers and focus on raising compassionate, self reliant and ethical kids.

The event is free of charge, but space is limited, so if you are interested, please RSVP. Thanks to NSC mom Margie Goldblatt for passing along info on the session!

Do you know of a lecture, session or something else that would be a benefit to NSC parents, campers, staff or alumni? Email us at so that we can spread the word!

Staff News Update

DSC_2840After our summer ended, our staff headed off in all directions. Some went back to school, other began world travels. Here’s an update, so check out what our 2014 staff are up to!

– JOE CHRISTIAN is a sophomore at UW-Lacrosse where he is majoring in biology and joining ROTC program in the Fall. Joe will be playing on his club lacrosse team as well.
– SCOTT PLONSKER returned for his sophomore year at University of Illinois, where he is in the AEPi fraternity with Jonah Baim and Sam Friedland. Scott is studying business and is also in PGN, a business fraternity.
– NED SHASHOUA is a freshman at Northwestern University where he is studying chemistry. Before school started he traveled  with his dad to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.
– MARK HEMMERMAN headed off to travel all around the US. He met his sister on the West Coast to travel LA, Grand Canyon, and San Francisco. Than he’s headed to Orlando to meet Alex Holmes and traveled the East Coast with him. He returned to England, going back to school at the University of Hull for his Arts and Humanities degree, and he will started back up with lifeguarding and running his karate club.
– SAM BRICKER is a senior at Deerfield High School where he is the President of the Student Council. Sam will be playing tennis and going on a few college visits.
– ELI FRIED started as a freshman at the University of Central Florida where he will be studying Industrial Engineering.
– JACOB GUGGENHEIM started his PhD in Biorobotics at MIT.  He headed to DC for a week before moving to Boston. Jacob is planning on getting onto an IM Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball teams.
– ARI WEIL is at Pomona College where he is a freshman most likely studying International Relations. He hopes to keep biking and play some ultimate frisbee as well.
– MIKE SLAKIS returned to the University of Illinois for his sophomore year where he is studying civil engineering. He is in the Sigma Nu fraternity and is the Kitchen Manager there. Mike is also in Illini on Target, the shooting club at school. He plans to work at the rock climbing wall.
– MICHAEL BERGER is a sophomore at American University in Washington D.C, where he is studying political science and journalist. He continued his involvement in Students Helping Honduras as the director of recruitment, and will do a second trip there in the winter.
– IAN MICHELSON is a senior at New Trier. He’ll continue to play tennis to gear for up for the school season. He’s planning on going to the US Open in New York.
– ADAM CLOCH is starting as a freshman at Miami of Ohio where he is in thDSC_0068e business school. Cloch is looking forward to keeping his hockey skills fresh on the IM teams.
– HOLDEN GREENBERG began as freshman at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. Holden wants to continue his interests in Ultimate Frisbee and Shakespeare. Before heading off to school, he had a trip planned to Maine.
– JACK WALKER is in his sophomore year at the University of Southern California where he will study English. Before he left for school, he and his band the White Siberian Tigers played a few shows scheduled around Chicago and Champaign.
– NOAH BROUTMAN is inhis junior year at Deerfield High School where he is on the bowling team, Earthworks, and the stage crew.
– FOREST LEMON returned to the University of Arkansas for his Junior year, where he is studying mechanical engineering. Forest left from camp to go with his family on a week-long trip through the Boundary Waters. At school, he’s working as a lifeguard at the rec center on campus while also rock climbing and doing IM football and softball.
– ISAAC LASKO is moving to Boston to start as a freshman at Tufts University, after completing a gap year program in South America last year. Isaac is planning to follow a pre-med track. Isaac left camp a few days early and headed to Budapest and Berlin with his immediate family and a reunion with his extended family.
– ETHAN LEVY is in Madison where he will is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin. Ethan is planning to do intramural sports.
– BRAD MILLER is back at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he is a sophomore studying elementary education. Brad is on the Lacrosse team, which travels around the Midwest for tournaments.
– SPENCER REED is a senior at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, where he is going the Features Editor for the newspaper. Spencer is on the student council and the Crew team.
– PHILIP RASANSKY began his freshman year at Dartmouth. Before he headed to school, he helped his twin brother Parker move in at the University of Texas in Austin.
– JACOB ZIONTS is entering his senior year at Highland Park High School where he is involved in DECA and the debaDSC_2827te team.
– DANNY VERB returned to Tulane University for his sophomore year where he is studying business and computer science. He is part of the Hillel Leadership program and involved in his fraternity Zeta Psi.
– CHIP KASS is a freshman at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Chip is studying economics and political science, and also hopes to keep up with theater and music. Chip headed to San Francisco with his grandpa before he left for school.
– JACOB BYCK is a senior year at Deerfield High School. Jacob is involved in DECA and devoting himself to his fantasy football team.
– NATHAN MARGRETT returned to school at University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse where he is a junior studying archeology and psychology.
– MAX SINTON is a senior at Deerfield High School where he will be participating in DECA and travel lacrosse. Fantasy football will also take precedent over most matters throughout the Fall.
– JONAH BAIM is back for his sophomore year at the University of Illinois where his a computer engineering major. He is also the athletics head of the AEPi fraternity and on the Illini volleyball team.
– ETHAN HANDLER is enjoying his senior year at at Glenbrook North High School. Ethan will be playing a lot of tennis and is on the math team at GBN. He is on the Student Advisory Board, and is also a Peer Group Leader under the tutelage of Linda Rosenblum (the daughter of Lou and Renee Rosenblum, who founded North Star).
– ZACH WEBER is a junior at Roycemore Academy. Zach continued teaching climbing in Evanston and Chicago. His family is planning a trip to Asia.
– DAVID GLASS is a senior at Highland Park High School. David is on the school sailing team and continues to play the piano as well.
– DYLAN DJ JACOBS is back at Bradley University for his final college semester. In December, DJ will graduate with a degree in Interactive Media with a minor in computer science, and is looking to design the next great Disney movie.
– ZACH SHAPIRO is in his junior year and Francis W. Parker School. Zach is playing shows through School of Rock and is participating in Model UN.
– CHARLIE STERRETT returned to the University of Illinois for his junior year. Charlie is studying political science. He is also the president of his fraternity Delta Chi and is a data analysis intern at the U of I Alumni Association. Charlie is also the co-chair of iHelp, the service wing of the Alumni Association.  Charlie is looking forward to competing in the Big Ten Classic Bass Fishing Tournament in October.
– MAX PASTAN is a junior at Proctor Academy. Max is going to be involved in their chapter of Future Business Leaders of America. After camp he headed to Arkansas to do some community service work with Kipp Academy. Max also played soccer in the Fall.
– ZACH WOODY WOODBURY returned to Western Illinois University where is a junior studying information systems and economics. He will continue on the bass fishing team and is now the web coordinator of the team.
– DANIEL LEVINE is a senior at Parker, and is working the Illinois gubernatorial campaign. Daniel is the copy editor of the school newspaper as well as a writer. This fall Daniel kept  playing tennis as well, preparing for the school season in the spring.DSC_2830
– ETHAN RANE is a junior at Stevenson, where he is part of the ultimate frisbee club and intramurals as well.
– ELLIOTT GOLDBERG is a junior at New Trier High School, where he is involved in the Track and Cross Country teams.
– BIRCAN MUSTAFA traveled to Indianapolis and Chicago after camp. He was hoping to check out Los Angeles as well. Upon returning home, Bircan began  working towards becoming a quadrant supervisor at Wembley Stadium. He also was able to take in the Falcons-Lions NFL game in London.
– SAM FRIEDLAND returned for his sophomore year at the University of Illinois, where he is living in the AEPi fraternity with Scott Plonsker and Jonah Baim. Sam is the philanthropy chair of AEPi while training for a half-marathon. Sam is writing for the satire newspaper on campus.
– AMANDA CHIN heading back home to Columbus, OH to spend a few weeks with her family. She is now working as a nurse in Indianapolis.
– CHAD PRATER moved to Minneapolis where he is teaching at the Twin Cities German Immersion School. Chad is teaching middle school math.
– CAITLIN PALGEN is in her senior year at the University of Illinois where she is studying nursing. At school, Caitlin spends her free time at the rock wall and is also hoping to work in a hospital at the same time.
– ROBYN KIRK is in Cincinnati where she is a teacher at Ohio Valley Voices. Before heading back,  she stopped in Minneapolis to reunite with some old friends.
– IKE NIERMAN is a junior at New Trier where he is a pole vaulter on the track team. In his free time he likes to spend time with his friends, play music and play basketball.
– MICHAEL PALGEN is a junior at the University of Illinois where he is studying actuarial science. Michael is the brotherhood chair for Sigma Nu and is working as a desk clerk in one of the residence halls on campus.
– JACOB LEHR is back at USC where he is a junior studying economics and international relations. Lehr Bear is leading trips for the Outdoor Adventures club at school. Jacob will continue to tutor and mentor through Troy Camp.
– NICK HILL is back at Indiana University, finishing his degree in Business and Outdoor Recreation. Nick will be finishing in December and is hoping to lead trips through the spring.
– JEFF PADESKY is in his senior year at Western Illinois University where he is studying Environmental Science, Geography and GIS. Jeff will also be running track, a member of the bass fishing team, and the ultimate frisbee team. Jeff is also beginning the WIU Hydroponics club.
– RICHELLE POISSON is back at American University for her sophomore year where she is studying education as well as Spanish and international relations. Richelle will also be continuing to work on behalf of Students Helping Honduras as executive board member. In her free time she works as a nanny as well.
– OLIVER ROCKMAN returned to Emory University in Atlanta for his junior year where he is in the School of Business. Oliver is also a writer for the Emory Wheel student newspaper and a member of the outdoor club.
– NICK KASLE headed back to High Point, NC for his junior year at High Point University where he is studying Physics. Nick is also on the club swim team at school.
– LUCAS KASLE is a freshman at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where he is following in his big brother’s footsteps and is studying physics. Lucas also intends to be on the swim club at school.
– STUART WRIGLESWORTH began his post-camp adventures by heading to Houston where he met up with a friend from University. After that, he headed up to Chicago, DC and New York. Stuart is in his final year at Manchester Metropolitan University of Cheshire. He’ll is the chairman of the rugby club and also of the surf and snow society.
– ALEX HOLMES  headed to Chicago where he stayed with his co-counselors Ike Nierman and Ian Michelson. From Chicago he headed to Champaign to visit the University of lllinois, and then he flew south to Orlando. After Orlando, Alex traveled to New York, Niagara Falls, and Washington DC. In September, Alex left the US for Hong Kong where he will is working for several months teaching personal development and outdoor education for kids.
– WILL HUNT – will be going to meet his parents in San Francisco and will be heading up to Yosemite as well. Then he will return home and volunteer at three different schools. Following that, he hopes to head to Africa where will lead a volunteer effort to teach youth sports.
– CHRIS McGARRY headed to New Orleans for a week to see his dad and show Beata the French Quarter. He then returned home to Davie, FL.
DSC_2838– CIARAN POLLOCK returned to Ireland where he traied for a charity boxing match. He started school back up again where he is studying Sports Management and Coaching.
– STRATTON SHOOK took a road trip to Seattle to visit his parents and see the Nationals play the Mariners. Then he attended a bachelor party for his high school friend. He is now traveling the world with Chris Rodriguez, first heading to China and then Vietnam.
– CHRIS RODRIGUEZ – stayed on at camp for a few weeks to help close up and do some improvements, before he headed back to Fort Worth to spend some time with his family and his new baby nephew. He’s in the midst of travels with tripper Stratton in Asia.
– BEATA TAKACOVA – is returned to Slovakia where she recently graduated from her university with a degree in English and French. She is hoping to work as a translator working to translate poetry with one of her professors.
– DANI VARGAS MONTERO returned to Pachuca in Hidalgo, Mexico where she is finishing up her schooling in Culinary Arts. Dani will be travelling to Playa del Carmen to work during her vacation.

A Morning with Michael Thompson

IMG_0623Child psychologist and author Dr. Michael Thompson was in the Chicago area on Tuesday, October 21st, speaking to parents on issues facing pressured children. It was great seeing several North Star parents at the event and for those of you who weren’t able to attend; we wanted to send along a few key points from the seminar.

1. School isn’t easy. Seven periods a day, five days a week, school isn’t easy. On top of that, you add social pressures, sports, extra-curricular activities, tutors, its easy to not recognize the pressures that your son goes through on a daily basis. Think back to when you were in middle school or high school. It may have been a few decades but try to remember what your school experience was like when you were the age that your son is now. The challenges and pressures that you and your peers felt then are likely what your son is going through now.

Many parents say that they wish that they could go back to their school days. Usually that means college, not high school and certainly not middle school!

2. Every journey is different. For 1/3 of kids, school is a great fit. They are not only voracious learners, but they fit in well to the structure and regimentation that is the school environment. For the next 1/3, school may work well for them, but there are bumps along the road and there may be a subject matter or social element or two that is a real challenge for them. For the last 1/3, school is really hard for them and is a constant challenge. If a kid is good at English, they get a pat on the back, but if they get a C- on a math test, they get tutoring and additional homework in the very area that is their daily struggle.

3. Kids live for now. As a parent, you’re programmed to think about the long term. For some, this may mean getting your three year old into the right pre-school, positioning them for success in elementary school which will get them on the right track to pre-AP courses, honors level curriculum, undergrad at Stanford and ultimately partner at the law firm. To a parent, getting an A on the chemistry test is another step in the journey. Your son doesn’t think that way. Kids are predisposed to take each day as it comes, to live for the moment and they fear about missing out on the important social event.

One last tangible take-away from the session; when you ask your son how his day was, opt for a more specific question than “so how was school?”. You’re showing real interest and want some information while your son may see this as an annoyance and a concern only about his letter grades. Instead, ask him to tell you about something good and something bad that happened at school or maybe ask him how he likes math this year with Mr. Coleman instead of with Mrs. Macdonald from last year. You’ll learn more about his day and he’ll have a specific question to answer.

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.