Exploring Their Own Interests
We are pleased to report that everyone has again tested negative for COVID-19! We are so appreciative of SHIELD Illinois for making it possible to complete accurate, 3-gene, saliva PCR testing with same-results. This process has been a game changer for us and many camps throughout the Midwest. While it’s still not a certainty, knowing that all of our campers have now tested negative for COVID 3-times in 7 days gives us a great deal of confidence that we did not have any cases of COVID-19 come into camp with our campers.
With that news, we now begin our regularly scheduled program! One of the things that makes the North Star program unique is that we offer our boys a great deal of choice. Today was the first typical day at camp, with the boys choosing much of their day for themselves. On a typical day, we have five periods between breakfast and dinner. The first three periods are our instructional periods, which the boys sign up for on a weekly basis. They choose six electives for the week and take each of them for three consecutive days, for one hour and fifteen minutes each day. The fifth period most days is our Organized Free period, which is an opportunity for the boys to choose an activity that they want to do just for that day. They can also use that time to rest, read, shower, or just hang with friends. The 4th period is the one period that the boys don’t have individual choice, as that typically rotates between Challenge Games, Village Activities, and Green-White competitions. This all puts together a schedule for each child that has a great deal of structure, but also a great deal of choice within that structure.
We believe that camp is meant to be a place where the boys explore their own interests, and that is what the program is designed to do. We have some boys who will choose to be on the water all day, where others will choose the fields. Some will live at the target sports and others will gravitate towards the creative arts. And those same boys might see their interests evolve over the years as they try new things and grow as people.
We tremendously value having all types of kids at North Star, and allowing our kids to flourish at camp regardless of their interests is an important part of creating that environment. Young male friendships are so often based on having a shared interest or activity, and while that isn’t irrelevant in adulthood, the most lasting relationships in life are built on mutual trust and respect, kindness and compassion for one another. From the outside, it may look like the boys simply spend the day climbing the wall and waterskiing, but they are participating in a program that is designed to teach not only the activity specific skills, but life skills that will stick with them far beyond.
“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”
– Tallulah Bankhead