The CIT Trip
Today our Counselors in Training took their CIT Trip, which we’ll take as an excuse to tell you a little bit about our CIT Program. After concluding their Pine Manor summer at camp, North Star campers can apply to become Counselors in Training going into their junior year of high school. Our CIT program is a selective program that the campers have to apply to, interview, and demonstrate that they have the maturity and responsibility to care for other peoples’ children. The CIT program places these guys in roles as counselors and activity instructors, while providing them with additional support and guidance to train them not only for their duties at North Star, but also on so many other skills that come with a first job. It is fairly unique among the camping industry to see kids this age take on so much responsibility, but we have seen for a long time that this program adds a tremendous amount of value to the CITs themselves and to camp as a whole.
One of the biggest pieces of the transition from camper to CIT is that while the camper experience revolves around the campers, the CIT experience forces them to put their campers first. One important skill that we strive to teach our CITs is to see the bigger picture, and one of the things that has long been a part of teaching that skill is sending them on a CIT Trip to tour other camps. Today they traveled over to visit four camps, and some of the CITs took some time to write about their day:
Today the C.I.T.s went out to visit other camps for the first time since 2019. We do this trip so that we can see and understand how other camps operate. Throughout the day we saw and experienced firsthand how similar and different camps are from our own. Each camp has unique and special characteristics that can only be witnessed in person. As a group, we had the opportunity to see four camps throughout the Northwoods including, Marimeta, Menominee, Manito-wish, and lastly Eagle Ridge.
We started at Camp Marimeta, a girls’ camp that is smaller than North Star. Even though the community’s population is relatively small compared to other camps, they pride themselves on having extremely strong bonds between campers of all ages with a great community atmosphere. Many times during our tour we saw girls in the oldest cabin hanging out with the younger girls and really making them feel welcome and special. At meals they randomize the tables for each week so that girls have a chance to get to know everyone. By doing this they reinforce the relationships and community they strive for. They have a beautiful waterfront, and their director Nick (a North Star alumnus) brought up many renovations he is hoping to do in the next few years as well as some North Star traditions he is hoping to implement.
Next, we visited Camp Menominee. Menominee is similar to North Star in the way that it is an all boys camp of a similar size with some North Star alumni playing roles in its history. Here we got to play a lot of their games and eat lunch with their campers and staff. I sat with a cabin of eleven year olds, and it was clear to see how fun and strong of friends they all were. Menominee has a very large and open feel, which seemed very different to our forested North Star home.
Afterwards, we drove to Camp Manito-wish and Camp Eagle Ridge. Both of which were Co-Ed camps however they each operated in a completely different fashion. Manito-wish is very trip centered, with trips ranging from seven year olds going for three days to eighteen year olds going for forty five days. They run two, three week sessions. One of which is all girl campers and one of which is all boys. Carter, one of the directors, told us they have about 3,000 people that come through camp each summer due to all the programs they provide. On the other hand, Eagle Ridge was described to us as a Leadership Camp. They are extremely focused on creating good leadership habits whether it is their youngest or oldest campers, in large or small groups. While Eagle Ridge was much smaller in staff and size than Manito-wish they still provided an extremely inclusive and fun atmosphere for their kids. And they had an absolutely huge bell that put the classic North Star bell to shame.
Overall, seeing these other camps has given us all a new appreciation for and understanding of North Star. Every camp is unique with their own culture. Some of the things we learned about North Star is that the structure of our day is like no other, because of the fact that our campers have so much freedom of choice in what they do. We also have traditions such as UN day and espionage that are highlights of our summer every year. North Star is also on an amazing peninsula giving us the ability to see the lake from almost anywhere in camp. After seeing all of the differences between camps, we better understand that there is a camp for every type of person and North Star is the camp for us.
-Leo F and Cole D
It was a great day back at camp as well, starting the first day of a new set of activities. It was another 80-degree sunny day following an amazing storm that rolled through overnight last night with continuous rolling thunder filling the skies for several hours. We also have started practice for the North Star Games on Saturday, which already has camp buzzing with anticipation.
“Good is not good when better is expected.”
“It’s easier to pick off a fast runner than to pick off a lazy runner.”
– Vin Scully