The Friendship Fire
Every year since North Star started in 1945, the first Friday night service of the summer is the Friendship Fire. On Friday nights, we take a break from the energetic, loud and often silly tone that camp tends to have and spend the evening in a more reflective and formal time. To set the tone for the evening, the campers are encouraged to “dress up,” which means a polo or a button down, or at least an unstained shirt. Friday night dinners are roast beef, vegetables, potatoes and applesauce, and after dinner, we gather around the flagpole for cabin reports, a patriotic song, the pledge of allegiance and the lowering of the flag. And then we head out to the Council Ring.
In talking about friendship, we are talking about our expectations as a community about how people treat one another here. At the end of the service, we asked the boys to explain what being a friend means to them. Campers of all ages contributed: treat people the way we want to be treated, understand that none of us are perfect, give friends the same compassion we should give ourselves when we make mistakes, value empathy, recognize other people’s feelings, and hold each other accountable for these values. All of these actions, identified by the campers, are what creates the compassionate, inclusive environment that encourages our boys to become kind, thoughtful men.
Our keylog ceremony at the Friendship Fire asks that a representative from each city throw a stick into the fire to represent that bond of friendship between their city and North Star Camp. We acknowledged how lucky we are to gather together with friends from all over the country and the world, and we also acknowledged the members of our community who still can’t be with us because of pandemic travel restrictions. We heard poems and songs, stories and a wonderful sermonette on North Star friendships by Adam Shore. And every Friday Night concludes with singing Forest Green, Taps and reciting our Camper Benediction.
But before the serenity of a Friday Night sunset at the Council Ring, we had a fun-filled beautiful day in the Northwoods. J-5 and J-6 were able to get in some tubing. J2- and J-4 had canoeing lessons in preparation for their camping trips. Campers participated in soccer, chess, riflery, swimming, floor hockey, arts and crafts, and of course played with the baby chicks. Today was our final day of cabin based activities and the boys are very much looking forward to starting their individual choice activities tomorrow.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
– Hamlet in Shakespeare