The Friendship Fire
North Star began in 1945 and on the first Friday night that summer the campers and staff gathered at the Council Ring for the very first Friendship Fire. 78 summers later, we do do the same thing on the first Friday of each summer. While camp is usually full of energy, cheering and lots of silly fun, Friday nights are a time for a serene and reflective evening. We asked the campers to clean up for the evening, get dressed up (by camp standards) and bring their restaurant manners to dinner. After dinner, we gather around the flagpole for a formal retreat which includes cabin reports, a patriotic song and the lowering of the flag, before we move as a camp out to the Council Ring.
One of the traditions of the Friendship Fire is to have a representative of each city throw a keylog into the fire to represent the bonds of friendship between their hometown and North Star. After a few years with a limited number of international staff able to participate, it was so wonderful to have not only so many states represented, but also a wide variety of nationalities as well. This year we have staff from Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Philippines and Spain. We have campers at camp from 24 different states, and staff from even more. It is so incredible to be able to have this type of cultural exchange happening within our camp community.
Mason Yonover gave an incredible sermonette as he talked about the ways in which his camp friendships have shaped his life. He touched on being yourself, not hiding your emotions, and finding strength from your friends who truly care about one another. We hear often about what makes camp friendships so special, but at its simplest it is about allowing yourself to be yourself, to be vulnerable, and to be loved and appreciated for who you truly are. That is the recipe.
We had some great music and nice readings, all with the backdrop of a perfect Clear Lake sunset. And every Friday Night concludes with singing Forest Green, Taps and reciting our Camper Benediction.
Our Pine Manor campers are spending their first night in Quetico Provincial Park this evening. We look forward to sharing their tales after their adventure concludes.
If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to check out our videographer Finlay’s recap of the first few days down below.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi