The Siren: July 4, 2023
The 4th of July is such a special day at camp! We started by gathering around the flagpole and saw everyone sporting their great Independence Day outfits. We talked at the flagpole about the ideals of our country’s founding fathers, who stood up for what they believed to be right, even when it was hard. We talked about the importance of participating in democracy to develop a sense of citizenship and engage in the functioning of their community and nation. We want our kids to learn the importance of voting, expressing their opinions, and making informed decisions. It also empowers them to become active citizens who can bring positive changes and contribute to a just and inclusive society, and we want that to be true at camp and in the outside world. At the flagpole, we had a moment of silent reflection to pay tribute to the events of last year’s Highland Park parade and to think about how each of us can play a role in making our communities a better place.
Breakfast then kicks off a tremendous energy for the day. For Grace, we read the Declaration of Independence. I always laugh that the Founders wrote about the importance of organizing to “to effect their [the people’s] Safety and Happiness,” just like we ask our staff to do all summer. Our kitchen staff serve waffles with sparklers and the music starts rocking with songs like “Born in the USA,” “Party in the USA,” and “Firework.”
Then the morning kicked off with the exhilarating Green-White Marathon, a relay race encompassing nearly every camp activity imaginable. From running races to fun-bugging, swimming, canoeing, climbing, archery, riflery, biking, skipping, tent building, tennis volleying, bed making, basketball shooting, bucket filling, and singing, each team showcased their skills and determination. The grand finale, Boil Water Boil, brought the entire camp together. Gathered around, we witnessed a neck-and-neck race as the two teams competed to be the first to build a fire capable of boiling a tin can of water. In a thrilling finish, the Green team emerged victorious, securing their triumph in the Marathon, and retaking the lead in the overall race this summer.
After a satisfying lunch, we gave the boys some time to spruce up for our Fourth of July picnic with our Birch Trail counterparts, while our staff played in the 9th annual Dan Lichtenstein Softball Classic, which is a staff softball game during rest period. We took some time to discuss our expectations for the social as well. We believe this an opportunity to teach our boys to be chivalrous and cultivate a sense of respect towards others, regardless of gender. We want our boys to use good manners, and treat everyone with courtesy and kindness. Additionally, teaching boys to avoid heteronormative assumptions promotes inclusivity and challenges outdated gender stereotypes, which we hope will usher in a more accepting society. At the heart of it all, we always want our North Star campers to live up (and even exceed) their reputation for being nice boys from great families.
And that they did! We had a great picnic at Birch Trail and enjoyed the skit, games and activities that their staff had planned for us. It was great for many of our campers to see their sisters, friends and families over in Minong and so fun to finally be back to having a social. I was also so pleased to see our campers and staff being polite, respectful and being incredibly helpful in cleaning up after themselves and others.
Upon returning to North Star, we threw a surprise Wanegan for the campers as they came to the tennis courts for our firework show. The 4th of July magic came to a close as the night sky bursted into a kaleidoscope of colors. One of our counselors said of the fireworks, “it really never gets old.”
Today’s Grace:– The Declaration of Independence
“In Congress, July 4, 1776: The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…”