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Category Archives: tradition

Track meet, meet the the decathlon

June 06, 2017

  1. The track meet is almost as old as Camp Highlands itself. It’s a reminder of the early close ties to the Chicago Lab School and an emphasis on worthwhile pastimes such as track and field.
    Today? Today, we took it up a notch. After a tie in last year’s meet, Andy and Craig had a moment of brilliance and the decathlon was born! Ten events, lots of boys and staff and a few rubber chickens – that’s what a decathlon at Highlands is made of. (Well, actually, a decathlon at Highlands is made up of the long jump, shot put/softball throw, 50 yd. dash, Frisbee relay, riflery, archery, canoe race, chicken launch**, a cross country run, and final division relays.)
    76 boys ran in the cross country race on Friday evening.
    S E V E N T Y – S I X  B O Y S – over three quarters of camp ran in that race. Boys like *my kid who is not a runner (never has been) and RAN! I guarantee you, the lion’s share of boys who participated aren’t runners, but they took the initiative and showed up. Isn’t that what life is all about?

    Not being sure if you’re capable, but showing up anyway.

    I was proud of each and every boy who turned out for that race.
    The other cool thing about the decathlon is that it took up the. whole. day. Yep. We finished at 5 p.m. with an ARMY VICTORY, and were quickly ushered off to supper (Sloppy Joe’s) and then into the world-famous (no, really) Games on the Hill. Games were damp but fun and welcomed a NAVY VICTORY. So we’re all pretty much winning here, see?
    As you may have noticed, the weather has been kind of…meh. But these young men haven’t shied away from going for it. They’re learning, playing, paddling, tossing, batting and RUNNING toward life.
    And on that note…
    I ❤ CH,
    Tracy B.
    **

    Those are rubber chickens in sling shots being caught in baskets. Check out the Instagram Story for some action shots.

  2. ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE

    This morning, walking up to flag raising I overheard one of our staff guys comment to a young camper as he was gazing out over the boating bay, “Another day in paradise, eh?” The young man simply grinned and nodded. Another day in paradise, indeed.
    It’s been quite a week at Camp Highlands. This past Saturday we had our 4th of July Army/Navy Track Meet (on the 25th of June…don’t ask…) where it was LITERALLY neck and neck the entire time, INCLUDING our final lap on our final relay which saw an absolute TIE at the finish line, resulting in the first ever TIE of the track meet. At the announcement in the Dining Hall, with the anxious Admiral Armstrong and General Fox waiting to hear who would bear the brunt of the challenge, what I thought would be a disappointing announcement actually produced the opposite result. The hall erupted in cheers, and a spontaneous chant of, “Highlands! Highlands! Highlands! We’re all friends!” Everyone was thrilled—and the General and Admiral thought it only fair that they BOTH participate in the challenge. Go Highlands!
    On Sunday at our Assembly, after telling the boys the story of I’m Third, we had some powerful testimonies from some of our men from Cabin One. It was great. Then, with a heavy heart I inducted Ross Freeland into the Camp Highlands Hall of Fame, and announced that we have renamed our ball fields, “Freeland Field.”
    And then we added a new Honor Camper Quality to our list of 17. The new quality added is one that is exemplified in the I’m Third motto. This trait encourages us to measure our sense of self esteem and pride against a higher moral code; a moral code that places our value in the ways in which we act and interact with the world around us, not by the amount of “likes” we get on our selfies.
    Truth is we are flawed people; we make mistakes and fall short; we let our vanity take advantage of our morals, and our desires overcome our hopes and visions. And that is just part of who we are. Which is why this value is a good one to have.
    This value affirms us in our brokenness, and invites us to give life a go again; to try, and to fail, and to try again.
    So we add our 18th honor camper quality. It is, “Humility.”
    Author CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
    Contrary to what popular culture may want us to believe, we believe that the greatest rewards in this life come from our ability to live well, love others and be of good service. And this trait is the cornerstone to understanding that and living into it well. And this place is one where we are affirmed in our willingness to try again, to be good to one another, and to have a great time while doing it. Another beautiful day in paradise, indeed.
    Better. Wortwhile. Highlands.

  3. CHOF's on Parade

    I had an interesting realization the other day.
    I was sitting with THREE of my former counselors at supper. And there were only 4 of us at the table.
    How lucky am I?
    Someone recently remarked to me that they thought it might be odd that we have SO many CHOF’s on staff. To me, it would be odd NOT to have them here.
    I’m a big fan of depth; whether it is on my staff here at Highlands, or really in any worthwhile organization. At a camp, having guys who are 19 years old is important. They can be your high energy, every minute is an opportunity to do something zany, let’s go ahead and play dodgeball for two hours kind of guys. And their energy and enthusiasm drives camp—keeps it action packed and adventurous. And we need that- and we love that.
    But it is also important to me to balance that with our seasoned veterans- our 24 year old guys who are swinging through Highlands during their grad school years, or as a last gasp before they head into the corporate world. These guys can still bring the enthusiasm, but they’re also the guys who are willing to step up to leadership opportunities; whether it is leading our big trips or teaching fellow staff members about trip safety and cabin bonding. They are gold.
    And then I have our CHOF’s (Camp Highlands Old…Fellas). The CHOF’s are those of us (yes, us…) who range in age from 27-77. Dave runs the trip room. Otter helps there, and pretty much anywhere else he’s needed. When not at Highlands, Loren is a teacher in Kansas; here he teaches canoeing. Kent is a retired teacher and cross-country coach. Here he leads our low-ropes course, and is the head counselor of our youngest guys. I have 14 guys over the age of 40 on staff.
    The value of having this 60 year swing in staff age is that I have a grounded, well-rounded group of guys who can bring their passion for all things Highlands, and provide the kind of coverage and decision making skills necessary to ensure that our campers have an incredible experience here. Their history at Highlands (heck, I have a few 19 year old guys who already have 10 years at Highlands!) means our values and the qualities we hold dear run deep. Both (2!) of our new staff men caught on pretty quick to the Highlands Way. My hope is your campers catch the spirit as well. I believe that having the old guys around is just as important as having the young. And I consider myself quite lucky to have the opportunity to bring them all back, year after year after year. To me, this is just one of the reasons why we have thrived for so long at Camp Highlands. And, to me, it is so cool to have my first counselor here, my last counselor here, and not one but TWO of the guys in the middle.
    Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.
    AB

    From right to left, AB's last counselor, Craig Ericksen, his first counselor, Dave Baker, and one from the middle, Jim DiDomenico

    From right to left, AB’s last counselor, Craig Ericksen, his first counselor, Dave Baker, and one from the middle, Jim DiDomenico

  4. Smallest to tallest

    Today I ventured into no-woman’s land. That’s to say, I ate lunch in boy’s camp. [Side note, did you know that women were not allowed past the infirmary until 1966? That’s a whole other blog post!] And OH, how much fun did I have?!
    First of all, lunch was incredible. Pork loin cooked to perfection (thank you Lois), mashed potatoes, apple sauce, broccoli, bread and pumpkin cake for desert. I *tried* to avoid the cake, but Lordy, it was just too good.
    The bugle calls the waiters to lunch ten minutes early. They line up in the kitchen, trays of food in hand, and once the rest of camp is in the dining room, the waiters process in.
    Smallest to tallest.

    Boys line up in order from smallest to tallest!

    Waiters line up in order from youngest cabin to the oldest cabin.

    And I have to tell you guys, I got choked up. I watched the smallest boy, a young man that I don’t know much at all, walk past me – carefully, wobbly, balancing the tray of food for his cabin. Next, the Colt division, slightly more confident. Then the Labrador puppies of camp, the Juniors (their bodies haven’t quite caught up to their feet, you know?!) sort of gallop past. And finally our oldest waiter. Senior, Davis Altorfer, *fourth generation* Highlands man and a boy I’ve known since he was *this big*, strolled through the door, confidently wielding his tray, looking around, laughing. It was like I saw the face of *my* son pass quickly by, through the ages to ultimately end up six feet tall, with a goofy bandana around his head (but totally rocking it, you know?!). You don’t know when these moments are going to sneak up on you, but man-oh-man. It got me today.
    All weepiness aside, there are incredible moments in that dining room, hidden away from us lady-folk, specially reserved for campers and staff men. Moments like when Kent Taylor was recognized by Kent Overbey for climbing the stone fireplace blindfolded and then teaching a class to graduate Adventure/Ropes. Like when the boys that got stuck in the kitchen just before announcements reappeared from the kitchen and everyone clapped for them! (So funny!) Like when Andy blessed the mysterious aroma of the garlic bread (what?!). We all know that breaking bread with people is sacred, but I’d offer that at Camp, these meals are extra special.
    The boys haven’t realized it yet, but they’re changed beings after this third week. As we ease into the last week, it’ll sneak up on them. And they’ll be processing the changes that have taken place this summer all year long. Camp just gets under your skin that way.
    This summer. This life! It MOVES, folks. Here we are ten days out from the end of our 111th summer. I don’t want it to stop! We have so much further to hike! So many more balls to throw. So many more times to jump into Plum. But it’s looming out there.
    For now, I’ll sit lakeside, talk to my future Senior campers in the boating bay and discover the mystery of garlic bread. I’m not ready to pack up yet!
    And on that note…
    I ❤ CH // tracy b.

  5. Tales from Tower Three

    Anyone who has been to camp knows of our famous towers. Our lake neighbors love to come down and gawk as the boys perform feats of courage and craziness as they leap into the air, 18 feet above the water.
    From down on the dock, the towers are really not that daunting. But once you climb them, and stand on that third platform in particular, it can seem like you’re 500 feet off the surface. And it can be intimidating. I still get nervous when I stand up there.
    So the other day when I saw a camper from way down in Cabin 25 take his first step off Tower Three I knew I got to witness one of the greatest moments of the summer.
    There are lots of “firsts” at Camp. First time you paddle a kayak, first time you get up on water skis – heck! – first time you are away from your parents home for more that a night! And we love to celebrate those “firsts.” We celebrate them because we know how special they are. We know how important they are in helping to shape these young men lives into our Worthwhile Man line that says, “Give me the courage of the man who knows that if he will, he can.”

    Give me the courage of the man who knows that if he will, he can.

    “Give me the courage of the man who knows that if he will, he can.” The little guy who *jumped* pictured above.

    That little guy from Cabin 25 stood on Tower Three for 45 minutes. Then the bugle blew, calling the waiters to come get supper ready. But the lifeguards didn’t budge. And neither did his cousins (all 4 of them). Everybody stood by, eyes to the sky, waiting.
    He’d walk to the edge, then skitter back. He’d try to take a running start, only to stop short. He stood there for an eternity. Finally his cousins climbed up, and jumped off, to show him how easy it can be. One of our lifeguards went up and jumped off, showing him how he could do it. But still, he waited…
    Finally, first call blew, calling all of us to supper. And suddenly he did it – he took off of that tower and even before he hit the water the roar of the crowd erupted. It was awesome. He emerged from the water triumphant – beaming with pride and accomplishment.
    All of our sons are experiencing plenty of soul-stretching, discomforting moments of first-ness all the time. And when they do something new the smiles that shine forth from their faces are those of young men who know that they are living into a new reality; a world where they are beginning to get the sense that if they set their mind to something, then chances are good that they can accomplish it. Whether it’s jumping off Tower Three for the first time, or simply being away from mom and dad for four weeks. It is a special thing to witness those breakthrough moments. And it is a moment that I don’t think any of us will soon forget.
    Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.
    Andy B.

  6. Highlands Time

    Whew!! What a weekend! Have you had a chance to look through the gallery? Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Hot and sunny. It may have been the best day all summer! The Steeplechase, Senior Carnival and Games on the Hill were EPIC. Call me crazy, but it’s a day like yesterday that really makes camp feel like a big family. We are bonded after participating in decades-old traditions. One hundred and eleven. Now that’s a birthday, you guys. We did our very best to celebrate in style!

    The biggest Seniors start off the race with a bang.

    The biggest Seniors start off the race with a bang.

    Today it seems like someone must have known that we were tired and gave us a cool, quiet and intermittently rainy day. The kind of day that makes turkey dinner taste especially good!
    During Sunday Assembly, we got to take a look at some old medium-format photos of camp from *way* back in the day. Andy walked us through a little history of the first few summers at camp, when the boys simply felled trees and cleared the space for what is now Junior Hill (not sure what that activity would have been named. Lumberjacking?). You might find the history of camp interesting, too, and if you haven’t already, take a look at the Highlands Archives for all sorts of fascinating stories about former campers and staff members.
    After our brief history lesson Shaun Trenholm offered a reflection on the art of saying “thank you” in a letter. Shaun’s words remind me how lucky we are to know each other here at Camp and how each one of us has something unique and important to offer to the group. Shaun’s legacy at Highlands is legendary. He started Highlands as a camper in 1968 and then started coming back as a counselor in 1984. I’ve not met many people that illustrate the Highlands Honor Camper Qualities so well. THANK YOU Shaun for all that you do for Highlands!
    After the noon meal, we enjoyed an extended rest hour. Then boys enjoyed open activities this afternoon. The best thing about Sunday, though, is Sing. The fun just keeps on coming!
    We are looking forward to the week ahead. Week three of four, my favorite week at camp. The boys know each other now, and real friendships have developed. Many guys have been on their trip. They have attended all the activities and had the opportunity to experience trial and failure and then…success! I am incredibly happy that *my* kid has the time and space to work on dropping a ski. He’s been at it for two whole summers, and he got very close on Friday. He’ll get assigned to skiing this week, and he’ll turn up at free-time and I bet he is slaloming by this Friday. That’s the true gift of four weeks at Camp. Time and space to figure out what you are good at, and what you would like to improve upon.
    These boys amaze me. From the Cub that’s learning to repel in Adventure, to the Senior that’s hiking 100 miles across Isle Royale – I’m inspired by them. I’m inspired by our counselors that have the patience to teach and coach them. I’m inspired by the opportunities for leadership our older campers have.
    Your boys will have four (or maybe seven) weeks to play, grow, learn, stretch and lead. And Camp has had 111 years to play, grow, learn, stretch and lead.
    How lucky we are.
    And on that note…
    I ❤ CH // tracy b.

  7. Divide and conquer

    Wednesday is Division Day at camp, a time when boys divvy up into their divisions and spend the afternoon together. The Colt division gets to cruise into town today to goof off at The Waters water park in Minocqua, grill out at Clear Lake and end the day watching the awesome Min-Aqua Bats ski show. It’s an action packed day for sure, but they aren’t the only ones having a great time. The Cubs are packing up and spending the night on local Pallette Lake, they’ll roast marshmallows, play in pristine water with a sand bottom and get good use out of their sleeping bags and flashlights! God bless those Cubbie counselors who wrangle all twenty or so eight, nine and 10 year olds! The Senior division will convoy down Plum lake by whatever means available – kayak, canoe, etc. to tie up at the Sayner Pier. They’ll cook out in Sayner and play softball on the Sayner ball field. Juniors will have camp all to themselves tonight, cooking out on our large stone grill in the adventure ropes area and play games. These Wednesdays are a nice break in the routine. They offer up a little more free time to the boys, a slightly longer rest hour and time to just enjoy being together with all the boys in their age group. The cooks like it too, as it’s their night off!

    steeplechase

    Everyone gets into the action during the Steeplechase. Pictures from 2013’s race give you a little taste of the fun!

    We are gearing up for the camp birthday this Saturday. We will turn 111 this year, and I have to say, I think we’ve never looked better! We celebrate our birthday each year with the world-famous Steeplechase, a two and a half hour Army/Navy relay race, with a course that runs through camp and even around Five Pines and to the Star Portage! Each boy participates in their own crucial event in the race and it’s a rip-roaring good time. Events range from pin bowling, to soccer dribbling, to jumping through a hoola hoop from Tower Three. The relay culminates during the nail-biting water boil and Baker tent set up and breakdown. The fun starts about 9 a.m. and goes on throughout the morning ending around 11:30 a.m.
    At 3 p.m., the Seniors host camp down in the Row for the random-little-known-games Olympics – the Senior Carnival – complete with homemade dunk tank, pillow fight jousting and bug juice chugging! And what do you win at this Carnival? Bachmann Bucks of course.
    The fun doesn’t stop there. After the Carnival, we have a picnic supper on Junior Hill followed by Games on the Hill, also a Highlands highlight. This is also an Army/Navy competition filled with wheel barrow races and the copyrighted Broom Race (you have to see it to understand it). Saturday is ACTION PACKED and is my favorite day of the whole summer.
    lakephoto

    A great day to ski, sailing, not so much!

    The weather continues to be dry and cool, which is better than wet and cool. We’ll take it! Check out this glassy lake photo taken just an hour ago. I don’t know how those sailors got all the way out there with such low wind! It’s just camp magic, I suppose.
    We hope you guys at home are having half as much fun as we are here at camp!
    And on that note… 
    I ❤ CH // tracy b.

  8. First term is coming to an end

    Argh! It's Pirate Day!

    Argh! It’s Pirate Day!

    We had an awesome weekend! You likely saw the pictures from Pirate Day on Saturday. We had somuchfun! The boys were placed into four teams and spent the day in pirate-themed activities. I don’t know who had more fun, the campers or the staff (including Andy Bachmann, who fully embraced his role as Black Beard). Saturday evening we had a picnic supper on Junior Hill. It was a great end to the day.
    Sunday’s Assembly allowed us a time to reflect on our summer so far. Boys shared in their cabin groups whether they had achieved the goals they set during the first week at camp. If they hadn’t, they were prompted to think about what they could do to achieve them this week. Assembly is a quiet time in camp. After a fast and fun week, it’s always good to have a few moments to think about the incredible achievements the boys have made.
    The show must go on!

    The show must go on!

    Sunday afternoons are open activities, so boys can choose which activity to attend in order to work on Achievement Credits or just participate in whatever their favorite activities might be. And of course Sunday Night Sing is a blast. The power was knocked out by a brief thunderstorm. Conveniently our caretaker Kevin is the fire chief and he cruised up Junior Hill in a fire truck and hooked up a generator to run the electricity for the lantern slide projector! What a hoot!
    The week ahead is going to be a good one. Today is the final Division Day. The Cubbies have the bus today and are headed to the Wildwood Wildlife Park and then to the Lumberjack Show. They have a big time, complete with ice cream at the corner store! The other divisions have camp-based activities and a cookout tonight.
    Tomorrow will bring to Sayner, WI the 2014 First Term Stunt Show. We would call it a talent show, but that might be a stretch! In all honesty, it’s a blast – and rumor has it there are several outstanding skits and performances planned.
    Thursday evening is the Kerchief Ceremony, a quiet and special time at camp when boys are recognized for their achievements at camp. They’ll don their red kerchiefs and each boy will place his stick into the “fire of friendship.” In this busy, changed world, it’s so neat that boys get to have this sort of rite-of-passage experience.
    Friday is our final banquet, Highlands fans. If you’ll be joining us, we’d love to know. You most likely made a note on your forms, but if you suddenly decide to come, just send me an email. We’d love to have you! The schedule for the day is as follows:
    3 p.m.: Water Carnival
    6 p.m.: Picnic supper and banquet festivities
    8:45 p.m.: Wrap up!
    You are free to take your son home with you, or you can pick him up by 9 a.m. on Saturday when First Term comes to a close. We are really looking forward to seeing all you parents and caregivers, but we aren’t ready to stop the fun yet! Off we go to make the most of this last week!
    And on that note…

  9. ANYONE! ANYONE! ANYONE!

    Perhaps you’ve heard of “gagaball?” It was new to me—but for the last couple of years the fellow who trains our lifeguards every summer has been STRONGLY encouraging me to get one. So this year, I did. And it’s a blast.
    Players enter the “pit.” A hexagon frame about two feet tall, 17’ across. Then they take this little ball, bounce it, then start to bat it around trying to hit the other players on the leg, from the knee down. You get hit below the knee, you’re out. Pretty simple. But the campers go crazy for it.
    One great thing about gaga is it is a self-policing game. Players know when they’re out, and they go out. Games rarely last more than 3 minutes. And they’re FUN!
    A few days ago, a bunch of Cubs and Colts were playing, and the chants started. “Cubbies! Cubbies!” vs. “Colts! Colts! Colts!” I don’t even remember who won; but someone did. Then, during the NEXT game, when there were only two players in the pit, they started chanting again. But this time it was, “ANYONE! ANYONE!”
    Today we celebrated the Fourth of July (on the 28th of June- I know! I know! But YOU try to get 21 trips in and out of camp in 21 days. The first Saturday of the term we have everyone in camp, so we do our All-Camp games) and it was a testament to the art of friendly competition.
    As you know, we divide all of camp in to two teams: the Army and the Navy. Once you’re on a team you’re on a team for LIFE. And so are all of your offspring. I’m a third generation Navy man myself. There really is no rhyme or reason for it- it’s just how we can divide into two teams for our all-camp competitions.
    So this morning we had our Army-Navy Track Meet. And it was a great one- it came down to a 25-point difference at the end—and with over 700 points at stake, that is a slim margin! We run, jump, put and throw- and here’s the thing. MOST of these guys have never competed in track events before. Many don’t even really know about them. So the amazing thing is when we see kids who have never run a 50-yard dash in their lives before run one and then WIN. And suddenly they have a whole perspective on what they can and can’t do. And maybe- just maybe this one win in this one event will change the shape of their lives forever. I know of more than a few Highlands men who learned to love the track and field thanks to their participation in our track meets here at camp. It’s a great event. It can make a hero out of anyone.
    And here is another thing I love about the track meet- at the end of the day we all just love to watch a good race. The Senior Relay is the big event at the end. When our fastest, oldest 4 guys from each team run about a 400-meter lap each. It is SO exciting- with everyone cheering for their team and shouting for their guy, and hoping for your team to pull through in the end. And sometimes they do! But sometimes they don’t. And today, what I loved seeing was that at the end of the big race, with all of camp gathered around hooting and hollering and shouting their teams, when the winner crossed that finish line -he stopped. And waited. And the first hand he grabbed was the guy he just beat. Then all of the relay guys gathered around, from both teams, and shared a smile and a hug for a race well run- and suddenly we weren’t Army or Navy anymore. We were Highlands. They did this with no prompting from a counselor. They did it because that’s how we do it at Highlands. This is the art of friendly competition. And it was on proud display today. It was a great day at camp.
    Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.
    Andy B.
     
     

  10. Playin' around at camp

    Seniors dash down the hill during the broom race at Games on the Hill

    Seniors dash down the hill during the broom race at Games on the Hill

    Hello Highlands fans! Where is the time going?! Only 11 more days left of camp. I’m on the countdown big time this year because, like you, I’m missing my own campers. While our daughter’s camp doesn’t post photos, I’ve been able to catch a glimpse or two of my kid over there and while it makes me miss her even more, I see how TAN and HAPPY she is. I can’t wait to hear about her time away. I’m happy to report her homesick letters (the ones where she begged us to “GET HER OWT!!”) have subsided and she admitted at visiting day that she “had kind of forgotten about us.” I consider that success!
    This weekend was big in the life of Highlands. We turned 110 on Saturday. I feel like we are looking pretty youthful and spry given our ripe old age! We celebrated in traditional Highlands style, with the Steeplechase on Saturday morning. At 7:30 a.m. instead of being woken by the bugle, instead, campers were roused from their beds by the crazy Army/Navy staff entrances. You’ll see photos of this nonsense (staffers sitting on the hoods of cars, the mom in me does NOT approve). But the kids LOVE this. There’s music blaring and it’s a great way to kick off the fun that then ensues.
    As you know camp is divided into two teams, Army and Navy and they competed in countess events. Each boy participated in at least one leg of the race, and often two. These events ranged from jumping off the towers into hula hoops, to dribbling a soccer ball around cones, to kayaking around Five Pines island, to casting a fishing line into a spot in the lake. It is my favorite day at camp. And while the weather left much (VERY) to be desired, that didn’t stop the boys from having a GREAT time. The highlights of the race are the water boil and the baker tent race This year, the teams were neck in neck until the very last event, which was the long kayak race around Five Pines . Woah. It was crazy! Two second generation Highlands men competed, Trey Taylor and Reed Altorfer. While Kent had the lead early in the race, Reed must have paced himself, because he pulled it out for a Navy victory. His prize? A kiss from the Lady of the Lake. (Just ask your boys for an explanation.)
    The fun didn’t stop there. Camp was treated to the senior carnival in the afternoon and a picnic supper and Games on the Hill.
    This is a week where many of our oldest campers are out of camp. They have headed off on their big trips to Pictured Rocks, Boundary Waters, sailing in Lake Superior and kayaking north woods waterways, among others. It sort of changes the vibe in camp and lets us act a little smaller. Tonight we’ll be treated to the music of Jim DiDomenico, lead singer of Underwater People, and we’ll roast marshmallows and have a big old dance party! Tomorrow is Division Day and the Juniors will head out of camp to play laser tag and picnic on a local lake. That’s a lot of fun.
    Speaking of fun, your boys are having lots of it. I had the rare moment of just hangin’ out on Junior Hill yesterday, soaking up the sun and watching our young teens play giant jenga (again, thank you to our craft instructor, Becky D.), goof around with some funny balloons that make totally inappropriate noises when you let the air out of them, and throw a Nerf football around. It’s amazing what boys will do when left to their own devices on a sunny afternoon for an hour or so. In the incredibly scheduled times in which we live, I think the few unstructured moments at camp are so good for our boys. I believe in these moments of freedom is where real creativity and growth can happen. I saw boys share, laugh, play and lollygag. In the wise words of Snow Nothdurft, “How lucky we are.”
    Keep those postcards and letters coming. It’s not the packages that the boys love so much, but instead the excitement of something real in the mailbox. They check it every day (sometimes 16 times a day). Tomorrow the real zoom-time begins.
    And on that note…