Summer Storms and Sunny Mornings

Greetings from camp! We’ve had quite a bit of excitement over the last few days, but I suppose it’s impossible for things to ever be boring at Birch Trail! Some of you may have been following the weather in Northwestern Wisconsin, and might be wondering how much of those summer storms made their way to camp. Though we did have some mighty strong rain and winds, I’m pleased to say that everyone is doing great. As weather has a way of doing round these parts, our usual routine yesterday was put on hold while the storms passed. Instead of attending

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BT Unplugged

The last few days at camp have been absolutely gorgeous. Projects, trips, and evening programs are all in full swing and the campers are having a blast. It’s hard to believe that first session is already entering its last week, and that the summer is almost halfway through. After a lifetime in camping, I’m still amazed, year after year, how quickly time flies by here. At last week’s staff meeting, I reminded the staff that before they know it, the first session campers will be going home and that they should be mindful to make the most of their time

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Duct Tape Really Does Fix Everything

We’ve hit the midpoint of first session now, and with that midpoint comes some changes in the cabin dynamic. As always happens in new groups and new friendships, conflicts do occasionally arise. Some of you might have received letters by this time that detail some of these minor conflicts as they’ve come up. The experience of a group living environment will be new to many kids, and still challenging to those who have already experienced cabin life. Even for kids who have siblings at home, sharing a cabin with peers can be challenging for most campers, no matter what their

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These Brightly Colored Days

We have a saying here at camp: “Color Your Days Bright.” The phrase is painted on signs, printed on t-shirts, and repeated almost daily here. It so perfectly sums up what Birch Trail is all about, and seeing the campers integrate that philosophy into what they do at, and take away from camp brings me great joy. My whole family and I have always felt that if our campers remember to add some imagination, laughter, friendship, and learning into their days, then we’re doing our job. In fact, we even have a whole two-day program centered around it—Pandemonium—1st session’s color

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Campfires, Key Logs and How

At last night’s council fire, we talked about acknowledging and respecting the Native American heritage that is such a rich part of the Northwest Wisconsin history. We have always believed that it was our responsibility to educate the campers about the Ojibwe and Chippewa peoples who lived in this region. Along with our discussion about the Native Americans who first inhabited the area, we also talk about the loggers who came to Wisconsin, then about how this piece of land was used as a resort, and finally when it was turned into a camp. Back in the days when the

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Free Play

We’ve had some great weather the last couple of days, and though I know the rain does the Northwoods of Wisconsin a lot of good, I’d had enough of it! I was thrilled to see the entire camp running around during evening program last night, soaking up the mild weather on a perfect summer night. Last night’s evening program was Village Night, where the campers split up into their age groups and spend the night getting to know their fellow maples, lindens, or tamaracks. Last night, the tams did group scavenger hunts, the lindens held their annual Big Hair Night

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Lesson in Ice Cream

It has been one busy day here at camp! Sundays are special days for many reasons. First, campers are allowed to sleep in a little extra, coming to our “Lazy Breakfast” whenever they please (as long as it pleases them to come to the lodge sometime before 10 am). Sundays are also the only days when campers are allowed to come to breakfast in their pajamas, which, as we all know, is a very special practice for children and teenagers. After breakfast, everyone gathers together under the Service Tree, an old white pine tree at the center of camp which

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Activities

It’s day 4 of first session and I am so pleased to see camp in full swing. Though all the activities are running and evening programs have been fantastic, there is one special development that always acts as a true signal of camp resuming its normal pace: the noise level. I can always tell the exact moment when things are really operating at full capacity–when the decibel level in the lodge reaches a pitch loud enough to send the dogs far away to some distant stretch of grass where they can doze in the sun far from all that cheering

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First day of camp

Birch Trail summer of 2010 has officially begun! All of our campers have arrived safely at camp and we are so happy to have everyone together at long last. It is one of the great joys of my job to see old friends reunite as they step off the bus and onto the grounds of their home-away-from-home. Lots of sunshine and gorgeous weather welcomed the campers back to their summer home, and even with some flight delays the travel details went according to plan. We hope you’ve all had a chance to take a look at the cabin pictures we

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Getting ready for the campers!

Staff training will soon be drawing to a close, and the whole crew here is very busy getting the last-minute touches all set for the campers to finally arrive. And though we should all be enjoying the last few nights of real sleep, most of us are too excited for camp to officially begin. We’ve had enough peace and quiet all winter, and are anxious for the kids to arrive! Over the last week, I’ve been amazed to watch this group of 124 staff members come together as one cohesive unit. Every year, I’m awestruck to see how tightly-knit a

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