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The amazing people of Birch Trail

I was giving a tour to a family today and they asked me to tell them one of the things that makes Birch Trail special. I told them that one of the biggest things that sets Birch Trail apart is our staff. Sure, we have amazing traditions, a wonderful culture and an idyllic setting, but it’s our people that are the heart of Birch Trail. Over 140 staff spend their summers at Birch Trail working to create a community where children grow. Whether it’s devoting 3, 5, 10, or 30 years of their lives, our staff are dedicated to helping

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The Circle Game

On Thursday night we had our second-generation campfire (second-generation campers are those whose moms were campers or staff members). I sat and listened to the campers tell stories from when their moms were at camp and remembered being there for some of the things the campers were talking about. During the campfire, I talked about how things have a funny way of repeating themselves. I told them to look at the person on your right, then the person on your left, because these will be your best friends for your life. I told the campers that I remembered being a

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Destiny

At the start of each session when we have our very first dinner together, we have a tradition of reciting a special grace that campers have been using here at Birch Trail since the very beginning. This grace is a poem that reminds the campers to be mindful of their time together and of the friendships they will cultivate over the next four or eight weeks. The poem reads as follows: There is a destiny that makes us brothers and sisters; None goes his or her way alone. All that we send into the lives of others Comes back into

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Birch Trail Beauty

I was talking with a few campers tonight in the office and they were talking about the service that they were going to lead tomorrow. The more we started talking about it, the more I realized that they needed to share their story with you. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed hearing them talk about it tonight. Birch Trail. A place where one feels included, appreciated, and loved. This is Ashley and Jane from cabin TM coming at you live from Gabe’s office. Being two 6 year campers, we wanted to share a little

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A sky filled with stars

We are in the middle of our first session color wars and the girls are having a blast. Without giving too much away, part of the super secret opening ceremony involves the whole camp being outside late at night. There is some gentle mood music and the group sits collectively looking at the stars while waiting for the ceremony to begin. On Sunday night, during our opening ceremonies, the night sky was crystal clear and the stars were shining brilliantly. Quite often, our campers and staff will stargaze at night. It’s always great to hear them talk about how different

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It’s the little things…..

We’ve had a great start to the summer! The weather has been wonderful, the staff has done a phenomenal job and the campers have been having a blast. Over the past eleven days we have sent out five Linden canoeing trips, three Maple cabin trips, one Maple optional trip, a Boundary Waters canoeing trip, an Isle Royale hiking trip, and two sea kayaking trips. Fourteen campers have taken and passed the Red Cross lifeguarding class, the campers devoured over 600 s’more pockets for desert on Saturday and we have had eleven amazing evening programs. Many other big events have happened

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Home is where the heart is

It’s been a great start to the summer. Our returning campers are so happy to be back at Birch Trail, and our first year campers have been making new friends, trying new activities and learning the ins and outs of camp life. For a first time camper, things like being away from home, being in a new culture, and learning to be independent are very exciting growth opportunities. Some of our campers jump right in and find that they have no trouble adapting to camp life. Other campers might struggle a little bit with one area or another. Parents often

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Practice, Practice, Practice

Today is an exciting day for me. I’m heading to Chicago with a group of staff to pick up our first session campers. We also have a group of staff heading to the Minneapolis airport to pick up all the campers flying in tomorrow from 42 different cities. While today is exciting, it’s no match for what tomorrow will bring. Dinner tomorrow night will feature 225 campers and 140 staff cheering louder than you can imagine for the start of camp. Today’s preparation will allow tomorrow’s excitement to happen. During a conversation I had at lunch I was reminded of

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Where time stands still

This morning I had a rare moment of solitude. I was in the office and was actually alone. I am almost never alone at camp. It’s actually one of the things I love about camp. There is always someone who needs help, needs someone to talk to, or a problem to be fixed. Yet this morning I found myself in the office at 7:02 with some free time. I thought I might actually get some book keeping done, but I was wrong. Our longtime waterfront director/camp psychologist Cabe Knight ambled into the office to chat. Cabe had no particular agenda

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Color Wars

Last night was one of those magical nights of camp. Our evening program was putting on the hits. Learn more about it here: https://birchtrail.com/dancing-and-conflict/ This session’s dances were amazing. Sure, our campers have some dance skills, but what really happened is that they needed to work together to create, practice and perfect these dances. While this was happening they grew as a team and a cabin family. Check out the photos, and you will see the fun they had. What made the night magical for me was that the older kids showed the younger kids how to work as a

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