The Brave Few

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Greetings from sunny Camp BT! Well, it seems as if that brief period of blissful, pre-camp isolation and quiet has officially ended because things are humming right along up here! After spending 26 summers of my life at Birch Trail, one might think that I’ve grown tired of seeing this place fill up with so many counselors, trippers, and administrative staff members, but I actually feel the exact opposite—it’s always a thrill and a privilege to welcome back old friends and usher in the new ones! Sure, we’re definitely all working our butts off in order to get things ready for the campers, but we do manage to have a pretty good time while we’re at it.

With a slew of returning counselors who are counting the days to the start of camp and a fresh batch of eager newbies who can’t wait for their turn, saying that we’re proud of our 2013 staff lineup would be an understatement! Many of them have a wealth of experience working with kids and everyone is excited to get the summer started. Their experiences may vary from finishing their junior year of high school to being a renowned child psychologist, but one thing that binds them all together is their devotion to giving excellent care to our campers. Whether they are from California, Memphis, Boston, or the UK, they truly do all have one common goal: to create a positive experience for the incredible girls coming to BT this summer!

As I write, our wilderness trip leaders (the afore-mentioned “trippers”) are off paddling the rapids of the mighty Namekagon river, while longtime office manager extraordinaire, Katelyn Lucas holds down the fort. Second-generation BT man Andy Konter is overseeing the waterfront assembly as the docks are loaded into the swimming area, and the cabins are all being cleaned and prepped with care. Even Raya, Miles and their cousin Graham are pitching in, offering loads of entertainment and smiles at mealtimes in the lodge!

All in all, camp is taking shape, and it will no doubt be ready to go when the campers arrive June 17th, but there is a great deal that goes into taking camp from its winter hibernation to kid-ready condition. Only a few short weeks ago, camp was essentially an untamed wilderness of pine and birch trees. With the notable exception of maintenance and repairs by our dedicated caretaker, Russ Albano, these beautiful 400+ acres are essentially locked up, covered in ice and snow, and left untouched for ten long months. But come springtime every year, a brave crew of BT souls gather to mow, shovel, rake, scrub, mop, and sweep. They lift, carry, and haul through the rain, the cold, and yes—with mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds nipping at them the whole time. Did I mention just how brave these folks are?

Some members of the work crew come from just down the road, while others are camp veterans who have been a part of the pre-camp initiative for years, trekking across the country to be here for another fun-filled summer. Day by day, camp gets slowly transformed into the familiar place that so many of us are lucky enough to call home. It’s a long summer ahead, and there is much left to do. But thanks to the astounding work of the people surrounding me, I can assure you that we’re off to a terrific start.

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