This was a week full of trips for Kohahna. In all, there were eight trips that went out over the course of the week. The first-ever Kohahna climbing trip ventured up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for rock climbing and repelling for three days, and they returned with thrilling stories about repelling down a 100-foot rock face. An off-shore sailing trip also went out from Northport, and the girls worked as a team to achieve second place during a race on their trip home! Additionally there were a number of one-night trips on camp property and at surrounding campgrounds.
Back at camp, girls spent their afternoons furthering their waterskiing skills on Glen Lake, practicing their canoeing lessons on the Platte River, showing appreciation for camp’s beautiful property by picking up litter along the beach, glazing their ceramic projects, sailing on Lake Michigan, building camp fires, tie-dyeing T-shirts, hiking to Pyramid Point, and picking cherries at a local cherry farm. On Friday afternoon, the summer’s dance classes presented their finished works in the Dance Show. One highlight of the show was a heartwarming and thought-provoking duet choreographed and performed by two advanced dancers.
For Cabin Day, several cabins took the opportunity to make cabin shirts for a keepsake from their summer together. Since then, it’s been fun to look around the circle at flag raising, when the entire camp lines up by cabin, and see cabins with matching shirts. Also on Cabin Day, the two 8th-grade cabins went up into the Ropes Course, Juniper enjoyed creative body painting on the beach, and Breezeway helped prepare camp’s dinner and dessert.
Evening activities kept the girls active this week! Monday’s game of Kick the Can had girls running around the Pine Forest. Tuesday night the camp played Ultimate Frisbee. Wednesday’s testimony meeting took place outside to take full advantage of the gorgeous weather. Following church that evening, the counselors surprised the campers with the Sky Show. Thursday’s luau on the beach included hula dancing, “surfing” on windsurfing boards, games of volleyball, and delicious s’mores. On Friday evening, the Waukeena campers played Gaga and other lawn games while the Wildwood campers attended a Christian Science lecture by Lois Carlson. Saturday evening was the annual Pine Show, which got every Pine team member on stage for skits, dances, and kicklines.
The active pace of sixth week has reflected the enthusiastic morale among all the campers here. There is a joyful spirit carrying camp into the final week, and we’re excited to enjoy every moment along the way!
Oh my!!! The summer has flown by in the blink of an eye and week six was no exception to the rule. The energy of the full camp could be felt on Sunday night up on Council Fire hill. The benches were rocking and all of the campers we cheering each other on with efficacious energy. This energy flowed right into the week. Activities were rocking all week long and all of the campers came out of the week having earned levels in there activities with a half dozen Advanced levels being achieved.
The trips that went out this week included a full on five day kayaking and hiking hybrid to the Canadian coast of Lake Superior, an artists trip know as the RCA trip, the sailing vacation, and a handful of cabin overnights to top it off. Argosy headed to the Cradle campsite on camps bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, Black Swan went down and paddled the mighty Platte River, Shawnee took a bike trip all over Pyramid Point, and Cherokee went and played in the Platte Plains area of the National Park.
This was the last week for Leelanau to have off camp Cabin Day and the boys took full advantage of it. We had cabins brining lunches and dinners with them just so they could be of camp enjoying Leelanau County together a little longer. Tubing on Glen Lake, hiking the Empire Bluffs trail, playing in South Bar Lake, going to a local driving range, heading all the way to Otter Creek, doing a Dune Traverse, and having a Ghostbusters hunt around some of the sites were some of the activities that cabins participated in. These great Cabin Day activities were followed up by a picturesque Wednesday Evening Meeting up in the meadow behind the Great House. In other words, every single camper hit the pillow that night feeling like they had taken full advantage of the day.
Evening activities this week took campers all over the county. On Tuesday night Clark took 15 boys out of camp and headed into Traverse City to watch the farm league known as the Beach Bums, play a game on a gorgeous evening. On Thursday night a dozen campers headed to Sutton’s Bay to watch a production of the West Side Story. Friday night we had the privilege of hosting a lecturer for an hour followed by an all camp scavenger hunt. Of course we also has some old stand-bys this week, with the junior section playing some biscuit mayhem and the seniors enjoying an nail bitter of a flag football game and some foxes and hounds. The evenings were so beautiful that a couple times this week we headed down to the beach after evening activities for bon fires and soap dips.
On this sunny and 80 degree Sunday afternoon we had the first round of the L.I.F.E. (Leelanau Invitational Frisbut Experience) tournament. Both of the games were close hard fought games won by slight two point margins. Next weekend’s finals game should be one for the ages. Of course we couldn’t keep the beach closed on such a beautiful and most of the camp made its way down to the lake for a dip.
As we close in on the final days of our summer we are striving to constantly make the most out of every single moment that we get to spend on our little slice of paradise here in Northern Michigan. This is the week where the campers are expected to be at their best. We have raised our standards all summer long and will look to finish all of these young men’s summers off right. The Spirit that flows through Leelanau will surely be felt this final week.
Kohahna was bustling with activity this week as the intensity of second session started to kick in. The week started off with an exciting Council Fire where Challenge teams were announced and the theme of forgiveness was initiated. The women of Kohahna were reminded of the importance of forgiveness as an element of a gracious heart, and the C.T.s shared valuable insights into how forgiveness sets us free. With this newfound freedom, these young women were asked to evaluate their lives and see who they could forgive, from whom they need to ask forgiveness, and in what ways they should forgive themselves. It was with this tone that a very harmonious week began.
We had a full seven days of fun as the wide array of morning activities kept the girls excited and busy with their achievements. Many levels have been passed in all the activities, and it has been truly refreshing to see how eager the campers become and their pride in achievements. This week’s afternoons brought bike rides, Jazzercise, Rockwall climbing, rehearsals for the Drama production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and extra time to complete craft projects or pass activity levels. Our evening activities included a rousing game of water polo at the Glen Lake shallows on Monday evening, a chance for cabins to get to know one another better in the Newlywed game on Tuesday, Wednesday evening church, our cross between dune football and beach capture the flag called Paz-Dog on Thursday, and on Friday, a counselor fashion show in which our own Betty Rhoades was the winner. Wednesday’s cabin day was also exciting for the girls as they got to travel off camp! Little Dipper, Stardust, and Driftwood had a lovely picnic in Glen Arbor followed by playtime at the local park and then a wonderful swim at the picturesque North Bar Lake. Other cabins participated in fun scavenger hunts in Glen Arbor, and tubing on Glen Lake. The weekend brought its usual joys in addition to a musical performance by our old camp favorite André Villoch on Saturday afternoon and a fantastic County Fair on Sunday afternoon.
Another highlight of the week was the Challenge, the four-day, three-night competitive camping trip in which 24 Wildwood campers participated. The selected women made creative and successful homes for themselves in the woods as they lashed structures, cooked all their meals, and played capture the flag; all while being judged on efficiency, proficiency, timeliness, and meal preparation. The week brought meaningful team bonding, spiritual growth, and an opportunity to extend oneself out of one’s comfort zone. Both teams did incredible work, and contributed many team points to the respective summer totals, and the Pine team came out victorious in the end as the winner of the Challenge.
Both on camp and in the nearby woods, the women of Kohahna were achieving in a multitude of ways. The sun was bright, the waves were mighty, and the Sands, Pines, and Skys gracefully completed another week of camp.
Living up in Headquarters of Camp Leelanau there is a lot to be grateful for; and this week was no exception! Being on top of the hill and pushing paperwork, it is not often that I get to interact with every section of the boy’s camp, but this week I was given the golden opportunity to play with the Early Bird, the Backwoodsman, and the Pioneer sections of Camp Leelanau.
My trusty co-counselor, Paul Olsen, rode the Big Blue Bus into a nearby property with 24 men from the North and South teams to be a part of the mighty Senior Flag Trip. And mighty it was. Cabin counselors Joey Goeb and Wiley Sinkus left camp to join the Trips counselors to lead these men into a week of spiritual and physical progression. I was given the privilege to visit the two Flag sites with my camera, and saw Henry Ryan cook up some tasty steaks, Chris Klusmeyer speed through the flag circle in attempt to grab a flag for his team, and CT Andrew Moulton defend his flag from the mighty Eric Olsen. I could feel the boom from across the flag-circle as Andrew embraced Eric’s mighty blow and then helped him up.
The other senior boys who did not attend the Flag Trip ended up attending a trip of their own, which brought them hiking to the Jordan River Pathways, canoeing on the mighty Sturgeon River, and finally to the Wolverine Camps of northern Michigan for some initiative action in the woods that included wall climbing and zip-lining down a fifty-foot cord. Everyone who was a part of the trip agreed: fun, a successful trip to the woods and the river.
Nobody was left out of this week’s action. Back at camp I hiked to Leelanau’s back property to help them prepare their first dinner in the woods. While walking into the Superman site a crowd of Batman boys zipped past me, hauling towards their opponents flag. After an hour of play the boys settled in the back-meadow, some of them eating down-south Jambalaya for their first time – nothing like backwoods cooking! They collected around the fire, took some advice from the counselors to improve their game, toasted some s’mores and headed back for another hour of night-playing.
Now I was never an Early Bird counselor my first few years as staff, but with both the Backwoodsman and the Pioneers out on Flag Trips, I had the opportunity to step in and hang with fellow counselor Steve Creighton for a day with the Early Birds to ourselves. What a blast we had together! The night before we headed to the beautiful and historical town of Glen Haven to visit an old Blacksmith barn to learn some history of the area; we then toured the Maritime Museum and learned about the U.S. Life Saving Service that rescued boats along the shore before the creation of the U.S. Coast guard.
The next morning we woke up a bit early so we could watch the sun rise over Glen Lake. We loaded the nine Early Birds onto a pair of motor boats and read the week’s Bible Lesson in the middle of the calm and serene waters. We couldn’t resist taking a ride across the lake for a morning dip in the crystal blue and warm waters. The boys settled back into a park of Glen Arbor for a quick breakfast. The rest of the day was spent climbing and jumping the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and playing the first ever Early Bird water polo at the shallows of Glen Lake. Grayson Timoner got right into the spirit and scored a point for his team in the first 30 seconds of the game. Counselors joined in and made an evening out of it before heading back to camp for Wednesday evening church.
The week can be summed up with Saturday morning’s activity: Clark woke up the boys and had them cheering one another on during morning exercises on the soccer field. When they finally settled down Clark gathered the entire camp – every boy back from every trip – on the field to take a knee in front of him. The golden morning sun warmed the cool and dewy field as Clark asked campers: “What makes this the uncommon camp?” Hands flew in the air and the answers started to churn, “We do everything with a sense of Love, we embrace brotherhood, we do our best, we do not give up, we have a spiritual backbone.” These are surely the qualities that make the men of Leelanau true men.
Second session is off to a booming start! Camp is filled to the brim with joyful girls who have brought a bounding enthusiasm for all of the activities this week. Sunday evening’s Council Fire set the tone for the session by reviewing the three elements of Grace from first half—Availability, Patience, and Self-Control—and introducing Generosity as this week’s focus. Campers entered the week with the reminder to recognize the needs of others and offer what they can to meet those needs.
Morning activities ran smoothly, although some rainy weather called for a few revisions on the waterfront. There was a range of afternoon activities available, including a woods adventure, swimming, playing in the mud pits, climbing on the rock wall, volleyball and basketball, jazzercise, sailing, waterskiing, team building initiatives, tennis-golf, and auditions for this summer’s musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. For Cabin Day, cabins were scattered throughout the woods and the beach. Little Dipper, Stardust, Gulls Nest, and Driftwood headed to the waterfront for clay pits, rock painting, or other fun beach games. Everyone else in camp enjoyed the woods in some other capacity, including cooking, climbing and swinging in the ropes course, and team building initiatives. Evenings were lively with Monday’s bombardment game, Tuesday’s soccer game, Wednesday’s inspiring testimony service, Thursday’s brown bag skits with a twist, and Friday’s counselor hunt. Meanwhile, the 8th grade cabins spent the greater part of the week on North Manitou Island for a 3-day hiking trip.
In all, camp is harmoniously doing what it does best: providing an atmosphere for girls to play together, learn about themselves, and grow in their relationship with God.
The momentum is building and summer here at Leelanau has really started to role. Last Sunday, the boy’s camp, expanded and filled to capacity for the second half of the summer. With 80 boys in camp everything is fast paced and exciting.
This week has set a foundation for the next three weeks of the summer. We have been sending young men into the woods, out on the lake and down rivers all week to train for trips and adventures to come. All of the junior cabins already had the chance to be out on the trail once so far this summer. The early bird cabins of Argosy and Black Swan spent a day and night exploring the back property of the camps, playing in the woods, doing initiatives and cooking trail food. Tortuga canoed down the mighty Platte River, which was the highest it’s been in years. Barbados had a burly hike around the Platte Plains district of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. Lastly, Sea Hornet took an overnight to the Marilla Trail system on the far side of Traverse City and biked a full day of hills. All of these trips helped grow an appreciation of the area around the camps and the beauty of our natural world.
All of these trips were not only exciting for the younger boys, but a select group of seniors also were involved. Four men from the cabin of Cherokee took these trips out in hopes of achieving their Advanced Outdoorsman, AO, this summer. This means that they plan and execute the trips with the supervision of a trips counselor, it is known as the instructor’s course. Three other men took the other big step toward their AO, their 36-hour solo. This is a block of time in which young men are given 36 hours of solitude to commune with nature and God. They build themselves a shelter and often come back out of the woods very different individuals. There were also training afternoons for the fifth week Flag Trip and the sixth week Canada hiking/kayaking trip.
Then on Thursday night we headed over to Glen Lake High School for the annual Old Ball Game. The junior games and homerun derby went over with great success and without a hitch with Chris Klusmeyer hitting 12 homeruns. Then the North/South softball game got under way but was weather delayed halfway through the second inning and will be finished a later date.
We also had guys go out charter fishing, travel to Interlochen for an enjoyable performance by the Golden Dragon Acrobat team, play a competitive game on the Leelanau classic Water Polo. The best part is that these are only the special events of the week. We had a full week in camp of activities, inspection, and not to mention meals with lots of singing. This week has gone by in the blink of an eye and the as the levels continue to be earned, trips continue to go out, and songs are sung the summer will only continue to fly by faster.
We truly are living everyday, from the time the cannon goes off in the morning to when Taps sounds on the trumpet, to the fullest. The old Leelanau motto rings true again for this summer; Yesterday Wood, Tomorrow Ashes, Only Today Does the Fire Burn Brightly. We are cherishing each day up here in beautiful Northern Michigan on our little slice of Heaven and are ready for an incredible final three weeks.
Third week of camp brought a fabulous close to our first session. We enjoyed several activities that tied the session together, such as our Dance and Drama show, Final Banquet, and a gratitude ceremony around the campfire. Before leaving, campers shared with us things that they learned at camp and things that they are grateful for. We’d love to pass their thoughts along to you!
“Things I learned at camp” (straight from the campers):
How to be neater
Not to break saw blades in Silversmithing
How to kneeboard
How to be a better camper/person
How to use Christian Science in everyday experiences
How to do archery!
How to further rely on Christian Science
Angels are actually messages
I’m still not the only Christian Scientist alive
How to build a fire
Accept everybody regardless of (fill in the blank)
I learned how to pray
How to play Capture the Flag!
Rise above the challenge
How to shoot rifles
How to light a gas stove
How to drop a ski
Not to judge
Come out of your shell
How to be completely comfortable with myself
How to post on a horse
How to be more outgoing
You can’t always get what you want
That sharing makes you feel better
To love nature
Growth even without parents
Washing the dishes in the woods
How to purify my thought
How to get air bubbles out of clay
What the bread and the wine really were
How to be a leader
How to set goals “What I’m grateful for” (also straight from the campers):
Mom and Dad
Meeting new people
Mary Baker Eddy
Peace at camp
Knowing that I’m loved, lovable, and loving
Water, food, and shelter
Bible and Science and Health
The change to be able to come to camp
Being able to come to camp
Counselors I can look up to and learn from
My loving family
This camp experience
The family/supportive CS atmosphere at camp
It’s not often that I witness the sparks of a dry beach fire evaporate into the milky rich warmth of a Leelanau sky, a sky that blossoms with placid clouds and colors of the setting sun on this fine night. It was Tuesday night of week 3 and twenty-something sticks at a time with marshmallows at end, some toasty tan, other crispy black, all stuck into the bonfire that both warmed the group of three-weekers and toasted up a fine assortment of flavorful smores.
Every smore unique to its creator: this reminds me of what happens at Camp Leelanau, most apparent in the final weeks of the summer sessions. Boys break free of their shell and express a complete and individual continuity of who they are after a few weeks pioneering this Leelanau realm. Some boys muster and chatter about memories to new friends over the sweet and soft crunch of marshmallowy graham cracker and oozy chocolate, others run up and down the damp and sandy beach shore trying to avoid the crest of crashing waves, yelping at the chilly water that reaches their toes, some even dare to jump onto Mitchell Wyly and grab on for their dear lives in a game of hold-on: moments like these make the days last forever, but also cause the weeks to simply fly by.
The final week of the three-week session has come and gone like the summer’s own solstice; Camp Leelanau was blessed with long and sunny days but also with another quick week. It’s hard to imagine that new boys like the Garrison brothers, Jon White, or Chris Hronick were saying goodbye to their parents, wondering just how long these thee weeks would last. The sunny days were packed from the sun’s morning rise that trickled through forest gaps, to its lazy fall over the Manitous in the eve. This week was no exception to the great Leelanau summers we always witness here on this land.
The boys welcomed counselor Steve Creighton onboard to the summer staff, who just as quickly swept off the property with Weldon Rutledge and the CT’s for their week long trip into Canada. They attempted the high flowing and mighty White River in the province of Ontario, leaving them all with adventures they’ll be speaking about for years to come.
And although the spirit of Leelanau stretched across the countries boarder, the same energy filled the camp with the first full week of regularly scheduled activities. Junior sailers took advantage of the calm and shallow waters of Glen Lake and the current of wind that slinks over the Sleeping Bear Dunes just across highway M-109; the combination makes for smooth and safe sailing for the juniors. The entire junior section went on an excursion of their own, packing up and jumping onto Big Blue for a night in the woods to compete in the Junior Flag Trip; camos, capture the flag, meals in the wood, and team spirit. These young boys witnessed team competition that only Leelanau offers. A group of six older boys took a pickup full of bikes and gear, traveling south to Manistee county’s Big-M trail for a day of peddling with trip counselors Eli Sinkus and Eric Olsen.
An on-camp cabin day was full of creative endeavors, taking advantage of beautiful Leelanau Peninsula. The cabin of Shawnee put their creative minds to work and made cardboard planes in the RCA pole-barn and then did their best to fly them (no worries, the kids were not on board) off the Kohahna’s bluff. Shoshones took a bike ride and refreshed the curious travelers of Port Oneida Road by serving ice-cold lemonade at a stand (counselor Max Warner’s car with a large sign on it reading, “LEMONADE”) off the side of the road. Other cabins followed initiative-based scavenger hunts through the camp property and searched for the ship wreck in the waters off of Pyramid Point’s high bluff.
The camps energy became even more charged when weekend arrived. The boys celebrated with a banquet dinner on Friday evening, followed by a slideshow that recapped this summer’s first session at camp. Shortly after the boys made their way to the funny awards fire, where moments of laughter and growth were shared through giving creative awards made by wood, marker, paint, shirts, and a bit of inspiration. For the Leelanau boys who attended this session these are the summer days not to be forgotten, and only the beginning of an even more intense second session.
Second week of camp seemed even fuller and faster than first week! The week began with a surprise variety show performed by the counseling staff as a gift to the campers on Sunday afternoon. Not only was the show itself a surprise, but those who found themselves in the “splash zone” during the Titanic lip sync were also a little stunned! That evening’s Council Fire continued to develop the summer’s theme of “A Gracious Heart” by drawing attention to patience as an important element of grace. Also at Council Fire, we heard about the many girls who had passed activity levels and those who had made other significant achievements throughout their first week.
Highlights from this week’s activities were Tuesday afternoon’s charter fishing trip (which returned with a salmon for our next cookout!), Wednesday’s cozy Cabin Day activities during a rainy afternoon, and Thursday evening’s field trip to the Sleeping Bear dune climb. Another significant highlight was Wednesday evening’s testimony meeting during which we heard from many first-time testifiers.
We missed the CTs as they explored part of Lake Superior’s shore in Canada. They hiked from Monday until Friday, and arrived home amidst camp’s lively Fourth of July celebration. To celebrate Independence Day, everyone participated in the annual parade through Glen Arbor, then cycled through a variety of team activities around camp, and finally enjoyed the picturesque sunset over Lake Michigan. The week’s activities brought us full circle, as we spent Saturday night back at the stage for an evening of cabin lip syncs. The Little Dippers won the hearts of our guest judges from American Idol and won the competition with their performance of The Little Mermaid’s “Kiss the Girl.”
Spirits are high as we head into our final week of the first session. We’re excited for another full week of activities and play!
Someone PLEASE slow the summer down!! This week at Leelanau was our week to get all the campers out on trips. We all woke up on Monday with clear blue skies and our sleeping bags packed and headed out to our various destinations. Here’s the scoop straight from the bus driver himself.
Argosy and Black Swan jumped in their canoes with their counselors and spent Monday and Tuesday morning canoeing the upper Betsie River. The enthusiasm level was off the charts as they got in their canoes and their flotilla headed out. Tales of snakes, turtles, and HUGE fish were heard as we picked them up on Tuesday.
Barbados and Sea Hornet climbed aboard the Manitou Isle and ferried over to North Manitou for three days of hiking and exploring. They split up and headed in different directions. This mighty band of young men were undaunted and loved the challenge of making their way around the island. I picked them up on Wednesday and their spirits were seen heard in the songs they sang on the bus ride back to camp.
Iroquois and Shoshonis spent their three days canoeing the lower portion of the mighty Betsie River. To quote Paul Olsen who went along, “I was truly struck by the awe-inspiring scenic splendor of the Betsie. The moderate current made it a lot of fun for the boys.” I picked them up in the rain on Wednesday and loved hearing the stories as they enjoyed a bit ‘Old Maid’ with a pie on the way home.
The boys of Cherokee headed out at first light on Monday and headed for Pictured Rocks in the Upper Peninsula where they split into kayaking and hiking groups.
Our veteran sailing counselor now turned trips counselor took Joey’s cabin of Shawnee on a sailing trip from our beach down to just south of Empire. The amazing thing about this trip is that they had the most favorable winds going down and coming home. To quote Eli, “The trip home was the best! It ranks up there in my top sailing experiences ever.”
The 4th of July on Friday was filled with sunny skies, parades, games, and lots of smiles! We decorated the Blue Bus and joined in on the parade in Glen Arbor. The afternoon was spent in teams competing in all sorts of fun events. The Martha Washington team took top honors at days end.
Stay tuned next week to hear of more adventures at Camp Leelanau!
"When counselors and campers return at the beginning of the summer, it is so apparent that they have returned to a place they consider to be a second home."
-Leelanau & Kohahna Counselor