Charlie Busch, Head Counselor
My name is Charlie Busch and I am thrilled to be coming back to camp for the fourteenth time in a row. This will be my 4th summer as a part of the legendary Crib Team. As a camper, I learned what it was like to be selfless as well as be a leader. I am excited to pass on the knowledge that other counselors have passed on to me when I was a camper. I am the man I am today because of Camp Leelanau. Outside of camp I am a senior-to-be at Miami University (Ohio) studying Sports Leadership and Management. In my free time I play every sport imaginable, I play guitar more than I sleep, and I enjoy exploring unexplored parts of my world. I am very grateful to be the Head Counselor this year, as it has been my dream since I was just an Argonaut. I am looking forward to inspiring the young men of Leelanau this summer to accomplish their dreams.
Marshall McCurties, Head Counselor
Ni Hao! I am Marshall McCurties, a junior at Principia College. I am majoring in Educational Studies and History, with a minor in Political Science. I will be returning to camp after spending 1 month in Tibet this May. I will be teaching Head Counseling this summer and look forward to playing Charlie as we make schedules, copies, spreadsheets, and more! This will be my 14th summer at camp, my 3rd on staff and I am incredibly excited to be returning back to my favorite place on earth. This summer I look forward to instilling and cultivating a sense of decorum and enthusiasm. This summer will be filled with love, joy, growth, and demonstration, and I cant wait to be a part of it!
Tidbit- I would like to start Operation: Brock Green on the Flag Trip. A comprehensive plan that hopefully puts Brock Green on the Flag Trip after his many years of wondering and waiting. Plus he will build some boss structures.
Paul Olsen, CTs
Where are you in school/ grown-up life?
I am an artist and continue to enjoy perfecting my craft. I look forward to branching out in new ways in this field in the coming years. (aka I live in a van down by the river eating government-issued cheese).
How many years have you been at this camp thing? As we all know, after 10 years at camp you get a blanket. Well, according to legend, at 20 years you get a truck. I sure am ready to have Weldon hand me a set of keys at Final Banquet.
What is a lesson you learned from your days at camp that you look forward to applying this summer to our campers?
I learned at Leelanau to always be willing to learn, no matter what situation– as Mrs. Eddy says, a “fervent desire for growth in grace” (Science and Health 4).
Brock Green, Trips
My name is Brock Green. I grew up outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I spent my summers running a small lawn care service and attending Boy Scout summer camps. I earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 13. I graduated from Eureka Senior High School. While there, I played tennis and studied martial arts. I graduated from Principia College a really long time ago. Officially they have me down as earning a major in Spanish. I minored in General Science and my senior year I did a special focus in jewelry design. I actually majored in Tennis.
Upon graduating, I headed north to work at camp Leelanau. I told the then director Clark Shutt, that I would work for him for ten summers. I did. I taught silversmithing for most of those years, with one summer as counselor for tennis and one as the extreme nature counselor. I was in HQ in 2004.
I worked for Principia in St. Louis for 8 years during the camp off-season-you know, just passing the time until I could get back Up North. While there, I served as a house parent (resident counselor) in the Upper School Boy’s Dorm. I also coached, Boy’s and Girl’s tennis, the martial arts club, strength training/conditioning, substitute taught in Spanish, and taught P.E.
In 2008 I moved to Atlanta, Georgia to work for CAO Academy and teach and coach tennis. Since arriving in Atlanta, I have continued designing and producing jewelry for my jewelry business, and started my own Tennis Coaching business. I also continue to teach self-defense.
Military service has been in my family for every generation since the beginning of time. In 2010 I enlisted in the Georgia State Guard. I am a Sergeant, E5. My current role is 2nd Squad Leader, 2nd. Platoon, 3rd. Battalion, 1st. Brigade out of Monroe, Georgia. My MOS (military occupational specialty) is SAR (Search and Rescue.) I may or may not have graduated number one in my SAR class in physical fitness last year. I think climbing council fire hill for all those years definitely helped me! I have also graduated from the U.S. Army Combat Lifesaver program, and SLC (Soldier Leadership Course) during my time with the Guard.
When not teaching/coaching or running around in the woods in camouflage, I spend my time training with a former Delta Force Operator who is teaching me martial arts, marksmanship, and bush craft.
Other interests include but are not limited to: hiking, boating, reading poetry, shooting sports, riding ATV’s, playing with flashlights, looking for the perfect backpack, eating mint-chip ice cream, listening to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack, searching for Bigfoot (in 2003, Robert Bowness and I founded the Sasquatch Liberation Front, -you’ll have to ask me about it), making furniture/shelving, wearing Carharts, and general shenanigans.
My grandfather Kenneth Krueger invented the 3-point shot in basketball, and my dog Cayanne is still the world’s most spoiled redbone coonhound She will be in St. Louis with my perfect parents and genius brother while I am at camp this summer.
Weldon called me and told me he’s getting the band back together and needed a trips counselor. After 5 summers off, it’s time to come home. Boom.
Steve Creighton, Trips
The most important day of my adult life happened on my first day of pre camp in 2006. Brock Green and I drove up from St. Louis where we were working as house parents at The Principia School. He and Mark McCurties convinced me to give Camp Leelanau a go. After taking a sabbatical to southern Chile as a hiking guide, I return to the shores of Lake Michigan as one of the trips counselors. That’s right fellas, Creighton is headed to the dark side!!! And he’s bringing TBiz with him. It may have happened the other way around, but the order isn’t all that important. What is important is that I’ll be sharing my summer with an outstanding group of young men in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Giddy up!! I don’t really know what a Boston Cooler is, but I’m pretty sure I’m getting one:)
Please note: to help Creighton make his dream a reality he needs to find a dog sitter for the summer. Anybody want a delightfully playful Alaskan Husky for eight weeks? Seriously.
Eric Olsen, Waterskiing
There is a reason they call him The Elder. Eric Olsen remains only slightly taller than his Argonauts, but infinitely wiser than the rest of the Crib Team. At Camp Shows Kathleen is quoted as saying the “Counseling Staff is made of up college students and recent graduates…” Well Larry Olsen laughed out loud at the “recent graduates part”. Eric graduated from The College in the last decade and has since been perfecting his waterskiing technique in a year round capacity by working as Ski Patrol for Keystone Resort in Colorado. This is year 20, so there better be two trucks on the Great Lawn at Final Banquet for the Olsen Twins, or they’ll sit on each other’s laps.
Christof Kentworthy, Archery
Hi, My name is Christof and this is my very first summer at Camp Leelanau. I am Junior at Principia College. In archery I peaked at a young age, and have been seeking an outlet for my archery skills ever since. In 2005 I was a nationally ranked Archer in the state of Californa. I was on my way to Junior Olympic Stardom, but the BBC launched a new Robin Hood television series and my age bracket was over run with young upstart archers. As a purist I walked away from the sport. Well, I’m back. And ready to bring a new caliber of excellence to the many young archers of Camp Leelanau. I can’t wait for summer to get started.
Vince Lomoscolo, Sailing
I am SO excited to be coming home to Camp Leelanau. And to be sailing on Lake Michigan no less! I recently graduated from Principia Upper School where I sailed daily on the little pond the acorns catch frogs in, in preparation for teaching this summer on the Big Lake.
Henry Busch, Silver Smithing
Hello all, my name is Henry Busch, but I also reply to Charlie as this seems to be a common theme with the young campers, and sometimes other counselors. I will be attending Clemson University in South Carolina in the fall and I will be majoring in Graphic Communications. Camp has been my home for 12 summers so far and I am more than excited to begin my 13th as a Counselor here at Pyramid Point. The Love that is spread daily through camp cannot be beat. Through Christian Science, we are able to elevate our thoughts and surpass physical barriers. My 12 years as a camper, I have always looked up to the counselors and their unselfishness. I want to embody those great role models that showed me how to Love and how to effectively practice Christian Science. I am looking forward to spending this summer with such incredible people and to be able to grow and Love in God’s Kingdom.
Andrew Beck, Canoeing and Rock Climbing
Hey, I’m Andrew Beck and I’m super excited to be working at camp this summer! Although I haven’t been back to Leelanau for some years, I remember my seven summers as a camper and CT as the best summers of my life. I am 23 years old, and work as a third grade teacher in Minneapolis, MN. Before becoming a teacher, I studied history at Bates College in Maine and worked in Louisiana. Before you think, “Oh no, another boring teacher!” let me tell you about what I do for fun. I love the outdoors, I ran Track and Field in college, played Frisbee, and spend a lot of time rock climbing. I cannot wait to return to the community of brotherhood at camp, and look forward to helping every camper find a home and a family at Leelanau!
Ben Austin, Riflery and Kayaking
My name is Ben Austin, I am attending The Principia college where I am a sophomore. I am majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Philosophy. I am working towards becoming a game warden. I am an avid outdoorsman, I love to rock climb, kayak, play rugby, and go running. I have been attending camp Leelanau for 11 years as of this summer. I have enjoyed every moment of it and cant wait for this summer and the experiences that are going to come from it. I worked at camp Leelanau last year as a first year counselor and I was able to teach rifelry and I had a blast doing it. I also learned a lot though not in my activity necessarily but, working one on one with the campers, I learned how to be responsive, calm, and how to pray for another individual. I am ready for this summer and can feel my spine tingle with anticipation for this summer I am so excited.
Ben Reismeyer, Water Skiing
They call me The Grease-Monkey, because I make things happen. I have spent the past four months in China on a super double top secret mission for the US embassy. Don’t tell anybody that I was there. Shhh…But now I am home to Pyramid Point where raising Christian Character and teaching Waterskiing on Glen Lake are the things I truly live for! I am so glad to be back in the good ole U.S. of A., though I am a killer ping-pong player now – watch out, deck time! I can’t wait for summer to start and to teach all of the good lessons, skills, and bear witness to Christian Science in action in beautiful Northern Michigan!
Phil Sears, RCA/Nature
My name is Phil Sears and this is going to be my 9th summer at Camp Leelanau. After spending last summer working in the kitchen at Camp, I am excited to come back as a first year counselor and give all the campers the summer of their lives! Right now I am finishing up my freshmen year at University of Indianapolis and am majoring in Sport Management. Some of the activities I am involved with at University of Indianapolis include being a mentor in their College Mentors For Kids program, volunteering for Special Olympic events held on U Indy’s campus, and being a member in their Concert Choir, Crimson Express (Jazz Choir), and Voices of Worship (Gospel Choir).One of the lessons Camp Leelanau has taught me that I hope to apply this summer and share with our campers is the overwhelming feeling of acceptance and brotherly love. This lesson has helped me throughout life with making new friends and keeping in touch with old ones. I will be teaching RCA and Nature this summer and cannot wait to get started on those activities!
Zacher Lewis, Swimming
The first thing you need to know about me is that I have lived my whole life in St. Louis, Missouri. This has made me an avid Cardinals fan as well as a Blues and Rams fan. I attended Principia for my whole life. I ran Cross-Country and played Baseball for Principia. Outside of school I spend most of my time swimming. I swim year round since I started swimming in 2nd grade. Aside from swimming, I have been in the Boy Scout program since first grade and achieved the Scout rank of Eagle in 2012. This will be my fifth year at Leelanau and my first as a counselor. I spent the past two summers lifeguarding at a neighborhood pool and swimming. This summer I am thrilled to come back to camp as the swimming counselor. I am excited to work with the campers on their swimming capabilities and I can’t wait to be part of the camp experience again.
Ian McCullough, Landsports
I’m currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California. I’m coming off my freshman year, and will be a sophomore after this summer. This is my 10th year at camp, and my first year on staff as a counselor. I’m super excited to be back in the best place in the world. While I was a camper, I learned that camp is a place to get out of comfort zones and past your own boundaries. As a counselor I want to give my campers the chance to try something new, and hopefully turn them on to new things that they can enjoy.
Tommy Sebring, Music/Tennis
Some say I resemble the famous Eminem. Is it because I have a similar facial structure? Is it because I love music? Or is it simply because we were both born and raised in the Detroit area? I’m not totally sure. I think a more accurate representation of myself would be Syd the Sloth from Ice Age. If you were to ask my CT class, they would agree. I’m looking forward to bringing this lovableness to camp this summer! Whatever the kids are calling me these days, be it Slerbring, T-dawg, T-money, Trey man, I will be there with a welcoming smile and a great hair do, just as I have for my 12 summers here at camp. This summer, I am looking to bring my experiences I have gained in my Sophomore year at Principia college to the glorious Pyramid Point, where I will guide campers on the path to be Rock Stars in Music, and to be able to beat Brock Green in Tennis after the summer full of Tennis. It’s going to be another glorious summer folks!
Andy Fine, WFD
Hello, my name is Andy Fine, and Camp Leelanau is a dream come true. Ever since I came for my first summer back in 2003, the beautiful sandy shores of Lake Michigan, the smell of pine trees, and the sound of the morning cannon have brought me back each and every year. Currently, I am a sophomore studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When I’m not studying about math and science, you may find me out on the tennis court, or enjoying a frisbee game with friends. Camp Leelanau has played such a vital role in who I am today. When I think about what camp has given me, the first thing that pops to my head is the very simple, yet often neglected lesson of Love. Camp is such a great arena for young men to learn how to Love their brother, neighbor, and God. I am so excited for my eleventh summer at camp, third on staff, and first year as the Water Front Director. As a sailing enthusiast, I am so grateful to get to go back to beautiful Lake Michigan. Put your seatbelt on, this is going to be an unforgettable summer!!
Drake Schaberg, Photos
There are certain franchises that should never end. Star Wars. Batman. Superman. Schabergs at Camp. Enough said. I’m back, baby!
Steve Hufstader, 2nd Half Utility Man*
My name is Steve Hufstader. I went to college once, for a while it was fun and educational. But now I’m getting to the point where I have to think about what year I graduated in. So I decided to make an appearance at the place near and dear to me. This will be my 15th summer at camp! This place is filled with great memories of fun and silliness but most memorable to me are the times when I was given the opportunity to learn and shape the purpose of my actions. Though I will only be there for the four week session I plan to present those types of chances to anyone and everyone. I also look forward to pizza night, and pasta days, and Chinese, and pancakes, and burritos, and the list may never end.
With Camp Show travel at an end, and enrollment piling up, it is time to announce the 2012 Crib Team. After an arduous interview process, and many long prayerful runs around Basch, I whittled down the staff to twenty fine, bright, dedicated and talented young men (well 19 young men, and Eric Olsen). Without further ado, I am pleased to present the 2012 Crib Team!!
Tom Bisbee – HQ
Charlie Busch – HQ
Paul Olsen – CTs
Trippy Mohan – Trips
Freddie “Momo” Morrison – Trips
The Burg – Drama/Lost Boys
Phil Sholeen – Silversmithing/RCA
Tommy Sebring – Music
Jaime Eichar – Photos
Wiley Sinkus – Waterfront Director
Jimmy Ray – Canoeing/Kayaking
Andy Fine – Sailing
Ben Reismeyer – Waterskiing
Eric Olsen – Waterskiing
Ricky Schaberg – Swimming
Marshall McCurties – Landsports
Mike Wise – Tennis/Nature
Kevin Dunsire – Border Camp
Ben Austin – Riflery
DaltonCole – Archery
On the topic of old guys like Olsen, we are also welcoming back Phil Hufstader for Speed and Agility Training during week 7, and Mike “Gonzo” Holland will be making a special appearance during the second half of Camp!
Skiing through Leelanau in the morning light. The sun rises over Mt. Baldy casting long shadows behind the cabins. The air is crisp, my breath hangs about me in a cloud. Icicles line the gables of Algonquin. The HQ bell wears a jaunty top hat of snow. Even the rope that lolls from the bell to the cabin before snaking its way into HQ dons a segmented sock of snow. The HQ bowl stands buried as I ski across the bench tops and smoothly past the snow-shadowed flagpole. There is a peace about camp.
I cast my mind back to a summer morning. Dew on the soccer field, counselors sitting on their porches, quietly studying their lesson. Chirping birds, and an occasional snore augment the peace of a resting camp. A camp, kinetically ripe, that awaits the joyous crack of the cannon.
Each day dawns bringing us closer to the Solstice, the brightest day of the year, not for hours of daylight, but for joy expressed at Pyramid point. The countdown has begun, Opening Day lopes nearer, and increasing excitement levels make sleep a less frequent friend.
In less than100 short days Camp will explode with activity. Swimming, playing, hiking, sailing, skiing, art! Healing, learning, teaching, living, loving, Camp! To say “I cannot wait” belittles the phrase in its own inadequacy.
The lengthening days taunt. Summer Camp in all its glory will be here soon. Until then…
Taps has been played. The day is done. Camp is tucked in, nestled cozily under a blanket of snow.
Come one, come all!
Unpack your camos and flashlights; the Alumni Flag Trip has arrived! That is correct, here at Camp Leelanau for Boys the first ever Alumni Flag Trip will occur this winter, January 20-22.
So mark your calendars and start planning your strategies. We will gather on Friday evening, make teams and tell stories around the Greathouse fireplace. On Saturday, early AM we will head into the woods for a day of Capture the Flag including cooking two meals over a fire, just like the olden days.
It will be a memorable event that you won’t want to miss. Tell your camp friends, get them here in January, and get ready for the next generation of “old timer stories” as we make new memories and share old ones, out on THE trip that is so dear to so many of our hearts.
RSVP to [email protected] so we know we can count you in!
The Leelanau & Kohahna Counselor Training Program is for campers entering their Senior year in High School. The program is seven weeks long with a focus throughout on developing leadership skills, Christian character, unselfish outlooks, and genuine man- or woman-hood.
The first three weeks are spent with their CT peers specifically tuning into the teamwork elements of leadership. They work for a week on a community service project (usually to benefit the camp property), where they learn true service, work ethic, and develop useable skills.
Parts of second and third week are spent preparing for, executing, and debriefing a 6 day wilderness trip, often in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or Ontario, Canada. The focus of this experience is on taking one’s thought off of oneself and looking to God for strength and direction.
The following four weeks the campers move into camp cabins where they put their new leadership skills to the test as they apprentice under our cabin counselors, raising our youngsters and learning to teach the regular camp activities.
We cannot impress enough the value of this particular summer at Camp Leelanau and Kohahna. Whether or not your son or daughter feels they want to be a counselor, the strength of the CT program in developing leadership skills, the ability to take initiative, and to be confident and dedicated Christian Scientists is unparalleled.
Why I believe in the CT Program (from a camp parent)
I was reminded recently in a conversation with another camper parent of the value of Camp Leelanau and Camp Kohahna’s Counselor Training program, affectionately known as the CT program. All four of my children whet through this program and as a parent, I can think of no other singular experience that can be more important for a teenager than participating in their CT summer of camp. There are many worthwhile competing opportunities for other summer activities for our kids, and it can seem difficult at times to choose what is best. Often our children have strong feelings about how they want to spend their summers. One of the best decisions our family has ever made was for our kids to be at camp for their CT summers. This comprehensive, prayerfully designed program provides life lessons of the most important kind that a parent could ever wish for their child. It is an opportunity for them to learn what it means to think about, and live, their lives as students of Christian Science in a very practical way. This program is structured to provide an opportunity for much learning about one’s self, for what it means to serve others, and for growth in Christian character. The CTs spend the first few weeks of this seven week program learning how to function as a team while doing such things as a camp service project and taking a hiking or canoeing trip in the wilderness. These activities provide experiences in learning to work together for a common goal, and bring increased self knowledge through greater self awareness, self confidence, and in facing and conquering self imposed limitations. The CTs spend the last four weeks of the program in cabins assisting the regular counselors with campers. This provides ample opportunity for unselfed love, for learning more deeply what it means to be a good role model and a leader, and how and why it is important to sacrifice something of themselves for the greater good. All of these things are life lessons of the highest order, richly valuable for young people on the cusp of adulthood in a world shouting at them from many directions that life is all about what feels good and what best serves one’s own individual interests or needs, with little thought to the larger picture of what it means to live to serve others, and be about the Father’s business.
My oldest child did not want to attend camp her CT year. She wanted to relax at home, earn some money at a summer job, shop, and just hang out. Furthermore, she was not what you might exactly call the typical camper type. She liked sleeping in, moving at her own pace, and was not overly fond of the outdoors and outdoor related activities. However, her dad and I felt her CT summer would help her to grow and deepen her own self worth and understanding, and strengthen her for the challenges we knew lay ahead as she matured into adulthood. We knew too it would teach her more about how to live and give unselfishly, and how to serve others, which is so beautifully expressed in the the CT motto “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me” (Phil 13). We explained this to her, and while she wasn’t completely on board with the idea of going, she went, and we prayerfully supported her participation. We felt as parents this was a situation where our daughter didn’t have the understanding or experience in life yet to see the full wisdom and value of a summer spent in this way. It was our deep love for our daughter that enabled us to be firm in our decision that this was the best possible way she could and would spend her summer. She learned many things during those seven weeks, and had the wonderful support of the camp staff and fellow CT’s along the way. While it wasn’t always easy for her, much good went on that summer. She made friends, learned to work as part of a team, learned to give more unselfishly, had fun, and emerged a stronger, more mature young woman, with a deeper appreciation and understanding of what it means to live Christian Science. When further trials came into this beloved daughter’s experience in later years, her camp experience was a rock she could stand on to be reminded she could find her way. Today she is a busy mother, works full time, and runs half marathons. And Sundays you will find her in church.
I will forever be deeply grateful to camp for the wisdom and love shown in designing and developing the CT program which so carefully, practically, and lovingly provides for our children the right experience at the right time in their lives. All of my children were greatly blessed by being a part of it, and my youngest child is eagerly awaiting his opportunity to participate in it a year from now. So if you are pondering this experience for your child, go for it. In the years to come, you and your children will never regret your decision.
We are T-minus and less than 85 days away from opening day. The snow hasn’t melted yet, but I am ready for a Basch Run and a dip in the lake. After the grueling interview process, which included more than one game of Buck-Buck, a round of Mumbly-Peg (I told Trippy if he made it past Salt and Pepper he could have my job), and an epic game of Knock Out the Crib team has been paired down to only the best of the best.
Camp is right around the corner, and we are gearing up for the best summer of all time! We will be inaugurating our brand new zip-line. The lodge will be outfitted for greater practical use. The soccer field will be playable this year. Physical elements aside, the staff are hired, prayed up, and ready to take on their greatest duty: role modeling and sharing the practical demonstration of Christian Science.
So…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…I am pleased to announce The 2011 CRIB TEAM!!
Weldon Rutledge – Director
Tom Bisbee – Head Counselor
Paul Olsen – CTs / Head Counselor
Will Bisbee- Trips
Trippy Mohan – Trips
Freddie Momo – Photos
Eric Olsen – Climbing and Silversmithing
David Libbe – Border Camp
Max Warner – Waterfront Director
Billy Shugart – Waterskiing and Windsurfing
Drake Schaberg – Kayaking and Ceramics
Ben Riesmeyer – Swimming and Waterskiing
Marshall McCurties – Archery
Andy Fine – Sailing
Jimmy Ray – Canoeing
Stevie Hufstader – Landsports
Mike Wise – Nature
Brett Banning – RCA and Horseback Riding
Tom Sebring – Music
Charlie Bucsh – Riflery
Brett Graham – Tennis
And making special appearances in the second session only:
Andy “The Burg” Rathburg, and Wiley Sinkus
And let us not forget for 7th week only:
Philip Hufstader – Speed and Agility Training
Director, Camp Leelanau for Boys
By: Weldon Rutledge
February 10, 2011. The sun has returned to Port Oneida. As the days slowly lengthen, boring us towards the solstice we know and love, I venture from the office in the late afternoon. After interviewing staff the past few days my first inclination is to ski among the boy’s cabins seeking to envision the 2011 crib team fitting together, bringing joy and shaking off the winter rime of the Junior Bowl and the Flag Circle. The wind is whipping my hood around my ears and instead I turn towards our beach.
The Rustic Village looks naked without it’s green canopies in the winter. The slide has recently deposited its snow load to its base, looking like a long green tongue reaching for the first lick of an ice cream cone.
The tennis and basketball courts would make excellent ice rinks this time of year with the work of a properly nozzled hose.
But the beach, oh, our beach, she calls me down to her. Wind whipped, frozen, dynamic ice geysers exploding a fine spray at the water’s edge. A Waters Edge that reaches longingly to close the shipping lanes and unite the Manitou Islands with the Mother Sleeping Bear once again. I observe the beach, our newly built boat rack piling sand-mixed snow around it’s ankles, our lifeguard towers standing sentinel, unbending in the wind, scanning the undulating ice flows. But those otherworldly formations, the geysers, the grounded ice chunks, the rime, the snow, they call me. They call me for their uniqueness, their ephemeral nature; tomorrow it will all be changed again. I clamber out onto parts of the ice. I am standing on top of where we dip! Further I realize that I have rolled kayaks, sailed lasers, and first learned to canoe, in the water that I now stand upon! Sublimity overtakes me. I retreat. Our beach has become a moonscape. I welcome the uniqueness. I love it. I also welcome the return of summer. The familiar beach, with buoys, and sailboats, buddy boards, and beach periods, will be here soon.
Because Trips Counselors need trips too.
At Camp we learn to overcome adversity through turning to God. The Leelanau and Kohahna Trips Program provides many opportunities of this nature. Whether it is a Flag Trip or Challenge, a Pictured Rocks or CT Trip, or your very first overnight on the back property or at Gethsemane, we all are asked to expand our tents, to reach, stretch, and grow.
Well…Trips Counselors need to keep reaching and stretching and growing too.
This fall I travelled with Mitchell Wyly, Jervis DiCicco, and Eric Olsen to Southern New Mexico for a journey into the secret underground world of the Guadalupe Mountain Caves.
Without going into excessive detail, allow me to state that we worked hard for three full days of caving. Long hikes on rugged mountain terrain to find cave entrances, followed by complicated and challenging vertical rope work –descending 100-300 ft at a time and ascending those same lines, dangling in the dark above one seemingly endless abyss after another.
Of course those are the gnarly parts of the stories that we come home and tell. The less gnarly, but perhaps far more meaningful parts of the story include sitting around the campstove laughing and cooking with each other. Snuggling down in the tent knowing we had worked hard and earned our rest. Friendship, brotherhood, the feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself, a sense of team, a common goal, these are the true elements of any trip. Whether caving, rock climbing, hiking, or just sleeping out with your cabin in Gethsemane, we all tap into that higher sense of community found on the trail.
And to answer the question set forth above. We all thrive off of a desire to be a part of something excellent, something that pushes us to be better, and I find that excellence “out there”.
By: Weldon Rutledge
I wrote this piece five years ago when asked to write for a local magazine about home, while I was living in Leelanau County and running the Leelanau Outdoor Center programs. The magazine passed on the piece and it has lived in my computer since then. I want to share it with the world-wide-web of camp now. It speaks to a very familiar experience for our campers on opening day, as well as a specific experience that helped ensure that I would be returning to camp year after year. I never changed the names to protect the innocent so some of our Alum may recognize their roles in this story. Enjoy.
I am not a local. Despite this disqualifying credential I found a home in Leelanau County. I never could be considered a “second homer,” or a retiree “snowbirding” from Florida or Arizona. I have always been just a “summer camper.” Each summer dumped off at Camp Leelanau for Boys I found a deeper sense of belonging and connection to environment than ever felt in the lower-Michigan that held my parents’ house. I found home.
If you drive northeast out of Glen Arbor you will stumble upon Port Oneida Rd. This road terminates in my found home: Camp Leelanau for Boys. Every summer as a child a large ancient barn greeted me, and with a “so long, Pop,” and a wet kiss from Mom my trunk and my duffle left the family station wagon and were trucked up to my cabin. Riding the tailgate with my only belongings I past the two sky blue school busses, the canoe trailers with red and green Old Towne canoes, past the green soccer field shouting memories of games won and lost and further onto the cabins full of boys just like me.
These cabins stilted up to find level in a steep hillside are not of the architecture that you might find in your typical northern Michigan summer home. Brown painted T-1-eleven pine exterior, 92 and a half inch studs exposed and holding 8 penny nails for my robe and laundry bag, large airy screens fitted just loose enough to allow mosquitoes to sneak through and harass sleepless campers, and “Louisiana-Pacific” staring down at you from the OSB ceiling with roofing nails poking through. A steel framed bunk bed that creaked when I got up or down, my foot locker at the foot, my shoes lined up neatly underneath, and a bottom bunk-mate named Angus from Atlanta, or Mitch from Ohio, but always with a penchant for lighting leg hair on fire completed the picture of my northern home.
Summer camp held my imagination all through the school year. Writing assignments for Language Arts never seemed to do it justice. The Lake Michigan beach with sailing and windsurfing, the horseback riding, the archery, the nature walks, the friends made and remade year after year, the counselors –so cool, collected, instructional, hilarious, loving, and kind, the camp director and his golden retriever all made Camp Leelanau for Boys a playground for Algebra class daydreams. Perhaps the strong sense of home came from the attitude of welcome acceptance. Unlike my classroom, at camp it didn’t matter whether I had Reebok Pumps or Nike Airs. Running barefoot with just met brothers, sharing the simplest commonality of counselor versus camper pillow fights, settled me into an annual summer niche in Northern Michigan. What held my attention the longest, when sitting through another exhausted lecture on the American Revolution, however had to be the overnight trips away from the camp property. I yearned for the chance to adventure away from the dining hall and soccer field and travel with a small group into the wilderness of Northern Michigan.
In the summer of 1993 as a 14 year old I signed up for the first trip offered that summer: The Little Manistee River. By the numbers: two days, one night, eight campers, two counselors, five canoes. But don’t let the name fool you, she is a wretched viper of a watercourse. On day one rain dropped in sheets all morning. The soaked cotton Metallica t-shirt under the water-logged maroon poncho clung to my cold skinny frame. Thick glasses streaked with rain water presented a clearly foggy green, brown, and grey wasteland. Lunch was taken huddled between two canoes pulled up on their sides with a large blue tarp across them, which rapidly collected an inverted bubble of water that, when drained, poured down my very unfortunate spine. By late afternoon the sun had come out, mist rose from leaves and grasses on the riverbank, and we swam and played in the shallow current quickly forgetting our certain disgust for all things damp, moist, or wet from the morning.
Day two brought us bright blue skies, a burn-ready sun, and a river swollen and uninterested in slackening its current. The turns tightened, and the river developed a bad habit of placing large, unforgiving, straining branches and trees along the path of the strongest current and most obvious course. The current rushed us toward these woody sieves allowing the water easy passage, but canoes and their occupants no such consideration. My canoe partner Craig and I did battle with both river and snags. One of a million low grabbing branches scraped my spectacles and Pearl Jam baseball cap away from me, in an unbalanced act of desperation I caught my glasses, but the river swallowed the hat as tithe for passage. But one-tenth part did not seem to satisfy this deluge of coursing water, as we made a final turn, with the take-out point in sight, the river lashed out with one final strike. There stood one last log to duck under, but unfortunately my battle weary brain did not see the complete obstacle. As I bent back to avoid colliding with the large trunk hung low across the river I caught an unseen branch square in the nose and across the cheek. Bloodied and ashamed I met the rest of my traveling companions on the far shore.
The van ride back to camp brought out many more tales of hardship along that final stretch of the Little Manistee River. We had all struggled and flipped our boats numerous times but no one carried more honor than I for having given blood to the beastly watercourse.
When we arrived back to Camp Leelanau for Boys our misery had transformed into glory, though in my heart I knew just how deeply grateful I was to be sleeping in my cabin that night, I was even grateful to see Angus working hard with the sun and a magnifying glass. As I walked up the stairs to the familiar dining hall I saw my cabin counselor Jon, my father-mother-brother-guide for the summer standing waiting for me. Scar proud and brightly sunburned, I approached; he embraced me and whispered, “Welcome home.”