Cannon Report – Week 1 – 2014


Cannon REEport!

The summer blew open with a bang!  Opening Day brought bright and blustery skies as we welcomed 20 brand new campers, and a whole bunch of old ones.  The sun shone upon us as we climbed to Council Fire that night to open Camp and share with everybody Oh Wha Ta Goo Siam!

Monday found the boys busily attending their morning activities and then taking Bar Lake by storm for our annual swim test.  The Bar Exam!

Tuesday dawned with rain in the sky, but a little rain can’t slow down Camp Leelanau for Boys. The sky’s parted in the afternoon for a beautiful Phat Tuesday, which always ends with a picnic at the Shallows and Captain elections.

The Spirit of the Manitou descended while the boys slept, and Wednesday morning found all of our new campers soundly assigned to the North and South Teams.  Wednesday also brought our first Cabin Day of the summer and the boys explored all corners of Camp on various bike rides, scavenger hunts, and fort building missions.

Thursday we finally settled into the good old routine of morning activities, bowl meeting, Senior Store day, rest hour, afternoon activity, beach period, flag, dinner, and evening activities.  Four days deep, and finally our new campers have a glimpse of a normal schedule.

This whole normal schedule thing flew right out the window, as the heavens opened upon us once again, and Friday found the campers searching Camp with well placed clues for our morning Counselor Hunt.  The afternoon brought more sheets of rain and an enjoyable, though high volume, indoor beach period in the lodge.  Rest assured, the rain cleared out by dinner and ET Ball and Bombardment were not missed out on for evening activity.

Saturday brought cooler temps, but no rain, so normal morning activities were made up, and a trip with the whole Camp to the Backside of the Dunes for a little Dune Football was in order before Saturday Night Soccer, Performance, and Movie.

One week down.  Six to go.

One other note: The CT boys gave a wonderful, though unseen, gift to Camp this week.  They worked hard, learned to use carpentry tools, and learned a thing or two about precision and having to redo substandard work, as they created copious shelving in the basement of the new farmhouse.  Thank you CTs!

And thank you, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, Sunday School Teachers, and friends that sent their young men to Leelanau this summer, for committing to an amazing spiritual journey and a significant step towards being a Man of Character.  A Man of Leelanau.

From the desk of HQ

Cannon Report – Week 5 – 2013

Boy, oh boy this week was HOT!  Like fire!  Week 5 was chock full of joyous activity, much of which revolved around the waterfront to keep everybody nice and cool.

This is one of the things we love about having four or seven weeks with these kids, we can just keep hitting them with true substance.

Sunday we enjoyed our waterfront with a North/South Beach Carnival followed by a spirited Council Fire.  Monday became Super Monday with Water Polo and a Picnic at the Shallows.  For dessert we came back to camp and had Soda Bar in the Lodge followed by the real cherry on top with Weldon sitting everybody down in front of the fireplace to tell the history of Camp Leelanau and welcome the current generation to their heritage of excellence.

Tuesday may very well have been the hottest day of the summer, and every single activity ended up on the beach before the end of the period.  We even popped the clutch on evening activity in favor of opening the beach, dragging out sail boats, kayaks, and paddleboards and having a grand old time until the sunset.

Wednesday we emptied the Camp of youngsters by sending every cabin in the Junior Section and Iroquois out on Cabin Trips.  Argosy headed to the Cradle Campsite, Tortuga and Barbados braved the Platte River,  Sea Hornet stomped through the swamps and slept In the Back Meadow, while Iroquois hiked through the Platte Plains and camped along Lake Michigan.

While the Juniors were away the Seniors had rocking Cabin Days, including mountain biking the VASA trail in Traverse City, grilling burgers and handing out high-fives in Empire, and floating (literally with just lifejackets and smiles) the Crystal River. 

Thursday found the big boys trying out for their respective Flag Teams, while Friday brought the team competition into focus once again with a little tradition we like to call “The Ole Ball Game”.  A great evening at the ballpark was had by all, as South took the game 5-9.

We are all wishing the Flag Trip boys good luck next week as we gear up for week number 6 at Camp Leelanau for Boys.

The Men of HQ

Cannon Report – Week 3 – 2013

Can it really be the end of Week 3?  Time flies as we fill our days with amazing moments. 

One young man in Black Swan swung by the head table this week and informed HQ that they ran a fantastic camp.  We would have to agree!  Camp IS fantastic!

The bright sunny skies of week three found the whole camp on the Big Blue Bus on Tuesday evening soaring over dunes at the Frontside, and tackling with abandon at Water Polo, – we even let two Junior Cabins in on the game, while we sent the oldest boys to play with the youngest boys in the big all sand pile we call Sleeping Bear Dunes. Not surprisingly the bus seemed to have a “liggiter valve” come loose right in front of Riverfront.  Don’t worry Mom and Dad, a small twist of soft serve fixed it nicely.

Wednesday found all of the boys hither and yon for the last Off Camp Cabin Day.  The Blue Bus made deliveries all over the greater M-22/ M-109 metropolitan area for the kids and counselors to make lasting memories together once more.

On Thursday the cannon reported America’s Independence, not once, not twice, but six times as we ran down to the beach for dips.  In the morning fog the American Citizens (campers) fought once more for their independence from Britain (counselors) in a spirited re-enactment of the War of 1812.  A nautical battle ensued, involving paddle boards, bombardment balls, water balloons, and the King’s Flagship (the rescue boat) eventually being overrun by the American Citizens, and The Crown (Weldon and Kathleen) standing in the stockade (lifeguard tower).  

With that much excitement before 10 AM, the parade and group games in the afternoon were a sunny breezy joy!

On Friday we packed up our three week campers, celebrated them with a Final Banquet, and exchanged both hilarious and tender funny awards, sending each one home with an assignment to use the good lessons learned at camp among their friends and classmates at home.

Thank you three weekers for a wonderful first session!  We have loved every moment and cannot wait to see you back here on the shores of Pyramid Point!

The Men of HQ

Cannon Report – Week 2 – 2013

Can the second week of camp have happened so fast?  Holy smokes!  We are on a roll!
Sunday brought a good old fashioned North v. South Track Meet.  The Council Fire Run, the Leela-Stone,  and the High Jump all made an appearance.  The team spirit, the camaraderie, and the expression of graceful athleticism were unparalleled.
Monday celebrated our second official totally normal day of Camp this summer.  We had morning activities, afternoon activities, and played Human Foosball for the Juniors, and Foxes and Hounds for the Seniors for evening activity.  Everybody even got a shower on Monday.  Hurray for Normal Camp!
Tuesday saw an end to normalcy in a right hurry.  At 6 in the morning we waved goodbye to the the adventurous crew heading for the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula, in order to hike along the Lake Superior Coast, or kayak below the famous rocks.  [Spoiler alert]  They had an awesome trip, but technically we don’t know that until Friday at Dinner.
In other news, Tuesday saw the Junior Flag Trip head to “Canada” to play a fierce game of Capture the Flag while our Senior Quartermasters took excellent care of their bellies’ needs.  While that left around 10 kids back in Camp, we were able to have a fun backyard style cookout and picnic with Root Beer Floats to round out the evening.
Wednesday saw the return of the Junior Flag Trip with many tales of healings and adventures.  Followed by a surprising number of  Pirate themed on Camp cabin days.  The eye patches and scavenger hunts abound as the knaves of the Argo lead the theming on the Zip-Line and Water Slide.  And oh, the testimonies on Wednesday night flowed like the Mighty Crystal River.  A steady stream of good and gratitude was shared by the boy!
Thursday and Friday proved to be our third and fourth almost totally normal days of camp for the session!  The Juniors were able to indulge in some good old fashioned Thursday Night Soccer, while the Seniors headed to a Christian Science Lecture in Glen Arbor.  On Friday after enjoying the tradition of Pizza and Milkshakes the whole Camp played a version of the Hunger Games that the CT’s had invented in their spare time learning how to canoe and training for their wilderness trip to Canada next week.  The kids loved the game, and it gave the camp an opportunity to come together a large family, play together and then honor our 2 two-week campers that sadly departed on Saturday.
It is hard to believe how quickly the time has flown.  With one week left in the three week session we are going to raise the bar and ask even more of these kids.  The shakedown cruise has concluded, and we are going to give more of ourselves, be more selfless, be more sportsmanly, and seek opportunities to help each other in as many ways as possible.  These are very exciting times!
From the Desk of HQ

Cannon Report – Week 1 – 2013

KA-BOOM!! Summer at Camp Leelanau has begun with a BANG!
Opening Day dawned with a cool fog over Port Oneida Road.  As the campers arrived the Brigadoon style mist parted and Camp Leelanau was born again for another amazing summer, ripe with potential for growth and goodness all around!
Monday and Tuesday blurred into one extravaganza of getting to know each other and camp activities like the Famous “Bar Exam” swim test at Bar Lake, Phat Tuesday water polo and picnic at the Dune Climb and Shallows, and morning activities launching into earning levels and, for returning campers, dusting off a few hibernating skills like archery and knot tying in Border Camp.
Wednesday The Lake warmed up by two degrees and the entire cabin of Argosy made a bid for all being perfect dippers on Wednesdays. (we’ll have to see what happens next week).  Cabin Day found kids hiking on the Empire Bluffs, the backside of the dunes, and playing sports at Myles Kimmerly Park.  Also two trips departed for the Back Property and the Manistee River respectively.
Thursday kicked off the first officially “normal” day of camp with morning activities, afternoon activities, and evening activities all planned by the counseling staff, with zero erroneous influence from HQ.  Friday started in that manner, but then we couldn’t not pause to celebrate the boy’s innate humor with the 10th annual “War of Comedic Attrition”!!  This competitive comedy show presented by the members of the North and South Teams was one for the ages.  All of the stops came out as boys donned dresses, impersonated counselors, and expressed their musical talents.  Leelanau has Talent!
On Saturday we brought out the good old fashioned Counelor Hunt in the morning, and practiced tackling in preparation for the Jr. Flag Trip in the afternoon.  And of course the age old tradition of Saturday Night Soccer was not to be missed.
Camp Leelanau for Boys is off and running at full tilt, and we cannot wait for the continued unfoldment of only good as we launch into week number 2!
Thanks for reading, and as always,
The Men of HQ

Cannon Report – Week 1 – 2011

Ka-Boom!  The cannon roars and the campers head to the beach to start another day and another summer of Camp Leelanau.  The first week seems to go by the fastest because of all the special activities, including some of the camper’s favorite parts of camp.

The Bar Exam (our annual swim test at Bar Lake) was a huge success on Monday afternoon.  Phat Tuesday (a day designed to shake off any cobwebs and get the campers fully engaged in camp) brought Water Polo, GaGa with the youngsters, and most important of all…a Super Chicken Picnic at the Shallows.  We finished the night with captain elections, which gave us CTs Ben Bradshaw and Ian McCullough for South and CTs Ben Austin and Phil Sholeen for North.  The Spirit of the Manitou visited all of our new campers and assigned them teams with felt-tipped gusto.

On Wednesday the heavens opened up and we had to forgo Cabin Day in favor of donning our camos and playing a hardy game of Espionage.  Espionage is played with two large teams that each defends a building that acts as the other team’s “embassy” while simultaneously attempting to get pieces of a message to their code breaker, who is inside the embassy, which the other team is guarding.  The game was a big hit with all of the campers and the afternoon became warm and sunny which brightened everyone’s spirits.

Thursday brought a return to more normal camp activities, and Friday included Jr. Soccer for evening activity.  On Saturday we loaded the boys on the bus for an afternoon of dune soaring at the backside of the dunes.  The dunes were a huge success because the campers were able to display their jumping and climbing skills on a particularly steep section close to the water.  After a refreshing dip we raced back to camp to eat dinner and play some good ‘ol Saturday Night Soccer.

Sunday morning the boys cleaned extra hard and then stood outside of their cabins for Sunday Inspection.  Sunday is such an important day for clean up because it counts as double in the tally for Honor Cabin that is announced at Council Fire.  Sunday afternoon was filled with an all camp game based on characters from the Amazing X-Men. Magneto (Weldon Rutledge) and the Mutant Brotherhood “kidnapped” Professor X (David Libbe), so the campers were forced to complete activities on the zip line, water slide, and soccer field to earn points and find Professor X.  The game ended with all of camp launching soaking wet foam tennis balls at Magneto to banish him from this land.  Everyone had fun running around in the sun avoiding the “bad guys”.

Then Sunday night we trudged up the hill for our weekly celebration of success in activities at Council Fire.  HQ started the night out by talking about over coming any sins that might enter our daily existence such as laziness or disobedience. The new youngsters learned “What Gooses” they truly are when the Spirit of the Great Siam overtook Eric Olsen and Weldon, and Fred “Calves” Morrison defended his title as Indian Leg Wrestling Champion against rising star Ben Hanson.  We closed by singing together the Council Fire Song and Taps, ending the night, and week, on a reverent tone as we all looked forward to joys and surprises yet to come.

Cannon Report – Pre-Camp – 2011

Ka-Boom! Rise and shine, the long wait is over because the campers are here!  But to share a little known secret, it takes lots of work, with a whole lot of fun thrown in, to get Camp ready for the boys to arrive.  Pre-Camp kicked off Friday evening with mandatory deck time, knockout and a rousing game of kickball, pitting the young bloods against the has-beens.  The young guns started off strong, but the has-beens managed to score enough to end the game in a tie.  After the game we went on an inspirational hike to Pyramid Point.  The next morning we got to work with the daunting task of waterfront set-up.  Our task seemed extra challenging due to the brisk waters of Lake Michigan, but with some excellent teamwork the job was finished in no time.

Saturday afternoon the guys left on our annual staff trip.  This year we mimicked the Junior Flag Trip, taking Big Blue (our big blue school bus) to the back meadow to run around the woods in our camo and capture flags!  After we were all tuckered out, we spent the evening sitting around the fire telling stories and basking in good company.  Sunday morning we hiked down to Gethsemane to enjoy one of Slim’s breakfasts of eggs and pancakes prepared over an open fire by Hickory (Weldon Rutledge) and his assistant Mule (Paul Olsen).  We hustled back from church to start preparing all the ins and outs of our activities.  The day ended with the long walk up Council Fire Hill.

The cannon went off bright and early Tuesday morning so we could begin our staff bonding and learning day, affectionately known as Two’s Day.  As we chugged up the hill to the Dune Climb in Big Blue, Weldon decided to start the challenges right away by running out gas and empowering the counselors to push the bus to the side of the road.  Big Blue Number 2 was called in and we all eventually made it to the dunes and breakfast.  After eating, six groups of counselors hiked across the dunes, from the Dune Climb to the Back Side, stopping along the way for lesson study and intense dune jumping.  The rest of the day consisted of teambuilding as pairs of counselors attempted to cross the ropes course and make it to the top of the climbing tower without breaking contact with each other.  The groups then reconvened and competed in an Iron Chef competition. Various unmarked sauces and a few pounds of beef made this competition one for the books. Our kitchen staff judged the meals, with Josh and Jan leading the force. The evening ended with a skit and song from each team.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were chock full of meetings and prep time.  Our two practitioners, Carla Stillman and Mark McCurties, shared thoughts about how to practice daily defense and better teach Sunday School and Quite Time, General Manager Marc Murphy presented an instructional manners skit, and Leelanau gathered together to reflect on why we decided to come back to camp this summer.  Friday morning we met with the Board of Directors and discussed the different aspects of our activities. Then to prove we could still have fun, both staffs loaded into Big Blue and headed to the Back Side for an intense game of Dune Football.  On the way home Big Blue again “broke down”, but this time in front of Riverfront so we could end the day with some delicious soft serve ice cream cone.

Saturday we had our all-staff metaphysical meeting led by Carla and Mark. We soaked in a lot of good thoughts on the art of healing, as well as learning more about Mary Baker Eddy.  Saturday night we played soccer and debriefed another great week of Pre-Camp.  With that done we were ready for the boys to arrive Sunday morning!  The day was full of campers arriving, games on the field, and an open beach.  After cookout we ended the night, and officially started the summer, with the walk up Council Fire Hill and a great fire provided by the CT Class of 2011.

A big BOOM from the cannon began Monday and the three week session. After activities and rest hour we piled into Big Blue for the ride to Bar Lake and our annual swim test.  Our camp photographer Fred Morrison put together a fantastic video to capture the moment, check it out here:

Cannon Report – Week 1 – 2010

KABOOM! And the first week is passed!  It has blown by.  Well we left you at the Bar Exam in the last Report, so I’ll pick up there.  Bar Lake was under perfect conditions for the swim test, digging in the sand and tackling, throwing, and diving with the football.  PHAT Tuesday, a modern, mainstay kick-off of the camp season, saw the youngest boys out for a sail on Lake Michigan, lots of tie-dye, the other Juniors climbing the Rock Tower, and the Seniors heating up the Glen Lake Shallows with some Water Polo!  The entire camp met together at Little Glen for a picnic dinner – gotta love that chicken!

Our first Cabin Day on Wednesday, had the boys on the camp property playing, (or building, for some), and getting to know one another.  One cabin even had an interactive, brownie-baking scavenger hunt!  Later, we basked in nature’s glory on top of the hill; the whole camp was together for our first evening Testimony Meeting.

Trips launched on Thursday.  Canoeing on the classic Pine River accepted boys from the cabins of Tortuga through Shoshonis.  And the oldest boys of the cabin of Cherokee tested out a new hybrid adventure – rock climbing on real cliffs in southern Michigan and then canoeing on the Pere Marquette River!  Lots of trips to look forward to next week, including the annual favorite, Pictured Rocks.

Saturday evening, we christened the new soccer field in all of its level glory.  A big THANKS to everyone who has helped make the field renovation possible and thanks to all who will come enjoy it!  We continued our celebration of football (soccer) with World Cup Day on Sunday afternoon.  The energy and hilarity could not be contained!

Council Fire was a perfect summation of our week, continuing the vivacity and Love always present.  We heard a lesson on the fearlessness and protection granted by trust in God, as expressed by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  We closed with a reminder of the longevity of friendships begun and started at Leelanau.

Alright, time to get back into it!!  Good week and good luck…

Cannon Report – Opening Day – 2010

Summer of 2010 has finally arrived. We had a sunny and eventful opening day. As many of you know, we have a new building in camp this summer: The Leelanau Lodge. On Sunday, Camp’s Board of Directors hosted the opening ceremony. Special guest, Clark Shutt, drove up from St. Louis to be here for this celebration and shared a few words of inspiration. Also sharing words of wisdom were Board Chair Marilyn Rinker, Whip Weaver-Member Emeritus, and our Camp Practitioner Don Wallingford. Jim Cooley was also on hand whose company, Cooley Construction, erected the building over the course of the last year.

After the ceremony, the campers and staff headed down to the beach for fun in the sun. The lake was refreshing and our new (at least for the three week session) water slide provided campers with lots of memorable moments. Following Flag Lowering, we were joined by Kohahna at the new lodge for our weekly cookout. With level picnic tables and a newly leveled playing field, kids of all ages enjoyed the food and our traditional game of elbow tag.

Our first Council Fire commenced with the telling of the David and Goliath story to highlight the importance of overcoming the obstacles in our life no matter how big they seem to be. Don Quitter, a camp alum, was on hand for his son Cole’s first Council Fire, and he shared an exciting account of his first senior Flag Trip that illustrated the need for taking advantage of each moment. Glenn Johnson, our camp director, also spoke about challenging ourselves to be excellent and to improve upon each day.

With a full week of camp ahead of us, we have set the bar high. Here at Camp Leelanau for Boys, excellence is our standard, and we strive for it in everything that we do.

It’s time to head off to the Bar Exam, and another beautiful day here at Pyramid Point.

Until next time…

Thanksgiving Message 2009 by Benjamin Chernivsky

Nothing is more potent, more in accord with being God-like than filling our thought with gratitude; even if the task seems challenging. What better time is there to expand our gratitude than during this time, the Thanksgiving holiday?  It is a special time to think to reflect on the past 11 months of this concluding year and fill our thought with the rigor, intensity and grace of what we’ve witnessed during four wonderful seasons.  We’ve all witnessed lots of good!

Gratitude has been in my thinking quite a bit this autumn on my journey through India with a College Abroad group.  It’s been an incredible experience for me, and it begs me to ask each of us to be more grateful than ever for the supply we have in the United States.  Everyday pictures of poverty, famine and corruption came to us in India.  We were also challenged individually by our workload and the travel.  However, the experience has also made clear the absolute reality of Love’s substance.  Half-way around the world  and hearing a different language and experiencing a different culture, there is a universal language we all understand – both those traveling and at home – the language of love, charity and gratitude.

The clearest demonstration of this fact is felt in acts of charity and selflessness, two qualities we certainly work on during Camp.  Countless times was invited to walk home with someone and eat dinner with their family, with the result that over time I was welcomed by an entire family as an unexpected guest. Countless times I saw my group find incredible joy as a result of talking with beggars and street dwellers. While the communication was difficult, the results were always joyful, fulfilling and surprising. It became clear to me as a result that the only reality – the only true substance – is that of Love, charity and gratitude.

I realize that not all of us can travel thousands of miles in order to understand that what we have at home begs our constant gratitude, but I think about the immense amount of gratitude we witness at the camp during each summer.  Every camper knows how wonderful we feel at camp when we’re surrounded by good friends, supportive counselors, and the little bit of paradise called Pyramid Point. I say this even after traveling around the world and back a few times: we have a special spot in Northern Michigan!  We say this often during the summer sessions at Leelanau, and now it becomes meaningful. Good work is easy to do when you’re surrounded by friends and family, but in challenging situations we need to stay focused on doing our good work.  We left camp three months ago and Thanksgiving is a good time to feel a jump-start – to share what we feel with the world, and doing so begins with gratitude.

Honestly filling our minds with gratitude can be difficult at times, and we’re asked to do it cheerfully!  II Corinthians reminds us to “give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”  How we all love the cheerful giver!  We recognize such an individual when we feel the love in simple acts of charity. We know that we, too, can spread warmth and love. We’ve learned how at camp; and if those with less than us and in worse situations can do it, so can we. Now is a special time of year share our gratitude!