Gorgeous weather the past week--just the reverse of last week, and our spirits are soaring. We had a busy busy week, and 35 boys are setting right now up at the Porcupine Mountains on a wondrous three-day overnight trip which includes one contingent that is backpacking along a 14 mile route, while the other group is working out of a set site, swimming in Lake Superior, and just enjoying the marvelous view of Northern Michigan. When I left you in my last newsletter, we were about to compete against Camp Arrowhead in three softball games and a basketball game. They were really tough ones, and by the time the smoke had cleared, we had split two and two, so Ill settle for that. Monday we were on full schedule and the weather was so beautiful that we were able to really move on the waterfront area, and our Timberbat Waterski team practiced for two shows they were going to put on this weekend. Our tennis and archery teams also worked out for forthcoming meets. That night we had a fine movie with peanuts and cokes and the boys enjoyed the movie a great deal. Tuesday night was Blue & White Night and the White team picked up enough points to make the score closer between the teams. On Wednesday we had our Cruiser Day, and it was extra special for many of the cabins as they visited a number of interesting places and really had chance to do things as a cabin group. That night we had a two-pronged social with Camp Chippewa for Girls. Our older boys visited them, and their younger boys (I swear that's what it says...BG) came to our camp. We ran out of paper and pencils for boys to take down names and addresses of the girls. Their director called me later to tell me how much they all enjoyed the social.
Thursday has to be considered our busiest day of the year---listen to this itinerary. In the morning we held regular activities, but in the afternoon, our Timberbat Waterski team and all our horseback riding members ate early lunch, and then traveled to Camp Chippewa for a horseback riding Gymkhana. As the riders competed, the skiers worked together with the better skiers of the girls camp for two hours, and then both groups put on a simultaneous ski show ---it was great. We won the Gymkhana and were most pleased....Meanwhile, our Junior and Intermediate softball, tennis and archery boys traveled to Camp Interlaken for an Athletic contest , While our Seniors met Camp Interlakens older group. They beat us at their camp, but we swept all events at our camp so the entire afternoon was a thrilling one in which our entire camp was occupied one way or another. The evening program was to be an organized free play with boys doing riflery, riding, etc, on a relaxed basis. But our radio station had picked up some electrifying news---President Nixon had called for a special TV viewing to make an important announcement. The air was filled with rumors about possible resignation, etc. and we felt that it was important for our campers and staff to listen and view such an occasion, so we quickly set up a television set, hooked the sound into our speaker system and all gathered around the set. When President Nixon actually announced his decision to resign, it sent a chill through my body, and we all buzzed with the news. Many counselors took the occasion, as they put their boys to bed, to discuss the implications of the resignation and the effects of Watergate. It was a moment when we got a little bit away from our Shangri La Here at Timberlane. The next morning we viewed the inaugaration of President Ford.
Friday was again a busy day--I might add that through t the past 10 days we had been having a series of cabin overnight trips and they were magnificent. One cabin took along a motorboat, set up tents and spent the day on Lake Tomahawk; skiing, camping out at night, sliding down a sand pit slide and just generally having a ball. Parents Weekend was now coming up and we spent lots of time making sure that camp was scrubbed and ready for our visitors. We knew that there wouldnt be a lot--- maybe 25 families, but we still wanted to be ready for them. Oh yes, on Thursday morning we announced the picks of the leaders for our forthcoming Pow Wow Day to be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13th. It will be grueling six days for the leaders because they will have to pick their teams, study the events, place their men in events, work on songs and cheers, have boys make signs, put on war paint and just work, work and continue to work....but its a great experience in growth and development for young boys as they go through this ordeal of being Pow Wow leaders of various tribes....Back to Friday...Five of our young waterskiers were going to Camp Kawaga to compete in their 1st invitational waterski meet. The boys got up at 7:30 A.M. ate breakfast and went to the meet. They did an outstanding job and engaged in trick-skiing, barefoot-skiing and all types of specialized events; and when the day was done, Camp Timberlane had captured 2nd place amongst the teams. It was a wonderful day for the boys. Meanwhile, 35 boys and staff members loaded our equipment, boarded a bus and van, and headed for the Porcupine Mountains for a three-day trek as previously described.
D-Day was approaching--it was near 7:00 P.M. on Friday evening--the parents were about to enter camp. The sky was blue and who could ask for better weather...But the weather report for the following day was terrible--80% chance for an all-day rain and to continue for three days. What would I do--visions of indoor progressive game parties, bingo with the parents, and other horrible thoughts were on my mind. But I slipped into my clean shirt and pants, put deoderant on after my annual shower, and greeted the parents. It was so much fun to go out and greet parents when their kids just bubbled over with how much they loved camp and how they wanted to come back next year. It makes greeting parents so much easier. The kids took their parents all around camp and later we held an outdoor program near our barbecue area. We had the parents and campers all sit on benches, and a near-catastrophe started as too much weight (beef) on one bench caused it to collapse and my heart also. No damage though and the program continued. We sang songs, and then I had Andy Bleiden of Louisville, Kentucky do his series of imitations of Ed Sullivan, Elvis Presley and other well-known personalities. He wowed the audience...And then I did something different...I have a camper from Bogota, Columbia, and he approached me Friday morning and asked if he and two other boys could perform at the evening program---well, I asked him what the act was, and he showed me one of the funniest midget acts Ive ever seen, so I gave him the O.K. Brian Lifsec, (Our Bogota boy-an American), Phil Perlson, and Andy Blieden put on the act. I then had Jim Meyers sing a few songs which set the mood for my talk, and it was on Nixon, and what the whole series of events that had occurred might mean to our campers. I tried to show them that problems can come to each of us if we dont tell the truth when something happens and we try to make excuses. I think it registered on the boys and parents. We followed it up with a moving Key Log ceremony, and soon the evening was over.
The next morning dawned with dark gray forbidding skies, a sweating director and lots of trepidations...Oh, Lord I prayed, dont let it rain--please....it looked, bad, however....We woke the boys up, cleaned the cabins after we ate, and the parents flocked in...The weather held up and the boys had lots of fun. We let all our boys, (even those whose parents werent at camp) participate in all the activities, and it was a great day. I tried out a new type of Coke machine that gives you a choice of four flavors and we gave out Cokes, or other soda, free to all boys whose parents werent at camp and sold Coke to parents, and their sons. It was a big hit....In the afternoon we had a ball game with the dads, and they were so good they massacred the kids. The Timberbats put on a fine ski show under windy conditions, and before we knew it, the visitors weekend was over. The minute the Timberbats finished their show, the heavens let loose and it poured the rest of the evening. This morning is Lazy Breakfast, and in fact it has already started as I have walked into the lodge and boys are scurrying around with eggs, bacon and all the trimmings. We go into 3rd and 4th activities this morning, and then we will have a series of clinics this afternoon with boys working in all kinds of activities on a specialized learning basis. Tonight well have a picnic dinner and then have Blue & White competition. Our riders will visit a big riding rodeo at Eagle River this afternoon. Meanwhile, interest is starting to build up for Pow Wow Day, and at dinner tonight well start to hold our first major Pow Wow Meetings.
Monday is regular schedule in the morning, but a big all-camp Track and Field meet will be held in the afternoon. At night its going to be a big Treasure Hunt and again a series of Pow Wow meetings will be held all day. At 7:30 A.M. on Tuesday morning boys on horseback (bareback) will invade the cabin areas, and Pow Wow Day will officially be on. Its probably the greatest day of the year; the camp is split up into 4 tribes, and every boy will compete in contests that will try young boys souls. Well let you know how it came out in our next newsletter. At night well have barbecued chicken and corn, and it should be a great meal. Then well be having a nice campfire with songs, stories and the boys will be waiting for H.H. to tell them a big ghost story, so I cant let them down. Wednesday is Cruiser Day and well be having another social with a girls camp. (I cant tell you who its with, or the boys will know the secret) Thursday is the final day of testing for awards and the boys will be busy all day working for awards. At night well have our final Blue & White competition and the winner will share in a big giant party....Friday well start our packing, and activities will be carried on all through the day. I forgot to mention that on Thursday the Timberbats will put on their final show of the year. Friday evening will be a long and meaningful program---we will sing songs, have a story and present our Camper of the Year Award. Finally, we will wrap it up by having each boy take a candle mounted in a paper dish---and slowly walk with it to our swimming area, make a wish and let the candle drift out on the lake. Well all watch it glide out and usually they all drift together in a long chainlike effect, and suddenly the realization will hit that camp is over for the year. What happened to the days, the voices and all the things that make camp life so wonderful and meaningful?
On Saturday morning, some boys will be awakened early and will start the trip to Rhinelander, Wisconsin to board their plane for the trip home. Others will leave via charted buses, and some will be picked up at camp... Our Indianapolis group will be the last one to leave, and when theyre gone, Ill feel lonely as heck. But I will plan to visit each of you during the Fall and Winter months; and it is your word-of-mouth that helps us to recruit new campers, so any help will be appreciated in later months ahead in terms of helping us to line up new campers. Remember, the boys will be leaving for home on Saturday, August 17th and I have sent out information about flight times or bus times. The luggage will accompany the boys home. Again, what a great year---its been so much for me--thanks to all the parents for the wonderful comments during the visiting weekend. One more newsletter and then Ill rest....Love to all of you.-----