Im looking out over
the lake, and the sun is just rising--- how beautiful and today will
be a beautiful day-- lots of blue sky and plenty of
sun.....What a marvelous Parents Weekend we had--- the morning before
the parents came, the sky was dark and ominous, and it rained and
rained and rained--- all weather reports indicated that it would be
clear and cool. I cursed and wracked my brain to think of what I
could do when the parents arrived that evening... The kids approached
me all morning asking me if the weather would clear up... I called
Wausau, Wis, and they said, dont worry, itll clear
up. We sent out our porcupine mountain trip and gave them a
Bravo cheer goodbye, and then we cleaned up our camp... I shouted, I
cajoled, I threatened, and the garbage truck moved all day depositing
waste at our dump. In the afternoon, we made a second inspection and
went into our activity schedule again, and then it happened--- a
patch of blue sky appeared, then more and more blue sky, and now the
final gasp of the weather, and now all the heartbreak moved away and
the glorious Northern weather was with us and I gave special thanks
to whoever helped us out to start our parents weekend, the right
4:15 P.M.--- Two hours 45 minutes before P.A. time--- (Parents arrival time) We moved everybody that didnt have sniffles or colds into the lake and had a general scrub down and back to the cabins again to put on some clean clothes and tidy up the cabins... Then we fattened up the boys with our best meal of turkey and cranberries and all the trimmings and then we waited for the surge...6:54 P.M.---Here come the parents, meet their cabinmates. Especially those whose parents werent at camp and everyone who had just come to camp was given a tour of everything we have and do at camp including a first hand view of our cabins that the boys live in...The OOHs and AAHs would have melted your heart, and I stood there like a fat cat licking in pleasure at the favorable comments of all our newcomers. I guess I had a right to be proud because camp really looked great., and even more than this, the feeling and love of the campers and staff for Timberlane was most apparent to anyone who listened. I heard parents getting story after story about what his boy was doing and what he was going to do, and I saw only three sets of tears and not really because the boy was sad.
That evening we had a campfire and our campers gave words of wisdom, and three of our staff members did a tremendous job of forming a band combo and played the trumpet, the accordion and the third man imitated a base fiddle and shook some jars filled with sand to give a marimba effect. I talked to the parents and kids about what it means to work your way up the ranks at Timberlane, and I harped on the fact that unless youre willing to do the dirty jobs as well as the plum jobs, than youll never be a staff member. I wonder if you know that 83% of our staff have returned this year and 70% have come up from the ranks of camper, Partial Program Aide, Program Aide, Counselor in Training, Junior Counselor and eventually Senior Counselor, and they make the best staff of all because this is their camp and they care about what happens to it.
Saturday dawned blue and beautiful again, and we had a glorious day--- I wonder if you can get the feeling of seeing your son skiing behind a boat, or being able to float in the water...Or how about watching him hit the bulls eye in riflery...We also showed off our tennis Ballboy machine in which the ball is rifled out of a machine and the boys attempt to hit it back using either their forehand or another stroke. We ran three activities in the morning and this time the parents were dragging...I might add that as soon as the parents and their families came into camp, three grandmas went right to the cabin and checked out the washrooms to see if theyre clean and if their little innocent grandchilds sheets and blankets are O,K.---But we were ready for their inspection, except that one grandma opened her grandsons foot locker and found a live garter snake---She gave out a scream and almost had a heart up as a booby trap which her Boychikel had set up as a booby trap for any sticky fingered camper or STAFF MEMBER. We later served a nice outdoor luncheon and then put on two wonderful shows consisting of a horseback show and then followed by our famed Timberlane Timber-bat Waterski show. Both went over well, and Ive taken some films of the shows and will let you see them when I visit you...Of great interest was the double horseback riding jumping exhibition that our Riding Master, Mike Campbell and his sister put on for us-- it was a thing of beauty. That night the parents took out the kids for dinner, and they were wonderful in inviting almost all the rest of our campers to eat with them, and when the rest of us had dinner at camp, there were only 34 people left in camp--- most of them staff members. We had our own pizza dinner fashioned by our great chef, Paul, and then I put them all in the camp bus and took them to Bills Tasty for a malt or milk shake for each of them... The parents visiting weekend was a great success.
Now, the parents were gone, and the next morning opened ominous again-- and when its ugly and rainy here, it will make your hair rise--(if you have any)...We were most fortunate in that we were able to get outside most of the morning, and as soon as we came in for lunch, the heavens let loose. During the afternoon we opened up a giant bingo party, and I had some special sports films ready to go...The kids loved this type of afternoon as they were somewhat tired after the hectic weekend. But at about 4:00 P.M. our electricity went out and it was out all over the area for three and one half hours. I set up six checker boards and challenged anyone in the camp to try to beat me-- the winner to get a steak dinner, and the loser to be my servant for one meal. It was like ants trying to get to the checkerboard to play me...But I now have 17 man servants for the rest of the season, each working for me one meal. Mike Olsen gave me a tough contest and he felt so bad when he lost, that I detected a tear in his eye---Cmon, Mike, I murmured, dont feel bad, its happened to all the rest. He looked at me for a few minutes, and then asked me, H.H., how about double or nothing. (Some guys dont learn) At night we had a big boxing and wrestling night scheduled and the bouts were all set and so was my movie camera to record the highlights---but o electricity, so we took some wet wood and went into our lodge and started a campfire, but the wood was so wet, we couldnt start a fire--- so out came a big Coleman Lantern and we all sat back and had the best campfire I can ever remember. The kids came up to the front of the group and kept teaching new songs or leading old ones...Guess what the favorite song is at camp---- a week ago a cabin said they had a great song for our Friday evening program about the bible... I was so excited, that I readily agreed to let them present it--- heres how it starts
There were five, five, constipated men, in the bible, in the bible,
There were five, five constipated men in the five books of Moses,
Oh the first, first constipated man was Cain, he wasnt Abel,
Man, my face was best red, but the kids loved every minute of the song and theyve increased it from five to ten--- you cant be a stiff necked parent when the kids come up with this song or anything else in which they are participating as a cabin group. It welds them together and theyll always remember these wonderful times and the fun we all had together.
Today, were on regular schedule, but the boys must be rested for tomorrow-- its U.N. Day-- United Nations Day, and so Im resting them up with a Lazy Breakfast and its now 8:02A.M. and not a soul is up--- theyre snoring and sacked out cold. Soon the little ones will begin shuffling into the kitchen and theyll help some of the staff members make eggs, bacon, toast and coffee, milk and all the rest and well eat a hearty breakfast...Then its cabin cleanup and some cabins are going for three wins in a row, and one is up to five wins in a row.. Then well be on regular schedule today. All during the day there will be strategy meetings and leaders will begin to place their men in events, and Im going to try to enclose a list of those events throughout the day in this newsletter--- look it over and youll see that every boy is placed in three major events during the day, and there is a marathon run first, followed at the end by a giant tug of war... Its a fabulous day and it kicks off on Tuesday morning at 7:30 A.M. Tonight, were going to relax the boys with the wonderful film, Oliver and well also munch on shelled peanuts and cokes, Then on to United Nations Day.
Wednesday is regular schedule with the evening devoted to a social for our older boys and the younger ones engaged in cabin games... Thursday well be working hard on testing and passing certain ratings---our Timber bats will be putting on a ski show elsewhere, and well be having two all star contests. Friday is the last regular day for a few of our campers, but we go on with our program and dont even speak about the return trip home..that when the new campers come up to camp, they are tested the day they come on Saturday, and sign up for activities that day and are on schedule on Sunday morning...The changeover is so smooth, that the staff cant believe that new campers have come, and most of them are old time campers who know our camp and have no trouble acclimating to camp life.
For those of you who have boys coming home, individual letters are being sent out today, and the boys will arrive home on Saturday, July 24th, and the letters will tell you where they will arrive and how theyll be coming home. Ill also be sending a letter to those whose boys come home, and Ill try to let you know ho your son fared at camp, his accomplishments, his activities and hell also be brining home either a banner with emblems (1st year), a Timberlane coach's Jacket, (2nd year) or something very special for those boys who have been at camp over two years. All boys get emblems and other awards, but the best thing that theyll be bringing home will be the things that they remember about camp. Theyll also have their memory books with them if you ordered one. The luggage will come along with the boys.
But camp has really only just begun, and we have so many more things coming up. Our tripping program will increase in intensity-- the Canadian will leave for Canada within a few days after the fifth week of camp starts, we have other Porcupine trips planned, our photo department is helping to make up a new camp brochure, well start all-star tennis games, basketball games and even riflery and archery contests. Weve got games scheduled against Camp Red Arrow, Interlaken, and other camps. Socials are coming up with Chippewa Ranch Camp, and Camp Agawak, and theres Pow Wow Day lurking in the background with all its excitement...My fingers are aching now--- Ive just typed and typed out my heart to you--- but when I get the countless calls from all over the country telling me, H.H., your newsletter is my entrance to Timberlane and I wait for the newsletter, dont ever stop writing it, then its worth it all, and this is a labor of love.....