Well here we go--this is the first in a series of weekly newsletters that Ill be sending out to you. I know that with the large-scale program that we have at Timberlane, the letters youll be getting from your sons will be rather sketchy at best, so I will be their eyes and ears for you. I will always do these letters very early in the morning and it will be right off the press---the punctuation will be terrible, and if the previous day has been horrendous, than the typing will be rather sketchy. But there is a real purpose behind each of these newsletters, and the main idea is to make each of you feel the pulse beat and the feeling of what is going on at Timberlane, so get ready and here I go...
The groups coming up to camp moved like clockwork and all the kids got to camp safely--we had boys flying up to camp from 23 states and 37 cities, and all but the Milwaukee group eventually arrived at Chicago, and then flew up to Rhinelander...The chartered bus then picked up the boys and our morning and our afternoon flights arrived at camp safe and sound. The chartered Greyhound bus was brand new and had only 31 miles on it, so we christened it with milk and cookies---(on the seats, I think) when the group from Chicago arrived in Milwaukee, I almost had apoplexy as two boys were not at the meeting place in Milwaukee--we frantically called their family and got no answer, so after waiting another 10 minutes we took off...An hour later the family of the boys arrived at camp, as they had driven them up to camp via car (they had told me about it previously) and I was most relieved. The bus picked up the Appleton, Neenah, Green Bay groups and all hands arrived safe and sound at camp. We then started the unpacking, assignment of cabin groups, had the counselors show the boys the camp and all the new improvements, and soon it was time for dinner. The whole group came into the mess hall and we disposed of 120 lbs. of southern friend chicken and all the trimmings, and when it was all done we had a lot of big bellies and gorged mouths. I purchased a commercial ice machine and we now can serve ice water at the meals along with the milk, and I feel that this will help us healthwise as it encourages our boys to drink water which they have a tendency to avoid because of the iron taste in it at camp.
The evening program consisted of our annual Staff Talent Night--we get all our counselors to put on skits, sing or do something silly and in this way I can then introduce them to the kids...It gets away from stuffy introductions. This year we again have many counselors from different states and again we have foreign counselors from South Africa and England. Following the evening program the boys went back to their cabins and the counselors discussed some of the activities that would be offered during the coming weeks. The next morning I awoke at 5:30 A.M. and started going over program plans. I heard a knock on my office door and two little Memphis boys asked if it would be all right for them to jump on the trampolines---I bellowed NOOOOO and they thanked me courteously for my answer and then ran out to the athletic filed to play a game of ball. By 7:00 A.M. the fields were packed with campers with lots of energy and counselors with drooping eyelids. After breakfast, we gave out new T-shirts and sweatshirts for 1st year campers and also for those older campers who wanted them. Then every boy took his physical, swimming test, scuba test (for those interested), canoe refresher test, and finally the horseback riding test (for those interested). It was then time for lunch and the boys filled up on hot dogs, french fries and lots had lots of bug juice--we always have peanut butter and jelly boys who could live on the stuff. Following this we had a long rest-period and then we had the boys assemble for a discussion of all the activities that would be offered. The idea is to have each activity head explain, with the use of some of his equipment, the activity that he will be teaching. The visual presentation is most helpful to many of the boys. Following the presentation by staff members, each of the boys comes to our sign up area and signs up for activities. We try to schedule them by age groups and during the period of the day best suited for his size, such as youngsters swimming in the afternoon rather than the morning, when it is fairly cool. Following the signup, we had a general swim period, boating and canoeing and then followed this with a short free period.. Dinner was filled with the din of boys discussing the activities that they would be taking the next day and all of the things that they have done thus far at camp. Following the evening meal we had a short free period followed by our Timberleague tryouts. The idea is to have each cabin group play other groups in different sports and we get an idea of their ability. At the same time, we dont want to put any boy under special pressure to put on a good performance. Later that evening, we compare notes and eventually set up three divisions (Junior, Intermediate and Senior teams) and have them divided into Blue and White teams. During the rest of the season, we set up series of contests periodically and have what is called Blue and White Nights.
During the evening hours six staff members worked feverishly putting each boy on the schedule so that on Tuesday morning each boy would be programmed and listed on sheets for the boys to see as well as the staff members. We finished at 3:00 A.M. and we were ready to announce schedules to the boys in the morning. We also thought that you might like to see a picture of your son and his cabin group, so early Monday morning we took quickie cabin shots, and today we are having some of the staff members drop you a line about your boys and youll get a chance to see who your sons are with. I think it adds a tone of warmth to the atmosphere. Our photographer was working late last night in our darkroom, and Mark Faiwell (one of my assistants) heard running water in the dark room---he knocked on the door but our photographer (Fred Bierman) couldnt hear him knocking---Mark came running to Ken Lorch and shouted, I think a pipe broke and the water is flooding the darkroom! He wanted to get a sledgehammer and break down the door, but fortunately he decided to hold up and check further, and they found Fred was running water to develop his pictures.
After breakfast this morning, we announced activity schedules and then the boys went to their cabins for cabin cleanup and inspection. Great excitement prevails in cabin cleanup; each cabin knows that if they can win three inspections in a row, they get a free malted milk in town---and if they can win seven in a row, they get a pizza dinner at Mamas Pizza in Minocqua, and its a rare treat for the boys...Following the inspection the boys started their full schedule and that meant that we had successfully completed the red tape (with the exception of picture day) and the boys were in full schedule. Today will be letter-writing day and I know that their letters will bubble with some of the many activities that they will be taking at camp. At the end of the 8 days, they will change some of their activities; and at the end of their stay at camp, I will fill you in on the things that they have taken while at Timberlane.
Letter-writing ordinarily will be held on Mondays and Thursdays, and you will hear from your boys at least during those dates. Your sons counselors will write you a more detailed letter about your son and his activities at the end of the second week of camp. We have a fantastic program planed for the boys during the week ahead, and here are some of the plans. We will be in daily schedule for the next four days and our evening programs will consist of a big all-camp campfire tonight accompanied by guitar music, singing, stories and a big marshmallow roast. Tomorrow evening will have our first Blue and White all-camp Capture The Flag, and the entire camp will be engaged in an all-camp contest. On Thursday evening we will have a series of athletic contests and every boy will be playing something. I might add that our canoe trips will be leaving on Thursday and that means that our overnight tripping program will be starting with a vengeance. We will shortly begin with cabin overnight trips and this will enable each boy to experience some type of overnight trip. The length of time will vary with the ability and experience of each camper. Friday night will be a quieter night and we will have each boy try to realize how lucky he really is to be at a summer camp and what he has around him. Saturday evening is a surprise program and I know that the boys will love it. Sunday evening we have a special movie called, Son of Flubber, and its in Technicolor. I have purchased a case of salted peanuts in the shell and soda pop and we will eat the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor, whoop it up and drink the pop, and just have a ball watching the movie. We have many great ones coming up and Ill announce them later.
The weather has been good and that helps--but well be ready if it changes--staff morale is excellent, and I have almost 80% back this year as well as my young cub staff members ready to fill the gaps. Your boys are undergoing a vigorous training program as they get older and it helps to appreciate what it means to be a staff member at Timberlane. I just looked out the window, and saw a Counselor-In-Training working on his CTM job which he does one period a day. (CTM means Camp Timberlane Maintenance--for you it may mean garbage run--) but it is something that requires work on the part of the boys, and is an excellent method of getting him ready for leadership with younger boys. The morale of the campers is tremendous and I feel that we are over the initial hump. Already a number of boys have approached me who were coming for a 4-week period, and they said, H.H. can I stay for the last 4 weeks at camp. This year, as never before, we had more boys wanting to come to Timberlane than in previous years. I have saved 6 spots for those boys who want to stay on at camp and were signed up for only 4 weeks. If you want your son to stay on at camp for the last session, please inform me as soon as you make a decision; and if there is room, Ill let him stay camp---but it can only be on the basis of who lets me know first about wanting to stay on at camp.
I am pleased and proud of the things that we have done at Timberlane this year. Each year I plan to get rich, and yet there are things to be done---we put up a second riding ring and extended the riding area---we rebuilt our photo shack and equipped it with all new equipment--I bought a new 105 H.P. motor for our waterskiing department--picked up a Seabird sailboat--put up a new cabin--came up with some new program ideas and they cost and cost and cost money...but I love to spend money on new equipment if itll help the program, so thats about it for now--forgive the errors in typing and the long monologues, but it puts you right here with me and thats what I want to happen to you. Parents weekend is Friday evening and Saturday, July 14th and 15th. (More on that later) You'll get a newsletter each week if you can stand it. The kids are happy and so am I. Bye Bye.