I arrived at camp very late a few evenings ago. Exhausted, I quickly moved in some gear and crashed for the night.
The next morning, strong mixed feelings set in. It was a beautiful day—misting, then turning sunny; loons calling from the Kawishiwi River; and some friendly, familiar faces in the Mess Hall. But something was definitely off: First, there were quirky—but justified—COVID-19 pandemic precautionary rules and protocols in place, such as “No Handshakes or Hugs,” “No Handling the Coffee Carafe,” etc.
But more striking was that no campers were around—no stirrings from the cabins, no voices coming down the path. It was odd, and sad.
However, there was—is—a bright side. The staff (cooks, nurse, administrators, and those counselors who chose to come to camp) are as upbeat and cheery as ever. Efforts are being made, just as they are at all the other camps this summer, to keep up meaningful communication with campers, parents, and alumni. And there is always work to be done. For example, the forest requires a lot of cyclical maintenance and more. This time around, the “more” is the daunting task of removing the dead, dying, fire-hazardous balsam fir trees. But the docks, buildings, and cabins need attention too. This is our chance to do some serious repairs and upgrades (think—new stove in the sauna!).
Last but not least, the staff has plenty of time to ponder ways to improve camp activities and programming—and ways to further enhance wilderness tripping.
So…we’re on it! Campers will notice the changes. Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing a few campers in July—as some will be arriving for guided, outfitted canoe trips.
So, let’s think only positive thoughts as we engage in the projects and make plans for 2021.