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Camp Memories

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I’ve spent twenty-five summers at Camp Mishawaka. The late Dick Dahlen recruited my friend and I from Tucson, Arizona to fly to northern Minnesota to be a nine-year old Belding camper. My counselor that summer was the dynamic Geoffrey Bishop. We came full circle my final summer with Geoffrey as my CIT counselor. My eight summers as a camper are some of my best childhood memories and were profoundly important to my development. I’m still in touch with several Camp friends from the late 80’s and early 90’s. I don’t have a favorite memory because every summer was incredible. I just loved being at Camp, though friendships and my Quetico canoe trips usually top the list.

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After graduating high school, I was fortunate to be invited to work on staff. I loved every day of it. After growing up at Camp, I felt a certain obligation to work towards the example that those staff before me had advanced. Being trusted to care for kids elevated my self-confidence and instilled a love for working with youth that continues to drive me today. I couldn’t begin to list all the skills I learned on staff that empowered me as a teacher and social worker. My fondest memories were as a Belding counselor, caring for the youngest campers in Camp – who are also the most fun!

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Most recently I worked as Boys Camp Director. It’s pretty surreal living in the Cavins Director’s Cabin with a picture of Kent Curtis above my work desk. And it’s humbling to hold the same position as Girls Camp Director, Mary Jane Curran, who has been a Mishawaka leader for twenty-five years. Working with campers is incredibly fulfilling and a lot of fun. I am grateful for the opportunity to have led the young adults who made it all happen. It brought me great hope to work with people who dedicate their summers to the worthy endeavor of youth development.

Thank you Steve and Julie for the opportunity to be a part of the Mishawaka family. I appreciate your support, kindness and guidance during my journey on staff. Also, a big thank you to Mary Jane Curran, Andre Theisen, Dan Beuthling and Sean Barrett for taking the time to mentor me and most importantly, for you friendship.

Camp will always be in my heart. I look forward to my next morning dip, Sunday bbq, and campfire as a visitor and a former nine-year-old Belding camper who will always be grateful to Mishawaka.

Mishawaka, Mishawaka is the place I long to be. Mishawaka, Mishawaka is the best old camp for me.

Charlie Paige

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