What to Expect... When You Go to Camp

20190715 untitled 7150580 edit.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

You might be asking yourself, “What will my (or my camper’s) time at Camp Mishawaka be like?”. That’s what I was asking myself two summers ago. Two years ago I joined the Camp Mishawaka Team as the Boys Camp Director. I had worked at a camp on the east coast for the previous five summers, but I had never done a summer in Northern Minnesota. I had all sorts of questions. What would the days be like? What would the campers be like? What would the staff be like? What are the traditions? What is the weather like? Would my own two kids enjoy their summer? Would I enjoy my summer? These, and many more questions, jumped around in my head as I prepared to head up for my first summer. After two summers, I have answers to most of the questions.

Spending two summers at Camp Mishawaka on Lake Pokegama has helped to answer many of the questions. My summers have confirmed what was promoted by a visit to the camp’s website, looking at the Camp Calendar, reading a brochure, reading testimonials, and talking to others. Mishawaka is a wonderful place to spend a summer. The days are warm and sunny, and the nights are cool and refreshing (usually). Campers and counselors alike spend their days with never-ending smiles on their faces. Their days are filled with fun activities, many of which campers only do at camp. Canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, wake-boarding, rock climbing, building fires, camping, horseback riding, playing camp games, swimming, golfing, singing, laughing are just some of the activities they do from sunup to sundown on a daily basis. There are challenges too. Going without technology, dealing with the elements, camping and making new friends. Campers are confronted with difficult situations, and they have to get out of their comfort zone to discover and develop skills they didn’t know they were capable of. But somehow, all of these things don’t capture the ‘spirit’ of camp.

I’ve concluded that the best way to describe Camp Mishawaka is similar to what so many people told me, “You just have to experience it.” There is something about Camp Mishawaka that just can’t be put into words and you can’t see it in pictures. It’s like the Grand Canyon. You can research it, look at pictures, read about it, talk to people who have been there, but until you actually go there you can’t fully comprehend it. And everytime you go back you discover something new and wonderful that you didn’t notice before. All the fun times and memories that are created at Camp Mishawaka combine and leave the campers with a feeling that they can’t fully put into words, but it will be a wonderful feeling connected to their memories that they will have for the rest of their lives.