“Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins”
By Jonathan Dellinger
We all have a lot of great memories from camp and maybe some not-so-great ones. So, how do we know we’ve really had a proper adventure? Maybe we remember it forever, or maybe it shaped us in some meaningful way. Maybe it just left a feeling, even if we can’t remember the particulars. A worthwhile adventure should do all of these things, but, above all, it should challenge us.
A Break From The Norm
Towering Pines Camp for Boys in Eagle River, Wis., resurrected an old tradition in the summer of 2015: Adventure Day. Now, to be fair—every day is an adventure at camp. However, what distinguishes Adventure Day is a break from the routine. Campers get to choose an activity they might not normally have a chance to do in their regular schedule. This also allows them to challenge themselves.
Several activities were offered during Adventure Day:
· A hike to the Moss Garden of Lost Lake
· A playak trip to the sandbar across Nokomis
· A canoe trip to the legendary submerged rock on our sister camp’s Sand Lake
· An advanced riding expedition to the outer reaches of the back-40 acres of forest land.
All of these activities take time and stamina to complete, and they feature all age groups working together to reach the goal. Each of these events takes the kids somewhere new and offers something special—a new perspective on camp and themselves.
Challenging campers is a fundamental part of the mission at Towering Pines Camp. Staff members work not only to establish and maintain a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable environment, but to use that safe space as a launching platform for campers to explore their own abilities in trying new activities. It’s a place where boys learn that “Everybody plays, everybody wins.” This is not a consolation but a mantra that reminds them that most people learn more from the experience, regardless of winning or losing, because the journey is where the growth happens.
Adventure Day is all about taking a journey at a time of the summer when the daily adventures don’t seem quite as wild anymore. Once the boys become accustomed to the environment and the daily challenges of camp activities, they are usually ripe for a special adventure. They have practiced the skills necessary to push themselves a little further, a little harder, and to succeed. They also have the support of their friends and cabin group, in addition to watchful staff members.
Adventures That Last
So what is the measure of a good adventure? It’s the memory—even if only a snapshot—of when we reached someplace we had never been before.
Looking back on my life and travels, I sometimes feel they were like a series of snapshots. Why can’t I remember every detail if the journey was so important? Well, I could step into each memory, like into a doorway at that moment, but it may not be all those little steps that matter now. The snapshot is just a trophy, a reminder that I have been there. Those precious moments, even if I don’t remember all the details, are the proof that the adventure left its mark on my life. The value of that experience is somewhere deep inside, even if all I really remember is a sunny spot in the middle of the lake, a singing breeze, and the shouts of triumph.
Jonathan Dellinger is the Assistant Director for Towering Pines Camp for Boys in Eagle River, Wis. Reach him at (847) 446-7311.
Student to instructor ratio: 10:3
Location: Eagle River, Wis.
Cost to attend camp: $5,995 for six-week program; $4,595 for four-week program
Ages: 7- to 16-year-old boys
Towering Pines Camp for Boys is a special place to unplug from a typical life at home and embark on an adventure. The product of four generations of educators, our unique approach to skill development builds with every week spent at camp. Campers go all-in with our most popular six-week program, learning horseback riding, sail racing, trick skiing, trapshooting, and tennis, just to name a few. We even offer two- or four-week introductory sessions. We run an equally valuable program at our sister camp (Camp Woodland for Girls) just down the road!