Since last August, Ye Directors have been anticipating the opening of Kamaji’s 98th camping season. We spent all “off-season” working toward June 18, 2011. Even when winter weather made camp seem so far off, we imagined campers bounding off the buses on opening day, greeted by the warm summer sun. We could almost hear the sound of girls splashing in Wolf Lake during free swim time. And when we closed our eyes, we could “see” Kamaji’s sailing fleet skimming across the water. Opening Day 2011! A dream comes true.

Our Opening Day dream was shattered at about 3:30 am on Saturday when we started receiving automated phone calls from Delta Airlines explaining that the Boston flight was cancelled, and the Phily flight was delayed by four hours. There were nine campers on the Phily flight so guess how many automated phones we got between 3:30 and 4:30 am. Later that morning, we learned of chaos at the Delta counter at O’Hare, a three plus hour delay of the KC flight, two campers missing their flight from Midway. The result of all this was the buses left the Minneapolis airport about 2 hours late. Instead of arriving at camp at 5:00 pm, it was more like 6:45. By the time the campers had dinner and began unpacking their huge duffles, it was getting dark. No time for John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt or the Kamaji slip and slide. Needless to say, Saturday was not how we dreamed it would be.

Sunday we woke up to cloudy and kind of cool weather. Not exactly great for the big event of the day, the Kamaji Water Safety test. The campers bravely jumped in the water and gave their best effort. Later in the day, the sun appeared briefly and we did manage to work in John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt and even an all camp game of Sharks and Minnows. Sunday’s evening program was a big one, especially for the new Kamaji campers. It was tribe initiation. A really big deal. If your daughter is a first year camper, you already know which tribe she is in and know that she’s anticipating the arrival of her “tribe package”.

You could probably tell from the group pictures we posted that Monday was another cloudy and cool day although we did manage to work in a couple of hours of our regular instructional activities in the afternoon. Monday’s evening program was a kind of treasure hunt for one of Kamaji’s most valuable assets – Marjena’s recipe for caramel ribbon bars. This dessert has been a favorite for decades and the campers spent the evening racing around camp finding clues which led to the successful construction of the recipe.

On Tuesday the not-so-great weather took a turn for the worse. From Tuesday at about noon though tonight we been raining with temps around 60 degrees. Yuck. Oh well, we’ve got to flexible. Yesterday afternoon, everyone gathered in the lodge for a lip-synch, dance party. The rain moved last night’s Council Fire program inside as well. During the program, there was a special ceremony to announce this session’s Tribe Leaders. Tribe Leader are elected by their tribe mates, and means organizing, supervising, and leading 22 or 23 other tribe members. It is a big job!! The following campers were elected by their tribes: for the Ishkadays, Paris Rosenthal and Julia Sachs: for the Waubuns, Ilana Dutton and Jane Agler: for the Mundahmins, Emily Goldman and Lindsey Aronson: for the Metigs, Julia Addis and Dina Schulman: for the Geshigs, Emma Stanicek and Danielle Gray: and for the Nanahtahgas, Erin Blumenthal and Emma Fleisher. Congrats to them all!

Today was supposed to be our first Adventure Day of the season. Adventure Day means the campers spend the whole day with their porch group doing all kinds of great things. More cool rain called for Plan B. A few quick phone calls to our Bemidji friends and the entire Kamaji crew, campers and counselors, piled into buses to for a few hours of Disco Bowling at the brand spanking new Bemidji Bowl. When the buses returned it was still yucky, so Plan C. Everyone into the lodge for a big game of Pillow Case Bingo. Trust us, it’s fun. Tonight’s scheduled Rainbow Burger BBQ is normally served outside in the warm summer sun. Plan D. We’ll serve the Rainbow Burgers inside Sloan Hall (Kamaji’s Dining Hall). Looks like we’ll need another indoor evening program due to the rainy weather. We’ll need a Plan E. Don’t worry. We’ll figure something out.

To sum up – The weather has been lousy. Not exactly the way camp looks in the promotional material. As Ye Directors, we spend hours and hours frustrated by the lack of sunshine and below normal temps. Now here’s the good news. The campers barely seem to notice that things are less than perfect. Whether it’s dancing in the lodge, bowling in town or singing at the top of their lungs in Sloan hall, the campers are full of joy and smiles. It seems that being surrounded by friends is a lot more important than what the temperature is. Yup. Girls just want to have fun. And that just what we’re doing.

A Few More Tidbits. . .

So what’s new at Kamaji since last summer? Well, there’s a new activity. It’s something called Stand Up Paddling or SUP. “What’s SUP?,” you might be asking. Well, you stand on this really big windsurf-looking board and paddle around the lake using a really long sort of canoe paddle. Well, we purchased 8 SUP boards and paddles for 2011. It’s absolutely the latest rage on the coast and we predict it will be the latest rage on Wolf Lake as well. A new X-boat, (that’s a sailboat) awaits the campers this summer, too. Our climbing wall also got a complete make-over which adds about six new climbing routes. The pontoon boat, which is used for the fishing activity, has been torn down and reassembled. The biggest winter project was replacing Kamaji’s swamp. That’s where the Kamaji men live. The old swamp was built in 1930 and sort of falling down the hill. The new swamp should last another 80 years. We’ve been busy.

The weather has really slowed down Kamaji’s Wilderness trip program. The one trip which goes “rain or shine” is the Pine Manor Canadian Canoe trip. Early, early this morning 12 campers and 4 Kamaji staff left for a week long trip to the White Otter Wilderness Area in northwestern Ontario. These wilderness women will spend a full week paddling for hours and hours on crystal clear lakes, portaging canoes and all the gear for what will seem like miles and miles and camping on some of most pristine campsites in north America. What an adventure! We hope the sun will shine on them. There were three other trips scheduled to leave today or tomorrow, but they are waiting on better weather. We’ll let you know what happens.

Oh well. Time for the indoor Rainbow Burger BBQ. It will be great!

Here comes the sun….we hope.

Mike, Kathy and Kat

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