The Arrowhead Archives

The Arrowhead

Camp Nebagamon's Monthly Newsletter

Volume XCI

Number 8

November 2019

Return to Our New Style

Gratitude and Camp — Adam Gives Thanks

By Adam Kaplan

There can be little doubt that this has been a tumultuous year for so many folks around the world. With tempers flaring across the globe on a huge variety of topics, our own political system redefining the word broken, the Chicago Bears toiling in a miserable season filled with unmet expectations, and various other challenges that we are all facing, it is easy to lose perspective on what is right in the world… and what we need to be thankful for. Given these challenges and the fact that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought this might a good year for the cliché Arrowhead article about what we need to remember to be thankful for.

We are thankful for Paul Bunyan. That simple statue that stands so powerfully just inside the front gate to camp. Paul has welcomed thousands of boys to camp over the years. Paul has re-welcomed thousands of alumni as they make a pilgrimage back to camp after many years away. Paul is a wonderful symbol to all of us that we are home.

We are thankful for that camp smell. The one that fills our senses the moment that we arrive at Nebagamon after some time away. It is hard to put one’s finger on exactly what that smell is. It might be the pine trees. It might be the fresh unpolluted air of the North Woods. It might be the smells that waft off of beautiful Lake Nebagamon. Most likely it is a combination of all of these things. Impossible to define…yet we all know it and recognize it the moment that we arrive at camp.

Big and Little Brothers, sharing s’mores at the Soiree

We are thankful for camp Big Brothers. Those older boys who take it upon themselves to make camp a more comfortable and welcoming place for new campers every year. In an era when folks often talk of the self-absorption of 13-15 year olds, we are all thankful for the special ones that come to camp and unselfishly focus so much of their attention on creating a true camp family.

We are thankful for the camp staff. Those men and women that forgo the siren call (and occasional parental command) of the “real job” to spend the summer working to provide for the safety, health, happiness, fun and growth of the boys that venture into the North Woods every summer. While there can be little doubt that our staff takes a huge amount out of their summer experiences (and that is just in those massive salaries!), ultimately how successful we are every summer boils down to the quality and commitment of those special people. They have affected and improved the lives of literally tens of thousands of boys over the years.

We are thankful for pizza nights. Those raucous meals every Sunday night when we all let loose a bit in the Rec Hall. We eat (way too much), we sing (way too loud), we dance like nobody is watching us…. and we laugh… and laugh… and laugh.

We are thankful for Cruiser Days. Those wonderful Wednesdays when we all get a chance to break up the routine and engage in Olympic Days, Harry Potter Days, Guinness T. Nebagamous Days, and other silliness that reminds us all about how much fun it is to play and be a kid. On that note, we cannot forget to be thankful for Dairy Queen Blizzards… chock full of all things chocolaty, sugary, and sweet that we know we should not be eating!

We are thankful for Council Fires. Those hours that we all spend together as a camp family gathered around that huge roaring fire laughing together, learning together, sometimes crying together. No matter from what era they hail, anyone that has ever been to camp will tell you that it is the Council Fire that helps us to understand what friendship is all about…what kindness is all about…what Nebagamon is all about.

We are thankful for camp friends and camp family. Those folks with whom we love to play, with whom we love to debate, with whom we love to lie on our bunks after taps and swap stories, with whom we love to joke around, and with whom we just love to spend time. They are the people that help us when we are struggling and support us when we need a shoulder to lean on. Certainly we all have friends that exist outside the camp world…but there is something different about our camp friends, something more enduring, more accepting, more understanding, and more unconditional.

We are all thankful for our other families as well. You know, our traditional families. Our parents, our siblings, and for some, spouses and children. Those folks that easily forgive our failures and challenges. The ones that always are in our corners cheering us on regardless of how daunting the situation may be. They are always there for us…

On a more personal note (sorry, but I am going to use this bully pulpit for some more personal thanks this month…one of the benefits of an autocracy!), I am thankful for the giants upon whose shoulders we stand. The incredible vision, hard work, passion, intelligence and skills of Janet and Muggs Lorber, Sally and Nardie Stein, and Judy and Roger Wallenstein invented, nurtured, grew and improved this very special place called Nebagamon that so many of us know as home. I think about them often.

Finally, I am extraordinarily thankful for the campers and camp parents that put so much trust and faith in me. I am profoundly grateful for the mere act of either deciding to come to camp, or to send one’s child to camp. It is a message of great faith and one that both humbles me and warms me. I am profoundly grateful for their messages of support and trust in challenging times as well. The power of those messages cannot be overstated.

Certainly, this particular moment in history can shake one’s faith a bit. But I think if we all take stock of things a bit, we quickly learn that despite the challenges, there is much more to be thankful for…

I think I will whip up some pizza and bug juice for dinner tonight…

Mailgabber — A 9th Grader Reflects

Mailgabber features writing by members of the Camp Family. This month, we present an excerpt from a school paper written by graduated 9th-grade camper Gabe Sloan-Garcia, as reflects on a poignant moment from his last summer as a camper. Interested in submitting for Mailgabber? Send submissions to Louis.

By Gabe Sloan-Garcia

Every summer since I was in 5th grade, I’ve gone to a summer camp in the North Woods called Nebagamon. It’s an all-boys camp in Wisconsin that specializes in making your summer the best parent-free summer possible. When I’m there, I forget Albuquerque and school and all the hardships that I face every year. I just live, every moment recognized and appreciated, in total and utter ecstasy. I love it there. It is my safe haven. It is the place where I can be myself.

Gabe (far right) returns from his Quetico Big Trip

Every grade, 2nd through 9th, gets its own arsenal of camping trips that they can go on. For 8th graders, a trip called Isle Royale is offered, a 14-day trek around an island in the middle of Lake Supperior. It was the best two weeks of my life, until I came back to camp as a 9th grader. As 9th graders, there is a kind of graduation ceremony in the form of a trip. It’s a 14-day canoeing trip in Canada called Quetico. It is the mark of becoming a man and I loved every second of it. My best memories, hardest challenges, and the proudest I’ve ever been of myself have all happened there. Every day is at least 20 miles of canoeing and portaging. It was hard for the first few days because our packs had over 10 days’ worth of food for seven fifteen-year-old boys stuffed inside of them. Each pack was at least 80 pounds not counting the weight of a canoe when we had to take a canoe and a pack (A.K.A double-packing) at the same time. We had some easier days and some harder days but on the 8th day, we came to our longest portage of the trip, a 1.5-mile beast filled with waist-deep mud, overgrown trees, and perilous descents and climbs. It was called “Eat em’ up” after a 150-foot-long mud pit that put you belly button deep in mud. Halfway through the mud pit, I felt like I was going to die. It was sweltering hot, my clothes were dirty beyond recognition, and my body was exhausted. The mud was taxing, physically and mentally. I would press forward for a couple of feet and then stop, breathing heavily and barely holding up the 80-pound canoe above my head. When it became almost unbearable, I heard laughing from behind me. My friend Nate had taken his pack off and was jumping into the mud from a vine on the bank of the mud river. He looked like he was having a blast as he swung and jumped into the mud. Soon enough, my friend Ben dropped his gear and joined him, their laughter drowning out the voice in the back of my head telling me to quit, to just fall so I put my pack down, rolling the canoe off my shoulders. I climbed slowly out of the mud and got in line to jump and, after Ben went, it was my turn. I grabbed the vine, stepped back, and sprinted, jumping without hesitation. I flew through the air, a few glorious seconds of freedom, before slamming into the mud. I immediately sank up to my thighs and slowly kept sinking. But I didn’t care. I was laughing too much, having completely forgotten my morose thoughts only moments before. The feeling of hitting the mud was jarring at first but then was like nothing I had ever felt before. I can only describe it as the feeling of pushing your hand into Oobleck but with your whole body. For about thirty minutes, we just played in the mud and then we pushed through the rest of the portage in under twenty minutes. We killed it just because of a little break with some fun and laughter.

News of the Camp Family – November 2019

Compiled by Adam Fornear

Hard not to be thankful with this view!

Well, my annual Boundary Waters trip with a bunch of retired trippers (from way, way, back in the early 90’s…) did not disappoint. Even though the weather struggled to reach the mid-40s, rained most of the time, and had strong winds from the west, we had a great trip. Food was solid, the same old stories were still funny, and the pristine wilderness was magnified in the turning of the leaves. (Seriously though, the weather was horrible.) And, because we have the skills, the proper gear, and friendships that started at our beloved Camp Nebagamon, it didn’t really matter what mother nature threw at us.

I also returned home late last night from a spectacular fishing trip out west. Flew into Jackson, WY and spent the next eight days casting streamers and dries with the fly rod.  We fished the Snake, South Fork of Snake, and the Green Rivers. I always look forward to getting out west, floating these incredible rivers and adding to my skill set with fly fishing. Luckily for me I have a good friend that has chosen the profession of Trout Bum. He has guided all over the west and as his season wraps up, he likes to get out and do a bunch of fun fishing himself. Seeing that I like rowing drift boats as much as casting streamers to the bank it works out great for the two of us. Now I’m not going to lie, having friends that are full time fishing guides is pretty sweet. Sure, I get the local knowledge on the rivers but more importantly I get more than just great fishing trips around the country, I get an education.  My friends that are guides don’t want to guide me all week long, so they teach me the ways of guiding.  I can now hold my own rowing a drift boat down any water and my casting in 25 mph winds is improving year after year.

I’m grateful for these opportunities. My parents taught me how to travel in the backcountry, good friends teach me how to fly fish like a pro (semi) and then I get to pass along those skills to campers and staff at camp. On a similar note our staff get to share their passions at camp. Whether it’s being on trip staff and teaching our campers how to travel in the backcountry or maybe rowing a scull down on the waterfront or even throwing clay on a wheel creating a coffee cup. These gifts are part of what make camp so special. You get to learn new skills, create a new passion and the icing on the cake of all of it, is that you get do that with friends that will last a lifetime!

With the reunion tour starting next week I could still use your help with news for the Arrowhead! So, if you want me to share all that you are up to please send news of anything my way! On a similar note, if you are headed out to Jackson, WY or the Livingston, MT regions, give me a shout. I’ll get you dialed in with some great guides on some beautiful rivers. Till next time, take the time to reflect on what you learned at camp and get stoked for adding onto to those skills next summer!

IT MAY INTEREST YOU TO KNOW that in Memphis Caleb Caraway and Ben Hackney are attending high school at CBHS. Caleb is playing Lacrosse, which he was introduced to and taught by Nebagamon counselor, Ari Weiss. While Ben is wrestling for CBHS. Also attending CBHS is Kosten Goldberg and Harrison Lane.

Nevins’s “bird”, as they say

IN THE WHERE-ARE-THEY-NOW DEPARTMENT: Dan Gorenstein (Chicago/Philadelphia ’91-’92,’96-’99,’00) left Marketplace on NPR to start a podcast on healthcare. In Dan’s words…”That’s why I set out to create Tradeoffs, a new podcast that brings listeners emotionally engaging and intellectually honest stories about our toughest health policy challenges”. John Nevins (Chicago ’00-’06,’08-’12,’14) is flying the AH-1W Super Cobra for HMLA-167. John is a Captain for the United States Marine Corp.

WEDDING CONGRATULATIONS go to Max Alpert (Memphis ’03-’07,’09-‘12) and Hayley Alpert (Memphis).

IN THE BIB’S AND DIAPERS DEPARTMENT It’s a boy, Judah Mark, for Logan Zinman Gerber and Ben Gerber (Dallas/Chicago ’98-’01,’04-’06,’08). It’s a boy, Gabriel Maxwell, for Justin Blue (Denver/NYC ’87-’93,’95-‘96) and Bonnie Harris Blue (NYC).

Caretaker Joe’s Dream Job…

By Joe Crain

The rain really brings out the fall colors!

When I signed off last month I was hoping for some dry weather and some outside time. Well, Great Nature had plans of its own and warm and dry were not in them! What came was more wet, more cold, and more working in doors. Though there were glimpses of normality on a few days for the most part, the first three weeks of October were 10-to-15 degrees below average. The rain trend continued as well and we received over four inches of rain. Camp even had our first snow of the off season on the twelfth of the month! Luckily it was warm enough on the ground that though it snowed for most of the day, little to none of it stuck around long, although I did see a few cars at the local market with a couple inches of accumulation on them. By the nineteenth the daily rains had finally stopped, and that weekend we enjoyed a few days of gorgeous 60-degree temperatures. Though the warmth didn’t last but a few days, the rain had finally stopped for the month and now we are dry but very cold with temps now back to 10-to-15 degrees below average, which this time of year means we are waking up to the teens in the mornings and staying below freezing in the afternoons! The little pond behind our house has been iced over for nearly a week but Lake Nebagamon has no sign of ice formation yet.

Caretakers Andy and Jack used the additional indoor time we were “blessed” with to strip the Big House main entry hall walls all the way up to the second floor landing of all of the 90 years of historical photos and memorabilia and applied a couple of coats of fresh paint. As we like to say around here it was a “big job”; just the annual staff photos alone numbered near ninety, that’s a lot of hangers to remove and holes to spackle! When the time came to put all of that back up Caretaker Andy spent a little extra time rearranging all of them and was able to avoid putting any staff photos on the stair well walls, as they had been, this made them vulnerable to getting banged of the wall when carrying things up or down the stairs. We have averaged about three glass replacements a year in my twenty-four years as a caretaker and the new arrangement, though barely noticeable, should alleviate that frustration for both us caretakers and the poor fellows who it happens to.

Decommissioned bunks lookin’ dreamy

Hey, I have some rather exiting news for the cabin counrselors staff – They will all be sleeping in new beds next summer! We have finally entered the last phase of the “Junk the Old Bunks” project. As you can imagine that with nearly 300 camper and cabin staff beds in camp, this has been a very costly under taking that has had to be spread out over many years. Last year saw phase four of the project with the Lumber jack village camper bunks and bunk ladders being replaced. Next spring will see all of the counselor beds being replaced, and all of the hodge-podge of wooden bunk ladders that are left getting replaced with sleek new uniform steel bunk ladders. All of the worn out steel bed frames got hauled to the scrape dealer and I got to spend my rainy start to October dismantling and cutting up the old wooden bed frames and wooden ladders. The wooden bunks that we still had left and in service were World War II surplus beds that Muggs had obtained after the war and were stamped with the date of 1942! That’s 77 years of service! Some of our current campers Great Grandfathers may have slept in those very same beds when going through basic training, and  grandfathers and fathers that attended camp most certainly did.

Waking up to 18-degree mornings, and starting to get that skier’s itch in my feet a bit early this year… it’s Caretaker Joe At Camp.


Congratulations to our November birthdays!

Congratulations to our November birthdays!

November 1st – Rafa Posen, Tommy Bellaire

2nd – Kosten Goldberg, Coulson McConnell

3rd – Atlas Barnes

4th – Asher Friedman, Digby Karsh

6th – Gabe Fisher, Daniel Plancarte, Andy Rolfe, Joe Crain

8th – David Sachs

9th – Andy Mack

10th – Ben Hackney, Stephanie Hanson

11th – Katie Lundeen

12th – Hannah Kane

14th – Ethan Pearson, Theo Schiff

16th – Jose de la Pena Zabia, Alvaro Lemus-Sandoval, Mitch Cohen

18th – Mau Caballero

19th – Parker Johnson, Charlie Zeeck

20th – Bill Hensel, Owen Marchant

21st – Jacob Rolfe, Michael Berler

22nd – Kasper Jorgensen, Jacob Lutsky

23rd – Andrew Meyer

24th – Jack Rogen, Wesley Schwartz

25th – Miles Hall, Max Saul, Jamin Eisenberg

26th – Gavin Gray

28th – Luca Ladner, Sebastian Rorsted, Luke Herzog

30th – Asher Toback

The Roadshow Continues!

Reunited and it feels so good!

As always, the Camp Nebagamon road show will be headed for the highway! We are looking forward to seeing many of you during our travels. Listed below is a tentative schedule. Look for news about the rest of the travel schedule in the coming Arrowheads. Please contact the camp office at 208-345-5544 if you need any specific reunion details. Please be courteous and RSVP to the host families.

City Dates Reunion Details
St. Louis November 2nd Scissors, 10:00 AM
Memphis November 3rd Heist, 3:00 PM
Atlanta November 6th Herbert, 6:30 PM
Cincinnati November 7th Blatt, 7 PM
Detroit November 8th Rontal, 7 PM
Washington D.C. December 4th Cohen, 6:30 PM
New York City December 8th Sabados, 4:00 PM
Katonah, NY December 10th Katonah Public Library
Twin Cities January 2020 TBA
Chicago January 12th Heller Nature Center, 3:00 PM

2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park

Denver TBA TBA
Los Angeles TBA TBA
San Francisco TBA TBA



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Truly Making Camp A Place of Welcome For All

Founded in 1995, Camperships For Nebagamon (CFN) supports children who otherwise would not be able to enjoy a private camping experience. These children, from a diversity of backgrounds, enjoy life-changing experiences and enrich the camp community with their diverse cultural perspectives. CFN aims to support campers for multiple years, giving them sustained access to a summer community in which to build friendships and identity.

Leveraging income from the Muggs and Janet Lorber Endowment Fund and individual donations, CFN currently provides partial tuition for nearly 50 boys attending Camp Nebagamon each year. Since 2002, CFN has also funded partial tuition for girls attending Camp WeHaKee, located in the Chequamegon National Forest of northern Wisconsin. As funds allow, CFN plans to identify other “partner” camps to fulfill its charitable goals.

Utilizing an annual evaluation process, CFN’s board has been heartened by the positive impact of its funding on individual campers and the broader camp communities.

CFN depends upon continued contributions to sustain current campership levels and to be able to increase the aid available each year (both to keep up with the rising costs of private camps and to increase, as possible, the number of camperships provided each summer).


A Path Toward Success for Disadvantaged Children

The Camp Nebagamon Scholarship Fund provides life-changing camping experiences for children who live with poverty in their homes and communities, and/or physical, cognitive or psychological disabilities. Contributions to the CN Scholarship Fund support tuition scholarships at non-profit camps uniquely qualified to change the lives of such children through recreation, friendship and experiences that cultivate skills and values needed for success in life.

Thousands of children who face such challenges have attended camps near their homes—near many cities where Nebagamon campers live—thanks to the generosity of Nebagamon alumni and friends. Founded in 1947 by Muggs and Janet Lorber, the CN Scholarship Fund was administered by Nardie and Sally Lorber Stein for over 50 years.

Contributions will benefit both organizations and are tax deductible.

For more information visit