The New Normal: Welcome to Summer 2022 at Spirit in the Pines!

Camp is back, bigger, and better than ever! After taking the year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and hosting a pod-style camp within MDH’s guidelines in 2021, Spirit in the Pines is finally starting to regain a sense of normalcy.

Welcome to the Spirit in the Pines blog for the summer of 2022! The staff are super excited to be welcoming campers back to camp soon and we (along with many other amazing volunteers) have been hard at work preparing for your highly anticipated arrival. While we are back to “normal”, camp will still look a bit different this year. For starters, we are under new management! We have been super excited to welcome Sarah Blasing into our camp family, and she brings extensive experience working with summer camps to Spirit in the Pines. Already, she is starting to implement her vision on the grounds and it will at the very least, spruce up the camp tour for all you wily vets out there.

The new cabins have received a brand new staining job, courtesy of some amazing volunteers (including my dad), and they poured their blood, sweat, and tears (some literally . . . also including my dad) into their work. Fortunately, they look fantastic and pretty soon you will get to see them in person versus just in a photograph.

Additionally, we all get some new toys to play with! Canteen will have some new entertainment in the form of two brand new carpetball tables, built from scratch by the staff and Sarah’s parents since our arrival. If you don’t know what carpetball is, we promise it’s super fun and super intense and you’ll love it. The waterfront got a brand new lily pad, and for those around last year . . . well you know how badly we needed one. Lastly, camp will be getting some additional color all over the place. While walking around, you may notice some new plants in front of the cabins or maybe the new mosaic signs going up all over the place.

I can go no further without acknowledging one more thing: the demolition of the old boathouse. We here at SIP love our traditions, and while going through some transformations throughout the years, the old boathouse building has been with us from the beginning, so it was a pretty tough goodbye, especially for the members of life squad. So where will all the life jackets and canoe paddles live then? In the boathouse’s place, lays a concrete slab, which will be the foundation of a brand new boathouse. That will not be completed until at least next year, so the tent that lived in the canteen last year will now house all of those waterfront goodies.

The last new thing is us: the staff! It will look a lot different than the staff that ran the camp last year. As some of our staff have graduated onto bigger and better things (well, maybe not better) many people had to come in and take their place. Combine that with an expansion of the staff to 18, and you get 12 people in their first year on staff and 6 on their second. However, everyone has oodles of summer camp experience, which for many of us was right here at Spirit in the Pines!

Since our arrival on June 1st, we have been hard at work preparing camp for the arrival of campers. As a newborn camp staffer myself, I never realized just how much work it was! Setting up the waterfront, trimming the Chris Jenkins trail, staff training, moving canoes, restocking and cleaning cabins, and so much more! We all just have to remember that the light at the end of the tunnel is drawing closer and closer with each passing day. The last but not least new thing is our camp theme! This year’s theme is all about “Finding God and Being Found”. In our staff training, we learned a lot about this theme and how we would go about presenting it, and we collectively decided to focus more on the second part of the theme: Being Found. You can look and search all you want, but the real magic happens when you accept that sometimes you’re lost and allow yourself to be found. God can do that for you, and that’s what we will be trying to show the kids in their time at camp.

So for now, I’m signing off but we’ll be on here hopefully two to three times a week updating you on what’s happening during the week. It won’t be long until campers come, and we could not be more excited!

Take Care and God Bless,

Anthony Winker