Posts Tagged 'camp arcadia'

a guy’s weekend

every fall, I join my father, brothers, and brothers-in-law (or those who can make it that year) for a men’s retreat at Camp Arcadia (I think this is my 18th year in a row!).  it is a Lutheran camp, and each year a new lecturer does a series of presentations, similar to an extended Bible study series.  mixed in amongst those lectures is a bit of golfing, a bit of silliness, sometimes some swimming and other water-sports on Lake Michigan, and always a lot of great fellowship with the guys of my family. [for the record, the women in the family do a similar women's retreat, but it isn't always at Camp Arcadia, and usually is centered more around shopping.]

as per our usual, we start the weekend out on Thursday, and we pick a golf course to play en route to the camp.  this year, we ate lunch first at Jamesport Brewing Company in Ludington, and then traveled a short way up the road to play 18 holes at Lincoln Hills Golf Course.  most of us are not really serious golfers – this was the 1st round of golf this year for most of the guys (including me!).

lincoln hills

photo by @dharns

after golfing, we got back on the road and headed up the coast towards Camp Arcadia, but made our traditional stop at Arcadia Bluffs (we played golf here once, but it is a bit $$ for our, um, caliber of play).  but it is usually a great place to watch the sunset and get a nice dinner (although this time it wasn’t great….)

photo by @dharns

Friday morning is traditionally a golf outing organized by the camp planning committee, but for various reasons, we decided to start our own golf outing this year: the 1st Annual Juniper Challenge.  there were several benefits to starting our own outing: we could sleep in later, the golf course was a closer drive, we had the course almost to ourselves, and we could create our own rules.  plus, we got lucky, and the course had delicious pulled pork sandwiches at the turn!

the 1st Annual Juniper Challenge couldn’t have ended any better: the 1st foursome was my brother and a few of his friends for the Chicago area (Team St Peter) and the 2nd foursome was me, my brother-in-law Dave, my Dad, and another friend from my Dad’s church (Team St Matthew).  with Team St Peter watching, our group got a bogie on #17 meaning both groups were tied going into the final hole.  both teams shot decent drives to start #18, but Team St Matthew’s 2nd shot was on the green, and closer than Team St Peter’s 2nd shot out onto the fringe.  but St Peter put on the pressure by sinking an amazing putt from the fringe.  my Dad lived up to the challenge – sinking our 12-ft putt to again send us into a tie.  for a tie-breaker, we just walked back 80-ft or so, took a drop and chipped towards the #18 green again.  Dave started off Team St Matthew with an amazing iron shot – stopping 3-ft from the cup.  again, though, Team St Peter was our equal, with a decent chip shot, but then able to sink a long putt.  at that point we called it a tie – a fitting conclusion to the 1st Annual Juniper Challenge.


after golfing, the 1st lecture is Friday afternoon, followed by some free time – and we played some of our invented game: Tennyball.  Tennyball is a simple (and yet complicated?) game combining tennis and volleyball, with a mixture of insanity. with only 2 vs 2 in this video, it’s hard to tell it is much different than doubles tennis… but trust me, it is most certainly is.

during Tennyball, it was pretty sweet to see one of the other campers out on Lake Michigan trying to kite surf.

Friday evening is the 2nd Bible study and vespers (or a short sunset prayer service) at the recently completed Chapel on the Beach at Camp Arcadia.  my brother-in-law Dave got yet another great photo – it might help to click on this one to enlarge the picture for full effect.


photo by @dharns

Saturday morning is the final Bible study, and the afternoon usually has some free time.  this year we decided to drive up to the Betsie River near Beulah and watch the salmon swimming upstream, and trying to jump the dam across the river. it was amazing!


in addition to all of that mentioned above is great food served by the Camp, plus the incredible atmosphere with the setting right on the shores of Lake Michigan. the shipwreck Minnehaha was incredible as well:

once again, an incredible weekend of fun and fellowship.

my 1st sunfish (a new picture)

well, technically this wasn’t ever actually my Sunfish – but it is the 1st one I’ve ever sailed on.  the photo is of Ryan, the younger brother of my roommate Sean, from when I worked as a staff member at Camp Arcadia.  Sean was the 1st person to introduce me to the Sunfish (15 years ago!).


wreck of the minnehaha exposed

I’ve posted several pictures of the Minnehaha shipwreck along the shores of Lake Michigan, but this one is amazing!  I’ve never seen this much of the shipwreck exposed.  Camp Arcadia posted the picture on their Facebook page.  water levels in the Great Lakes are down quite a bit this year – we could really use some snowfall this year, as last year was very light.

photo by Camp Arcadia

photo by Camp Arcadia

et ego in Arcadia – picture slideshow

I’ve been a bit of a slacker in posting about the remaining days from our vacation trip to Camp Arcadia.  but here is a picture slideshow video that was created by the Camp.  it will give a bit of a glimpse around camp of things I don’t think to photograph.


pier jumping with the boys

during our family vacation to Camp Arcadia this summer, my brother-in-law and I took our boys down to the south pier for the traditional jumping off the pier into the waters of Lake Michigan.  a few of the boys had jumped before, but this was the first time for some of the younger ones.

it was later in the evening, and the water temperature this year in Lake Michigan was just a tad on the cold side.  I wore my shorty wetsuit, and was the 1st to jump in.  I had them throw me a life jacket, and then I just floated the rest of the time down there with my GoPro Hero video camera to capture the action as each boy took turns jumping off the pier.

I thought it’d be a quick process, but it turned out that I had to help each boy get up and onto the ladder, as the water level in the lake is low enough that the 1st ladder run is probably 12 to 18 inches above the water level, and none of the boys had the upper body strength to pull themselves out of the water and start climbing the ladder.  I would swim away from the pier, one of the boys would jump into the water, and then I’d swim back in with them and help them climb out of the water, and then repeat as required!  I’m glad I put the wetsuit on, though, as I ended up floating down there in the cold water for maybe 15 minutes.

if you recall, this is the same pier that Dave and I jumped off a few weeks later, but with disastrous results – as the waves were way too big for us to have jumped, and the current was way too strong to swim against.  Dave wrote his thoughts about that near-death experience he and I both faced in this blog post: underestimating the power of the waves.


et ego in Arcadia – Monday

here is a summary of the second main day from our week vacation up at Camp Arcadia. on the weekdays during the Family Weeks at Camp Arcadia, each morning has a short Bible study for the adults, and classes for the children – split up into manageable age groups for the Camp staff – basically like a vacation Bible school, with some sports and games mixed in as well for the kids classes.  after Monday morning’s classes, my boys immediately wanted to head over to the archery range.

the Camp has a neat little archery range set up out in the woods: there is about 5 or 6 straw mats with paper bulls-eye targets attached to them, and then old garden hose spiked down to the ground to set different shooting distances.  the Camp has a varied selection of recurve wooden bows with different pull weights, so the kids (or adults) can choose a bow that they can shoot.  an instructor helps the kids get ready, and uses a whistle to give out commands – all in all, pretty well planned out.  my boys loved it, and went back to the archery range several more times the rest of the week.

after lunch, my brother-in-law and I went sailing again.  this time, the wind had picked up a bit – my Wind Meter app on my iPhone said it was about 13 knots. the waters of Lake Michigan were still fairly calm, though, so not too big of waves with the decent wind.  sailing was great, as we could move pretty quickly across the water.   it was a bit cooler and cloudy that day, so the rest of the kids were busy with other stuff around Camp, so it was just my brother-in-law and I messing about on the water.

I sailed for a while in my Sunfish, and he was in his Snark sailboat, and then we switched boats for a while as well.  here’s a screenshot from the video from my GoPro camera – my brother-in-law is sailing my Sunfish, and I’m horsing around in his Snark sailboat in the background… trying to keep my body completely flat stretched out across the 2 sides of the boats without my butt sitting down in the boat.

after sailing I took my 2 older boys and 2 of their cousins out into the woods for the Capture the Flag game. the game is held out in the back woods of the Camp’s property, where you can see rows and rows of pine trees,  planted by Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps that was created by Roosevelt during the Great Depression.

the Camp staff used blue or red paint to decorate the faces of the 2 teams, Braveheart style – all 4 of my crew were on the red team.

later on that evening, we had some time just milling around on the beach and the playgrounds.

Monday evening’s main event is the Square Dance, held out on the tennis courts.  the Camp staff instructs everyone on the steps for whatever dance we are doing, and calls out most of the steps during each song as well.  it helps that many campers have done these same dances for years – and it’s usually a good mix of experienced “pro’s” and the 1st-timers as well, plus always a bunch of children having fun learning the square dances, too.

there are some silly ones – the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey, but also the Virginia Reel and the Two-Step as well.  they save the best 2 songs for last – the Amos Moses and the Prima Donna (but I’m not sure of the dance names).  I got this pretty cute video of my youngest son and one of his cousins dancing together while the rest of the campers were dancing to the Virginia Reel.

if you missed the post from Sunday at Camp, you can read it here.  more days to follow.

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