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!).
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….)
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.
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.