Why I Chose Camp Lake Hubert For My Daughters
By Chris “Fletch” Justice (S1992-1998)
The first time my then-girlfriend, Rachel, heard about camp was on our second or third date. “What’s this camp you keep talking about?” she asked. “It’s where our kids are going to when they’re old enough,” I joked. A year and a half later, Rachel and I got married in Boulder, Colorado. 75% of those attending on my side were from camp. The year was 2008. It was nearly a full decade, to the day, since my last summer on staff at Camp Lincoln. At the reception, just prior to the meal being served, I led everyone in the camp grace “Johnny Appleseed”. It seemed like the right thing to do.
Our first daughter, Avery, was born in 2009 and Addison in 2012. Although they were aware of camp, it was never something that I heavily pushed on them. Around the year we got married, I started hosting a now-annual winter showing of the Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert camp movie tour in Boulder. Both Avery and Addy had attended many screenings. Either due to age, hunger or tiredness, neither seemed all that interested in what they were seeing…until this past winter. Both girls asked question after question and continued to ask throughout the days following the movie.
Rachel suddenly became a potential camp parent. She started asking questions. “What’s so special about THIS camp? We have some great camps right here in Colorado?” she asked (to my horror).
And so I explained…
Community. Excellence. Fun. Personal Growth and Development. Quality Relationships. These are the core values of Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert. Since 1909, these camps have been the benchmark of summer camping and have changed the lives of generations of young people. The world has changed a great deal, even since my first summer in 1992, yet I unequivocally know that once my kids step on the shores of Lake Hubert that the “real” world is left behind. What remains for them to experience is exactly the same as it was for all of those generations before them.
Because I was once among those staff charged with providing kids with the core values, I know that Avery and Addison will be cared for in the same manner. Although I’m quite sure that there are many other wonderful camps in America that can boast of fantastic opportunities for campers, there are few camps that can match the traditions and excellence of the boys and girls camps on Lake Hubert. Although I’m now looking at camp through the eyes of a parent and not my nostalgic memories, I am comforted by knowing that the training that I received as a staff member is the same, if not better, as what my kid’s staff members will get. It’s no wonder that Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert have been successful for 110 years. Brownie Cote founded Camp Lincoln, I worked for his son Sam and now my daughters will attend under the direction of Sam’s son, Ruggs. Comfort is found in continuity. There are many wonderful people surrounding Ruggs that I’ve known for a quarter of a century. I know my kids are safe, happy, challenged, engaged and cared for as if I was there with them.
It didn’t take long for my wife to agree. Just as I had predicted years prior, our children would be going to camp in Lake Hubert, Minnesota.
As I write this, Avery and Addy have already returned from their first summer as “Hubert Girls.” I wasn’t able to be there when they were dropped off, but I was able to come to visit and pick up Addison at the conclusion of Intro Camp. Addy and I were at the gate in Denver when Avery returned from her two weeks in Happy Hollow Cabin.
On our return ride home, all three of us sang many of the same camp songs that I learned. The same ones I sang to them when they were babies. This time around I didn’t have to teach any to them. In fact, they both corrected me when I sang a wrong word. Some things change a little, I guess. The first thing both said upon conclusion was, “Can I go back next summer?” and “Can I stay longer?”. Now that we have all this time before next summer, we have got to teach their mother the words to these camp songs so she can join in, too!