Fierce competition at the dock today during the annual Camp Brosius Water Carnival. In the picture, the campers were gearing up to watch a mean game of Marco Polo played by the Bucks (ages 4-5). Also of interest was that the campers beat the counselors in inner-tube water polo 5-4. I guess it was payback for the counselor v. camper kickball game
You can come to Camp Brosius as a camper for years and still not understand what it’s like to spend your summer as a staff member here. For starters, we don’t get to be on vacation, but the biggest difference is the wavering experience that each one of us receives. Each Camp Brosius experience will vary down the line, but I would expect that each one, as different as they may be, has something about how quickly you fall in love with this place.
When I first came to Camp, all I knew was that my youngest aunt, Sarah Wezet, worked here for two summers and it was the best summers of her life. I came to visit her once when I was younger and my only memory was the amount of stars visible in the sky. Within the first two weeks of being here, which were all cleaning, setting up, and bonding with the staff, I knew this was the place I needed to be at. By week one, our first official week with campers, I felt like I had known the friends I had made for years and not just two weeks. Each new week, even with as monotonous as our schedules began to get, could not compare to the one before. Families rolled in from all over, although mostly from our great state of Indiana. Each one just as great as the last. Our guests spiced up camp in their own memorable ways. Whether they knew it or not, each family shaped each and every one of my weeks here. From their high-energy kids, to their competitive drive in our staff vs. campers games, they all made each day worth getting up and putting a smile on your face to try to ensure they have the best week possible.
I don’t think that anyone believes you when they say that you shouldn’t take a Brosius day for granted because they are gone before you know it. I know I didn’t. My first summer flew by. I was so ready to get home towards the end but as soon as I started back at school, everything I did was my way of just trying to get back to camp as quickly as possible. How could you not want to come back to the place that gave you a best friend for life? Camp Brosius is a place that you come to and make friends with people you probably never thought you would hang out with, and they turn out to be some of the greatest people you know. In my second, and last summer at Camp, I can’t really imagine myself not being here for another summer. Mary and Wiley, the directors, have given me, and many other people, some of the best summers of our lives. You’re apart of a special kind of family once you come to camp. A family unlike no other.
Camp Brosius is truly the best way to spend a summer. If it weren’t for camp, I don’t think I would be the same person that I am today. It’s given me people that I know I can count own, connections, and friends for life, and I look forward to the day that I can come back to camp here with my friends and family and show them the greatness that lies in this place.
Day 2 at Camp Brosius was so much fun that I forgot to blog. The kiddos started the morning with camp songs, built Brosius teddy bears, then hit the paddle boats, and rounded out the day with the annual kiddie cookout. Several of the adults went go-carting and visited a local winery while the kids were occupied with the terrific counselors on staff. During the kiddie cookout, the adults had a pretty fabulous dinner (many thanks to chef Mary and her crew). The adult dinner was followed by an IU faculty speaker who covered the Supreme Court — she should come back next year to provide another update 🙂
Guest Suzanne Eckes shares–We arrived at Camp Brosius last night and were greeted with a Thanksgiving dinner followed by some Boom Chick a Boom — a capella style — around the campfire. After an amazing breakfast this morning that included lots of bacon, the kids were off to their many activities while the adults hiked the lake. It does not get much better than this. Rah-rah for Brosius — I understand how this was voted the second best family camp in the nation by the Travel Channel (http://www.travelchannel.com/roam-blog/family-fun/5-best-summer-camps-for-families).
My Brosius journey started 32 years ago, when I was just a rambunctious little 4-year-old boy. I was the kind of kid who never stopped running, climbing, or jumping onto (and off of) every surface I could find. I was “high energy” to say the least.
My parents were both members of the IU Alumni Association, and somehow they heard about a family camp in Wisconsin called Camp Brosius. Thank goodness they gave it a try. Who could possibly have known the tradition that first trip would start?
As a little kid, I loved being in the children’s program, starting as a Scout. Every year from then on, I would see old friends from years past, and make new friends with the kids who were at camp for the first time. I still remember the counselor hunts, the scavenger hunts, the swimming, and the field games. And of course there were the occasional scrapes and bruises, but we all know that bruises and scrapes are the markers of a great summer for little kids.
As a young teen, I enjoyed the little bit of independence I was able to have during the week. My brother and I got to have our own room in the Inn, which to a 14 year old felt like pretty much the same thing as living on your own, in your own apartment!
As an older teen, my parents let me bring one of my best friends to Brosius. Not only that, they let us stay in the Rustic Cabins while they stayed in the Inn. Man, we were pretty sure we were the coolest teenagers in the history of teenagers. Of course, we stayed up late listening to music while joking and laughing (and probably being a little obnoxious), but it was our first real taste of independence, in a safe environment filled with people much more responsible than we were.
As a young adult, Brosius meant relaxing. At that point, I was working and going to school full time, so I was finally able to appreciate the simple joy of doing nothing. You see, as a kid, the idea of spending an hour reading next to a lake (instead of jumping into it) sounded ridiculous… but I’d finally reached the part of my life where doing exactly that, and nothing more, sounded amazing.
Now I’ve entered a new part of my Brosius journey. Seven years ago, during Sunday night orientation, I introduced my family and my girlfriend to the rest of the campers. During that introduction, however, I got down on one knee and proposed to her. Thank goodness she said yes, and I got to reintroduce her as my fiancé! Since then, we got married and had an adorable little girl named Sophia. She made her first trip to Camp Brosius was when she was only 3 weeks old. She took her very first steps on the porch in the Annex during her second trip to Brosius, and this year, she went off to the children’s program as a Scout for the first time.
My journey has come full circle. My wife and I miss Sophia while she’s off playing (although we’ve taken some of the best naps we’ve had in years!), but I know that even as I write this, she’s having an adventure and starting her own Brosius journey… just like I did thirty-two years ago.
Have you ever heard of Family Camp? Yeah, not everyone has, but it’s a concept that’s gaining momentum as an option for family vacations. My wife’s family has been going to Brosius family camp since 1980 and I’ve been going since high school. Our children have literally grown up going to camp every year. I get a lot of questions about camp. Here are 10 reasons we’ve gone for decades.
10 It’s a great option for busy parents. We are a family of 6. My wife Tamara and I have 4 daughters, now young ladies ages, 18, 16, 16 and 15. When our children were young, we literally didn’t get enough sleep. Having 4 children this close in age really wore us out. Family camp gave us a real break. We got to relax while the kids were having a blast. More on that later in the list. Keep reading!
09 Reconnecting with camp friends from when you were a kid A really interesting phenomenon of family camp is camp friends. Because the same families tend to come the same week year after year; We have family friends that started as camp friends. We have literally grown up and now grow old together. We’ve been in each other’s weddings, have cried at funerals together, and have shared life’s milestones. Yeah, we’re family, and it probably started over conversations at a camp dinner or activity.
08 Your children will LOVE camp! We have aways appreciated how the kids are super excited for camp each year, even now as young adults, they talk about camp all year long. They STILL sing the songs all year long and look forward to it for months. What are they so excited about? Well, the kids are put into age groups, make new friends every year and have a blast on the lake. They do activities away from camp, or even just hang out with their cool counselors. The groups are lead by college students working the camp? They make sure the groups is supervised, safe and they genuinely care about the kids. We run into counselors from years past and its always like seeing an old friend.
07 It’s a REAL vacation for parents! Maybe this should be #1!! So, what do I mean? I’ve been on vacations all over with our family. Every vacation is different, but a constant is if you’re not actively engaged in some activity, you’ll eventually hear, “I’m bored”. Nope, you won’t hear that at Camp Brosius. Your kids will be having so much fun, they’ll keep going and going until they tucker out and sleep soundly. And what do parents do while the kids are having all this fun? Ahhhhh, you just figured it out. You can do whatever you want. Some parents are really active, running or walking around the lake or biking around town. Others will sail, swim or relax by the lake and enjoy beautiful Lake Elkhart.
06 Meeting new people. This year at camp, we go to week 3, one of the new campers asked me, “Is it a pain having new people at camp?” No way! We’ve always enjoyed meeting new families. I have to admit, I feel some sense of responsibility as we know the ins and outs of camp. Some new families even introduce new traditions. We now go to a Supper Club on Thursday night and it’s always proved to be a fun night. This is a newer tradition for us, started by a camper that was a former counselor.
05 It’s casual. Casual is just easier for families. You can hang out in comfortable clothes and not sweat the details. Yes, there’s an adult dinner where you can spiff it up a little and enjoy some “adults only” time. There’s also Thursday night when you can hit the town for a dinner out while the kids enjoy dinner and a movie. It’s a relaxing atmosphere.
04 No cooking! Oh that’s right. Think of it as an all-inclusive resort. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the price of accomodations. You won’t go hungry at Camp Brosius, bring some loose clothes for the trip back home. I always get tired of all the restaurant meals when we go on other vacations, but Brosius food has never made me feel that way.
03 Activities in a beautiful setting. How active you are (or are not) is up to you. But it sure is nice to try new things on the water at camp. I learned how to sail as a teenager at camp. I’ve sailed several kinds of boats, kayaked, rowed, canoed, tried to paddle board, and enjoyed a swim in the swim area. It’s a beautiful lake with the clearest water you’ve ever seen.
02 Seeing your children enjoy activities you enjoyed as a kid yourself. I mentioned my wife’s family has been going to Brosius since 1980. My wife was 8 at the time. Parents often ask us if its better to wait until kids are older to go to camp, NO! Go when the kids are young. They’ll be lovingly cared for, have a blast playing with kids their age, and try new things they didn’t even think about. It’s been a true joy seeing our children do things we did as kids ourselves.
01 Its all about family! This is our family pictured above. Brosius has become a family reunion of sorts with 3 generations represented. It’s a great opportunity to spend relaxing time together, play games, catch up and just enjoy time together. Does that sound a little like your favorite holiday, Thanksgiving? Yeah, it is a little like that.
Last night we enjoyed the many talents of Week 2 campers and staff during the Talent Show. Everyone did a fantastic job! There were dancers, singers, instrumentalists, a magician… Even Brad (my boyfriend) and I participated — we sung a song we wrote after our first trip to Camp Brosius to go along with some GoPro footage we captured. The song is parodied off “Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches. Here’s a link to our video last year with the song that we performed last night: https://youtu.be/nnU3XaAdhds
I love the talent show, not only because it’s another great camp tradition, but because you get a unique glimpse into these people’s lives — their interests, hobbies, and of course, talents.
Day 2 of Brosius fun started off a bit chilly. We unfortunately were plagued with cloudy gray skies that left things a little wet and rainy. Luckily, during midday, Elkhart Lake cleared up for us to have some afternoon fun.
Day 2 honestly started off with a nap (I know great way to make use of my time but I was tired!). Once the lake gods cleared the rain. We decided to capture as much of the sun as we could for the moment. My mom and I decided to take a walk after we finished our time of crafting. We actually met a cute little friend crawling in the grass!
Soon after, my sister finally got back from the winery and we decide to try out the kayaks and boy oh boy was that fun. And we got some pretty cool pictures too!
We had about an hour until it was time to get ready for the fannnnncy adult dinner (honestly the food was so fantastic like WOW and the setup was so cute!).
Lastly, our wonderful night ended with an interesting session about Golf and Tourism and for the second night in a row…. IU monopoly!
I had accidently forgot my responsibilities as a blogger and did not blog yesterday. So, today, there will be two in one day!
The best way to describe Day 1 was Game Day. Let me explain my day….
Honestly, waking up everyday is so fun because breakfast is served. We are currently staying at the Inn, so, every morning I am awakened by the breakfast bell (which is super convenient because 1. no alarms and 2. I can just roll out of bed and go down the stairs and eat).
After breakfast, my sister and I decided to be very adventurous and took sailing lessons (we totally think we are pros now). The weather was absolutely amazing for sailing so it happened to be an success.
Next, was water crafts because why not? My sister and I enjoyed the new additions to the water front, the hydro bikes. They were so much fun. And VERY much a work out!
After lunch and dinner is when the fun fun fun really began with the games. Monday night was Brosius Family Feud. This was literally so much fun and just like the show. Everyone got to split up into teams and sent a player who met the criteria of what the speaker asked who could answer the question. We were the purple team. Out of the 4 teams that were made we totally smashed it and got 3rd place! WOO HOO!
After family feud, the fun didn’t stop. My mom, sister, and I decided to take over the new game room and play a couple of games. My sister totally dominated in Uno and kicked our butt. And it seemed that my mom was having the worst of luck and lost in monopoly.
We actually ended up staying in the game room until about midnight. Now that is what you call a game night! We had an amazing night. IT was super relaxing and we had a blast. I just love all the stuff offered here that it literally keeps you busy all day if you want.
So much fun racing at Road America in the pouring rain. We were cold and wet from head to toe, but had a blast. It was especially fun getting 2nd place overall out of more than 30 drivers. Mind you the 1st place driver is a young man in the Naval Academy that beat me by less than a second!
My name is Hannah. I’ve been asked to blog about my 2017 Camp Brosious experience, and I gladly agreed. I have very minimal experience blogging, which may or may not include my angsty teenager Xanga page, so bear with me.
This is my second year at Camp Brosius. Last year I had an absolutely incredible time… campfires, lake time, family, and of course, food! This year, I returned excited and expectant for another great year!
Last evening, while enjoying the calm lake front on the swing, I had the privilege to meet and converse with a family who holds this camp very near and dear to them. A woman in this family has attended Camp Brosius eleven summers as a child, and now as an adult, had returned with her children for an additional eleven. This camp and its hard-working staff has provided wonderful memories for this family generation after generation.
As I have grown to know and love this place, I some day hope to say the same.
But for now, I’m looking forward to this week with my loved ones – sailing, exploring, eating… and this beautiful sunset.
Arrival Day was finally here and I was so excited! Last year at camp I had a blast. So this year I was expecting nothing less! Our 6 hour drive from Indianapolis to Elkhart Lake went smooth. We arrive just in time for dinner. It was great to be able to go and reconnect with old friends. It was nice to see everyone again.
But this year was definitely going to be a bit different from the last. I had my big sister coming this time. She had been here once before for a leadership camp but this experience was going to be completely different.
This year I was upgraded to the adult program and could just enjoy all the activites. Plus this year, with my sister here, I would be able to show her all around camp and show her the things she didnt get to do. Lastly, we came on the same week but the theme was different. So there are different activities going on.
All in all I am super excited for what this week holds. Ready to kick start my amazing week with some amazing people, and some amazing memories.
Heading into Wednesday evening here at Sunny Camp B. It has been such a wonderful and relaxing adventure so far. Yesterday we were up early and excited for flag raising and the Birdie Song of course. And it was a little bit rainy, so it seemed some arts & crafting was in order. Mom and I took the opportunity to do a little painting, turned out better than I expected as I am no artist for sure.
Then last night was delicious Adult Dinner (I had the eggplant parmesan, it was yummy), while the kids had Kiddie Cookout and a hay ride. We could hear them coming back to camp singing the IU Fight Song a mile away! A good time was had by all.
Today we were up early to have coffee and look at the sailboats and the sun glimmer on the lake. It was a beautiful morning.
I had some nice quiet time at the swim T’s then we were off to lunch and the Cornhole and Horseshoe Tourney. We made it to the final game! But like David said, you don’t get to hang a banner when you lose the championship game. Wah wah.
Now a little down time before dinner and then we are off to the Talent Show. Emily mentioned earlier that camp is halfway over and that makes us sad, but we are gonna keep livin’ it up for the next two and a quarter days while we are here! Brosius born and Brosius bred, we are ready for more Brosius fun!
Camp brosius seems like it’s a far way from Indianapolis. To a kid 6 hours feels like forever. But we got no complaints on the ride up. We didn’t even have to turn on a movie on the minivan DVD player.
The kids have been counting down to Brosius for weeks. We’ve been talking about our favorite camp activities, planning what we’re going to eat at each meal, and practicing campfire songs.
When we finally turned down the drive by the boat ramp and started singing the Brosius song all three were grinning from ear to ear. On the way up I asked them “Would you rather go to Disneyworld or camp Brosius?” They each said Brosius.
Ah, Sunny Camp Brosius. I was fortunate to be a counselor at camp in the summers of 1999 and 2000, and I don’t know why it took me 16 years to return! The picture above is from left, Sara, Parker and me on the red dock loving it up. This year camp is wonderful as always, and as always filled with memories both hilarious and bittersweet. Camp is a place where we can relax and be silly, corny and have a blast while doing it. I have an amazing time singing silly campfire songs and seeing the counselors do their best to cheese it up for us. This year I am so grateful to have my husband David with us, I do believe we have converted him into a lover of camp Brosius.
But how could you not love Brosius? With boats and swimming, delicious food and amazing children’s program counselors; everyday is filled with laughter and relaxation and the beautiful surroundings of Elkhart Lake. One of the best things about camp is starting early and packing the day with all the experiences you desire. Today I have:
1- watched the sun glisten on the lake while drinking coffee
2- eaten biscuits and gravy
3- sang the Birdie song
4- gotten a massage
5- sailed a catamaran
6-eaten a delicious hot dog (and the kid was happy to have ice cream for dessert)
7- napped on the swim docks
8- tried out a paddle boat (and stood without tumping into the lake!)
9- napped again while listening to the rain on the lake
10- chatted and laughed with friends old and new
And it’s only Monday! We are looking forward to the rest of the week’s adventures.
Did you know you can walk on water at Camp Brosius? New this year in the swim area are lily pads for people. While you can flop on them or crawl on them, you can walk on them; well, run, too. Watching kids and grown ups try to jump between them and do a headstand (not recommended as you get a face full of water) or do a handstand on them resulted in our camp crew laughing harder than we had in years. This is what Camp gives you– the freedom to leave behind whatever keeps you from laughing each day so hard that you might wet your swimsuit. Good thing you are in the lake!?
And if walking on water is not for you, there is the indescribable feeling of gliding across the lake on a sail boat. Sunfish or Hobie: the wind in your face and the tension of the line in your hand or against the rudder reminds you of the power and beauty of experiencing nature. Sometimes that power means you take a swim, unplanned, in the middle of the lake. But you always get back on the boat and keep going. Because you can and because every sail is unlike any other sail. New wind and new water.
When as the last time you playef kickball or bingo? Generally my reputation here is that I don’t participate in many of the organized activities. I sail, but have never done the regatta once in 25 years. I am very competitive and love sports, but only do archery, losing every year to my spouse, who often has the highest score of everyone. She reminds me, after her winning performance, that we wouldn’t starve if we lived on the prairie. Great, I think: lots of squirrels and small rodents as a staple of my 19th century diet. Thank goodness that Camp food is prepared by Larry. The only thing I assume he feeds us freshly caught is fish. We are in a lake so it makes sense.
I digress. Our counselor daughter said we had to play kickball, since she was playing on the counselor team. So we did. Last time I played kickball was when the Beatles were still together and Nixon was in his first term. Kicking a ball is not as easy as you recall, but I got on base one time and scored a run. Fielding was another matter as the counselor boys were kicking the ball across the road for home runs. And my daughter taunted me as she stood on the third base I was guarding. We got beaten. The week 8 campers were the first kickball team to lose all summer. How do you beat college students at kickball? Apparently, in the previous weeks, the campers had every square foot of the field covered. We had 10 campers- 4 of them over 50! It was a moral victory!
After dinner, my daughter insisted that we attend Brosius Bingo. This is new to camp. I don’t play bingo, but since she was serving popcorn and there was going to be cotton candy, we went. Cotton candy and bingo chips are not the best match. Do they wash the chips so they are free each week of popcorn grease and sticky blue sugar? In addition to the kid food, we acted like kids as we called out answers to the bingo questions and danced and sang. No matter that I did not win any of he cool IU swag. Except for the gray hair and a few wrinkles and body parts overly affected by gravity, I felt and acted like I was 10! And that’s what Camp Brosius is: a place where your inner and outer child are free to roam and run and play. A reminder of the importance of laughing and singing and dancing and warm popcorn and sticky blue fingers.
Who sets an alarm to do yoga at 720 a.m. while on vacation? When you don’t do yoga when not on vacation? It’s Camp Brosius, where you are lured to do things you’d not do anyplace else. Which is why we come back every year.
When you are middle-aged and your balance is waning, success in yoga requires focusing on one spot so you don’t wobble so much. I chose, oddly enough, the disco ball which was reflecting the early morning sunshine in the Squirrel cage (no clue the origin of that name).
I had to push “Saturday Night Fever” out of my head as the instructor calmly reminded us to breathe and focus. Disco ball distraction, I thought, could be a new disco anthem for 2016, as I struggled to balance my 57 year old body on one leg. Focus, focus on that silver orb I reminded myself. I can do this. That’s so competitive. This is yoga. Save the competition for kickball.
But it all did come into focus at the end when our young college student leader reminded us: “You have enough. You do enough. You are enough.” As she repeated this, I thought of the irony that I need a disco ball and yoga to remind me of something that is so true. Of course, this is one of the reasons we come to Camp Brosius. Our experience here reminds us that in this special, and dare I say it, sacred place, we have enough; we do enough; we are enough. Namaste Camp Brosius.
Our daughter has been coming to camp since her first summer with us, at the age of 2. Now at 20, she is finishing her summer as a lifeguard in waterfront. Week 8 is the only week we’ve spent at Brosius for the last 25 years. For 18 of those, Anne has grown up and into the familiar rhythm of week 8 at Camp. While the rituals have changed as she grew from the nursery to aging out of Voyagers, the core experience that draws us here is the same.
So, after 10 weeks, her Brosius experience has a new dimension and new memories that have nothing to do with Week 8. We were proud as she participated in the lifeguard intro and then introduced herself. And it was a new campfire experience as she was the princess telling the legend of Elkhart Lake. What fun to see her singing and laughing during camp songs.
This is what makes Camp special; a small child now a lifeguard rigging boats, driving the pontoon and rescuing struggling sailors. She is making her own camp memories which we have not experienced, beginning her own Brosius story. Full Circle.
Kids’ days are PACKED with fun activities every morning and afternoon. Field games, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, lake hikes, hay rides, skits, swimming, and water wars fill their days. But ADULTS have plenty of opportunity for fun and friendly competition, too. Horseshoes, cornhole, basketball, volleyball, kickball, euchre, and bridge are some of the adult camper-v-camper and camper-v.counselor competitions that fill the days.
Perhaps the most popular activity this week was archery. Both men and women participated. It’s my husband’s favorite scheduled activity every year. If the goal was FUN, this activity hit the mark. BULLSEYE!
What is it about being on the water that makes our cares must melt away? Elkhart Lake provides hours of fun and relaxation for the whole family. Kids love the kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and paddleboards.
Adults love the evening pontoon boat rides and sailboats. Even Mom can’t resist the pontoon style catamarans. And, of course, sailing provides a great opportunity for parent-child bonding, too.
Get out on the water and feel your boat — and your spirits — soar!
My husband and I have enjoyed every adult field trip we have attended while camping at Brosius. We’ve visited Henning’s Cheese Factory, Storybook Gardens, Ledgeview Cave, Old Wade House, the Kohler Concept Showroom, and more. Each trip has been wonderful. This week’s trip to the Christopher Farm and Gardens was no exception. The grounds were absolutely amazing — filled with acre after acre of beauty. With an children educational garden, Asian oasis, patriotic berry patch, vegetable gardens, wine-making and beer-making areas, multiple duck-filled ponds, a wildflower prairie overlooking Lake Michigan, and creative sculptures and artwork throughout the property, there is so much to see.
There is so much to do at camp that it can be tempting to skip the field trips. Do yourself a favor and say “YES” to the trips. You won’t regret it!
Warning Dieters: It is very difficult to resist the DELICIOUS food at Camp Brosius.
Good News: There are always healthy choices available, including yogurt, fruit, and oatmeal at breakfast and a salad bar at every lunch and dinner.
But, of course, there is always your favorite camp food. Yum, yum.
But, it IS summer camp and you can always go on the lake hike, the marsh walk, or play camper-vs.-counselors kickball, baseball, or basketball. You’ll also need extra energy for swimming, paddle boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, and sailing. This year, I even tried the country line dancing. FUN! At camp there are always great opportunities for fun-filled activities to burn off those yummy camp food calories.
We just unpacked and settled into our cabin; our cozy little home-away-from home for the week. We haven’t even had our opening dinner or camper orientation yet, and the children are already in full “camp mode” – smiling, laughing, relaxing, reveling in the freedom and joy that camp brings.
After a quick stop by the offer and a pic with the Brosius Bear, we head for the lake. It doesn’t take our youngest long to start enjoying herself. It’s a hot day and she eagerly starts dipping her feet in the water.
Meanwhile, our son (age 8) grabs his older sister (12) for a quick pre-dinner paddle boat ride.
When they dock, our three daughters enjoy sitting by the lake while our son wades in to skip some rocks.
Cooling off by the lake.
Day One hasn’t even officially begun, but Camp Brosius and Elkhart Lake have already brought my children – and their mother – much joy!
1. When did you work as a Camp Brosius staff member, and what was your role? I understand that you have also been a longtime guest. How many summers do you think you’ve gone to Camp Brosius? Currently, where is home for you? And tell me about the family members you bring along with you to camp.
I worked at Camp Brosius as a counselor in the Children’s Program during the summers of 1989 and 1990. I have been coming to camp as a guest for about 14 years, starting around 2002. My husband, Mark, was also on staff in 1989, and we met at camp. We both graduated from Indiana University. We currently live in Bloomington, IN and work for the university. We now bring our two children, Matt, 17, and Rachel, 13, to camp. We have also brought our parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, and other former staff with us to camp though the years. It is a great place for a family reunion because there is a wide variety of programming for all ages. Our children have been coming to camp for many years and always look forward to coming back, seeing their friends, going on the lake, and participating in the groups. They look forward to what group they will be in next year, new things they will get to try, and reconnecting with longtime friends. Now, they talk about wanting to work as counselors, too.
2. What is it that made you want to work on the Camp Brosius staff? And what do you enjoy most about the camp during your stay each summer?
Wiley Craft, the current camp director, was a teacher at my high school in Indianapolis and recruited me to work at camp. We attended the same church, and I used to babysit his children when they were young. When Wiley asked me about working at camp, I thought a lot about it and decided it would be fun to spend the summer meeting new friends, working at a place connected to Indiana University, living on the lake, and getting out of my comfort zone. I met some of my best friends by working at camp. There are so many things I enjoy about coming back to camp each year, it is hard to narrow it down to just one. I really enjoy that many of the same families return the same week each year. We are all excited to be together again and spend time doing the things we enjoy at camp. There are a lot of traditions that repeat every year-campfires with the same songs, camp counselors dressed as Indians, campfire skits, the Talent Show, sailing regattas, for the kids-lake hikes to Gesserts, trips to Anchor Lanes, and the water carnival on Friday afternoons, and theme-nights (if you see superheroes wandering around town on Fridays you will know why). There is always the opportunity to try new things or local activities (archery, Hennings Cheese tour, the Marsh Tower climb, visiting LaClare goat farm, local wineries and gardens, Kohler, Henshel’s Trout Farm and Indian Museum) to explore as well. There are plentiful opportunities for exercise, crafts, reading, sports tournaments (kickball, volleyball, horseshoes, euchre, sailing) rewarded for children and adults alike with token cards at Friday night campfire. Personally, I love to take a lake hike every day and swim when the lake is calm every morning. Elkhart Lake is so beautiful, clear, and relaxing. I joke that it is the Fountain of Youth. The lake is easy to navigate by swimming, paddle board, kayak, sailboat, or ski boat. It is fun to try new water sports-I learned to ski here on an old, red, seatless staff boat at Brosius and my daughter learned here as well, but on a well-equipped boat from Victorian Village. I love that the more Brosius and Elkhart Lake changes, the more it stays the same. I love to go to the Tiki Bar or to town to shop in the afternoon with my husband or other parents while our children are having fun with their counselors during the day. We always go to Siebkens on Wednesday nights for live music and dancing. My husband loves to golf at Quit Qui Oc and other local golf courses. It is more than a trip, it is a true vacation for everyone in the family because so much is provided at camp. We have long standing relationships and a true sense of community for the week that no other vacation provides. Everyone has a friend to do something with or an activity they are content to do on their own. I have never found another lake or vacation experience that consistently provides something for everyone to do, food everyone enjoys, exceptional atmosphere and staff, and great company.
3. Why do you think the camp has had staying power for 95 years?
I think the camp in many ways is timeless. It is comforting for those of us who value and appreciate family and tradition to get away from all of the pressures of our daily lives and connect with nature, our families and friends, our hobbies, and just relax. Many people come back year after year, bring their spouses, children, grandchildren, and friends to see what it is all about. In a constantly changing world, I enjoy the comfort of knowing what to expect and having that be delivered year after year. There have been many improvements at camp, made through the contributions of generous donors, who want to see camp continue to improve and grow. There is a magic in seeing your children sing campfire songs and be silly at any age, and you start to feel as though you reconnect with a younger version of yourself, not afraid to try new things or let down your guard. There is something special about sitting on the waterfront, seeing the sails on the boats set up, the sun shimmering on the water, and knowing you have the whole day ahead of you. Your children are safe, excited, and having a great time. Every year I notice my children looking and feeling more confident as the week goes on, and my husband and I feel more energized and grateful for the experience. At the end of the week, I am always sad to hear the gravel under the tires for the last time, and always eager to return.
4. Tell me about Camp Brosius’ involvement in the local community, specifically with its community partners. How does the camp support other local businesses?
Guests and staff at Camp Brosius patronize many local businesses while in town. Some of this is organized through the adult and children’s program, with staff organizing trips to local businesses or places of interest. Some of it, campers and staff seek out on our own. When I was a camp counselor, I remember well taking children every week on a lake hike to Gesserts and having Yvonne Landgraf (who we all thought was “Mrs. Gessert”) scooping ice cream for excited children after a lake hike to town. This year when we were in town, Yvonne was out in her yard and invited us to her porch to talk about the history of Elkhart Lake. When I was a counselor, we would also walked to the Dairy Farm and take the kids to see how to milk cows. For many years, a group would wake up early Friday mornings and take our kids to the Henshels Trout Farm and Indian Museum to catch fish with pellets (see the fish filleted-fish eyes, hearts, & all) and see the museum and Indian Mound. As a camp guest, a typical week for me includes: shopping at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays (we have art, jewelry, salsa, syrup, fudge, dog treats, t-shirts, and more from local businesses), going to favorite local shops like Gina’s, Vintage Elkhart Lake, Enchanted Florals, and Two Fish to name only a few. We always have lunch at the Tiki Bar and eat fried cheese curds, drink and dance at Siebkens Stop Inn Tavern, play darts or pool at Brown Baer, sit in the big chairs, and see live music. We take trips to Hennings Cheese and local gardens. This year we watched a chainsaw wood carver who made several signs for camp while enjoying wine and cheese from Vintage on campgrounds. We also always make an obligatory trip or two to the Walmart in Plymouth (which I happen to think is the cleanest and best Walmart in America) to find anything we forgot to pack or look for costumes for the Talent Show. We’ve also gone out to dinner at The Paddock Club, Lola’s, Schwarz’s Supper Club, and The Back Porch Bistro, which is a personal favorite. We’ve gone to races and tours at Road America. The kids go horseback riding, caving, visit the LaClare family dairy goat farm, and go bowling at Anchor Lanes. I believe Camp Brosius provides a consistent stream of patronage to businesses and community partners in Elkhart Lake. The people who attend camp not only love Camp Brosius, but they also love Elkhart Lake. The local businesses are a big part of its charm. My husband even has a subscription to the Depot Dispatch delivered to our home in Bloomington, IN. We make a second summer trip some years to see the fireworks on the lake for the 4th of July and the last 2 years we have come to the 4th of July parade (we have the Sargento Cheese, Johnsonville coozies and stuffed pigs, frisbees, t-shirts, and candy to show for it). I think the ties and loyalty to Elkhart Lake run deeper than people might know for campers and staff at Camp Brosius.
5. Why is Elkhart Lake an ideal location for Camp Brosius? How would you describe the impact that Camp Brosius has on local tourism?
I have never found a lake I liked better, and I have been to a lot of lakes. It is beautiful, clean, and the perfect size for families with children trying to learn how to use water equipment properly and teach new skills. Elkhart Lake is the ideal backdrop for all of the rich history and tradition of the lake that sets the tone for the week. This includes The Legend of Elkhart Lake that Waumesako reads at the opening campfire, a Romeo and Juliet style folktale, and Indians lighting the fire after reading about the gentle winds of kindness and fairness, reminding us how to treat one another while we are at camp. Elkhart Lake is an ideal location specifically for a family camp because of the easy lake access, sailing & water sports, and wide variety of activities for kids and adults alike. I believe Camp Brosius has a very positive impact on local tourism because people who come to camp tend to talk about camp and try to recruit their friends and family members to come with them. We also tend to bring things back: like cheese, sausage, wine, art, jewelry, dog treats, soaps, lawn ornaments, t-shirts, and talk about our vacations. Many, many staff have family members visit while they work at camp and return with their own families as campers, or come back to town in the off season with their friends and family as well. Staff members also patronize some of the local establishments in their time off. The return rate at Camp Brosius is high and campers tend to come back year after year, patronizing the same businesses and establishments we grow to love. Our neighbor buys Hennings Cheese and takes it on sales calls, and we have camp friends from who buy 40-60 bricks of Hennings Cheese to use at social gatherings throughout the year. This is just one example of many. At our own house, we have lawn ornaments from Abler Art Glass Gallery out in the front yard and art in the kitchen from the Saturday farmer’s market. I’m wearing earrings right now that I bought one Saturday at the farmer’s market. We have cheese, bacon, and Spotted Cow in the refrigerator and wine bottle Tiki torches from Vintage Elkhart Lake on our deck. All returning campers have our favorite things that we like to stock up for the year. We wear our tshirts from Ltd. and Nicola’s and our flip flops from Gina’s all summer. In years past, we have also returned to Elkhart Lake later in the summer or fall and stayed at other establishments, like Victorian Village or the Osthoff. We have even considered retiring at Point Elkhart. I also know that Wiley makes it a point to utilize local businesses when making improvements in the camp. I’m sure I am biased, but I believe Camp Brosius has its strongest impact on the economy in the summer, but the camp is participating in the economy and tourism all year long.
6. What is it about Camp Brosius that brings back families summer after summer?
There is simply no other vacation that offers so much to everyone in the family. I never have to bring a friend for my children because they already have friends waiting for them and so do my husband and I. Now, we’ve even made friends in Elkhart Lake. I don’t have to worry about where we are going to eat because all of our meals are taken care of by a fantastic chef at camp. We know what to expect, everyone has their favorite meals and foods as well as activities. In this day and age, with all of the turbulence in the world, there is a comfort in being in a safe place with family, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old, enjoying nature, exercise, and hobbies. Everything is easier at Camp Brosius because the camp staff help you in so many ways that would not happen on another vacation. They help you move in to your accommodations, if they see your child sad or upset they will come and talk to them or help them carry their plate to the table to eat. There is ice cream or dessert at two thirds of the meals every day, but we exercise so much and walk up so many stairs at camp that it doesn’t seem to matter. It feels wholesome, helps develop positive character, and you feel like you are a part of something good and bigger than yourself. There is a sense of community that has formed through years and generations that is bigger than any one person or family. Before all of the improvements, I used to say it was a camp that lived on love. Today, it is still a camp that lives on love, but it is now positioned to be on Elkhart Lake for another 100 years. There is a rock near the Round House that reads: The Elkhart Lake Prayer Thank you Lord for Elkhart Lake, for its beauty and its purity and for the healing quality of its waters; for the clarity of vision to those who gaze into its depths, and for the blessing of harmony and renewal to those who gather on its shores. (the author’s name if buried in mulch but I believe his first name is Walter…) People who come to Camp Brosius are looking for and appreciate this for themselves and their families, and that is what keeps them coming back year after year.
Last night was fun in the cabent! (We are sleeping in an amazing round tent/cabin combo that is open and airy-and most importantly has a double bed!) It rained a bit, which concerned us at first because we thought we were going to get wet, but we quickly realized that all was well and we fell back asleep to the rhythm of the rain.
This morning we took a trek around the lake, a great hike with beautiful views! I met some new friends!
The water front was amazing today! We swam and relaxed while our kids were off hiking!
My family has been coming up to Camp Brosius almost every year for the past 32 years. We look forward to it for months before the day actually arrives when we pack up the car and head north, through the Chicago area, and up to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
There were three of us our first year, my wife Peg and young son Jake. The next year, with our 8-month old younger son, Robert, we had four. Ten years later, we wondered if our teenaged Jake would want to continue coming up to camp with his parents. We were pleased when his request was not, “let’s not go” but was “can my friend David come up with us.” We said yes and for a few years there were 5 of us. Robert then caught that fever and requested that his best friend could come. Then we were 6.
We believe that this camp site is one of the most beautiful on earth. This year, Jake is here with Heather, his wife of five years, and 13-month old daughter, Sophia. This is Sophia’s second time up here. The first was last year when she was 3-weeks old.
Camp Brosius is one of the few places I know that when I arrive, I can either sit or stretch out and completely relax. Anxieties disappear, my blood pressure undoubtedly goes down, and I feel extremely comfortable.
We arrived a bit late today (as we stopped to see friends on the way north), but we were met by staff at the office door and within minutes three staffers appeared next to our car to help carry our luggage to the inn and upstairs to our room. While it was 90 degrees back home in Indiana, here next to the lake, it was bright and sunny with the high temperature a very pleasant 79.
We knew that the food would be great and we weren’t disappointed. Larry Ward has been the chief cook here for years and he and his staff put out great, hot meals, three times a day. Tonight’s dinner a green salad with lots of toppings to choose from and ham and turkey with all the trimmings. In the old days we ate nearly all our meals in the dining hall, but several years ago, the camp purchased enough picnic tables that we can (if we want) all eat outside every day of the week—weather permitting.
After dinner was the camp orientation in which the staff do original skits (actually rather funny songs) and introduce themselves. The kids all meet their counselors and camp policies (times for meals and safety rules around the lake) are discussed. Families here for the first time are welcomed.
After orientation, there’s the opening campfire in which the legend of Elkhart Lake is told and everyone sings campfire songs. Some are traditional, others a bit quirky. The kids seem to like the quirky ones best.
Then off to bed. Quiet time begins at 10:00 as excited kids need to get to sleep. Peg and I stay in the inn, a, recently refurbished 1890s resort building—as we have every years we’ve been here. We head down to the Cream and Crimson room to have a glass of wine and have a quiet time for ourselves before calling it a day.
Monday, July 11, 2016
I normally wake before Peg and did again this morning. Our room has windows that overlook the lake, and if I’m up early enough I enjoy seeing sunrise over the water. I took the time to read through the activities for the day.
One of the things that I’ve always liked about this camp is that one can do as much or as little as one chooses. Sailing, swimming, fishing, archery, volleyball, basketball, corn hole (bean bags), horse shoes, a play ground for the kids, trips to nearby sites are all possible. So is sitting quietly next to the lake for as long as one could want.
Although there are lots of organized activities, staff never try to coax guests into anything. There are signup sheets posted where folks can indicate what things they’d like to do, but no one is ever pressured into things that they’d rather not do.
The kids’ program runs from 9:00 to 11:30 every morning and 1:00 to 4:00 every afternoon. Every day, the first activity is flag raising with the Pledge of Allegiance and some songs. If the kids join the children’s program, parents then can do what they want during those times. Then the kids all join their parents for meals.
Today’s activities included pontoon rides for the younger kids, horseback riding and crafts for the older ones, while the adults could attend a yoga class, do a hike around the lake, line dancing, or get a back massage. Either kids or adults could have had sailing lessons.
I love to sail, in fact I learned to sail up here in one of my early years up here. But the winds were a bit too blustery for me today. Besides, I had to learn how to write a blog. However, I hope to go sailing tomorrow.
Tonight is Brosius Bingo. I understand that it’s traditional Bingo with a twist.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
After two days of perfect weather, the Weather Channel (on my smart phone) indicates that there is a chance of rain today. We’ll see. It’s nice to know that the staff here is always prepared for rain and has a bevy of indoor activities for the kids whenever necessary.
The “adult” activity this morning was a trip to a local goat farm. I have to admit that I’d never been to a goat farm and it sounded fascinating. About 15 of us went on the trip; camp staff made all the arrangements and two members drove vans over to the farm. Because we had the baby with us, our family took its own vehicle (as it already had a baby seat installed). The LaCare farm has about 1000 goats. Our timing was perfect as it coincided with milking. I had never seen so many goats and indeed had never seen dozens of milking machines in action. The farm is family owned and operated. Helping to take care of and “guard” the goats were llamas and donkeys—really! The trip began and ended in the farm’s gift shop where wine and cheeses (made with goat’s milk, of course) were for sale.
It did rain, but only for a very short time and ever so slightly. I guess we could just have called it a mist.
This evening will be special. A fine “adult” dinner served by the staff in the dining room followed by “faculty forum.” Every week of the summer, a faculty member from one of the IU campuses is invited to sped the week at camp. He or she then does a presentation on his or her area of expertise. It’s always interesting. Today’s topic was Indiana beer.
While the adults are enjoying prime rib or other great foods in the dining room, the kids have a cookout up on the hill followed by a hayride for the younger kids and bowling for the older ones.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Another gorgeous day at Camp Brosius. Yesterday morning, our son and daughter-in-law left their 13-month old at the camp nursery for an hour. They were concerned that little Sophia would cry and be very unhappy about being “abandoned” by her parents. Here is Heather’s description of the event.
“It’s really hard leaving your child alone with a stranger for the first time (but don’t worry, I kept my cool!), but for some reason, it felt really comfortable here, and I’m guessing Sophia felt the same way when she didn’t even look up to say goodbye, because she was having so much fun with her counselors and all the toys. Here’s to a week with some free time, relaxation, and good food!”
Sophia enjoyed being with the counselors so much that she gladly spent another hour with them in the afternoon and then attended the kiddie cookout followed by the hay ride. She had a great time and her parents enjoyed their free time.
Today is another day filled with activities for those who wish to be active and leisure for those who would like a day of peace and quiet. For the former there was a morning hike to the Sheboygan Marsh and its tower and line dancing and the annual corn hole toss in the afternoon. (My son and daughter-in-law participate almost every year. Jake won the event two years ago.) For the latter, there’s always quiet reading next to the lake or in the lounge in the new Efroymson Hall.
–I should have mentioned this on Sunday: This nearly 100-year old camp always seems to have something new. This year, beside the trip to the goat farm we have a brand new building here. The old frame office building had been literally falling apart. After a multi-year fund raising effort, it was torn down last fall and replaced with a larger and better building, named Efroymson Hall in honor of the family that kindly donated much of the funds needed to build it. Besides its office/gift shop, screen porch, and apartment upstairs (which the old building had) the new one has two really nice lounges and a washroom. The lounge is where I wrote most of this blog and uploaded it onto the WordPress website.
The new Efroymson Hall, constructed 2016
After lunch today I took a sunfish out and went sailing on Elkhart Lake. While I was out a storm approached and its rolling thunder told me to get back to the camp as soon as I could. That wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be in that there was a still period before the rain–and sail boats don’t move very fast when it’s still. After all that, we didn’t have much rain, but the still far off thunder and the possibility of lightning caused many of the children’s program counselors to move their activities into indoor locations for a while. The sun was out again in short notice.
Tonight was the annual talent show, “Brosius Superstars.” Although it lasted only one hour, kids and counselors spent many hours preparing for it. There were songs, skits, dancing, magic tricks, and more songs and skits. The program ended (like fireworks) with a grand finale put on by all the counselors with the aid of black light. It was all great fun.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
This morning Peg and I decided to take it easy–an easy thing to do here at Camp. Those adults with a bit more energy had the option of going on a “field trip” to the beautiful Christopher Farm and Gardens in Sheboygan. Meanwhile the kids had a variety of morning activities: Some were doing crafts, others field games or boat rides. However, since this week Peg and I spend more time with our sons than any other of the year, I took advantage of their tech expertise and had them show me how to add photographs to this blog.
This afternoon was the annual counselor hunt–always a big hit with the kids, then the older kids had their turn going to the goat farm while the younger ones did boating and swimming. Adult sailors could take part in the annual sailing regatta followed by a staff vs. campers basketball game.
This evening will be pontoon boat rides around the lake and movie night.
Friday, July 15, 2016
This is the day, every year that I wish that a week had ten days instead of seven. It’s our last full day at camp. Our son Jake has never done any archery and so, as there were lessons down at the archery range today, he decided to learn. Other organized activities included yoga in Alumni Hall (so named because it was actually built by Normal College–the school that started Camp Brosius–alums) and back massages in the Sputh Round House. The older kids this morning are to go out on the lake in canoes and kayaks while the younger kids had some free time on the playground and some organized field games.
This afternoon will be the annual water carnival, which consists of a bunch of water-based games and activities. Parents all gather around the swimming Tees to cheer on their kids.
To me, however, Friday’s highlights begin at 5:30 when there’s always a themed party on the flagstones in front of the dining hall. This year’s theme is “superhero night.” Kids (and adults) can –if they choose to– come dressed as their favorite super hero. I expect there will be several bat-men, supermen, and wonder women. That’s followed by the best appetizers I have had anywhere and a terrific dinner. Finally the closing campfire begins at 7:30 this evening. Besides the normal campfire songs, there will be skits put on by the various children’s groups and certificates given to the winners of various kid and adult contests. (the Euchre tourney, the sailing regatta, corn hole toss, etc., etc., etc.)
The evening ends with counselor/Indians taking the lighted torch and leading a procession down to the lake where a waiting canoe takes them out into the lake and the torch is extinguished. Campers then sing the IU Alma Mater and taps.
Then to end the night on a sweet note, s’mores are roasted on the dimming camp fire.
Tomorrow morning, breakfast will be served and the guests will pack their cars and head for home–and if like us, they’ll be planning to return next year.
We just arrived at camp and the kids are already in love with it!
We traveled from Greenwood, IN (two families) to enjoy our yearly family vacation together here at Brosius. We were pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by the staff, singing and clapping, in the rain! We received a wonderful tour and are currently relaxing on the porch of the cabent👍🏻
We’re excited to see what’s in store for the week!
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Fridays at camp. The day always seems to have a bit of desperation to it. People trying to squeeze in “just one more thing”. One more time on the paddle boards, kayaks and paddle boats. One more swim. Family pictures by the lake after dinner. Did the girls all get pictures with their friends? Have we exchanged contact info with new friends? I know we’ll see many of them next year (some for 30+ years) but others will change weeks or skip a year or two.
Then off to the final campfire for songs and skits and a walk down to the swim pier to send the Indians off until their return to opening campfire next year.
The girls are getting older and I wonder how many more years we’ll have of vacationing together. Hopefully, someday they’ll bring their own families but in the meantime, I wonder if we’ll have a few years where college and new careers will interrupt. Or maybe they’ll work as counselors and get to enjoy camp in a new way. For now, I’ll treasure the memories and enjoy all the moments. Thanks for another great week, Camp Brosius! And we’ll see you again next year!
As a history nerd, I love learning the history and traditions that surround places. That history becomes the foundation of traditions and gives you a perspective to how that place has come to be. Brosius does not disappoint those of us that love history and tradition. With nearly 100 years of history, I direct you to the web, or even a book that was published about the history of the camp, I devoured that book.
In this blog post what I can share with you are traditions our family enjoys. These traditions really give camp Brosius it’s personality.
Even before we get to camp, the tradition of looking through old packing lists when the girls (4 teenagers now) were babies is a fun little tradition my wife and I have. We reminisce about all the things we would bring to camp, that list has changed so much in the decades we’ve visited camp.
Driving up to camp and being received by counsellors singing the Brosius song, we all sing along and know we’re at dear old Camp Brosius. Meals are a tradition, good luck changing what we eat on a given day of the week, it could cause a riot. Camp even had special colors that let you know you’re at camp. Opening and closing campfires: tradition, Birdie song in the morning at flag raising: tradition, playing games and enjoying family time: tradition. It’s all part of what makes camp a special place for us.
Wednesday night talent show, tradition!
Ice cream mustache, bug juice mustache, tradition!
Parents and kids having fun together, a tradition that makes the entire trip worthwhile.
Every camper that loves Brosius at some point has the difficult task of describing camp and what’s so fun about it. It’s tough to describe how it’s not really camping, but it’s not really a hotel setting.
Even parents don’t quiet grasp the impact of seeing their children completely happy, busy, and safe; oh and you don’t have to entertain them or hear how they’re bored! Not only that, but they’re also making new friends in the process.
We have four girls: 17, 15,15 &14. A typical day for them starts with a nice breakfast (Brosius feeds you 3 squares a day). From there, a Brosius tradition is the flag raising then Birdie song. It’s a meeting place for drop off to children’s programs.
From there it’s a whirlwind of field games, hikes around the lake, visits to beautiful Elkheart Lake, sailing, paddle boarding, swimming, pontoon boat rides, singing camp songs, outings to go horseback riding…. I can’t list it all, check out the Brosius website. But you can see why the kids are happy as can be, while you get some time with your adult family to do as much or as little as you’d like.
I know what you’re thinking, is this just about ditching the kids??? No, you have all meals and evenings together as a family. Our family will play games or sit and talk while enjoying a cool beverage.
I just can’t do justice to a typical Brosius day, you’ll just have to come and find out for yourself!
Our family had been coming to Camp Brosius for a long time, all of these ladies pictures above have been to camp since infants, my wife since she was a child and me since high school.
The invitation to author a blog gave me pause to stop and think about why this camp is so special. I have an answer that works for me…..
It’s about getting time that’s tailored to your needs.
When our girls were small, having a safe environment where they could play, while Tamara and I got some rest was something we rarely got to do as parents of 4 daughters who at one point were 4 years old and under!!
For our children, it’s a place where they spend time with their cousins, and that includes camp cousins!
We have extended our FAMILY thanks to camp Brosius and the life-long bonds we’ve created that are all thanks to camp. Julie Dickson can attest to the fact I treat her like a sister, not a friend. Sorry Julie you can’t go back. I always appreciate and welcome new campers. I’ve made many friends and keep in touch with campers I’ve met just in the last few years.
In a nutshell, my answer to why Brosius is a special place is that it offers you the opportunity to enjoy what you need in so many ways. You make of the experience what you want, and if you come long enough, you’ll see that change over time.
Week 2 is off to a great start! We have been coming to camp for several years now and I love how our whole family has been in touch with friends before arriving to camp and making plans for the week. It has been great reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Week 2 has many former Brosius camp counselors who come back with their families as well as many families who have been coming for several years. It feels like a big family reunion to get everyone back together. It has also been fun and exciting to meet new campers who add to the group experience.
Highlights so far have been the opening campfire which included many of our favorite songs.
We finished a warm night after campfire with an evening swim for the kids, followed by hot chocolate-delicious.
Monday has been sunny, warm, and windy. We did the lake hike, tried the sailing lesson, kayaked, then got a group together for an adult beverage and fried cheese curds at the Tiki Bar.
The food has been delicious as usual. We tried to work off some calories with camper/staff kickball before dinner. After dinner, we went to Gesserts for the best old fashioned ice cream experience in Elkhart Lake.
The kids have been enjoying their groups and spending all of their free time together.
There have been two beautiful full moons over the lake. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!
I’m thrilled to be back at camp–my first time back since 2007! I spent my summers from 2004-2007 (as counselor, waitri and assistant director) at sunny Camp Brosius. I have so many amazing memories. Harper (7 years old) and I are staying in rustic #5 (these aren’t the rustics I remember)! Camp looks amazing!
This week is extra special too….as there are many PETM’ers here. PETM’ers=from the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. PETM is such a wonderful, encouraging, positive place–it’s pretty awesome to be at Brosius with these amazing folks.
Here’s our home for the week:
We arrived at Camp on Sunday afternoon, just in time for a quick dip before dinner!
Harper’s first swim in Elkhart Lake!
Sunday dinner–with PETM family! Ellen, Dajah, Harper, Nyree and Allison!
After campfire, Harper and I went for another dip in Elkhart Lake…ahhh so nice. The water is so rejuvenating. We spent the rest of the evening hanging around….lots of laughing!
Harper and I were up with the sun. We went down to the roundhouse and enjoyed some time by the lake.
It was then time for 7am yoga! Led by Ellen!!
Breakfast was next…followed by the daily flagpole routine including the birdie song!!
Harper is in a group of 5 kiddos, ages 6-8. He is having a ball!
My PETM pals and I thought about sailing this morning but then opted for kayaking:
Allison, Rachel and Jeremy
AND check this out, Ellen on the paddle board …..we had so much FUN doing yoga on these boards today!
This afternoon has brought some line dancing and water aerobics:
I think my mom and Libby have spent more time together than many people who are related by blood. Our families used to spend the week sharing Kin Koop, as both had two girls. They are not campfire maidens this year, but are still sharing a cabin, and lots of time together back in Indiana as well.