No Polar Bear Swims Here


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The ULBC Camp Pool was far more superior to League Lake for me. I loved the refreshing waters of the pool over the algae plagued League Lake. I used the lake for rowboating.

What are your memories of the camp pool? Though only about four feet deep at its deepest, the pool afforded good fun for relay races, quick games, and good plain fun.

The Tent Foundations at ULBC Camp


Oh, what good memories roll out of my mind in regard to tent city where fellow counselors Gordon,Bob, nd I lived in 1970.  There were four big wall tents and our rotating kids from various cabins came to stay with us on their particular counselors days off. 

I remember names like Mike Kokines, Jim Coconate, and Mike Hartman as kids that kind of stand out in my memory of those days.  Then there was a foul mouthed kid by the name of Johnny Capps who changed everything about his language after an encounter with Swamp Man who came a visiting at the tents one night.

ULBC Camp is again open for another summer of fun.  In retrospect, perhaps Tent City should have been located in the forest around what is now known as Fox Lake?  Instead it was about a quarter of a mile behind the dining hall.  There was not much forest land there.  I often wonder if Gordie and Bob would ever consider reuniting at camp for a week at Tent City?  Hmm?

The Rowboat, The Whistle, and Gordie


Tent Counselor Gordon had taken one of the dingy’s out for a spin on League Lake one afternoon and spent the majority of his time on the far part of the lake. The Waterfront Director began to whistle in the boats due to an approaching storm but since he was so far out in the lake, Gordie didn’t hear the whistle. After a time, he rowed back in and received a tongue lashing from the Waterfront Director for not heeding his whistle.

The totally embarrased Gordon took that tongue lashing in front of the kids and began his slow trek up the cement stairs to the upper camp before heading back to Tent City. It is quite hard to hear a whistle when you are on the other side of the lake especially if the wind is blowing. The open tongue lashing was unneccesary and would have been better to have been done in private if at all.

His punishment was being banned from the lake for two days. It could have been an either “orr” decision. By the way, at the top of the stairs to your right was the little kids cabin.

ULBC League Lake Then and Now


This is what League Lake looked like about four years ago. Notice the growing algae problem on the lake. Algae laced water can cause irration to the eyes and even disease. While summer camps are quite expensive to maintain, the bulk of that maintenance goes to cottages and food for the summer months. To control algae in the lake can be quite expensive.

But if you think that picture tells the whole story you would be sorely mistaken. Our next picture is League Lake as it appears today-

The algae problem seems to have worsened and there is also some sort of “sparkle” affect all over the center of the lake. I am not quite sure what that represents? Even the lagoon seems especially dried out even though Union League Camp had a goodly portion of rain this summer unlike other parts of the country. 

One good thing about the algae problem is that League Lake has a swimming pool right next to it with nice clean water at all times.  Of course, League Lake is more than safe for boating but swimming is another story.  Thoughts on this issue or on how to resolve it?

The ULBC One Day Counselor


One of our older boys by the name of Tim was given a high honor by being selected as a counselor in training at the Union League Camp in Salem, Wisconsin, and he was to join seven of our other club members that summer. The other members were there as campers for a one month session.

In the late afternoon ofthe first day Tim was there his mother called me at the Hoffman Estates Boys Club where I served as the Executive Director and told me that Tim wanted to come home already. Tim had taken it upon himself to boast to all the club members prior to going to camp about his counselor assignment. So after my club closed that day, I drove up to the camp which was about seventy miles away in southern Wisconsin.

As soon as I got there Tim demanded that we leave immediately. After a full days work and the drive I was quite tired and the camp director, Al Mackin, offered me a place to sleep that night. Well, Tim would have none of that so he began walking down the camp road heading for home to which Al picked him up and directed him back to the main lodge at the camp and gave him a good talking to. I informed Tim that we would leave camp about noon the next day.

Tim had trouble relating to the largely Hispanic kids at the camp, Our club was largely middle class white kids but we had an excellent relationship with the Union League Boys Club organization. In the morning I quizzed the other seven members that were there as campers asking if they also wanted to leave but they all said they were having a great time.

After a great breakfast, I took a quick row on League Lake before picking up Tim to take back to Hoffman Etates reminding him that he would be in for a rough time about all his bragging about being a counselor at camp to our other members since he only endured one day at camp. He still chose to leave so after bidding Al a fond farewell we headed back to Hoffman Estates.

Tim had been selected as a counselor during one of our many off season trips to the camp. He and Al had hit it off during those trips and Tim was ever so excited to be a counselor there but he found the work not to his liking. Al told me that was somewhat of a record as he had never before recalled a one day counselor.

That summer, Tim endured the ribbing by the other older members about his one day experience but it was all soon forgotten and things returned to normal.

The ULBC 7- Course Meal


On an early winter trip to the Union League Boys Club Camp in Salem, Wisconsin, our Hoffman Estates Boys Club kids were treated to special fare prepared by Al Mackin and Danny Heisen. The rest of us largely spent the day outdoors to let Al and one of our own, Danny, prepare the special meal.

We hiked around the lake, played hound and the hare, and also did a scavenger hunt before returning to the main lodge for supper that evening. To our surprise a seven course meal awaited us. Most of our kids had never had such an eating experience but it began with an appetizer and moved into several more courses including dessert.

Danny later told me that it was an exciting experience for him as Al had asked for one volunteer to assist him that day. Our boys went to bed that evening with very full stomachs and an experience I’m sure they have never forgotten.

That weekend we had hoped for some snow to do some sledding on the ULBC hills but that never happened as there was only a dusting on the ground. However, the day we left, Sunday, by the time we got back to Hoffman Estates the television news recorded a two to three inch snowfall in Wisconsin.

They may not have got to go sledding but they did feast on that seven course meal with hearty appetites.

Day of the Storm


About a quarter mile behind the dining hall was the tent area of the Union League Boys Club Camp in Salem, Wisconsin where I served as a tent counselor along with Gordie Payne and Bob Reiser.

I was coming up from the main camp on my way back to the tent area when the director of the camp shouted, “There’s a storm brewing, Dave, better get the kids back into the main camp area”. I ran out to the tent area and just as I announced what the kids were to do the winds and storm hit and hit hard. Gordie, Bob, and I put all the kids in the center of the tents with mattresses and blankets covering them just in case the worst happened. The three of us were holding onto the tent poles as if they were a vibrator in the winds.

Within minutes the storm subsided but the skies were still dark. A decision was made to get into camp as soon as possible and all we encountered at that time was light rain. As the kids made it into the cabins the storm broke and the sky began to clear. I was the only one of the three counselors that picked up strep throat after all that. Had to endure two straight nights in the camp infirmiry.

The Snapping Turtle at ULBC Camp


A counselor friend was walking near the lagoon when a snapping turtle surprised him and he threw his towel up into the air and that turtle actually snapped that towel in half. Later that day several counselors hunted that turtle down and killed it. They took it into the nature cottage and separated the shell from the meat as they planned at first to eat their prize catch.

However as the afternoon progressed, and the flies descended on their catch, they chaged their mind about dining on their catch. Instead they took pride in displaying the shell of tha turtle for all to see, The only one who didn’t ever want to see any part of that turtle again was the counselor whose towel was snapped into by the monster. He had seen all of that turtle he desired to see already.

I only saw the shell of that turtle but it was rather amazing to say the least as it was quite large.

Away All Boats!


Being a tent counselor, we never had our own batch of boys like the other counselors had since we had their cabins on their days off.  However, I used to enjoy watching the boat races between various cabins following the shoreline of League Lake as it was called in the 1960’s.  Skillful rowers always kept on course but those that chose to over row their boats either headed into the middle of the lake or toward shore.  The latter was the worse of the two especially so if they touched land for they would then have to push off and head back toward the course again.

I supervised one race aboard a dingy which was my boat of choice as it could be moved about quite easily.  I wonder if those types of boats are still available at camp today? 

The boys seemed to enjoy the races if not moreso for the fun they had splashing each other along the route.  Does the camp still have boat races today?  Let us know by way of a comment.

The Union League Camp Pool


I never enjoyed swimming in League Lake at the Union League Resident Camp in Salem, Wisconsin. Boating it I enjoyed greatly but swimming, no. However within three feet of the lake was a swimming pool which was greatly used by all. The cool clean water was in stark contrast to the algae laiden League Lake.

The pool was no more than four feet deep but available for lap swimming or games such as you see in our photograph above. The pool was used for swimming lessons as was popular among both campers and counselors alike. My kids enjoyed the pool for keep away games and just splashing one another.

Whenever I swam in League Lake I felt like I needed a shower afterwards but not so with the pool. Being a relatively small lake the algae problem has grown over the years. The only way to battle it is with chemicals. Today I would think the pool is still an asset to the camp along with the newer tennis courts.

Keeping ULBC Camp Fresh


When I was a counselor at ULBC Camp in 1969 I don’t remember a playground area like the one above for the boys.  Now the GG Cottage might well have had one for their boys but I can’t say for sure and nothing as elaborate as the one you see here.  The major new attraction has to be the tennis and basketball area.  I would think tennis to be less a draw than basketball but perhaps tennis also does well at camp.

Basketball would have been nice to have in 1969 at camp.  I’m no sue if basketball was planned as being part of that tennis complex originally or if it was just later added??  Might someone know when this area was added to camp?  And are there other new areas about camp?  Let us know by way of a comment.  I have also heard that the waterfront might be expecting some changes for the start of the 2011 summer season.  Keep you eyes here for any more news on that.

And which is really more popular at camp today between tennis and basketball?

The Raccoon at ULBC


Sometimes, despite repeated warnings about dangerous animals, some kids just never learn. On a warm summer day at ULBC Camp our kids were doing a scavenger hunt at tent city and one of the boys got too close to a raccoon. The critter snapped at him and bit him on the hand. He immediately began crying and Bob Reiser, one of the tent counselors was at his side applying first aid and sending a Counselor in Training with the younster to the camp infirmiry.

Meanwhile, myself, Gordie, and Bob, along with another CIT began searching for that raccoon as it had to be known whether or not it carried raibi’s. Bob located it and beaned it with a rock knocking it senseless. We bagged it and took it to the camp director.

Tests on the animal proved negative for the raibi virus which was fortunate for the younster for if the animal had the virus, the boy would have had to endure two shots a day for seven days in the stomach. That would have been worse and more frightening than the bite itself.

It was a lesson learned that day not to mess with wild animals but one learned the hard way for that one youngster. I think Bob would have earned a coonskin hat for his trouble but when the discovery was made that the animal did not have raibi’s, it was let go in the wilds. And Bob Boone sure sounds a whole lot better than Bab Boone!

A New Docking Area at ULBC Camp


This is a relatively new area at ULBC Camp as it was not there when I was a counselor in 1969 nor was it there when I used the camp as part of our Hoffman Estates Boys Club schedule.  That was back in 1978-80.  Does anyone know when this new pier went into the camp?  It obviously is home to canoes and paddleboats and perhaps a kayak or two?  It is located on the side of the lake just down the road from the dining hall.

I like the concept of  a second pier as it holds additional boats over that of the rowboats and motor boat.  If you look closely you can observe the algae mess creeping up on even this location just off the pier.  Paddleboats are a nice addition to the ULBC fleet.   Are sailboats also an option at camp now?

Does the camp still have the dingy type of rowboats there?  I always liked those boats as they could really move!

Hiking Around League Lake


I remember often hiking around League Lake especially in the morning before breakfast with whatever cottage group I had.  Starting out on the side of the lagoon, I recall the trail being much wider than on any other portion of the lake, much as you see here.  On the far side of the lake, there was a marshy area where the bottom of your shoes were geing to get slightly damp,

Then as you progressed back toward camp, there were two trails to choose from and both were narrow ones.  One followed the lake close in to shore while the other was higher up on the upper slope of the hill.  Just befor arriving back at camp you had to cross a small creek and then you were back atcamp quite near the swimming area.  My particular favorite part of the hike was on the side of the lake where you had two trails to choose from.  In all, the hike was about a mile in length and was good exercise for the boys and gave them a great appetite for breakfast.

Sunday Morning at ULBC Camp


After being awakend every morning by patriotic music from the camp louspeaker, I recall Sunday mornings being smewhat different. After breakfast at the dining hall meant a break in the activities with moning chapel services. The facility was located in the valley near th nature center Most evenings it was in use during the regular week for either puppet or magic shows along with the occasional sing-a-longs, but Sunday was different.

Campers and staff could look forward to a light Christian message with plenty o camp music eitther sung or played. I don’t remeber which counselor it was, but some played the guitar with the singing. Other counselors, given more to having a good voice, led the worship singers and the boys were never shy to use their voices to sing out.

After the service was completed, it gave a luster to the rest of that day. That is why Sunday was also special to me at ULBC and why the chapel was a special place to be. Any other thoughts about chapel?

Tent City Activities at ULBC Camp


My fellow tent counselor, Gordie Payne, used to teach fire building at ULBC Camp out at Tent City. He spent long and grueling hours perfecting his craft prior to coming to camp and he once told me that the best two stciks to rub together to get the perfect fire were two matches. He was highly skilled at this art.

I, on the other hand, taught the hatchet and how the boys should utilize this tool to get wood for Gordie’s firebuilding class. Bob Reiser’s area of expertise was compass reading. Once we had a counselors kids at Tent City we had two days with them while their counselor was off duty and we spent the majority of the time with them on hikes around League Lake or at Bong Air Force Base (then closed). Scavenger Hunts were also popular with the boys.

But the activity the boys enjoyed most was eating the results of their cooking when we cooked out at the firepit. After Goride labored long and hard with his “two sticks” and had a good fire, hamburgers and potaoes were placed in foil and inserted into the fire. Somehow food always tastes best when you cook it yourself. And, Tent City was a labor of love that summer for Gordie, Bob, and myself.

The Great Counselor vs Kids ULBC Camp Softball Game


It was time for that great old tradition, the softball game between the counselors and the kids.  Our own pride of the Canadian army, Gordie Payne, was greeted prior to the start of the game by the Canadian National Anthem.  Undaunted he strode to the plate and hit a prestigious deep drive- About ten feet behind home plate for the first out of the game.    He later contributed two singles to the cause thus keeping his honor intact.  I myself hit a long drive that even now has yet to hit he ground. 

The game was called after seven innings due to the ten run rule as the counselors surged past the kids by a score of 22-4.  The Tent Counselors put on quite a show in this game as Gordie and Bob caught several difficult catches during the game.  I made an error when I dropped a fly ball but my hitting made up for my defensive lapses.  Gordie caught two rather difficult flies and later kept them in a bottle back at the tents.  He even conducted a ceremony for his sacrifice flies. 

Gordie was one of the best players overall in te game and was very gracious to the boys following the game handing out autographs to them.  He only charged them a quarter for his signature.  Bob and I stood in awe at his accomplishments during and after the game as we had a true hero back at the tents.  Yes, Gordie, you were most worhy of that national anthem in your name.

Does Swamp Man Still Surface at ULBC Camp?


“Out of the depths when the full moon is bright, Comes the creature known as Swamp Man!”

As darkness covers Union League Camp, all the campers are seated on the natural hillside overlooking the lagoon.  A special Indian ceremony is being performed as two canoes glide up the lagoon quite peaceably.  All of a sudden the calm waters turn into a frenzy and Swamp Man, covered with seaweed, emerges from the depths tipping over each canoe.  Indian’s swim for their life as the kids make a mass exodus to their cabins.  No one has to tell them about bedtime tonight!

All that was part of the ritual of Swamp Man in the summer of 1970 at the camp.  Swamp Man made his grisly appearance at least four times that summer.  I’m at a loss as to why those same Indian’s made that journey up that swamp each time? 

Yet during that summer, very few kids ventured out into those woods at night as visions of Swamp Man danced through their heads.  Even Tent Counselor Gordie was apprehensive about that beast.  I wonder if Swamp Man is still around yet today?

How The ULBC Bus Saved The Day


I once worked for the Hoffman Estates Boys Club in Illinois that almost relied solely on their tackle football program over all else at that particular facility. I had made contact with the Executive Director of the Union League Boys Club of Chicago who had then put me in touch with his Camping Director, Al Mackin. We hit it off right from the start and he arranged to have his big white bus pick us up the following Friday evening to take our kids to the same camp I once worked at many years before.

It was starting to get dark that Friday evening and football practice was about to break up. Just then around the corner about a block away appeared the big white bus which immediately caught the eye of all the football teams in practice. Up until that time the footbal kids thought theirs was the only real program at that boys club but they were about to find out otherwise.

As the bus pulled up to the boys club and the regular club kids began boarding it the football players began mulling around that area asking what was going on. I explained that we were heading for the Wisconsin camp for a weekned outing. Immediately they seemed impressed with that kind of program to which I responded saying that there was now a lot more to do than just football and the next month several football kids had also signed up for a camp weekend.

Yes, Al Mackin and his big white bus had seemed to revive my club program in far more ways than one. Sadly, Al passed away a few years ago and I miss him as my friend as we had kept in touch with each other since the days each of us left our respective clubs.

The ULBC Dining Hall


The Union League Boys Club Camp had a wonderful dining hall with all the atmosphere of a great camp. It was the finest of any I’ve seen. This camp had memories for me not only as a counselor but also many years later as an Executive Director of a club in Illinois. By the way, their breakfasts were fantastic and their apple raisin pie superb.

I had went to a boys club regional meeting and happened across JA Markle, then the Executive Director of the Union Leauge Boys Club. I sought him out and inquired as to the possiblity of using that camp for our local club and he not only remembered me from years before as a counselor at that camp but agreed to let us use the camp.

I contacted Al Mackin the year round camp director and immediately our local club was allowed to use the camp on a monthly basis in the off season and also to send our kids to that summer camp. Our monthly off season trips were great and the kids really enjoyed the woods, lake, and other acitivities afforded them during their stay there. One time in particular some of our kids opted to sleep out in the snow by a warm campfire.

We played hound and the hare many times where the kids would chase both Al and me after a headstart of about five minutes. Thus, this camp was utilized by me both as a counselor and many years later as an asset to my local club.

Woodcraft Rangers at The Hoffman Estates Boys Club


ULBC Camp Director, Al Mackin, introduced the boys of the Hoffman Estates Boys Club to the Woodcraft Rangers program during his tenure at the camp. The Union League clubs already had a part in that program. At the camp it included Indian dances, artwork, camping skills, and other things. The campfires I enjoyed the most as did our kids.

Al even spoke at one of our Award Nights in Hoffman Estates about the Woodcraft Rangers. And he helped us to establish a program at our club there.  Yet instead of having a campfire at camp, he provided us with an electric campfire for our ceremonies in our darkened gymnasium.  Then we usually retired to our arts and crafts area for projects including leather work.

The evening concluded with refreshments.  The boys learned camping skills at their monthly off-season visits to the camp in Salem, Wisconsin.  Woodcraft Rangers became an active program at our local club and most of the boys that visited the camp were involved in the program.  It became quite popular.  We even had some overnights at the club promoting the Woodcraft Rangers.  It was a great learning experience for our kids.

How About Some Union League Camp Air-Condtioning?


I understand that camp started this year on a rather hot note so maybe, just maybe, one day of air-conditioning might add to your pleasure? Yes, on hot days League Lake and the pool might provide you with a measure of refreshment, but what about your cottages? Or the mess hall?

My Hoffman Estates Boys Club kids got to experience the real cool stuff during winter time often. Then sledding took the place of swimming. Some of our boys even camped out all night near the lagoon by snow packing their sleeping bags aside a warm fire.

Al Mackin, on that trip, provided our boys with a seven-course meal that was outstanding.  One of our boys stayed with Al to prepare that meal while the rest of us hiked the forest around the lake and visited Tent City where I once worked as a counselor for the summer camp.

That same summer of that trip our boys got to attend summer camp with Union League Club boys and they hot a great time albeit without air-conditioning such as you find in our photograph.  But for one day this might feel real good after all those early camp days in the 90’s.

Tent City at ULBC Camp


Tent City was about a quarter of a mile behind the ULBC Dining Hall. My fellow tent counselors were Gordie Payne, who has remained a lifelong friend, and Bob Reiser. The advantage of being a tent counselor was that the three of us had the other counselors’ cabins when they were off duty for two days. In that way, if we got stuck with a bad kid he was only ours for two days.

On those two days, the cabin kids left their facility for the tents which were four wall tents attached to a cement foundation. There the boys learned the proper use of a hatchet, how to build fires, how to cook their own food, and the proper use of a compass.

Campfires were always popular in the evenings as we told ghost stories or sang songs while roasting the ever popular marshmallows.

We also took various hikes like to the former Bong Air Force Base or just around League Lake. Scavenger Hunts were also a part of our routine for those two days. My particular group of boys took a one mile hike around League Lake prior to every breakfast that summer. It was a good way to start the day.

Tent City will also hold a special place in my heart. I understand that this area is no longer being used by the camp in the way it was when the three of us were at ULBC.

The ULBC Cabins


I didn’t have much to do with the ULBC cabins, being a Tent Counselor and all, but at times during bad weather we were forced into cabin living. These cabins were about as far away from League Lake as you could get. You had to cross the parade grounds, down a valley, and then down the stairs to League Lake.

On the bright side, these cabins were close to the dining hall. I remember two counselors in particular at the cabins you see here and one was Paul Safransky while the other was Gary Hubbard. Hubbard was a magician and during shows at the chapel he would often preform and use some jokes against my puppet shows. I was a puppetier in those days. Of course I had a magician puppet called Mysto the Mystic and he used his own sense of humor against Hubbard’s magic shows.

I even recall one of the nicer kids in Safransky’s bunch by the name of Mike Kokines. His older brother Greg was a CIC (Counselor in Training). More on the ULBC Cabins in a future post.

The Hike to Bong From ULBC Camp


Our Tent City boys from Union League Camp began a long five-mile hike to Bong, a former air force base that never really opened with great anticipation of finding old shell casings. Our resident military expert, Gordie, was extremely excited about this hike. Bob Reiser, though, had shared with us the science fiction tale of this place.

Bong was extremely high with paranormal activity, as is most areas where you find underground tunnel systems and ancient mound works. Spectral lights were supposedly witnessed in the woods northeast of the dog trail area. Many have witnessed UFO sightings in this area.

The most dangerous section is the fully intact but sealed underground tunnels.  Sealed is right as we never located even one.  Bob had heard many stories of paranormal activity here such as manifestations of spirits, strange mists, unidentifiable noises and strange lights. But we found nothing of this sort of thing although our hike was during daytime hours.

It was our first and last hike to Bon that summer. The only “spirits” we felt at Bong were the kids broken one’s at finding absolutely nothing at this locale.

The ULBC Camp Waterfront


Ah, it’s just about a month before Union League Camp will be chock full of boys and girls enjoying League Lake for swimming, boating, and fishing again. Some will be swimming in the pool and maybe even learning to swim. Rowboats will he heading out into the lake and lagoon while paddleboats will skirt the shoreline. Maybe even a water skier will try their luck or a tuber being led by the camp speedboat.

Then there are also kayaks and canoes to have fun with as the kids learn how to use them constructively. When I was a counselor at camp we only had rowboats and dinghy’s which is about half a rowboat.

Then again as a tent counselor my kids were more apt to be found hiking around the lake than in it. There were many forest trails to find around the lake and scavenger hunts to be had. After all the more trails I hiked with the kids the better I was able to find good hiding places during Hound and the Hare.

Have a great summer campers and staff!

ULBC From The Other Side of League Lake


During my summer at ULBC Camp, this scene was the halfway point around the lake.  It was a view I saw every day as whatever group I had went on a hike around the lake before breakfast.  This particular location was always damp under our feet and our tennis shoes soles got a good cleaning. 

I think that of the two forested sides of the lake, I preferred the side to the right as the trail separated into a high and low trail.  However, I always began the hike on the forested side to the left.  Taking that daily hike helped out a great deal for our times of playing Hound and The Hare with the kids as I always searched for great hiding places on those hikes. 

Not a bad view of te waterfront, eh?

Tent Platforms of ULBC


The sort of circle shaded in red was the approximate location of the tent area at ULBC where Gordie, Bob Reiser, and I were situated along with four large tents bound on cement blocks. We also had a firepit and picnic table nearby. Our task was to introduce each cabin to wilderness camping skills by way of hatchet skills, firebuilding, cooking, and compass reading. Our area of operation included not only the tents but the forest surrounding League Lake.

Each cabin would come to us on that counselors days off. Thus each cabin stayed about two full days on a rotating schedule. As I recall there were two full cabins on site at all times. Each tent would house about 20 boys and then of the four tents one was reserved for the tent counselors.

We once hiked to nearby Bong Air Force Base, now deserted, and the kids searched for old bullet casings and the like. It was said that there were still underground entrances to the base but I never believed that. Why would they have allowed access to that type of secure facility?

One advantage of the tent counselors was that if you got stuck with a bad group of boys we only had them for two nights. In fact, unlike the regular cabin counselors we were able to have every cabin in the camp on a rotating basis which was good as variety was always welcome. Plus we were out of the way of the basic camp structure. We set our own schedule, with the exception of meal times, and programs. That freedom was given to us by the camp director.

Little did I realize that later in my life I would return to this camp with my new boys club for many more camping excursions some twelve years later.

A Morning Constitutional


This is the extent of League Lake of the Union League Boys and Girls Club Camp in Salem, Wisconsin, and it is about a one mile hike around this lake. This is the course that I took my campers each and every morning before breakfast weather permitting of course. Flanked on both sides of the lake by forest and the far side by a marsh, my boys worked up a good appetite for breakfast each day on this hike.

About ten years later the boys of the Hoffman Estates Boys Club would also take this jaunt with me but not before breakfast. They would take it as just one of their activities over the course of a long weekend at the camp during the fall and spring seasons.

It was ever so interesting to return to this camp that I had earlier served as a tent counselor. I always found the Union League forest fascinating and on the left side of the lake there were two separate trails, one high and one low.

I was very grateful to J A Markle and Al Mackin for allowing my club kids to have the same experiences in camping that the Union League Boys Club of Chicago enjoyed at this their personal camp. My kids were also part of Mackin’s Woodcraft Ranger program which we took back to our club at Hoffman Estates to practice and explore.