Year Round Lodge

The building in the background was used by my Hoffman Estates Boys Club monthly during the off season and ULBC Camp Director, Al Mackin, was always on hand to provide the boys with great fun.  At times some of the Union League Club kids also were up the same weekend providing a joint camping experience.

I remember on one trip I met an older Greg Kokines.  I had his younger brother, Mike, at Tent City when  was a counselor at the camp in the 1960’s.  Our kids made great use of the forest around now Fox Lake playing Hound and the Hare with both Al and myself as the hares.  Once when it snowed several boys camped out in the snow for a night and had a great experience doing that.  I chose to stay in the heated lodge.

I wonder if this lodge is still used by present campers today in the off season?  Is the present camp director hired year round?  Let us know by way of a comment.

Al Mackin

Al Mackin was the camp director for the Union League Boys Club camp in Salem Wisconsin. He coordinated the work with the three Union League clubs in Chicago. Al was also good enough to include the Hoffman Estates Boys Club in year round planning for the camp. Al and I hit it off right away and our Club made off-season trips to the camp every month. Al was even the guest speaker at an awards night event. He was incredibly talented in camping skills. Once on a winter trip to the camp he prepared a 7-course meal for us. The boys really appreciated that night. Sadly Al passed away in 1990.

sink the counselor

these kind of contests are fun. This was done at the Union League Boys Club camp and in the distance you can see the pool. I wonder who won this contest? When I was a counselor there we had those kind of contests along with hound and the Hare. In that game the kids had to catch the counselors in the forest. Games like this really make Camp fun. What other events are taking place at this camp?

Tent City Memories

this was Tent City at the Union League Boys Club camp in Salem Wisconsin. At Tent City we were about a quarter of a mile from camp. There were 4 large wall tents on cement foundations at that location. We have the counselors kids on their days off. I was a counselor at Tent City along with Bob Reiser and Gordie Payne, the pride of the Canadian Army. Gordy’s favorite song was tanks for the Memories. He is known as having one incredible sense of humor, the incredible being that he had no sense of humor. We taught the kids camping skills like how to cook a meal over a fire, how to use a hatchet, how to use a compass, and how to build fires. We took the boys on a hike the bong Air Force Base about 5 miles from camp. We had a great time there that summer and even in door and even endured a small tornado. One good thing about tent city was if you got a bad kid you only had them for 2 days but the same applied to good kids. I will never forget that camp as it was the beginning of my career in boys clubs of America.

Al Mackin Pow Wow

How? The answer is that Al would tell you how. Al Mackin was the camp director of the Union League Boys Club summer camp in Salem, Wisconsin. I believe the pretty”squaw” next to him is his wife. I met Al through the executive director of the Union League Boys Club J.A. Markle. I asked Mr. Markle at a boy’s Club conference in Chicago if our club could use his camp periodically. He led me to a meeting with M He led me to a meeting with mr. Mackin. And the rest is history. Al and I Became good friends at my club in Hoffman Estates was allowed to use the camp in the off-season monthly plus summer camp. Are two clubs had a great Association with each other. More to say in a future post.

ULBC Night Swim

 there is nothing better on a Hot August Night than to take a night swim in the ULBC pool. The pool is only 4 feet deep. It is great for swimming classes and fun time activities. Or just a lounge in the pool in the evening. The pool is my favorite place to be at camp next to tent city. I never swam in League Lake as I preferred the pool. I did use the lake for rowing. This was a great camp.

Contrast in Camps: ULBC / Mishawaka

strong> during my college Years I worked at two resident summer camps. Union League Boys Club camp charged $100 for 8 weeks. Camp Mishawaka charged $9,000 for the same time period. Camp Mishawaka had Lake Pokegama in Minnesota while Union League had Fox Lake in Wisconsin. Of the two Mishawaka had the better lake. The waterfronts were about equal. Union League had far better food and a better dining hall. That seems strange to me due to hoe much more Camp Mishawaka cost. The cottages of the two camps were about equal. The daily activities are also about equal. Sunday worship services were better at Mishawaka as they had a Vesper area overlooking Lake Pokegama whereas Union League had a church building. The counseling staff was about equal. Union League had the far better camping skills program. My final conclusion is that Union Lake Camp edged out camp Mishawaka overall. You got more for your buck at Union League. Camp Mishawaka is overpriced.

Algae Free Lagoon?

Obviously, things have changed at the ULBC Camp!  When what to my wondering eyes should appear, ut a crystal clear lagoon completely algae free!  I can’t ever remember a time that has been true except after an extremely hard rain!  Swamp Man may now have a hard time maintaining his slimey reputation.

And, if the lagoon is algae free, what about League/Foxe Lake?  After decades of a grass beach, 2011 saw a sand beach added to the waterfront.  I wonder if pedicures are being offered before going into the pool?  League Lake also needed a sandier bottom in the shallow depths and I might have to speculate about if that has been done?

What other changes have been occurring at camp over the past five years?  Let u know by way of a comment.

A Pool by a Lake

why would anyone build a pool right next to a lake? A person can actually Jump by the pool into the lake. The lake in question is Fox Lake owned by the Union League Boys Club of Chicago Illinois. The camp is located in Salem Wisconsin. Having worked at this camp in 1970, I know the reason. As soon as you step into Fox Lake you have a murky bottom. The lake has more than its fair share of algae. The pool, on the other hand, is chlorinated water and it’s great to swim in it. Granted, it’s only four feet deep but it’s great for teaching children how to swim. Of the two, I preferred the pool for swimming and the lake for boating. What do some former camper say?

No Polar Bear Swims Here


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.