60 Years at Trout Lake Camp

Last week Trout Lake Camps celebrated their 60th anniversary with a “Buddy Check” reunion and the launch of the Project 365 fund raising campaign. Monkey Outta Nowhere did some writing and editing work on the “Buddy Check” brochure last year and we worked extensively with Taylor Design Works on the 32-page Project 365 booklet, which included detailed history and personal stories.

Writing someone else’s history can be kind of maddening at times (like when a separate publication does a similar story that renders details a bit differently from how you had them, forcing you to re-check everything), but I really love digging into history (in case you couldn’t tell), especially when it’s personal and detailed. I love seeing the connections of time and place and having it all come to life. Even something obscure as a camp in Central Minnesota I’ve never attended.

3 thoughts on “60 Years at Trout Lake Camp”

  1. Holy crap, Kevin! You’ve gone and done it again! You’ve touched me in a deeply moving, spiritual way. And you probably didn’t even realize it. You see … I worked at Trout Lake Camp for three summers in the 1990s, starting when I was 15 years old. Quite a few of those names under the 1990s that were RSVPed for the “Buddy Check” gathering were familiar ones to me. It was great to read some of their memories from Trout. What an impact those times and those relationships had on my life — and hopefully I didn’t screw up too many other people’s lives along the way ;-)

    My memories from Trout Lake Camp would be: Performing as The Undie Guys with Dan Hatfield, eating Zorbaz pizza, seeing Peter Graves at the country store in Cross Lake, tagging along with Sheldon Sweeney for a late night smoke/drive, singing Pharaoh Pharaoh with the camp “kids”, climbing the bell tower, skinnydipping for the first time, making out with girls (by the fire in the staff lounge, on the ski hill, on the beach, etc.), scraping “scrut”, washing dishes, unloading trucks, hanging with the Evans brothers, playing Chubby Bunny, mopping the dining hall every Sunday, sitting out under the stars, dreaming about what I’m going to do someday …

  2. My family and I have a long history at Trout Lake as well. I was never a counselor there as I moved to Wisconsin when I was 12 and got involved in other stuff, but I had summer camp there as a kid in elementary school quite a lot.

    I remember the scams the staffers used to pull on us to try to scare us. Every year it’d be something different. One year they told us stories of the “Needle-nose Nitrogen Fish” that could sting you with its nose and put that part of your body to sleep, as though with Novocain. If the fish was big enough, your entire body would go limp and you’d drown. I was totally convinced. They staged fake attacks during swim time and everything. I remember the other kids screaming and running for the beach, trying to get out of the water before they were stung. I got home and asked a professional game warden if he’d ever heard of such a fish. He told me he was pretty sure I’d been had. I didn’t believe him right away, but I eventually came around. It wasn’t funny then, but it is now.

    A year or two later they tried to pull some kind of “hot dog man” thing on us, wherein someone had magically been transformed into a hot dog and was out for blood because he was angry about his transformation. Or something. I’m so glad I didn’t fall for that one.

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