Parents Day Sermon Archives

Written by Andy Monfre, Camp Horseshoe • Summer 2007

Good Evening, my name is Andy Monfre.  This is my second summer here at The Shoe.  Unlike most of the other counselors that have spoken here before, I didn’t grow up at a summer camp; some may argue I still haven’t.  Last year was my first year ever at a summer camp, and I think that gives me a unique perspective at which to explore just what it is camp does for kids. Jacqueline Kennedy once said, “To truly know how good it feels to be a Democrat, you must first have to have been a Republican.”  I think the same can be said for summer camp.  To truly know how great the camp experience is, you must first have had to go 21 years without it.  What is it about these two months of summer that make me enjoy every minute of it? What is camp?

As I pondered this question during my Property Law class, the answer was literally thrown at me.  It was my first day of law school and the professor was asking anyone in the class to define “Property.”  All the “smart kids” shot their hands up to guess, but of course no one got it right.  The professor explained that property is not things, objects, possessions, or money, but rather a “relationship among people as to things.”

I think the same thing can be said about camp; it cannot be defined as a place, a building, cabins, or a piece of land.  Camp is about people and the friendships that develop over the years, and as I’ve shown, in as short as just one year.  Have you ever returned to a place that had meant a lot to you in the past, but it simply wasn’t the same, sometimes even a little eerie?  It’s because it isn’t the physical place that sends the positive pulses of memories through you, it’s the people you shared those memories with.

This is why it is almost irrelevant where Camp Horseshoe is.  Jordan always says, “give a few good camp guys a parking lot and a tennis ball, and games and fun will surely follow.”  Yes, we have great facilities, but I doubt the first thing out of your son’s mouth was “you should have seen the reinforced, adjustable basketball hoops!”  Camp Horseshoe isn’t in Minong, Wisconsin anymore, and as Jordan may be surprised to find out, it’s not in Rhinelander, Wisconsin either.  Horseshoe is sitting in front of me, behind me, and all over the country and the world.

I have to be honest; before I came to camp last year, I had no idea what a camp counselor did or how challenging the job can be.  Before coming to camp I had ten theories on how to take care of kids; now I have 10 kids and no theories.  The only way I can explain what I’ve learned is to share with you a poem I adapted from a poem by one of my favorite poets.

I was sitting around chatting with some law school buddies this past spring.  We were discussing our upcoming summer and what employment opportunities we had found.  When I mentioned I would be returning to a summer camp to work as a counselor, I heard one of the guys laugh under his breath.  I asked what was so funny about it.  He asked, “Be honest, what do you make doing that?”  I took a deep breath and gave him an answer he probably wasn’t expecting. “What do I make?” I replied…

I make eight weeks feel like eight minutes

I make 200 new friends every summer

I make sure homesick kids will be camp-sick when they get home

I make kids walk with pride, and value who they are

I make sure kids hear about it, when they do something great

I make kids shoot a thousand shots so that when they take the one that counts…it goes in

I make kids ask the boy sitting on the side watching by himself to join the game, so they see the value of reaching out and including everybody

I make kids make their beds every morning and sometimes mine so they learn the importance of responsibility

I make kids wait in line for candy so they understand the frustration and value of patience

I make kids sit out of a game for bad sportsmanship so they learn that type of behavior isn’t accepted in a competitive environment

I make kids sit quietly during high council so they begin to understand what respect really means

I make kids who just got in a fight shake hands, so they realize that burned bridges don’t rebuild themselves

I make it to breakfast by 9 am even though I was out till 3 the night before

I make the sloppy joe look more appetizing by giving it an extra stir before I pass it around the table.

I make the canoe go straight, even though the kid in the front keeps his paddle on the right…the whole trip.

I make kids write home often, so I don’t get yelled at during visiting weekend

I make more memories in one summer than most do in a lifetime

I make sure kids make fun of life, and not of each other

It’s easy to make a buck, but it takes passion to make a difference

And that’s what I make.  What do you make?”

I laugh now as I picture my buddy trying to fix a paper jam at a low-budget law firm.

As I finish up my last full summer at The Shoe, I try and remember that the path of life has many crossroads, and at each one it’s difficult to say goodbye and go our own separate ways, choosing the direction that is right for each of us. But the memory of being together will always remain, and there is always the chance that our paths will cross again.

Letter from Jordan

Greetings Horseshoe Spirit & families,

The summer of 2013, “Gi Bi Dahn”, is officially closed.  We literally “crushed it” in terms of having another fantastic summer.  This is due to the caring, kind staff and their efforts as well as the terrific group of campers, their “spirit” and all the support of our fine camp families.  Thank you once again for making the summer so special on our tenth anniversary of the re-opening of Camp Horseshoe, Quenotah! Fran and I have been privileged to be able to spend our summers with your boys for all these years.

Roddy has been sending pictures of camp in full fall colors, our fields re-seeded and our new outdoor hand washing station, and of all the other projects that have been completed.  Everything has been put away for camp to have its “winter sleep” and awaiting the return of all of us for the summer of 2014!!!  We will all have to wait for the Bi Da Ban ceremony to find out the theme of the summer of 2014!

This also has me thinking of a few of the great memories we created last summer:

  • Friends from 18 states and campers and staff from 6 different countries
  • Na Ta Ne- Golden Horseshoe
  • 44 returning staff members
  • Big Brothers-Pizza Party, bean cake
  • Cabin 14 Boundary Waters/sailing trips
  • Mackinaw, Madeline, Guide Sports tour, Sea Kayaking trips, Namekagon, Flambeau, Bagley, Nebish and Day lakes, Teepee
  • 4th of July Ranger softball victory and Woodchuck game and fireworks
  • Casino nights, socials, Pro’s v. Joes, jamboree, Message to Garcia
  • Willy Wonka counselor hunt, Hodag Lanes,  T-Hunts
  • Shoe Madness, Missouri Tigers!
  • Blue-Green- fireworks at flag
  • Wrestling Night
  • Under the lights-Pioneer/Woodsman World Series, Ranger football
  • League Champions
  • Council Horseshoes
  • Banquet night

We once again will have a fantastic return of campers as well as a great number of returning staff.  We will let you know in the next few newsletters of all the returning staff.  We know some of the veteran staff at times moves on, that is a part of camp life.  We wish Kevin all the best in his new opportunities. We are excited to have Alex Berman helping with year round responsibilities. We are also talking to a few old-timers about returning in a full-time capacity and will report as soon as we know for sure.

Berman’s Blurb

Two hundred fourteen days until camp starts!?  It may seem far away for most, but for me the camp season has already begun!  I’m hard at work putting together the Staff of 2014, and let me tell you that this is going to be one fantastic group.  Many of your favorite “Shoe” veterans are coming back trying to earn that spot as a Shoe Madness head coach, or writing that super secret All-Nighter!

As we approach New Years, I can’t help but remember all of the great memories from the summer of 2013.  Who can forget the Green-Blue football “A” game under the lights?  Who can forget the Mizzou Tigers dominating Tug-of-War on their way to winning the Shoe Madness plaque?  Who can forget the Rangers upsetting the counselors for the big 4th of July victory? I know Nate Scheck won’t forget that!  Who can forget the JERRY chants (Ya!), the socials (Ya!), casino nights (Ya!), water wars (Ya!), the camping trips (Ya!), and all of the beautiful days spent on Doc H field, Big H Court, or out on Lake Snowden (Ya!).

But most importantly, who can forget all of the friendships that they’ve created at camp?  It’s special knowing that you have friends from all over the country.  I know that I enjoy being able to have a place to stay when I want to go visit friends in Wisconsin, Michigan, California, even London, Spain, New Zealand, and Australia!  As 2013 comes to a close, I can’t wait for all of the new friends and memories that 2014 are sure to bring.  214 days and counting!!!

What’s Happening with the Men of The Shoe!

Jacob L. has been very busy playing travel soccer for Chicago Fire Juniors City. He also is playing basketball for his school. He will be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem in February.

Coby F. became a bar mitzvah on Oct. 12th.

Charlie G. is playing basketball for the Deerfield Junior Warriors and the Rising Stars. He is going to Israel on an 8th grade trip in February.

Max G. is playing basketball for the Rising Stars. He also is playing in the Hi-Five Flag Football league and his team is currently undefeated with only one more week until the playoffs begin. He’s hoping his team will continue on and play in the Super Bowl!

Daniel A. celebrated his bar mitzvah on November 7, 2013 in Montreal Canada where most of his family lives. He will be heading to Israel for a 2 week trip with his family over the holidays and will celebrate another bar mitzvah there as well!

Matthew F. moved from Atlanta to Highland Park and is attending Kipling. He has become an avid lacrosse player, and loves to see all of his Horseshoe friends around town and can’t wait for summer.

Brit R. is a busy 3rd grader at Anshe Emet in Chicago. He plays on 2 travel sports teams: a U9 soccer team for the Chicago Fire Jrs City club and he is on a Squirts hockey team for The Jets at Johnny’s Ice House. He also takes guitar and his favorite subjects in school are math and recess. He is very excited to start his first summer away at Horseshoe!  He can’t wait to make some new camp friends!

Ben E. tackle football team, North Shore Youth Football Griffins, won their division with a 7-2 record. Ben was the starting quarterback and cornerback.

Spencer C. will become a Bar Mitzvah January 25th, he has just finished a great season of Football with the Young Warriors of Deerfield, will be trying out for volleyball at his Junior High, and practices boxing…

Josh B. became a Bar Mitzvah on September 7th. He is also playing on his 8th grade team basketball team at Edgewood in HP.

Max G. had his Bar Mitzvah on August 24th 2013. He did great. Max has found that bar mitzvahs are a great place for him to reunite with many of his camp friends.

Grant S. had his Bar Mitzvah in August and he is playing for the Falcons Hockey Bantam Silver team.

Jonah S. & Ryan B. Squirt A travel hockey team the USA Patriots were the champions at The Cold Fusion Ice Hockey Tournament in Grand Rapids MI featuring teams from the greater Detroit and Chicago area. Jonah was voted Championship team MVP by the officiating staff. Their team is also playing in Joe Louis Arena just prior to the Red Wings vs. Capitols game.

This fall, Richie S. and Zak O. club soccer team, Chicago Fire Juniors North, won their division.  The team played in the second highest U-14 division in northern Illinois (of 12 divisions). Richie is the team’s goalie and Zak is a starter on defense.

A Blast from the Past

I would like to re-kindle an old tradition of adding some of Doc Hirschberg’s poems that we hear throughout the summer in each newsletter.

When you get to know a fellow


“When you get to know a fellow,
Know his every mood and whim,
You begin to find the texture
of the splendid side of him.
You begin to understand him,
and you cease to scoff and sneer,
for with understanding, always
prejudices disappear.
You begin to find his virtues and his
faults you cease to tell,
For you seldom hate a fellow,
when you know him very well.”

Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959), first poem in A Heap O’ Livin’ (1916)

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
and be a friend to man.

Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911), conclusion to a poem published in Dreams of Homespun (1897);

Re-printed from December 1975 newsletter


In 1932 Camp Horseshoe was founded by “Doc’ Hirschberg. His love was working with boys, helping them to understand and live with nature, and thus helping them to become fine citizens of this world.  The philosophy of Camp Horseshoe has never changed, so indirectly and for some of you, directly, Doc has had a great influence on your lives.

It is with great sorrow that we must tell you that our beloved friend passed away on December 14th. Yet another leaf has fallen from our Horseshoe Tree of Life, but our memories are many and cherished. These words of his, I believe, summarize his feelings for all;

“These are the things I prize
And hold of dearest worth:
Light of sapphire skies,
Peace of the silent hills,
Shelter of forests, comfort of the grass,
Music of birds, murmur of little rills,
Shadows of cloud that swiftly pass,
And, after showers,
The smell of flowers
And of the good brown earth,
And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.”

Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933), excerpt from “God of the Open Air,” published in Songs out of Doors (1904).

Doc H, will always be with as thru his words at Council Horseshoe


Relive the Summer of 2012 on Facebook

Instead of reciting articles about how wonderful of an experience camp truly is, instead of writing to all of you about my upcoming wedding, and instead of talking about all the new things we have planned for 2013, we’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the summer of 2012. We have started posting pictures once a week from the summer of 2012.


Quite simple… We had an incredible summer!

That does not mean we won’t keep you up to date with the latest in camping news around the country, or even give you some insight in to the year 2013 at a later date, but for now, let us take a walk down memory lane…
No, I am not talking about my upcoming wedding and bride to be, I am talking about the summer of 2012 still!
Start from the very beginning, WEEK 1. Just last week we posted 10 pictures from the first week of camp. This week multiple photos from week 2 and the incredible trips our boys go on.

Please join us on facebook to relive this past summer.  Not only will there be photos uploaded weekly, but videos to come shortly as well.

We hope you take a ride in this time machine with us and enjoy as much as we will. HANG ON!!!