Summer Camp BirdStaff Coming to Camp 2018

You will need to bring these 5 things


*Health Record (Print & Complete by Doctor, bring to camp- skip page 5)

*Counselor Conduct Policy (Print & Complete, bring to camp )

*Packing List (Print and Pack), Remember fun things - games, songs, posters

*Staff Survey (Print and bring to camp for discussion)

*Staff Online Training (Print and bring to camp)




Hey Gang

It's camp time!! We know for many of you it's time for Finals...But believe us when we say IT'S CAMP TIME! We are looking forward to an excellent summer. It is exciting to see returning faces and new ones too. Now that you have decided to become part of the Swift family you will want to read ALL the information and print it for reference throughout the camping season. If you should have more questions after reading this, please call or e us. Note: we will be moving to the Northwoods the week of May 9th, so send information or call us there. 715-466-5666

So, please make time to get ready for camp. (a few hours) Here we go so take a deep...

Please Note:

All Employment is based on a clean background and drug test. Should any staff member not successfully complete these tests they will be notified that their employment contract is no longer valid. Please also understand that we evaluate staff during training and if we feel during this time you do not meet our high child centered standards you will be asked to leave.



Dates of Camp:

By now, you should know Staff Orientation begins June 2ndat 9:00am and employment ends August 13th at 3:00pm. Please e us your travel plans, so we know where you will be catching up with us. Prior to the below schedule there are many things that need to get done, so if you're willing to get your hands dirty and want to make an extra $20 per day plus FREE meals, please come up to camp as soon as you want after May 7th. If you are running a special program and would like to stop to get a feel for your special area, please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


This is what the schedule looks like

May 29 -Open House,Willowbrook Wildlife Center (optional)

May 30 -Arrive in Oak Brook, spend night (let us know your plan)

May 31 -Drive to camp as a group

MAY 31 -PM Staff training begins

June 1-16 -Lifeguard training and First aid & CPR,

June 1-16 Staff Training and work around camp

June 17 -Campers arrive, noon

Aug 12 - Staff to leave, 3pm



SNC Open House

On Memorial Day Monday May 28th we will be holding an Open House for new campers. We would love for you to attend. So if you live near by or are coming to town and can make it for this event, please let us know. Here are the details, meet us at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn from a little before 2pm till 4pm.



Additional Training with Kim:

On Wednesday June 7th we will have a guest speaker come to camp and spend a bit of time making sure we are all about creating the most positve experience for everyone at camp.



Safety Training

Want to be a Lifeguard? Class begins June 2nd at 9am and you make an additional $75 (no cost to you). If you need First Aid or CPR Training (required) classes start June 1st at 9 am.

NOTE: All certifications must be current. Please check your cards. If you need re-certification plan on attending The Red Cross life-guarding, CPR and First aid classes...most staff do participate. We also need 50% lifeguards on staff. So give it a try even if you are not that strong a swimmer.



Traveling to Swift Nature Camp

Camp MapSomehow, some way, you have got to get to CAMP. Many have transportation (be it bus, car, dog sled or bike) but I'm sure some folks need a ride! That should be no problem; just give us a call and I'll try to hook you up with someone in your area who has wheels. If arriving in Chicago by bus, train or plane let us know your itinerary so we can pick you up and you can ride with us in the camp van to camp. So here is our plan. We will meet in Oak Brook Wednesday June 1st or before and stay at our home. We hope to do some sight seeing that day. On Thursday June 2nd as a group with a camp van will start to head North to SNC . If you come without your own transport, you can ride with someone else or in the camp van.



Directions: From the town of Minong, continue west on Hwy. 77(a major street in town). At the intersection of Hwy I turn Right(this is approximately 1 mile). When Hwy I makes a hard left turn,(approx. 3.3 miles) while in the left turn make a right and a quick left on to Smith Bridge Road. Continue north on Smith Bridge for approx. 2.7 mile, watch to your left for East Flowage Rd.(this turns into Ernie Swift Rd.). Camp is on the left, down the road a piece just after a large knoll in the road. At every intersection signs are posted showing the direction. The address is W7471 Ernie Swift Road.



I Never get Sick or Hurt

Your Health History and Examination Form needs to be completed. You can do this with your dr or at a CVS or Walgreens that have nurses on staff. Please bring it with you to camp. Have your doctor report in full about all conditions that might require medications or about any conditions recently treated. At Camp we will conduct a drug screening exam(amphetamines, marijuana methamphetamines, cocaine, and morphine,) and a Tuberculosis test. Returning Staff do not need a new Health History if nothing has changed since last summer. Any medication required while at camp must be in its own container, clearly labeled with its pharmaceutical name, the prescribing Dr.'s. name and phone number, and details pertaining to the dosage amount and optimal time to administer. Our nurse is required by law to keep & dispense all medications and will not administer non-labeled pills or medications; please do not bring them to camp. Be sure to bring enough medication to last all ten weeks. All medications must be given to the nurse who will keep them locked at the health center and dispense them at the appropriate times. Please do not bring over the counter drugs with you. Should you need something the nurse has it, this is a safety issue, so campers don't take your pills. Please sign the medical/surgical release section on the Health History form. Give us full details if there are any physical restrictions not mentioned elsewhere. Call us if you have been exposed to any contagious disease (like chicken pox) just prior to arrival at camp. If glasses or contacts are needed for any activities, please note the current prescription or bring a second pair. Should you need to send additional medical information to camp attach a separate piece of paper to the Health History form.


We have arrangements with an orthodontist and dentist in Minong. However, we highly recommend that every counselor visit their own dentist for a check-up within a month prior to attending camp. NOBODY likes going to the dentist, especially someone you don't know, so let's try to prevent THAT little excursion.

While we are talking about health, remember that during exercise, sufficient intake of fluids is important, so a water bottle or a canteen is something you won't want to forget.



The Internet and SNC

We realize you have a right of free expression and online communication such as Facebook. It's a great way to stay in touch with friends. Yet, according to recent articles in the Wall Street Journal, many law firms, medical schools and graduate programs routinely check the Internet to see how a candidate represents themselves online. We did the same when interviewing you. Negative online reviews can result in rejection. Many undergraduate admissions departments are also considering similar policies.


As you know anything online is nearly impossible to totally delete it. Today, parents and campers may "search" for Staff online and the way you portray yourself online may enhance or detract your credibility with campers & parents. We have even had parent pull their children out of camp because of what they saw on the web.

We, at Swift Nature Camp, want a clean wholesome environment for our children. Therefore, it is imperative that if needed, you clean up your social networking sites. Check photos and the like. You should have no reference to smoking, drinking or sex on your sites or facebook. Please become a Facebook Fan of SNC. We will talk more at Staff Orientation. So for now just clean up your online presence, it's important for schools, jobs and camp...thanx



This is the Northwoods

Help us stay a rustic Northwoods camp. In a perfect world none of these would show up at camp; electric blankets, smart phones, tv's or game boys, laser pointers, Video & Digital cameras, dvd and cd players, computers, ipods or electronic pets... you get it.


Our goal is to make camp a place away from technology for our kids. So if you have to bring one of these, please understand it cannot be kept with you or in your cabin. They will be in our home and will be given out only during your time off and away from children. Remember, expensive electronics are best left at home. We have seen them stolen and destroyed by the elements. Digital cameras are only allowed with very limited use. Sadly, we have cell phone coverage at camp and your phone should work. However, the staff lounge is the only place you can use it on camp property. Should you need to have computer access, you can use our office computer with permission. In each cabin there is a CD player (NO digital players), so bring your favorite (age appropriate) CDs to share with your campers or burn some fun songs: Muppets, Veggie Tales, Disney and Weird Al are all good stuff. Show your campers things can be funny and not vulgar :) Campers are encouraged to bring their favorite cds to camp.


Name tag everything!! Stuff can get lost or broken, and we urge you to not bring valuables to camp such as jewelry, fancy watches, expensive sports or camera equipment. We can't be responsible and don't want sad faces. A small safe is available for your most valuable documents. Don't even think about electric fans, fireworks, guns, or axes. They just aren't fun. You can bring camping knives but they must be stored in the office, when not on a trip.



I've Got A Friend

We encourage counselors to bring their small caged pet (no cats or dogs, please). These animals are kept in the Nature Center for all the campers to observe. You will be responsible for the care and feeding of your pet while at camp. If you are bringing a pet, please let us know in advance.



We have a wonderful Cook

Help us to eliminate food brought to or kept in camp. Food, gum & pop in cabins attracts little critters (and some large ones), disrupts healthy appetites and can be a divisive factor if not shared among fellow cabin mates. Our camp store sells snacks as after dinner treats. Please do not bring food or keep it in your cabin. The Staff lounge is a special place where you can keep your goodies, away from the cabins and campers. We have a strict no gum policy at camp. SMOKING IS NEVER PERMITTED AND IS GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION! On Trips you will be responsible to help cook, so get some basic cooking experience so you are ready for cooking over an open fire.



Visitors are Welcome

We know many of you are leaving good friends, romances and family to come to camp for the better part of a summer. Many of these folks would love to come up to camp to say howdy...that's OK.


This open door policy could be misused so it's important you know what we expect. It's best they come when you have a day off (try to schedule that in advance). That way they aren't hanging around distracting your attention from the campers. We know you want to show them camp and what you do, which is fine. Let's just not have it last longer than a few hours. They can even stay at camp for one meal. Please let us know your friends' itinerary, and have them stop by the office so we can meet them.


If your friends are planning a visit, we suggest you make reservations in local motels now! They fill up fast.


Here's a list of area motels we recommend:


**Rice Lake Resort-Minong -(new)----(715)466-5858

Kimble Lake Resort-Minong------------(715)466-2413

**View Point-Minong ----------------(715)466-2447

Seaman's Resort-Minong--------------(715) 466-2858

Travelers Inn-Minong -----------------(715)466-2293

Up North Resort-Minong ---------------(715)466-4359

St. Croix Inn-Solon Springs ------------(715)378-4444

Sun Shine-Spooner --------------------(715)635-2619

American Heritage-Spooner------------(715)635-9770

Country House Hotel-Spooner ----------(715)635-8721

Northern Pines-Hayward --------------(715)634-4959

River Inn-Hayward -------------------(715)634-2631

*Stout Trout Inn-Springbrook----------(715)378-4444

Cedar Inn-Hayward--------------------(715)634-5332

*Lumberman's Inn-Hayward-----------(715)634-3012

**Briar Patch- Trego---------------- (715) 466-2794



Camp Changes Lives

Summer camp has changed many lives. Yet, one of the most notable is Michael Eisner the past CEO of Walt Disney. He claims in his book CAMP that "I can hardly think of an aspect of my life that wasn't positively affected by my camping experience...What a gift camp gives to kids" He believes that Camp prepares people for life and Camp Counselors are better prepared for a career than non-camp folks. You can find the book at your local library or online and below is the audio version. I hope you can download it and listen on your way to SNC...its nearly 3 hours. CAMP AUDIO 1.mp3


Molding Better People

At SNC we create a community of people being thier best.  We are excited because this summer SNC will be using the principals of the Leadership In Me program developed from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen Covey. We will work on helping you beter understand these principals. Then you will have the privalage to lead workshops on each of the 7 Habits. Please watch this short INTRODUCTION VIDEO. Want to be ready for an amzing Summer? Buy a used copy on Amazon and read it before camp starts and we will pay you a $35 Bonus, complete the WORK SHEET and get another $15. Your worksheet will not be graded and you will share only what you feel comfortable with, please bring it with you. The planning and effort you do now will only make it easier at camp.



Have A Plan

We challenge you to stand for something this summer! Impact children by knowing what you want them to walk away with. What do you stand for? Respect, Nature, Understanding, Empowerment? Think about this, so when I ask your campers what you stood for they know!



Where does the Soap Go

Please take our advice and bring old clothes and minimal clothing. You might want to bring one "going out" outfit for those special nights out of camp. We really do laundry once a week, and you get to teach your cabin how to do it! Doing laundry is a morning cabin activity, we provide everything needed, just bring your dirty clothes. Mark everything! If you wish to use name tags you can get them locally (Walmart). We've used rubber stamp pads with indelible ink. This works well on most clothes and is a real time-saver!



So what do I Bring to Camp

In each cabin there is one footlocker and one stand-up cubbie for each counselor. This is sufficient to store all the things that you may bring to camp. Additional goodies can be packed in a soft sided duffel. A packing list is enclosed. This is a camper packing list so only use it as a suggestion. You will be provided with one SNC logoed polo shirt. You may also want to bring fun stuff that you can share with your cabin, such as cd's, Frisbees, books, Guitar/instrument, games, posters, song/poem books, skit books, things that will make your cabin special! Rainy days are a challenge for all of us, you need to be creative and entertain your cabin to keep them busy, so bring anything you think might help you. HINT- some staff realize that they bring too much stuff! This is not your dorm room. You will be living with 10 children so do not bring the good stuff!



Reading to Your Kids

Each night you will be required to read a book to your cabin. We do not permit scary stories, but stories with a message are great. If you have an age appropriate book that was important in your childhood, please bring it to share with your cabin. Make sure these books have a purpose and have wholesome morals!



Dress Code

We hate to do this, but many of the items that we wear these days to the mall are not appropriate for camp. Camp clothes should be old and not a fashion statement. Camp is about you not your clothes. T shirts are wonderful camp clothes. S.N.C. expects Staff & Campers to wear underwear and have no exposed bellies, cleavages or fannies. This rules out all short shorts, spaghetti string tops or midriff tops. Oh, on those t shirts make sure the logos or sayings are camp appropriate as well, no drugs, alcohol or sex promoted. We also are a NO makeup camp, so don't bring it, except for your days off. As for bathing suits, only 1 piece suits are acceptable. Often the lake can seem cool so swim shirts can help keep you warm. If you wear something that does not meet our code, we will ask you to change so be prepared. Thanx for your understanding. One last thing : Flip Flops or any kind of sandals do not protect your toes. So please don't bring them, instead please wear crocks, gym shoes, or something that will protect your toes.



Helpful hints from a SNC Counselor
hints counselor




Toss it our Way

As you can guess our summers can have a few rainy days. During these days our kids are looking for things to do. Rather than finding trouble, we promote going to our library and finding a good book, or playing a game. So we would love to have donated any of your old books and games, toys, sports equip, or anything else you may want to get rid of, when cleaning out that closet.



What Do I Have to Do!

At camp, a counselor's responsibilities are never-ending. You may help a child develop friends, entertain your cabin, or find the way on a canoe trip. Our camp is unique in that our specialists that teach activities are cabin counselors as well. So if you have a specialty plan ahead, the summer will get busy. Other staff will be assisting with all other activities, so be prepared to help the specialist teaching the activities.

Outdoor Camping is a big part of our programs, you will be responsible for your cabin during Canoe & Backpack trips. Knowing about cooking, shelter and fires will be helpful on these trips. I strongly suggest that if you are not comfortable with teaching these activities, you pick up a book or go to youtube for a refresher. This will bring you up to speed for our counselor orientation.

Kids also love magic, games, brain-teasers and tricks. Learn these and you will be a hit with your cabin, specially on rainy days. Not only bring games and skills you can teach, but bring something to make your area in the cabin special and something that reflects you.


If you have never been a counselor you might want to do a little homework NOW. When the kids come you will have little time to do your homework. Here is a must read book!!! S'More Than Camp, by Scott Arizala. It will give you what you need to be a Great Counselor. The cost is $20 plus we will pay 1/2 if you bring it to camp and share it with others. Try to read it before camp starts.



Camp Resources

Being Intentional- We have all heard of the "magic" of summer camp. But that is only a part of the story, more importantly there is the intentionality of camp. It is more than just letting our camp days happen. It is a knowing and imagining what we want from our campers, fellow staff and ourselves. Camp provides a safe haven for working through real life situations: resolving conflict, making choices, and interacting with others - all with a positive outcome. You will be responsible to make camp FUN and SAFE. Any camper will tell you that what makes camp so special is when counselors have unique quirks. For instance, last year a cabin adopted SHENANIGANS as their cabin crazy word. What will you do? Look on websites to get ideas....How about daily brain teasers or Spoonerisms, girls love cabin dances. Or teach a new game!


Have you thought about what you want your kids to learn? Yes, Learn! How bout space, stars, nature, animals, snakes. Anything that you feel you are an expert in, you will have a chance to get your kids excited about. You may also wish to teach healthy life habits, Respect, Patience, Forgiveness, Understanding and more. Pick your favorite and see if you can find materials to help teach these... Camp days are long so please be prepared to intentionally entertaining your children. Watch this Video



We will ask you to share one of these at staff training, so we can all learn from you.

Is your Counselor Tool Box Filled For the Summer? Please be sure it is.




Lifeguards First Aid, CPR, Wilderness Tripping and so much more...

Lets Get Ready-As you know, we have limited time before the children come to do all the work to prepare for them. CPR & FIRST AID training is a big part of that time. Because these certifications are required by law, we ask you to prepare in advance so we can quickly move through this material (very important for first timers).

Also Lifeguard training is a 30 plus hour class we teach. We encourage everyone to please get a head start and read the books in advance of arriving at camp, do the practice questions and be ready to swim and save lives. You can even print these training books and have your book to use at camp, otherwise you will be sharing. Please take this seriously and treat this like school.




Online Training

Summer is right around the corner! Before you know it, the campers will be arriving at camp, full of energy, enthusiasm, and youthful exuberance. To help enhance your skills before our in service training begins, I have taken the initiative to create a basic online training program.

Before you arrive at camp, we need each staff member (new and returning) to read the information , watch the videos and answer the question.

Watching these videos will ensure that all of us will be doing our best this summer. Do not plan on watching these at camp for we have limited internet. You do not have to complete them all at once, you can go back as often as needed, they just need to be done by the time you come to camp. Here are the classes:


All Staff Training

We all need to be the best that we can be at camp. Please take time to watch the video and complete the work sheets. At camp we will break into small groups and discuss. So bring your worksheets with you. Please watch all 8 videos here and it will take you over an hour or so to complete.


COUNSELOR TRAINING- Work Sheets Bring with you to camp



Returning Staff Training

Being a Camp Counselor always has new challenges and returning to camp means that you understand this and are looking for new ways to make yourself better at meeting these challenges. Please review the above pages prior to moving on with these new videos. We think it will be something to share with the others. .


Returning Staff
M. Brandwein



Camp is more than GOOD LUCK

It is Knowing what you want to get from your kids and yourself.







Camp is Special

Camp is a special place, it is not so much a physical place but a place in your heart. A place where all are accepted and welcomed with open arms. A place where one can put your daily worries aside and dedicate yourself to others. Please be sure that you want to be at camp for all the right reasons. Reread our Counselors Guide to be sure this is for you....see website Staff-More info. If you are not sure, give us a call...let's talk about it.



Do You Have A Special Area Of Responsibility?

If you are running special activities, PLEASE BE PREPARED. Google all the info on the web before camp starts. For instance if you are teaching Archery review now, get pics, video, games and any other info to assist you in your lesson plans and print it off, and put it in a special binder. This is true for every area: Canoeing, Riferly, Nature Center, Clowning. We just do not have the time to be sitting around waiting for the internet to download. BE PREPARED there are no excuses.

What is a Camp Counselor---A Poem

Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood there occurs in human development an age which is physically and psychologically impossible. It is that unfathomable stage known as "Camp Counselor", a creature undefined by psychologists, misunderstood by camp directors, either admired or doubted by parents, and unheard of by the rest of society.


A camp counselor is a rare combination of doctor, lawyer and Indian Chief. They are competent child psychologists, paid baby sitters with neither television nor refrigerator. They are strict disciplinarians with a twinkle in their eye: a minister to all faiths with questions about their own. They are referees, coaches, teachers, and advisors. They are the example of grown-ups in worn out tennis shoes, a sweat shirt 2 sizes to large and a hat 2 sizes to small. They are humorists in a crisis, a doctor in an emergency, a song leader, an entertainer, a play director. Counselors are idols with their head in a cloud of wood smoke and their feet in mud. They are comforters in a leaky tent on a cold night and a pal who has just loaned someone their last pair of dry socks. They are teachers of the out-of-doors, knee deep in poison ivy.


Counselors dislike the wake-up bell, waiting in line, cabin clean-up, and rainy days. They are fond of sun bathing, exploring, teaching new games, and days off. They are handy for patching up broken friendships, bloody knees, and torn jeans. they are good at locating lost bathing suits, playing guitar, and catching fish. They are poor at crawling out on rainy mornings, and getting to bed early. A counselor is a dynamo on a day off, and exhausted the next day, but recuperates for the next day off.


Who but a counselor can cure homesickness, air out wet bedding, whistle "Dixie" through their fingers, and sing 37 verses of " oh you can't get to heaven".

A counselor is expected to repair 10 years of damage to Becky in 10 days, turn Terri in to a woman, rehabilitate Matt allow Joan to be an individual, and help Pat adjust to the group. They are expected to lead the most prized possession of adults much older than themselves. They are expected to lead campers in fun and adventure in the North-woods, even though they spend 9 months a year in cities like Chicago, New York or Los Angles; to teach ingenious activities-then they can't even spell it; to guide them into social adjustment-when they haven't found it; to ensure safety and health- with a sunburned nose, a band aid on their thumb, and a blister on their heel. For all this, they are paid enough to buy the second text in psychology, some aspirin, some new socks and some tennis shoes. You wonder how they can stand the pace and the pressure. You wonder if they really know how much they are worth, and somehow, you realize you can never pay them enough when, they leave in August, and they wave good-by and says, "See' ya next summer!

"From "What is a Camp Counselor", Camping Magazine March 1965, P.M. Ford


Camp FamilyRelax and Enjoy the Journey

Its going to be a Fantastically Rewarding Summer

Thanx for being part of this summer, you're going to love it!!

Jeff, Lonnie & Forrest

Summer: W7471 Ernie Swift Rd, Minong, Wi. 54859
Winter: 25 Baybrook Lane, Oak Brook, Il. 60523
Phone/Fax: (630)654-8036 Camp: (715)466-5666
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



25 Baybrook Ln.

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 630-654-8036


W7471 Ernie Swift Rd.

Minong, WI 54859

Phone: 715-466-5666