Towering Pines Blog

Grateful for Another Summer at Towering Pines

Posted by on July 9, 2013
One of the best sights in the world

One of the best sights in the world

Today’s blog entry was written by Hal Morningstar, a legendary Towering Pines staff member for over 40 years.  Hal worked for / with 4 generations of the Jordan family between 1969 to 2011, and made countless friends during his summers at camp.  Hal filled a lot of roles in his time at TP, but recent campers & staff will best remember him for driving the ski boat, tutoring, and for being the lucky counselor that got to drive everyone to Kathy’s Ice Cream for winning the weekly cabin clean-up competition.

Despite Hal’s long career at Towering Pines, even he was the new guy at one time, facing all the excitement and nerves of the first day on a job.  Below are Hal’s thoughts about that day:

“As I drove to Camp Towering Pines for the first time along Highway D, I passed some of the cleared land and potato fields.  I wondered if I was headed in the right direction, as I knew TP was in the “north woods”.  Where were the woods?  Eventually, I saw the pine forest and the camp entrance.  Driving in, a feeling of anticipation and excitement came over me.

"Safety First" since 1946

“Safety First” since 1946

I continued past the “Slow Children” sign and saw Lake Nokomis for the first time.  The sunlight, reflecting off the water, filtered through the trees creating an instantly memorable view.  My first impression, then, was provided by the rippling waters of Nokomis.

My first impression of people at TP was provided by long-time Cabin 10 counselor and Waterfront Director, Jack Welch.  Jack, as usual, was working on a project, though not at the waterfront, but in the Rec Hall.  He greeted me like a long-lost friend and invited me to give him a hand.  Instead of just wandering around looking lost, as I felt I was as a newcomer, I now felt like an employee, doing something useful.  It was not until a few days later I had the pleasure of scraping the old green rowboats, a job always reserved for new staff.  Then I really felt at home!  The Rec Hall stage curtains we hung that day may still be there.

Here is what amazes me: Not that I remember this experience, but that every June, for 40 more years, I would get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach, that feeling of excitement about what was to come.  And a feeling of gratitude that I was lucky enough to be back at Towering Pines for one more summer.”