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Feature Friday: Junior Claire Bauerle takes on s’more adventures at camp

Junior+Claire+Bauerle+%28left%29+canoes+while+blindfolded+as+part+of+a+team-bonding+exercise+at+Camp+Edwards.
Junior Claire Bauerle (left) canoes while blindfolded as part of a team-bonding exercise at Camp Edwards.

Junior Claire Bauerle (left) canoes while blindfolded as part of a team-bonding exercise at Camp Edwards.

•courtesy of Claire Bauerle

•courtesy of Claire Bauerle

Junior Claire Bauerle (left) canoes while blindfolded as part of a team-bonding exercise at Camp Edwards.

Caroline Stiefbold

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For junior Claire Bauerle, most of the summer isn’t spent in Arlington Heights, but rather in East Troy, Wisconsin.

She has been attending Camp Edwards in East Troy for the past five summers.

“My older brother, who’s now 25, had gone to camp as a child, and he had so many great experiences that my other brother and I were dying to go,” Bauerle said.

Bauerle spent her first two years as a Youth Camper, third as a Trekker (Teen Camper), and fourth as a Leader-in-Training (LIT). This summer she advanced into the Junior Leader (JL) program.

“It’s the one that most closely trains you to be like a counselor. That’s my dream,” Bauerle said.

The five week JL program consisted of two weeks of team-bonding and skills exercises with the other Junior Leaders, followed by three weeks assigned assisting counselors with a cabin.

“I got a cabin full of youth boys, which was awesome because they just love to run around and do everything,” Bauerle said.

Campers are able to select four skills to participate in. Arts and crafts, drama, nature, land sports, wilnderness survival, canoeing, and archery make up only part of the list of skill options.

“We’re right on a lake, so I always enjoyed things like kayaking and fishing. Archery is fun as a Junior Leader because when the kids are waiting to shoot, you can tell them riddles. That’s an easy way to get kids to stick to you: tell ’em a riddle. Another fun skill is wilderness survival because we get to build fires and then make s’mores on them,” Bauerle said.

Every night, campers from every cabin come together in camp-wide activities, including a crazy camp dance and lip-sync battles.

“One of my favorite activities is Ultimate Capture the Flag on all of the camp property. The kids go nuts for it,” Bauerle said.

Skills and activities aside, fellow Junior Leaders play a large role in Bauerle’s positive experience. 

“My favorite part of camp, without a doubt, is the people. This year, my program had 23 Junior Leaders and three counselors all living in the same lodge together. Add in the bonding activities we did all day every day, and we all connected super fast. We have a huge group chat now and it’s insane,” Bauerle said.

In addition to her friendships among her fellow Junior Leaders, Bauerle has been able to bond with her campers as well.

“I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting so many lovely kids. Having pool-noodle sword fights with youth boys and dance parties with youth girls are experiences I’d highly recommend,” Bauerle said.

However, the focus of Camp Edwards is not on activities alone. Every camper creates goals for self-improvement as part of the camp’s honors system, and is awarded with a colored neckerchief. This summer, Bauerle was honored with purple, the highest color.

“It’s really cool to think about our camp’s commitment to not only creating amazing memories but shaping amazing people,” Bauerle said.

Camp has made a positive impact on Bauerle the last five years and she anticipates that it will continue to for years to come.

“I feel really blessed to be at camp every year. It’s a really warm, supporting community of people who want you to succeed,” Bauerle said.

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Feature Friday: Junior Claire Bauerle takes on s’more adventures at camp