YMCA Storer Camps – After Dark Edition

YMCA Storer Camps – After Dark Edition

“After Dark Edition” Sounds risqué. However, for the miscreants out there (and I love you) this entry points us to the celestial skies, nothing tawdry- shame on you! 😉 for thinking I’d write about such theoretical things! Let’s think of those wonderful skies at night on the shores of Stony Lake and see what’s in storer for our viewing pleasure around the 100th Celebration ‘A Hundred Years of Campfire Stories’ on June 30th.



What does the title of this article ‘YMCA Storer Camps After Dark’ conjure up for you? I’ve always found that at Storer, amidst such natural magnificence, it doesn’t matter if it is day or night, there are unique discoveries to be made. It could be educational, like learning how to identify specific planets and constellations. It could go deep in philosophical musings, pondering the universe as we gaze at the same. It could provide cover for staff pranks or quiet conversations. It could be a moment of zen, a stolen instant, just take a beat. Or the night sky could only provide enough light to navigate without the need for blinding flashlights. And on those moon-less nights, the inky sky enhances what you hear -or thought you heard- in the still of the night.



Because of some excellent Storer staff when I was a child, I grew to love the night sky for it was a reminder that we are not alone, and something else must be at work. As an adult, I now realize such teachings go back to camps inception 100 years ago. Deep sentiments for the night’s sky are shared on Doc Miller’s grave, memorialized in Sarah William’s poem ‘The Old Astronomer.’ We all learned to love the skies above from dusk until dawn, for it was not something to fear, but appreciate. The same lovely poem ends with the line “God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.”. No wonder as campers and staff, we learned never to fear the night.



I have a hunch many people will be looking to the skies on the night of June 30th as we celebrate ‘100Years of Campfire Stories”. I predict many discussions of camp will continue in the still of the night, long after the last note of taps, once again sitting near Stony Lake and watching the sky grow dense with stars.

And for those who cannot attend, let’s all appreciate the same view, wherever you are, and take a moment to say a quiet hello as you look up at your night’s moon.  If you can’t join us physically at the reunion, take a moment and know we are thinking of you, and take solace in knowing you are not alone and to ‘Never fear the night”.



For those at the reunion, without curfew, it will be up to you to make it in before dawn! Unless Abimbola is roving the darkness on a bicycle without a light, we should all be safe! (If you see a glowing cross approach, don’t fear it this night!*). I’ll call dibs on one of the towers-or both. (For any attorneys or insurance agents out there, I mean this figuratively, as we all know nocturnal roving at the waterfront can be a risky proposition, Caveot dramatis personae 😉 ).

So what will the night skies have in store for us June 30th? 

Dust off your Golden Guide’s Sky Observers Guide, and be prepared for some celestial happenings on the banks of Ol’ Stoney.



According to Seasky.org, the following celestial happenings will occur near our upcoming 100th celebration on June 30th.  Please note that the sun sets around  9:15 PM this time of year in Michigan.

  • June 21 – June Solstice. The June solstice occurs at 10:07 UTC. The North Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. This is the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.



  • June 27 – Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth, and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn’s rings and a few of its brightest moons.



  • June 28Full Moon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun, and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 04:53 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Strawberry Moon because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening fruit. It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting season. This moon has also been known as the Full Rose Moon and the Full Honey Moon. At Stoney Lake Reflections, we’re partial to this phenomena! 




*For those who were staff in the 90’s under Abimbola watchful eye, he had a propensity to emerge from the shadows, usually on a ten-speed bike, sans flashlight to politely remind his staff that curfew was approaching. At times, this happened after curfew had passed. The author of this blog has no general or specific recollection of that occurring and will not indemnify myself or any secondary party, thereof. However, One lasting lesson from ‘Storer After Dark’: wintergreen breathsavers DO sparkle when crunched, but that’s all I can confirm or deny…


Available in the Trading Post!



Audiobooks- 101 of the best

Audiobooks- 101 of the best

I figured the Stoney Lake Reflections audience would be predisposed to listening to books since you are listening to the Stoney Lake Reflection’s podcast! (and if you are not listening to this podacst, to quote Abimbola “You Best Be!”).  In the days of yore, these tales told via an amplification device (see ‘good old days’?) were called ‘Books on Tape’.  Books do live on, ‘tape’ not so much!  Magnetic tape, so quaint!  Regardless, the medium is now known as an ‘audiobook’ and listening to a book being read is easier than ever.


I’ve found Audiobooks are a fantastic way to learn on the go.  For me, I can cover more books audibly as I can sitting down with either a physical book (something about holding a book 🙂 ) or reading via my iPad.  I’ve also found audio books very enriching, much like THE MISSION DAILY blog, where they’ve come up with a list of the 101 best audiobooks of all time. From historical fiction to thriller, these stories are sure to keep you engaged until the last line.  Click on the link and scroll through their list.  They also provide a synopsis and where to purchase.  But don’t forget most libraries have audio books available to be lent out virtually.







Take Yale’s Most Popular Class: ‘Happiness’ for FREE

Take Yale’s Most Popular Class: ‘Happiness’ for FREE

So, don’t say this blog never offered you anything! 😉  How about I save you $69,000 and spare you from having to leave your computer to take Yale’s most popular course for free? Yes, free!  And what if said course examined HAPPINESS!?!  Isn’t this something we already know?  It may be, but the real question, is it being practiced? The course may challenge your preconception about happiness, and you may realize, you already have all you need to be happy.  You” also enjoy some ‘tools’ that everyone can use in everyday life.  I offer this up to The Stoney Lake Reflections audience as a ‘continuing education course’ for Storer Alumni & Friends!  Enrichment for my audience, a group of beautiful souls.


The Class

“The Science of Well-Being” taught by Professor Laurie Santos overviews what psychological science says about happiness. This course has received a ton of great press for good reason.  Participants learn about what psychological research says about what makes us happy AND puts those strategies into practice.  The course is taught by Dr. Laurie Santos, 42, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges.


Dr. Laurie Santos, Yale Univ.    Psychology

You may ask, why is Yale offering such a class and why do 1/4 of Yale’s student’s enroll?  In a recent interview with the New York Times, Professor Santos provided some insight as why students enroll in the class, “Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus…With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”  In the same interview, Dr. Santos speculated that Yale students are interested in the class because, in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school, adopting harmful life habits that have led to what she called “the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.” A 2013 report by the Yale College Council found that more than half of undergraduates sought mental health care from the university during their time there.

Students responded by signing up in bigger numbers than Yale school has ever seen, and now it’s going global and FREE to the Stoney Lake Reflections Audience.

What’s Covered?

  • The first half of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do.


  • The second half of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits.



Classes take place via the Coursera platform.  I have taken many self-paced classes through this platform and overall, I have found the courses well worthwhile.  That’s what makes this course stand out even more: This course is topical, popular AND FREE!

  •  FREE  https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being
  • Classes begin April 30th
  • Self-Paced
  • Course Certificate is available for a fee, but you can take entire course for free.  See Coursera for full details on “The Science of Well-Being” taught by Professor Laurie Santos, Yale University.
  • Coursera is also available in the Apple App Store or through Google Play



Subscribe to Podcast: iTunes or iPhone

Subscribe to Podcast: iTunes or iPhone

Did you know there is an easier way to listen to Stoney Lake Reflections?  I was looking at some stats recently and I noticed some anomolies in the data provided to me from iTunes.  This data showed that there is an area of opportunity for all of you!

While Apple is looking into their numbers, I wanted to make sure you are getting the most out of listening to the podacst.  To that end, I wanted to provide detailed instructions on how to subscribe to the podcast.


Why should you subscribe?

√ The Podcast will automatically appear in your feed when it is published!  One time sign up and always up to date!

There are 3 ways to listen to Stoney Lake Reflections.  I’ve listed the choices below, from easiest to more cumbersome.I personally subscribe to my favorite podcasts through my iPhone because it is always with me.  It provides a great break while walking the dog, waiting for someone, lunchtime, commuting, working (did I say that?), and  anytime you want to chill.

I’m technically inclined, but I wanted to provide a guide for those who this is the first podcast you’ve listened to or for those who prefer visuals while navigating phones.  No judgements here, I’m just glad to have you as a listener!  P.S. if the instructions still don’t help you, find a son, daughter or even grandchildren to help you sign up 😉



1) Through your iPhone via Podcast app (that’s already on all iPhones)


2) Through iTunes

3) Through a computer, and going to StoneyLakeReflections.com and checking to see if there are new episodes in the Podcast Category



I’ve attached a handy dandy visual guide to make subscribing easier.

Click on the following link >>>>  HowToSubscribe



BONUS POINTS if you RATE and Leave a review for the podcast.  This can be done through iTunes.  Ratings and feedback help me attract sponsors and ratings at iTunes.

Preaching to The Choir !

Years Removed and Miles Away- Summer Camp Still Pays Dividends!

It will come to no surprise to readers of this blog, that our Storer community believes deeply in what our camp provides to so many.  Whether it is Outdoor Environmental Education or good ol’ summer camp, camp serves the greater good.  Our camp in particular has been providing character-building experiences since 1918.  Like I say in the Stoney Lake Reflection’s podcast opener, there are some pretty amazing people involved with YMCA Storer Camps.  That’s why I enjoy producing the podcast.  One aspect is recognizing some ‘amazing people’ and their contributions. Some of our guests are well known, others you may not be that familiar with.  But altogether, these people have been touched by camp and made great contributions to her history.  No matter the forte of the individuals, at the end of the day, it all benefits youth development.


The Stoney Lake Reflections Recipe

The recipe for the SLR Podcast is not exact and one that is hard to define, yet here’s a partial attempt to call out some of the ingredients for the SLR podcast:

1  part history lesson

1 part reminiscing

1 wink and a nod

Touch of dry humor- as needed

1 pinch of laughter

Sprinkle of tradition – to taste

A nod to history

1 spoonful of the present

1-3 parts philosophical musings

1 swig of zippy (oops, wrong recipe)

Lessons on leadership- as needed

Always stir in a healthy helping of Hope (for a prosperous and continuing future)



The Good

Throughout the Podcast, we also talk to specialists in their particular fields, from Naturalists to Outdoor Education teachers, Waterfront Directors, Citizen Archeologists to Equine Managers.  Specialties aside, the programs always should return to the central focus: serving children.  It doesn’t matter if the lessons are educational or vocational in scope, for the importance is enrichment of those we serve.  You’ll hear this theme time and time again.  And I believe it is not just one of a bygone era.

I’m hopeful current staff listen to these episodes and gleen at least one thing from them.  It could be an insight on history or the essence of what timeless principles ought to be practiced in the present.  As a young staff member I too was subjected to the tales of yore.  But as I matured, I came to realize that those ideals and principles weren’t half bad! 😉

Because of these amazing guests, other common threads surface from their stories: the power of love, community, faith, character development, and serving others.   It’s a great fraternity to belong to as our family spans many eras, but we have a common interest and principles we believe in.



Dr. Don Klotz- Future Guest & Special Friend    (this man can teach us all a lot!)

When the Nostalgic Clashes with the Present Day

So many times in my professional pursuits, I have looked around a boardroom table and had a pretty good guess who did and didn’t go to a summer camp!  In my professional life as an Advertising executive ‘ad guy’ in some ways I couldn’t of picked a profession farther than some of the ideals cultivated at camp (At times I amuse myself and imagine what Abimbola would say to some of the stuff I’ve seen).  I’ll spare you the war stories in this article.  But I can say without reservation that the corporate world can be a very cold place.

I often think, perhaps naively, how some people may be radically different if they learned about teamwork and leadership in an environment like YMCA Storer Camps.  Then I wake up to reality.  In the interest of eating, I have a job to do.  I can’t help some of these people, but I can put into practice some of what I learned at camp.  How to lead a group, how to navigate around difficult personalities or situations, bring common sense to the fore (stretch goal) and move forward with our assignments that will help us attain whatever goal is before us.  And dont forget about Gumby-like F-L-E-X-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y.  To say at times I’m in conflict between professional goals and personal fulfillment is not a stretch.  I’m afraid this phenomenon is more prevalent than we think.  That’s the reality of facing bigger challenges as we progress through life (note: I think the challenge is better than the alternative).



                                         Present Day- habitat naturalis


At the end of the day, all I ask is that my fellow humans be decent. I was once praised for my politeness, but was also marked down by the same observor on a performance review for not being forceful enough and at times, too polite[?] Yes, really.  But considering the source, I wasn’t surprised.  So the message was clear, nice guys finish last?  Do I always practice this beau ideal of being the best human I can be?  No.  Do I get frustrated with traffic? Perceived incompetence? Inpatient? Testy between meals-YES, guilty as charged.  But in aims to be driven, yet fair, that’s why I’ve always provided my teams a book to read entitled “The No Asshole Rule’ by Robert Sutton.  So the title is a little crude and wouldn’t make a good chapel, but you get the point of the book from the title alone.  Don’t hire jerks, don’t work with jerks, don’t let jerks poison the well.  Furthermore, those working with me are clued in to observe and practice the following principles and guidelines for my teams:

√ Don’t approach me before I FINISH my first cup of coffee. OK, half joking.

√ I’m not the best in the morning. OK, not really joking.

√ Always ask before calling a meeting “Do we need this meeting?”

√ Communication is fantastic (as things move very fast in marketing), but if you have an issue to report (problems), make sure you have solutions to offer, don’t just dump off ‘Problems’

√ Courteousness and decency go a long way.  I’m not looking for saints, but I am looking for decency amid a stressful environment filled with demanding clients and quick deadlines. Work is stressful enough.  Don’t negatively contribute to the team dynamics.

√  Be responsible for your work and comportment.

Today’s Goals… You are only as good as you were yesterday

What Everyone Should of Learned

With camp in mind, the attached article spells out what this choir already knows.  If everyone had a place like Camp Storer in his or her lives, humanity might be more humane!  Or at least people would be more rounded and in tune with productive teams and beautiful souls.  The headline extolls what I learned long ago- The Summer Camp experience is better than SAT prep.  In fact, my college essay was written about my experience on Storer’s high ropes course.

So here’s some external validation to what Storer Alumni Know….Read On!

Overnight summer camps are better for your kids than SAT prep classes





  • David 'Stoney' Stoneberg

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Storer's 100th CelebrationJune 30, 2018
The big day is here.

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