For Many, Exploration Started at Storer

For Many, Exploration Started at Storer

Whether summer camp or outdoor education, Storer opened up and introduced a whole new world for thousands of campers.  Natural wonders like Stony Lake, pine forests, meadows, swamps, and all natural habitats in between, set the stage for adventure.  New sights and sounds to be encountered, like the songs of the sandhill cranes or a wide-open sky perfect for star gazing.  Adventure awaits everyone on these sacred 1200 acres.  For many Storer was that first foray into nature.  And perhaps, the first introduction to how nature and man are truly interconnected.  Kids don’t usually appreciate this when playing in the back yard, but being exposed to it on a grand scale, the impact is inescapable.

Beyond ecological interdependence, for many, Storer provided an eye opening introduction to people from all around the world.  This set the stage for thinking beyond one’s borders.  In learning about other people’s ideas, beliefs and values, everyone was enriched as a result.  What a rich list of ingrediants for adventure!  Throw in a pinch of learning and you have a recipie for a phenominal experience.

Did you have an International Counselor?  I had a couple, but the first International Counselor I had was from Norway and his name was Yensbo (spelling?).  He was very patient with our motley crew of first graders and how he survived, I do not know.  We felt special because our counselor was from another land, had a unique name, and we got to hoist his flag and give a little speech about his home during our turn at flag-raising.  In fact he gave us each mini paper flags, which was a thoughtful memento.

I have two other memories of Yensbo: My first genuine pillow fight that abruptly stopped after feathers filled the air (7 year old boys + zippy + pillows = impending doom).  The second memory was coming down with a stomach ache (probably from the flu shot I got 24 hours prior to camp- Yes, the Smith’s always waited until the last minute).  Yensbo was initially suspect, probably thinking I was homesick versus a legitimate ache.  I cut off his careful questioning and let it be known, I was not homesick! (In fact, I was afraid I’d have to leave camp!)   So we proceeded to the nurse and I got to ride on his shoulders as this was far more expediant than relying on my short shanks to get to Georgianna Swinford, camp nurse for 17 years, for a look see and some Pepto Bismol.

Now, several years later (several), that desire to continually learn and ‘venture out’ is still alive and well within me and I’m hoping it is for you.  When not able to physically escape the day to day, there are some vices I can’t give up (I’m not talking about Advil).  The largest is my yearning to travel.  When that isn’t possible, luckily I get my adventure fix through reading National Geographic or watching the Nat’l Geo channel.  It’s not quite the same as an immersive experience, one we all enjoyed at Storer, but if venturing out  isn’t practical, I’ll take the living room based diversion nonetheless. (But nothing really beats the fresh air, the elements, and being reminded that there must be other things at work on this little planet of ours).




Below is a great clip celebrating 130 years of National Geographic Magazine.  For so many this is a glimpse into other lands near and far, the exotic, the natural.  I’m glad my glimpse into other worlds and the natural environment started at Storer.

In retrospect, even at Storer, I encouraged kids to read National Geographic.  One of the lessons I employed during skin diving class was the entire group to use their snorkels as kahzoos and hum the National Geographic theme.  Every morning, anyone on the lake could hear the cacophany improve throughout the week (or so I hoped). Not only did this get kids used to having a snorkel in their mouth, and improve breath control, it provided an amusing variation on the famous National Geographic theme song which always rouses the spirit of adventure.  I dare you not to hum along! (As an aside, the composer Elmer Bernstein also composed other catchy tunes like The magnificent Seven. Do you hear the similarities?  Don’t blame me for getting this tune caught in your head for the near term!)



Over the last 130 years, National Geographic has changed the look of its magazine but never wavered from its commitment to explore ‘the world and all that is in it’. In this short video, watch the evolution of this iconic cover while reliving some of the most famous milestones along the way.


What about YOUR Storer Adventures?

What was your favorite adventure at Storer?

Was it on the lake?

Was it in the lake?

On a Horse?

On a Hike?

Hearing the sounds of nature at night?

Seeing the skies above?

Pitching a tent?

Cooking your own dinner?

Catching critters?

Please share!

In sharing this spirit, feel free to check out the links below.  If you purchase anything using the link below, Stoney Lake Reflections gets a little something in return and it doesn’t cost you anything extra!  Thanks to National Geographic for offering this sponsorship! (and thank you if you purchase!).  If nothing else, take a break, browse their site, and lose yourself for awhile!

√ Check out Special Stoney Lake Reflections Deals on National Geographic Subscriptions – Print or Digital deals available!

√ Click this Link for National Geographic Store

Other Fun Stuff:

√ Notable Maps From 100 Years of National Geographic Cartography


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  • David 'Stoney' Stoneberg

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

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