Author Archives: Casey Miller

Bringing Out the Chestnut Lake Camp 2018 Memories

As you count down from 10 to 1 this New Year’s Eve, we hope you take the time to look back at all those great memories you made this past summer. In order to relive those memories, we asked our CLC family to tell us their favorite Chestnut Lake memories. You all delivered! Here’s just some of the moments you’ll never forget from Chestnut Lake 2018.

You’ll always remember the new friends you made!

When we asked about your favorite memories, a lot of you mentioned the new friends you made over the summer. We’re not surprised! What would any of these CLC memories be without friends to experience them with? When you run off the bus and through the tunnel of counselors, you’re running towards friendships that last a lifetime. This New Year’s Eve, try reaching out to a camp friend to tell them how great they made your summer!

You made a lot of memories on the brand new Aqua Park!

The Chestnut Lake waterfront is one of the most fun places in camp. Playing in the sand, learning how to water ski, splashing around with your friends – what could be more fun?! This past summer we broke in our brand new CLC Aqua Park, and it quickly became a camp favorite. Ava told us her favorite memory is “hanging out at the Aqua Park with my best friends. My favorite part was when we were jumping off the highest spot and doing silly jumps into the lake.” We can’t wait till we can make more fun memories down at the lake during CLC 2019!

What’s a Chestnut Lake summer without Tribal?

Of course many of you said some of your best CLC memories involve Tribal! Many of you will never forget the moment you dressed in red and got ready to join your tribe. Ben told us he’ll never forget the moment he join Unami! Others told us how much they loved watching rope burn, winning a track meet race, or cheering on their team during the apache relay. We think Avery put it best when she said she loves everything about camp but “especially Tribal! Just everything Tribal! I love the competition and all the spirit, it’s so much fun.” We agree, Avery!

It’s the little moments that matter.

There’s so many amazing events that happen at camp: Tribal, Messy Monday, Group Nights, and more. We love those big events, but it’s the small moments – those times spent with your camp friends, the conversations with your favorite counselor, or those inside jokes that always make you laugh – that can make a summer great. Maddy told us how much she’ll remember the pet rock her bunk had this past summer, while Hillary remembers how much fun she had pretending to skydive with her friends using the goal nets at soccer. They’re the moments that might not seem huge at the time, but they create memories that last a lifetime.

As we reminisce over those amazing CLC 2018 memories, we’re now looking forward to the new memories we’ll make at CLC 2019! Who knows what memories we’ll make as soon as we step off the bus into another summer at Chestnut Lake Camp.

Goodbye Chestnut Lake Camp 2018! ‘Til 2019!

Dear CLC Family,

The buses just rolled out with all the campers and counselors headed back to the “real” world. As the summer of 2018 just officially ended, it’s amazing to already hear the Blue Team sharing memories from the summer, and I imagine that all the campers and counselors are on the buses doing the same. It’s truly heartwarming to hear how one great story leads to another which leads to another as great memories keep coming back to all of us.

At CLC, we always say, “It’s not the minutes, it’s the moments.” This is never more evident than at Closing Campfire as every bunk shares their Bunk Memories with the rest of camp. With all of the great, camp-wide traditions we have at CLC, one might expect many of the Bunk Memories to be the same from bunk to bunk…but they never are…

G8 Talent Show, Counselor Makeovers, Ross’s Bedtime Stories, Bunk Ball, Compliment Wall,
Junior the Bug Slayer, Shake-Grab-Slide-Fist Bump, Mini Basketball, Family Meetings, Honor
Bunk x2, The Slime Explosion, Chicken Fried, Dinosaur, Yeet, Friendship Plant, Roof Ball,
Rainbow, The Greatest Show, Let’s Get It…

These are just a few of literally hundreds shared at Closing Campfire and thousands of others that don’t make their list because we limit it to ten. If you’re thinking you need a CLC Decoder Ring in order to understand them, you’re not the only one! But that’s part of what makes our summers at Chestnut Lake so special…unique moments shared with friends that we’ll never forget…friends that we would never have had in our lives had we not spent our summer together at CLC.

While Chestnut Lake is a very special place for us all, let’s take the opportunity when we go home to bring a little CLC to the rest of the world. We probably don’t have beads at home and definitely don’t have line-up, but why not find a reason to compliment someone new every day. We won’t have campfires every Friday night and don’t have Community Service patches at home, but why not write someone a note to let them know how they’ve made a difference in your life. And while we’re all excited to see our friends at school and work when we get home, why not go out of our way to introduce ourselves to someone new…after all, who knows better than us how special new friends can become.


‘Til 2019!
Debbi and Paul

Bringing Out the Play at Chestnut Lake!

An interview with CLC Athletic Director, Kevan Reilly!

May is a very exciting month!  Not only are there a mere 52 days until Opening Campfire, but it’s also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! This is the perfect time to bring out our inner athletes and celebrate the ways we love to play at CLC. What better way to do this than by having a chat with our very own Athletic Director, Kevan Reilly?

Kevan is from Geneva, Illinois and discovered his love of sports at a young age. If a sport or activity was made available to him, he played it! This passion for all things sports motivated him to get a job as a junior high school physical education teacher. In 2011, he joined the CLC family as the Baseball Director, and in 2016 he was made Athletic Director.  Now you can find him on the Chestnut Lake fields and courts, ensuring every camper gets to bring out the athlete in themselves.

Luckily for us, Kevan joined us for a chat about sports at CLC and what “Bring It Out“ means to him.

Hey Kevan! What’s your favorite sports moment from your time at Chestnut Lake ?

The number one moment that stands out to me happened in 2014. We hosted a Wayne County championship game for Varsity 1 girls softball. For any inter-camp game, we walk our team down to the field before the game for warm-up and final preparations. On this particular day, I was not able to walk down with them. I can still remember meeting our opponents at their bus to escort them to the field. The first thing I saw as we approached the field was our girls warming up and practicing. They had completely organized on their own.

I knew in that moment, before I even addressed the team, that they were going to win. I don’t remember many of the details of the actual game once it started, but I’ll always remember how close-knit they were, and how much they cared about and played for each other, and how proud I felt that day. That group of girls epitomized what it means to be part of a team and bring out the best in each other.Softball at Chestnut Lake Camp

That sounds amazing! Any other special sports memories?

Right around the same time as the softball game, we also started a tradition of giving championship winning teams a golf-cart “championship parade,” which I also love, because they get to act like the pros and feel like big stars for a moment.

Over the summer we love to live by our motto, “Bring It Out”. What does “Bring It Out” mean to you?

To me, “Bring It Out” means unlocking someone’s hidden potential. One of the best things about CLC is that we really encourage campers (and even counselors) to try everything. It’s always awesome to see someone discover a new activity that they love to do. At camp, it’s about not being afraid to fail; it’s okay to not succeed at everything, everytime. At CLC, there’s always someone who cares to pick you back up and support you.

Football at Chestnut Lake CampAs Athletic Director, why do you believe sports are an important part of the camp experience? 

Sports at camp are a controlled environment to explore your own limitations, challenge yourself, and overcome obstacles.  

Sports are also great for camp, and kids in general, because it’s physical activity with a purpose. It encourages decision-making, communication, movement, and personal expression. In addition to the fitness benefits, kids gain social and cognitive skills through an outlet where they can also show off their unique personalities.

One of the best parts of camp is that campers with a variety of personalities and interests come together to create one camp family.  Now, what would you say to a new camper who may not consider themselves to be an athlete, or may be nervous about playing sports at camp?

If sports aren’t necessarily your thing, camp offers something for everyone, from the arts to science and nature, or even media. With that said, our sports programs are designed to be all-inclusive. Our area directors and specialty counselors run activities that teach basics for beginners as well as offering electives to challenge and develop more advanced campers or those who want more individualized instruction. If you want to play on a team, all you have to do is sign up. There are no cuts, everyone gets an opportunity to play and represent their division against other camps.  At Chestnut Lake, we believe in Attitude over Aptitude, and everyone gets an opportunity to play.

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves – at CLC, “everyone gets an opportunity to play”! Whether you hope to spend your summer competing in as many out-of-camp tournaments as possible, or you just can’t wait to have fun with your group while splashing around in the lake, summers at CLC are all about bringing out the play in you!