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Their First Winter Camp

Bear Island Lake in February
Bear Island Lake in February
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Samara Estroff, and her sons Ellis and Miles have attended Family Camp at YMCA Camp Northern Lights for the past few summers, but in February 2024, they experienced Bear Island Lake in a new way: Winter Family Camp. Samara loved the quiet peacefulness of the lake, the balance of family time together, and also the chance to relax while her boys were having fun in age group programming.

For nine-year-old Ellis, the highlight of the weekend was jumping into a hole cut into the frozen lake to cool off after a hot sauna. He and his brother Miles jumped in three times each! Seven-year-old Miles enjoyed playing all-camp kickball, and he especially loved playing broomball for the first time.

Winter Family Camp at Northern Lights is structured similarly to summer family camp programming — there are periods each day where the kids divide into age groups and go with staff to do fun camp activities. During that time, there are activities offered for adults as well. There are all-camp programs that families can opt into. Families also have plenty of time to do activities on their own.

Samara shared, “Winter camp is quieter than summer, but there was the same amount of programming and we loved the experience.”