“Imagine a place where you can make amazing things, eat amazing food, and hang out with the best people. Everything is included and all you have to do is show up (and make an amazing costume).” - 2022 Camper
And that place is Unglued Summer Camp. We made it back to the shores of Big Cormorant Lake for another year of crafty, magical, end-of-summer fun! Please enjoy this photo recap and glimpses of the magic thanks to the crazy kick ass talent of M. Schleif Photography:
At the end of Spring each year, we open up the lottery (yes, this is really a thing!) for our annual Unglued Summer Camp at YMCA Camp Cormorant in Lake Park, Minnesota. In our seventh year, campers were about to be in for a weekend full of kick-ass workshops from local artists/makers, un-freaking-believable food and drinks, campy campfire and lakeside beachy vibes, an all-camp battle of epic proportions, and a sweet ass DJ’d dance to top all dances.
“If you are looking for an experience where you’ll look around and say ‘How did I get so damn lucky to be surrounded by this level of creativity, absurdity, and magic!?’ then come to Camp. It’s the best weekend of the year - no competition.” - 2022 Camper
We created Camp to be a place for all of us, a place where you can, for a weekend, leave all the stress and routine and responsibilities of our lives behind and be free to enjoy yourself fully. Love learning new things? Our incredible workshop instructors are here to introduce you to a new hobby, help you hone your skills, and make something awesome. Looking for a fun weekend away? Come hang out with some of the best people you’ll ever meet, craft it up, eat delicious food and drink tasty dranks, play some games, leave your phone in your bunk and let the weekend take you where you belong. Need a little nature in your life before summer is gone? Kayak around the lake, take a hike through the woods, and end your nights with s’mores over the campfire or lay on the beach and stargaze. It's the way summer in the north is supposed to be. Trying to just CTFO? We’ve got you. Let us take care of everything, while you sway in a hammock or float on the lake where no one is going to ask you to bring them to soccer practice, we promise. Yearning for your childhood summer camp days? Well boy oh boy, these hard af bunk beds at this actual children’s summer camp are calling your name! Earn a merit badge, eat lunch with a bunch of strangers in the mess hall, and sing along with Ashley and Justin around the campfire. But with alcohol!
“Unglued Camp is a beautiful toast to the end of summer. You get to be carefree in the best way. You’ll craft and let that creativity flow. You’ll meet kickass people. You’ll dance. You’ll eat the very best food. You’ll get to go down a slip-and-slide and revisit why maybe a slip-and-slide after 30 is not a great idea but still unequivocally delightful. You’ll be surrounded by the very best energy. The people are what makes this camp weekend a 10/10 experience.” - 2022 Camper
On Friday evening, 150 campers roll into the gravel parking lot with sleeping pads, swimsuits, and circus-y themed dance costumes in tow. Our welcoming crew is here to get everyone oriented to the camp and their bunks and give them some swag to keep it campy for the weekend.
Once campers are settled into their bunks, it's down to the beach patio for some social hour fun and games.
To go along with this year’s camp dance theme, some classic (and not so classic) carnival games. Campers mingled their hearts out and played carnival games for fun prizes (are temporary tattoos having a moment right now, or is it just me??) until they filled their social bingo cards and earned themselves a sweet ass drink from our bar boss Langston.
To provide a proper introduction to all that camp has to offer and the handful of camp 4-1-1 to keep it magical for everyone, Camp Crew puts on an orientation show. Campers gather under two big tents in the camp game field, either on a rainy, windy (almost like a hurricane if we could get those in MN) night…..or a perfectly calm summer evening.
Camp Crew kicked it off with a tik tok dance mash-up. Our lipgloss was poppin’, we jiggle jiggled, we stayed f*#%ing calm. We came in like a steaming plate of fajitas at a chili’s on a Friday night. Because it was about damn time for the welcome show!
Courtney and Dex and their fine booties MC’d the camp "rules" and super important info campers need to know about making camp the best weekend ever.
Handing the mic off to Max and Erica, we got started with the Camp Variety Show. Campers from each cabin competed in wacky, marshmallow-themed games to earn prizes and notoriety from their fellow campers, duh. Transitions can be tough, hello, especially in a packed tent in a field in the rain, so we fill our transitions with sing-a-longs and teaching the wobble.
After the welcome show, campers are welcome to take on the rest of their first night at camp with whatever they so choose. The campfire was roaring, nostalgic snacks are out in the dining hall, and either Annie or Courtney is leading a game of bar-style trivia! This is also your chance to head up to your cabin for some (rock hard) beauty rest because you’ve got a craftastic, fun-fulled, campy, summer day to look forward to tomorrow!
Trumpet calls (either on a trumpet or an electric guitar) signal that Saturday is upon us!
Fitness sessions like yoga, gym class classics, and early morning swim get our bodies moving and those stiff joints creaking first thing in the morning. Next up, it's time for clubs. Campers can pick out a club to hang with based on their interests, like draw club or book club, or their vibe for the morning. I’m looking at you, cranky coffee club.
Just because we are getting campy with kid-sized bunks and sand in our shoes, does not mean our meals are all soggy eggs, hot dogs, and tater tots. Our amazing camp chef and the kitchen crew crafted up some delicious meals for all 150 campers. For breakfast Saturday, Chef Scott spoiled us all with a sweet potato hash, crispy bacon, asparagus with crispy shallots, and chili oil, all covered in a delicious yolk sauce.
“Uncomfortable bunks & weird water. Sore bodies and not enough sleep. But none of that matters because the magic of camp spreads throughout and everyone leaves feeling so full (hearts and stomachs).” - 2022 Camper
Now that campers are fueled up for some crafting, it’s workshop time - as in 50+ workshop options each weekend time! From bath boards to baking cookies. 90-minute wine experts and pole dancing pros. Screenprinting streetwear to cross stitching on the pontoon (whoops - sorry for all the needles and waves combos lol!). Campers crushed new skills, learned from our expert instructors, and came out of each workshop with electrified tastebuds or a new project to bring home!
“This is truly the best way to let out your inner child! The workshops are so accessible and made me feel like a crafting pro when I showed my coworkers after camp!” - 2022 Camper
All that painting and drawing and kneading and sewing sure worked up everyone’s appetites. Cue Chef Scott! He was serving up some middle eastern-inspired realness with kofta, falafel, roasted carrots, wilted cabbage, and crispy brassicas, all topped with tahini sauce, cilantro chutney, and extremely garlicky mayo. As Scott reminded us, lunch is an extra important meal: "We want to fuel campers up without weighing them down.” Because it’s almost battle time, baby!
That’s right. An extremely epic, massively magical, crafty, colorful, collaborative, team-based battle of athleticism, creativity, and wit! Teams of campers from all different cabins, backgrounds, strengths, interests, and tastes in music (kidding! maybe?) convene on the game field decked out in their team’s color.
As with every camp battle, we begin with a crafty cornucopia where campers gather supplies to create a dazzling team mascot, and present it to the judges.
Up next, a brand new game of scavenger hunting and scrabble #skillz.
Then, a relay race with a beach ball, paint-filled water balloons, a jumbo slingshot, a giant canvas, an art director, a curator, and a pitch session complete with emotional pleas and background singers. Yes, this was all one game.
A new addition this year is what Justin calls Hungry Hungry Hippopillars, or was it Hippodillers? Capadillers? Caterpotomus?
Revived from last year, connect four tournaments that give all six teams a chance to go head to head.
Finally, the pièce de résistance: SLIP AND FLIP!!!! The slippiest slides and the tippiest flippiest campers will compete in this rite of passage for the Unglued Summer Camp camp battle.
Whether to rest your bones or revel in the battle win, the lake seems to call everyone’s name when it comes to the happiest hour of the day. DJ Blaine keeps the vibe vibing either on the beach patio or on the pontoon aka The House Boat Sessions. Fantastically delicious cocktails from our Bar Boss Langston brought the chill level straight to eleven. And floaty rosé bottle service made floating on the lake even more desirable.
The sun was poppin’, the lake was cool and wavy, and time just seemed to stop. It stopped so much that our post-camp surveys recommended we add a giant clock somewhere at the beach because, well, there were quite a few campers that joined the third workshop session in their swimsuits and towels, still wet from the lake.
After a full day of workshops, camp battles, and CTFOing behind them, Chef Scott’s dinner of Arepas, carnitas, pollo asado, frijoles borrachos, frijoles charras, and freshly made corn and verde salsas. brought us all back to life with the enthusiasm to get our twerk on. This food is seriously a miracle.
Filled up with a full Saturday and most delicious dinner, it was time to bring on the DANCE PARTY. This year: Surreal Circus and Campy Carnival. Insanely creative costumes from campers blew all our minds. These impressive humans really showed up in their campy carnival and surreal circus best, ready to get the party started.
The dance vibes leveled up even harder thanks to JUSTIN! and his new DJ skills! And lemme tell ya what: it was a game changer. It all went down under the big top (wink) and one weekend even spilled into the field for some under-the-stars surreal magic.
When the dance wraps, campers still have plenty of nighttime fun to be had! Chef Scott whipped up some corn dogs on the beach patio. Nicole led campers in a round of board games in the dining hall. Karaoke singers straight up brought down the house both weekends as we gathered around the campfire. There were ballads and bangers, Disney classics, and teenage dirtbags. The crowd swayed together and danced it out hard - told you we weren’t done yet.
The Sunday trumpet calls are a little later, rising is a little creakier, and everyone shines a little different after the action-packed day of awesome the day before. Our bomb fitness instructors help wake our bodies a bit slower this morning with dancing and mimosas with Jodi, hangover Viking yoga with Courtney S., and a good ol’ lake float with the camp lifeguard, Matt.
On this second morning of clubs, campers have another chance to hang with their clubs from Saturday, or mix it up and hit up a different activity. Before heading off to fill our tummies with delicious Bernbaum’s breakfast, the camp photographer gets everyone together for a group picture that will take you right back to your high school’s gymnasium bleachers.
Ever feel like you’ve made everything you can possibly make in one weekend? Yeah, us either. To fit another sweet project in, I present to you the all-camp craft: tie-dying pillowcases! Perfect for napping so hard when you get home on Sunday and bringing along to cozy up your bunk next year at camp!
Lost in Fargo screen printed these babies with a super secret sleepytime wish for campers that’s only revealed by dying the white pillowcase! #SweetDreams
For bonus swag to stuff your duffle with before it’s time to head home, we had end-of-camp swag-making stations throughout the dining hall and beach patio. Succulent planting with a cute felt pot, button making to add some flair, and a sparkly screenprinted flag with Billie from A Meandering Maker!
Finally, Camp came to a close with the most wholesome campfire commencement ceremony and merit badge winnings. Our camp crew closes this out with thank yous to our kick-ass sponsors who all this magic really would not be possible without, a high five line and winnings for anyone who earned their merit badges that remind us all about that time we kicked ass at Unglued Summer Camp, and a teary-eyed sing-a-long to Good Riddance by Green Day. Damn, that song still gets us every time.
Huge shout out to our kick-ass camp crew, these freaks are some of the hardest working, even harder playing, all-around get-shit-done people we could ever imagine. Everything that happens (and doesn’t happen!) at camp is because of their crazy long hours of chopping and mopping and inflating, all so you campers can have the time of your life.
Speaking of campers, we are so grateful all of you find our events, trust us with your summer weekend, and roll with all the wild weather and wilder antics that go down at Camp.
And last but not least (probably the most) we want to send a giant inflatable swan-sized THANK YOU SO FREAKING MUCH to our sponsors!! Go support these fine folks when you’re in Fargo!
Check out Drekker Brewing Company’s Fargo taproom, magical events, and funky fresh beers!
Pop over to Thunder Coffee’s West Fargo location (and their soon-to-be Brewhalla coffee shop too - we’ll be neighbors!) and get some work done as you sip the best cup o’ joe in town.
Enjoy some crazy unique ciders, the highest caliber vibes, and all. the. plants. at Wild Terra in downtown Fargo.
Get your gummy candy fix at Yeobo Sweet Shop (inside Unglued!).
Plus, Wondermade marshmallows supplies our s'mores station with the very best marshmallows that elevate our campfire roasting game.
And a crazy huge thanks to our camp photographer M. Schleif Photography for capturing the memories and sharing her fire dance-on-speakers skills.
“Unglued Summer Camp feels like home. And not in a bored Netflix binge kinda way but in a safe comfortable, let your guard down kinda way. Where you can just be whoever tf you are and that’s cool as shit. And you know every single person at camp all of a sudden loves you as if they’ve known you for years and you love them back for no actual reason other than they are also at camp and it’s not weird, it just is and everyone is just so dope.” - 2022 Camper.
We'll see you in 2023 back for TWO WEEKENDS of Camp. Always Labor Day weekend and the weekend prior. Always kicking ass. Just like you <3