This is a picture of all of the Korroch boys
and all of the Ehlers boys together in the early-mid 70’s:
Bob, Tom, Jim & Dave Korroch and Jeff, Steve, Bryan & Scott Ehlers
To submit your own camp memories or
camper profile, click here.
remember spending a month at Camp Flying Eagle in the summer of 1967 (when I
was 14) with my two brothers -- my twin, Robert, and my younger brother,
Jonathan. I remember also that Alex Canja had come to our house in Ann Arbor
to talk about the camp and show us slides of the camp. We had a marvelous
month. My favorite and most memorable counselor was Phil, who taught us
basic judo. I excelled at soccer and won that month's soccer award ...seems
to me I got a trophy, but don't know where it is. I remember falling in love
with archery there, too. I swore I'd come back as a counselor myself, but it
Peter Wendel, camper in 1967
Hi all. I must apologize for the amount
of time it's taken me to find the place that holds so many dear memories for
me... my summers at CFE are, without a doubt, some of the fondest memories I
have of childhood and into my teens and adult years. While spending time
looking back at all the little life's lessons Alex, Tess, Dick & Gloria
(hope my memory is right with Mrs. Black's name) instilled in me during
those summers at CFE... I noticed a copper tooling I did with the help of
Deb on the site and a pic of one of my many tribes... a few old pics of Jeff
Ehlers, Mike the Bike, Alex doing a dive after a ton of nagging from the
campers for him to do it!
I am thankful that Susie Black ended up at my Mother and Father's horse
riding camp Canadea Acres as a young boy or my mid-summers journeys may have
been all together different. Thankfully... I spent them at CFE!!
I will never forget the Color Wars, win or lose... it was a Great time!! I
have so many memories I can share, not sure there is room on this site to
mention them all... even though I was not blessed with my first child until
the young age of 40 (Lilly, now 19mths) and my 2nd at 41(London, now 4
1/2mths), my wife and I have been in discussion of late about moving back to
MI from Las Vegas (we have the want for our children to grow up and to be
around family, my brother has 5 and was a one timer at CFE) and as we
discussed it more and more, I said to myself, check google and see if CFE is
still around, wanted a place for my son to go and grow during his summers as
I did... come to find out, I was 25 yrs too late, heck, I even missed out on
the 25th yr of CFE during the summer of 1980, due mostly to work as a caddy
at Pine Lake C.C. and sports that summer and had lost touch after attending
my first reunion in East Lansing in early '80... Alex presented me the
"Football Award" and dubbed me "The Mean Joe Greene of CFE"... I am pretty
sure after all these years I have a few of the awards and sashes somewhere
and I know I have pictures, mostly B&W!! but would like to try by keeping in
touch and have an opportunity to reunite with some of the old gang of CFE
from the 70's. By chance, is another reunion in the works anytime soon..?
On a different note, I had moved back to MI from Las Vegas in late '02 to
take care of my father before he passed in early '03 and we discussed
politics, business, my journeys while in the Marine Corps and my summers at
CFE... My heart goes out to the Canja Family and all those in the CFE family
who have benefited from knowing Alex and how much he helped shape us into
the people we are today and I am eternally grateful! Thank you! Hope this
message finds all of you happy, healthy & doing well!! ... Look forward to
hearing from you!
T.J. McCullough, camper from 1974-1979
CFE! I very fondly remember camp and still tell stories to my kids, friends
and family. I'd still love to see that pizza machine and bowling alley. The
last year of camp I was one year away from getting the 22 rifle as my gift.
Bummer. Shooing away bats in the showers. I broke my arm one year on the
trampoline and Alex made sure my summer still rocked.
One time on a blueberry exp across the lake, I
saw what I thought was a Petoskey stone, kicked it and found out it was a
bee hive. Ouch. Stung like 30 times and Tess and Alex comforted me. Where
are people like that now?
What was the killer bass's name? Bingo on
rainy days. Running early for the patch. Just the best time and place on
earth. Still the only Spanish I know is all the swear words I learned. Where
are Chris Anderson and Moyad?
They were my boys. I could go on and on and
on. CFE = heaven.
Curtis Elam, camper from 1980-1983
used to play soccer with Hector Suarez at Camp Flying Eagle!!!
He was one of the cats that I camped with for
a couple years!! How's it going man?!!!
I remember raiding the other tents---one
time in particular we had knocked some stakes into the ground outside the
tent entrance during the day when the other campers were not in the tent-
possibly the Apache Tent? With the oldest campers? --anyway- late that night
we stretched thick wire from stake-to-stake across the tent entrance, about
six inches from the ground, and yelled at the campers to wake them up- then
we squirted them with ketchup from the dining hall as they ran outside the
tent and tripped into the dusty trail in the dark!!- I remember the Apache
Tent always talked "stuff" to the younger campers!! Payback at age 12!! If
you were one of my pals that helped out with this well-coordinated attack
back in the 1970's, please email me!! I believe this was the second summer I
was a camper there!! (1978?)
What else? The bike trips (we beat the Flying Eagle bus up to the Mackinaw
boat!!), LOTS of afternoons of Judo instruction with Cindy the Judo
Instructor. The Judo pavilion was one of my favorite places every morning!!!
Thanks Cindy - wherever you are - for the instruction of martial arts over
several years at Flying Eagle!! The mythical "underground bowling
alley" that the counselors had in their building--Mr. Black walking around
the field to wake everyone up in the early morning -- "Alright alright
alright- everybody up !!"
The 'Camper/Counselor Hunt'- and trying one
year to hide in this tree, but I was spotted. The next year I prepared a
spot with lots of leaves and branches- and eluded detection. What exactly
was the award for that?
Anyone remember? Something from the Sugar
The bonfire award ceremonies... I received
lots of award patches, almost too many for the sash to accommodate!
--making several pairs of nun-chucks for
campers in the crafts building, swimming across the lake a few times to get
the swimming award, taking out the Sunfish sailboat as much as possible-and
diving under to avoid the horseflies! I remember being just under the
surface of the lake, looking up from underwater, and those biting horseflies
would circle around waiting for me to come back up!!
At Camp Flying Eagle I became a badasssss
archer, and I became a badassss shot with a rifle too.
Sooooo many memories - one of the photo archive pictures from 1977 is me on
the pommel horse- I think the gymnastics instructor was Brian?
I remember being friends with this cat
Stuart who was into punk rock, and buying the Plasmatics album "Beyond the
Valley of 1984" when I was 11 years old on a Flying Eagle day-trip to
Traverse City. We all loved the picture of Wendy O. Williams on the cover!!
I remember hanging out with the Mexican
campers mostly - we all liked soccer alot, and I learned some of my first
Spanish words from them too!-they brought tapes of Mexican disco music that
was popular in the later 1970's-"Video Killed the Radio Star" and the "Stars
on 45", and I wish I still had those tapes- they were great!!
I remember spraying OFF! mosquito repellant on the tent above my bunk to
keep the mosquitoes away-- the OFF! ate through the waterproofing on the
tent, so when it rained, the water rolled right on through the tent and
dripped onto my bunk-bed! (First and only year I made THAT mistake!)
I will add more as this flood of memories continues- I hope alot more people
find this website and can contribute memories to the archives!!
-- Matt Schwetz, camper from 1977-1979
In 1971 I was six years old and had two older brothers already at camp (Tom
and Bob). Jim, (Jimmy then, a year younger than I) also came to camp. I was
quickly given the nickname "Wavey" (thank you, Sue Black!) because I had a
bit of trouble saying my own name. Little did I know that I would spend the
next nine summers as a camper and then three more on staff until camp closed
my senior year in high school, 1983- a total of twelve years (seems like 12
A few significant events of camp: being
rousted out of bed by Coach Black every morning, anticipating what
activities we would be assigned during "formation", color wars (Hal was a
GREAT Great White Spirit- a role I had the honor of emulating later in my
CFE career), Mackinac Island (watching the road whiz by through the
floorboard of the bus, and "Black burgers" cooked at a rest area on the way
back), hoping and hoping to be asked to ring the bell, dreading the
responsibility of being asked to raise or lower the flag (ugh, folding it in
a triangle!!), dreading boxing and wrestling nights (but doing it, by God,
because Coach Black was watching!), laying on the top bunk in one of the
tents during rest period with the flaps up and watching the leaves flutter
and the clouds go by. All of you know that's only a tidbit of life at CFE- I
could go on for a long time.
From camper I became Kitchen Boy. I used to
love to hate the smell of rotten eggs emanating from the grill as I cleaned
it with a "grill brick" and plenty of vinegar. And of course the "Slop-Pit"
where all the left-overs (mostly creamed eggs, I think) were put to rest in
a pit behind the bus.
Then I was Archery counselor, and then
charged with the Waterfront the last year of camp. Alex helped me secure a
counselor position at another boys camp in 1984- it just wasn't the same.
Their philosophy was around pleasing the kids to secure repeated attendance
versus instilling life-long values that I had learned at CFE; I lasted only
two weeks there.
My most significant memories, most
impactful memories on my adult life, are the memories I have of Green
Chapel. Every Sunday morning we would quietly walk across the ballfield to
that sacred place in the trees where Council Fire was held. There, Alex, and
occasionally Coach Black, would bestow upon us the wisdom of their
experiences and beliefs. Never was there a denominational component, never
were we told what to believe. But when we were asked to close our eyes and
just listen, listen to the leaves rustling, listen to your neighbor
breathing, listen to the bee buzzing, you knew, you just KNEW, there was
something bigger than you out there.
Lastly, I relate this story... In 1999 my
wife Stacie and I were camping in Grayling and of course I wanted to show
her CFE. I had visited a number of times previously, camped at forty pines
(many times with my brother Tom) and on the ballfield. That day we came
unannounced and were welcomed with open arms by the Blacks and Tess and the
Smiths (current owners). When I asked where Alex was I was told he was sent
on an "errand" while preparations were made for a surprise birthday party!
What good fortune! It was such a thrill to see Alex and share banana splits
with everyone- I even got to ring the bell again!
-- Dave Korroch, camper 1971-1980, KB 1981, counselor 1982-1983
so many memories and all of them positive. I was exercising today and for
some reason, CFE just popped into my head. The minute I got home, I searched
t see if I could find any info and was I surprised!
My most fond memories were of the wonderful friends and counselors at CFE. I
loved crafts and thought I was the best lanyard maker of them all. I even
sold what I made for candy store. I remember sitting on the butterfly chairs
and listening to Pres. Nixon and all the trouble he was in. I loved the
water and will never forget cutting in line to ski more than I was supposed
to. And then there were the trips to Mackinac every summer (because I always
stayed for seven weeks) and of course, our trips into Mancelona for ice
l felt special getting up on Sunday mornings to go to church with Mr. and
Mrs. Black. I remember Guillermo from Aguas Calientes, Mexico, and how I
tried to communicate with him in my broken Spanish. The list of memories
goes on and on, and I am grateful to my late father for insisting that I
attend camp to lose weight. I shall never forget my days at CFE.
-- Charlie Falcon, camper from 1970-1974
grown up on a lake, I thought the lake swim would be easy - until Hal told
me that as the Assistant Waterfront Director, I had the honor of swimming
with one of the slowest kids of each group! Don't know about the
campers, but I sure slept good the first 2 nights of each session.
My best memories were the look of joy on the faces the moment one of the
campers realized they could actually swim. Being on the waterfront for 3
years, first as Hal's assistant, then as the Waterfront Director, it felt
like I got paid to play on the water, and to teach the campers how to do the
same things that I loved to do. It was 3 great years!
Also trying to figure out what prank I could let the Eagles get away with at
the end of each session. I think the best was the year they planted a tree
in the middle of the ball field and moved all their bunks underneath it on
the last night.
-- Norm Maddex, Counselor 1973-1975
have so many great memories of CFE...memories that shaped the values of who
I became. Among my favorite memories: Being woken up on a stormy night
thinking it was a tornado, but it was the start of Color Wars. Sitting on
the porch and talking to everyone about nothing. Riding to the store and
buying a can of Coke (what a treat!). Fishing with Jeff Ehlers before anyone
else was awake. Many great trips to Mackinac Island. PB&J's after Council
Fire. Bingo on rainy nights in the rec hall (don't eat the noodles!). Ice
cream at Dairy Queen in Mancelona. Sneaking up on Paul Canja to listen to
him play the piano. Cereal box candles and lanyard key chains. Green Chapel
and Sunday breakfast buffet. Spending the summer of 1980 in the Boat House
as a KB (remember the skunk smell?). Being lost on the back roads of
Mancelona in the fog with Dan Schnur at 2am on a day off as a KB.
CFE did a lot of great things for me. It was definitely a life altering
positive influence. So many memories, so little space to write them. See
everyone at the reunion!!
-- Mitch Brown, Camper 75-79, Kitchen Boy 1980
Black and I attended Aquinas College together in the mid-70's, sharing an
enormous old frame house near campus with an assorted collection of would-be
scholars; each of us infected to varying degrees with that sublime feverish
insanity of youth. I could tell you stories about Terry, but then he might
start telling tales about me and some of my current students may end up
reading this. Suffice to say: Bluto, Otter and the Delta's had nothing on
Hop Shro, Little Moe and The Boys of the Ponderosewood.
It was spring, 1975. I had just graduated and was looking for something to
occupy my summer and hopefully provide a little cash before starting grad
school in the fall. Terry told me his dad worked at some summer camp "up
north" and they they had an opening for an assistant waterfront director. I
had absolutely no idea what the job entailed but Terry told me I would love
it. I had worked as a lifeguard and my Red Cross card was still current. I
had never even seen a summer camp before but I figured I had nothing to lose
so I phoned this guy, Alex, who hired me sight unseen, based on Terry's
Two weeks later I found myself stranded in the middle of nowhere a couple
hours north of Lansing. My '64 Mercury, aka The Vomit Comet, had snapped a
U-joint. I was expected at camp that day to help get things ready and I
hadn't thought to bring phone numbers so I couldn't even call. And so, the
Vomit Comet Inn became my abode for the night. They next day a smelly,
sheepish, unkempt, unshaven, six-foot-four mop-head pulled into camp feeling
guilty and wondering if he still had a job.
The first person I met was Mrs. Black, who immediately gave me a big hug. I
am convinced she believed she had just discovered her long lost son because
that is exactly how she treated me and still does to this day. Of course Mr.
Black, Alex and Tess adopted me too. The other counselors: Canja, Ehlers,
Norm, Mike the Bike, Judo John, Korroch and the others became like brothers.
The rest, as they say, is history.
One of my duties was teaching campers to sail those little Sunfish
sailboats. Now I took my job on the beach seriously, especially when it
involved keeping kids safe while in and around the water. But the fact was
before that summer I had never even been close to a sailboat in my life.
Some kids did manage to successfully navigate the triangle course around the
lake, earning a merit badge, perhaps despite my best efforts. I never could
remember those parts of the boat that campers were supposed to memorize. (Is
it a line or a rope?). When it came time for a test I would slip into what
became my standard routine. First I would point out two or thee parts at
random asking the camper to name them. Next I would draw myself up to my
full height, usually towering over a foot over the camper, look down in his
eyes, and ask in my most serious tone "Are you sure about these answers?" If
the camper showed even the slightest hesitation I would suggest "Perhaps you
had better review t! hese a little more." I boasted only about a 50% passing
rate until some bright camper figured out my little con.
My career at Camp Flying Eagle lasted all of twelve weeks; eighty-four
days. But what days! What nights! What a summer! Those moments ...
those memories ... of fun times and outstanding people. They are tucked away
deep in my heart ... not so deep that I can't take them out and hold them
when my soul needs refreshing. They will be with me always.
By happy coincidence my wife, Susan, and I have become good friends with
Brad and Diane Smith, the current owners. Last summer we spent a couple of
days at camp. Brad was worried that I might be disappointed seeing the camp
in less than mint condition. I was so relieved to find that the property had
not been subdivided that he need not have worried. I had the delicious
experience of setting foot for the first time in a once forbidden area (to
me, at least): The Married Counselors' Cabin!
I don't know, yet, if I will be able to join you all at the reunion in
August. I will most certainly be there in spirit.
-- Mike Sweeney, Assistant Waterfront Director, 1975
was there [at camp] when the US landed on the moon. I remember being able to
stay up late to crowd around the TV and watch Armstrong take the first step,
and I remember Alex telling us that we’ll be tempted to get excited and
cheer, but to be very quiet because Neal Armstrong will probably say
something important. Alex was right and Neal did (say something important)
and if anyone asks me where I was when we landed on the moon, I’ll know.
There is something else that might be worth mentioning: I went to the
University of Michigan in the early 80s. After a year of college when I
graduated from high school, I took about five years off, before returning to
school, so I was an older student (as least relative to the other
underclassmen). In one of my classes, we got to talking about things we had
done in our life, specifically our professor as urging us to remember songs
and lyrics we had learned throughout our life. I was surprised when one guy
started singing the Flying Eagle song, and we got to talking. He had gone to
the camp a good ten years after I had. It was an odd kind of linkage but it
reminded me about how that place didn’t just help some kids grow up, but its
influence truly spanned generations.
-- Phil Smith, camper from 1967-1969
have fond memories of Tess and Alex and my experiences at Camp Flying Eagle.
The camp experience clearly helped me develop as a person and it help shape
my values in life. I feel blessed.
I was a camper from 1959-1962. My nick name was “Pancake . ” I held the camp
record for eating 22 pancakes at one meal. I also ate 9 bowls of ice cream
at one meal.
I clearly did not go hungry while at camp. My mother especially liked Alex
because he was a graduate of the University of Michigan as was she.
Unfortunately for her , all of her sons graduated from Michigan State
I will always remember the softball game we played against Camp Tanuga down
the road and I was pitching. Coach Black was impressed with my pitching and
he was really impressed with my home run into center field where no one
could find the ball in the trees. Given my base speed it was the only chance
I had to make it around the bases and score a run. I had great potential,
but I liked the food at the camp! I realized my potential later in life, but
the camp provided me with the foundation to succeed.
I will not be able to attend the reunion this year, but I plan to stop at
Camp Flying Eagle to show my daughter and son the camp. Thank you for being
part of my life.
-- Bob Greene, camper from 1959-1962
this year will mark 29 years since my first summer as a very young and
nervous Waterfront Director, but all of the great memories that I have from
4 of the next 5 summers make it seem like only yesterday. The sunny days on
the beach and pulling skiers around the lake. Creating (with the help of
Jeff Ehlers) the swamp monster feet that we left tracks with all over camp
to "prove" that the monster stories were true. Canoe trips down the Manistee
loosing only one canoer who was found
later having a snack at the cabin of a friend of Alex's. Rowing the boat for
the morning Polar Bear swims and losing a candy bar bet to Matt Cuningham
for swimming the lake butterfly. The nights spent in dark sweats on Tent
Duty just waiting for the Apaches to try and make a tent raid. The long
lines at the Grand Hotel pay phone to make a quick call home. These and many
more great memories are always there to bring a smile to my heart at any
Today I have property near the
Camp, have taken my son's Boy Scout troop down the same stretch of the
Manistee camping in the same camp sites, and my kids can still hear me call
them in off the lake even if they are at the far end. Alex, Tess, Dick, and
Gloria were some of the best role models I have ever had in my life. Can't
wait to see everyone at the reunion this summer!!!
-- Dave Steinbach, counselor from 1977-1978
have a clock that I look at every morning. Above that clock is my Flying
Eagle picture with Jeff Canja standing proudly
in the center between Scott Winkelman and me. Also in the picture are Rich
Ansell, Allen Salle (sorry if I spelled it wrong Allen) and others. I am so
appreciative and fortunate to have attended CFE because of the positive and
permanent impact it had on my life. At CFE I learned and tried to do things
that I might not have tried otherwise. It was the first time I tried water
skiing, riflery, archery, long distance trip biking, karate, judo, boxing,
etc. One thing that I took well beyond CFE was swimming. Thanks to Hal, I
went on to earn several swimming certificates from the Red Cross which
eventually led me to my Water Safety Instructor's certificate and camp
counselor and life guard positions. Alex influenced me to take high diving
lessons from a local swim club (lotsa pink bellies). I have talked so much
about Flying Eagle that when my son was 10 he asked me if he could go to CFE.
It broke my heart to tell him that the camp no longer was in business. CFE -
a camp where a boy could be a boy and learn lessons that later in life would
help him to be a man. Thanks for contacting me Tess, it was great talking to
you. How How Ugh
-- Ross Foner, camper from 1972-1974
attended CFE for five years (1971-1975).
(Got the five band radio as my five year gift). CFE made such an indelible
impression on me that just last summer I took a "side trip" coming home from
Up North with my 12 and 9 year old daughters and visited the camp. It was a
beautiful sunny day like they always used to be. As I stepped out of my car
the memories came flooding back. We walked the playing field and the path to
the bon fire site. Walked past the younger kids cabin (where I was Color War
captain the year we won it and got "all the ice cream you could eat").
Walked to the assembly area and down to the lake. No more diving platform,
but I remember it clearly. I remember betting one of my cabin mates my candy
store allotment if he'd take a bite of the soap residue left on the beach
following the Saturday night lake baths.
The memories are too great to count, but a few of them are: bug juice, last
finger to the nose had to "scrape" the plates, softball, pinball bombardment
on the basketball court, movie night....still remember Bridge On the River
Kwai and Guns of Naverone like they were yesterday, Candy Store, bear
scares, rolling up the tent flaps and listening to the wind rustling the
leaves during after lunch quiet time, letters from home, thunderstorms in
the tent, going to Dead Man's Hill (Jordan River Valley) on a long bike
trip; 40 Pines, canoeing the Manistee, Daddy Long Legs everywhere, getting
the new CFE tee shirt every year. Thanks Tess for calling. CFE was a core
part of a very happy childhood.
-- Rich Ansell, camper from 1971-1975
was 8 years old my first year, so this would have been 1973. I then came to
camp every year through 1979, age 14. I did stay for the full 7 weeks, all
but my last year. To this day, I have wonderful memories of that time. It
made a very positive impact on my life. I really loved the water skiing, but
also all the cookouts and overnight outings, 40 Pines, biking trips, the
Manistee canoe trips. I remember the guys that stayed for both sessions
always got to go on a unique trip in-between sessions. I remember being
buddies with all the guys from Mexico, since most of them also stayed the
whole summer. So many fun things. I will try to come to the reunion, and
bring my son at least.
-- Jack Scollard, camper from 1973-1979
I have mixed emotions when I think of those
years at Flying Eagle, but as the years stream by, the good far outweighs
whatever else was on my teenage mind back then.
There is a story that I still tell about something that happened there. One
morning, we were going out to the field to do our daily calisthenics. I was
still groggy from just waking up, and after bending down to tie my shoe, I
got up and ran right into the guy-wire of the highbar and flipped up,
landing flat on my back, with the wind knocked out of me. I still remember
looking up, and standing over me was counselor Phil Toyama, the Judo
instructor. And he said, "Phil. Phil. You forgot to slap!" I'll never forget
Throughout my life, I have always had an interest and desire to go off the
beaten path and explore the obscure and unusual. I have usually traced the
origins of this pastime back to Camp Flying Eagle, when we would go off and
cruise around the UP, looking for adventures great and small. That was my
favorite part of the camp, and it is the part of Flying Eagle that has
stayed with me for all the days of my life.
-- Phil Smith, camper from 1967-1969
I had two fantastic years at CFE! Besides all
the Huntington Woods campers from my generation (including the Rotters,
Mitch Front, Bruce Marwil, Doug Slotkin and my brother, Rich), some of the
things I remember best are softball, both at CFE and at other camps; early
morning runs with co-camper Andy Mourad and counselor Mike Sweeney; Mr.
Black bellowing "First Period!", "Second Period!", etc.; award ceremonies
around the camp fire; our tent's winning number, "Joy to CFE" (sung to the
tune (or, something resembling the tune) of "Joy to the World") on song
night; watching (from a front row seat) Dave and Michael Rotter go at each
other on boxing night; the giant relay race at the end of Color War.
-- David Baum, camper from 1975 to 1976
I have a lot of memories... softball games
against Camp Sancta Maria, Capture the Flag with the entire camp, the
waterfront and mad sprints to be first to waterski with hopes of getting 2
runs in the same free period, bike trips, canoe trips, fishing and of course
the Polar Bear swim in the a.m. -- Sue Black and Dave Steinbaugh always led
the charge -- surprise packages from my older brother and sister in the mail
... filled with trail mix, forgotten equipment, Sports Illustrated (which
Mr. Black always borrowed) and, of course, my siblings' creativity sending
the concealed Playboy with a Sports Illustrated cover ... funny, I don't
recall ever getting that Sports Illustrated issue back and trust me it
wasn't the swimsuit issue. I wonder who has that one now.
-- Jon Davidson
best days of my life were at CFE.
I remember how sad I spent my first summer after Camp Flying Eagle was
closed. This feeling knocks on my door every summer. In 2001 I was able to
contact Tess & Alex. I had to let them know how important they were in my
life and also thank them for the best years of my life. The Canja's and also
the Black's are main characters in the story of my life. Camp Flying Eagle
is the place I go to feel safe everytime I need a place to hide from the
This past summer I had a heart problem and also there was something wrong
with my head (the truth is that with my head there's always been a
problem!). When I woke up, and for the next 4 months, my memory was blocked
75%, but Camp Flying Eagle was in the other 25% and that made me feel safe.
Frank Zucker already wrote about our trip in 2003. That was like rebirth for
me. In the summer of 1983 I left a part of me in the woods of Mancelona and
in the bottom of the lake. I just wasn't ready to say goodbye on that last
day of Camp. I just said; "see you next year"... and 20 years went by before
I could be reunited with that little kid that learned how to live life at
Camp Flying Eagle.
See you next Summer.
Hector Suarez, camper 1977-1983 and still a camper in 2006
of 71...Apache Eagles tent...after lights out...The Eagles come up with a
plan to ring the bell at midnight. We vote for George Hammond to do it (he's
the only one we could talk into it), but he is hesitant. He fears he will
lose his candy store if he is caught. He becomes more receptive when
everyone in our group agrees to give him our candy store for the entire
session. He is finally convinced when we tell him that Merrill Falk is on
tent duty and everyone knows that Merrill can't catch anybody! The deed is
done and camp history is made, but George is nailed in the process (not by
Merrill). The next morning George faces Alex prepared to lose his candy
store, but confident in the knowledge that he will get all of ours. But Alex
correctly surmises that George did not come up with this plan by himself and
takes candy store away from all the Eagles for the whole session. George
took it pretty hard!!!
-- Jeff Ehlers, camper from 1965-1971
I don't think that I forgot a moment of camp. Whether it was laying in the ballfield watching the Northern
Lights, raiding other tents, trying to get into the CQ, or, most of all, the
friendships that were developed at CFE. Hector Suarez and I had the pleasure
of traveling back up to see Tess a couple of years ago and enjoying it all
again. The memories flooded back! We actually swam the lake back and forth,
how in the world did we do that when we were all young?
I realized how much CFE meant to me the other day when I was able to recite
an entire day's schedule to my son Peter. I have actually found myself
waking him up in the morning very similar to how Mr. Black and Alex
used to wake us up, "All right All right All Right it's a beautiful day
today at Camp Flying Eagle!" I have missed my high school and college
reunions, but I won't miss this one!
-- Frank Zucker, camper from 1977 to 1983
forward to the reunion! We have maintained our friendship with fellow
counselor Merrill Falk for 34 years. That gift, and the "teaching"
experiences we had as counselors, paved the way for our careers as
educators. The incredibly "positive" atmosphere of helping to create
successes for young people at CFE carried over into our
combined 61+years in the classroom.
--Tom and Kate Marshall, counselors in 1971 and 1973
was the last day of our last session. All of the campers had gone home
when a station wagon drove up with five children of various sizes inside,
chattering and excited.
When the driver, their father, got
out of the car, he turned out to be Joel Penoyer, one of our very first
campers, 28 years before. Now he was a doctor in Fairview, Washington. “We
were back in Michigan,” he said, “and I wanted to show them where I used to
catch snakes.” This we had to see! “Go ahead,” Alex said.
So the kids all dashed out of the car and
followed their dad down the hill toward the other side of the swale.
Within 15 minutes they came back with a snake.
never saw ferns before, and maybe just a few birch trees. I remember
lying still under the ferns during the camper-counselor hunt, hoping not to
be found, but afraid I’d be stepped on. Wondering if time was up yet.
Hearing counselors yelling “candy bars!” Did that mean the hunt was
over and I had won? Or were they calling us candy bars?
I didn’t move. My counselor walked right
past me but didn’t see me (right!). The bell. I won a candy bar!
camp I remember one time that some of us put too much toilet paper in the
toilet. It backed up and Alex got quite mad about it. He called
us all together . . . told us all we needed to use was three sheets of
toilet paper, not all at once, but one at a time..
Alex: I’m sorry to say, I’ve
tried to use only three sheets. But I have not been able to use less than
nine, using two or three sheets at a time. (This memory gave Alex a good
laugh, shortly before he
only is it true that we wore our Flying Eagle t-shirts under our tuxes at my
wedding, but I still have, carefully put away, two CFE t-shirts. I also have very carefully put
away, my sash from each of the six years at CFE, along with trophies for
soccer, fishing and camper of the year.
days out of every t-shirt: frontward, backward, inside out frontward,
inside out backward.
Ticket to the camp movies Wednesday and
Saturday: a letter home.
Bedtime story: I could hardly wait for
the next night.
The winter party at the U of M
pool to swim and receive a Camp Flying Eagle wallet for being a camper for
three years. (Note: these were leather wallets carved by Alex.)
Last, but not least, with that contagious
smile: shaking my hand and making my arm wave like an uncontrollable
noodle. I have to admit, I emulate that with every 8-year-old boy I
meet to this day.
Reading the other memories certainly
gave me some goose bumps. What a great feeling to rush back to being 11
years old and all the fun we had. I loved the color wars, the baseball
games, swimming the lake, long overnight bike rides, apple fights, boxing
matches with the giant gloves, shooting .22 rifles. Wow. We certainly had
too much fun. Now that I have kids of my own, I am concerned about being
able to find them experiences like we had. I was also happy to remember the Korroch brothers and Chris Nugent from my time at
I just remember always wanting to become a
camper at Camp Flying Eagle and was finally able to do so as a surprise from
my mom, dad, the Blacks, and, last but not least, the Canjas. On my many
visits to "the North Country" with the Blacks I always wondered what it
would be like to be a camper. That was one the most memorable summers of my
life. Thank you all.
the age of six, I have so many fond memories of spending 11 consecutive
summers at CFE. From
pink-bellies at morning cals, to PB&Js at night. From bus trips to Mackinac
to canoe trips down the mighty Manistee.
From Color Wars to
Camper-Counselor hunts. From the sugar shack to the CQ to the KBQ. From
the pre-meal formation report “all present and accounted for, sir" to bug
juice and tuna-loonies. From the ringing of the dinner bell to the singing
of “Taps.” I could go on and on and on and on.
bus trips into the UP with campers still remain one of my fondest memories.
I have been north several times with my family and always tried to retrace
our bus route through the southern shore of Lake Superior. Remembering
the swims at the Lower Tahquamenon Falls, hikes back to the upper falls and side trips to Paradise
and Whitefish Point.
I never spent a night again like we did in
those days when we just threw our sleeping bags on the sand and slept under
-- Bill Rocker, DDS (former counselor)
this brings the memories flooding back. Council Fire, PBJs, trips to Mackinac Island, Canoe trips, Color War,
swimming the lake, the KBQ, Talent night (whenever one of those songs comes
on the radio and I start singing it with the campers words, my kids think
I've gone crazy), finally beating CSM at softball, night raids on the
Apaches. Can't Wait for the reunion.
-- Chris Nugent (Camper 1976-80, 81 Kitchen
talked to me over the phone one evening and hired me. A week later I
pulled into the parking lot at camp. I will always remember the first
thing Alex said to me when we met. In a boisterous voice, with a big
smile and a hearty handshake he said, “You’re the guy I hired over the
As a result of working at Camp Flying Eagle I
became a teacher. I am just finishing my 28th year. In 1984 I
became the president of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Physics Teachers and
then a Physics Teacher Resource Agent for the American Association of
Lots of really great stuff has happened as a
result of my teaching – that might never have happened if Alex hadn’t hired
me over the phone!
-- Merrill Falk
Gale and I wanted an experience working
at a camp, so when Alex came to CMU for “camp day” we went and filled out
applications for several camps. On the CFE form there were many boxes to check for experience doing certain things.
I told Gale to check them all and we will learn what we don't know.
Alex called to invite us to join him and Tess and Dick and Gloria Black.
Gale was sent to school for two weekends to be certified as a
state-registered camp health director and I finished my WSI (water safety
instructor certification) at Central, and off we went.
What a great four summers we had at CFE! I still use my shaving kit from
1972 and I have my wallet from 1973.
I was the Waterfront Director and the counselors and I had to carry the
motor boat down to the lake each year to get it ready. It took a dozen of us
to accomplish the task and a lot of sweat. The water was very cold to start
the summer. I didn't know how to ski that first summer and I had to learn
before the kids came. We always had last call for skiing before dinner and
the counselors would come down for a quick turn around the lake. The good
ones would hop on one ski from the beach, make two trips around the lake and
finish on the beach not getting wet before going up to dinner.
I remember learning to play Capture the Flag and at night after dinner
playing using the whole camp and running all over the place. What a workout!
Gale enjoyed her time with the first aid needs of the young boys, but trying
to keep the doctor appointment times straight was a challenge because Flying
Eagle did not operate on daylight savings time. And, having our son Aaron
there after his birth in 1973 kept us both busy.
Hal & Gale Commerson
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