A Guide to Foley Lingo & Traditions
Click on one of the terms below to see the definition!
Activity Guide: A booklet of all the activities camp has to offer. The book has a description of the activity as well as the requirements for any award campers can receive at the activity. The book is sometimes given to each camper or placed in the cabins to be used as a reference tool throughout each session.
Anchor Award: The Anchor Award is a special award that is handed out to one boy and one girl each session every summer. Campers that have been at camp for more than five weeks are eligble to win this award. Counselors have the privilege of nominating the campers that they think are deserving of this award. The Admin team then takes the list of nominations to then decide the one girl and one boy winner of the award, and are ultimately responsible for the final say of who wins. The Anchor Award is given to someone who is a good representation of the camp community, someone who is friendly, kind and a positive role model for everyone. This award is not based on skills in a specific activity or popularity, but solely on character. There is a list of past Anchor Award recipients dating back to 1984 that hangs in the Dining Hall. Usually, prior to the presentation of the award, past recipients share what the Anchor Award means to them. Then, the most recent recipient (or someone who hasn't presented the award) gives the award to the next recipient. The Anchor Award is more of a way of life rather than an award. The actual award is a small, gold anchor key chain.
Arrival Day Celebration: When campers arrive at camp a great celebration takes place. Counselors, and campers who were dropped off by car, make a long line and cheer and jump around when the coach buses arrive. When a camper comes off of the bus a director will shout his/her name and cabin to the camp community. The cabin that the camper is joining will reply with cheers and shouts of joy. After everyone has arrived cabin groups travel around to different stations: They go to the Swimdock for the swim test (and get to snack on goldfish while hearing the rules), they visit the nurse, learn camp rules at the office (where they have the opportunity to fill their water bottle with lemonade) and they visit the Marina to learn boat safety and test lifejackets. Campers then sign up for activities and eat the traditional first night spaghetti dinner. After dinner, campers attend Opening Campfire and the Arrival Day Celebration comes to a close.
Awards Campfire (Closing Campfire): Awards Campfire is the final campfire at camp and occurs the night before campers depart for the summer. At this campfire, campers receive recognition for the awards they have earned over the past two weeks. Songs are traditionally sung at this campfire as well. There is a special story that Marie tells at the end of this campfire (sort of a tradition of itself). Like any Foley campfire, Awards Campfire is concluded by singing Taps. May also be referred to as Closing Campfire.
Bakers Square Night: A favorite meal among campers and staff alike, the Bakers Square meal consists of various kinds of soup, bread sticks, salad bar and apple pie. The uniqueness of this meal has to do with the apple pie as dessert is not usually served at meals.
Banquets/Alpha Games: The last full day of camp was known as “Banquet Day.” There was always a special theme that was new each year. Past examples include Harry Potter, Out of this World, Flintstones, etc. New in 2019 began Alpha Games. This new end-of-session celebration replaced the Banquets Day but kept with the idea of a theme, an all day challenge and a final banquet meal. Alpha Games operates in a color-wars type of event and is becoming the new tradition for Foley campers. Read more on Alpha Games here.
Birthdays at Camp: Birthdays at camp are very special. Traditionally, counselors will decorate the cabin for the birthday boy or girl. Then, at lunch, a ruckus is caused and the birthday boy or girl is brought to the front of the Dining Hall. The entire camp sings “Happy Birthday,” and then the staff sing the special “Foley Birthday Song.” The camper is presented with birthday cake (to be enjoyed by the cabin later) and then blows out the candles. After lunch, campers follow the birthday boy or girl toward the waterfront signing, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we hate to do it, but we must we must.” Then, the cabin counselors have the joyous opportunity to throw the birthday boy or girl in the lake!
Beach Duty: Assigned to campers who need safety reminders on the waterfront like checking in/out at the Buddy Board, keeping lifejackets buckled or not adhering to other waterfront rules. Years ago campers were assigned to collect dead fish or to rake up the weeds that float and pile up on shore. It has evolved into picking up rocks in the shallow areas. Beach Duty isn't assigned very often anymore… but it isn't unheard of.
The Bell: The bell is a huge part of camp. Hearing the bell ring means one of two things. Usually, it’s rung to bring campers and staff to the benches for a meal. It is also rung to bring campers and staff to the benches case of an emergency. Hundreds, probably thousands, of campers have rung that boisterous bell calling campers and staff to the benches.
The Benches: A collection of benches sits in a horseshoe formation in front of the Dining Hall, and they are the heart of camp. Campers and staff gather at the benches before every meal, for all camp events, for emergencies, for certain activities and during free time simply to hang out. From left to right (when facing the lake) cabins sit youngest to oldest. Each cabin has two benches that are designated to them. As a rule, we do not stand on the benches, but we do have outdoor meals on them, sit on them to hear announcements about who has gotten awards at activities, gather on them in teams on banquet day, etc.
Buddy Board: The Buddy Board is the safety system used at the Swimdock and Marina at Foley. It is two boards (one at each place) that have hooks and Buddy Tags. Each camper has a number (their canteen number) assigned to them that has a Buddy Tag at each Buddy Board. Campers sign in at one of the two boards whenever they are at the waterfront. As the campers pass the Buddy Board on their way to the activity they must take their Buddy Tag and sign into their activity so the staff knows they are in or on the water. Campers must sign in and out every time they enter and exit the waterfront.
The Bugle: The bugle was the original camp alarm clock. It was played over speakers inside and outside the buildings in the morning to rouse campers from their sleep. The song played was Reveille. The bugle is no longer sounded in the morning. “The Bugle” is also the name of the Camp Foley newsletter.
Bus Lunches: One of the ways campers can arrive to Foley is by bus. The two buses are known as “The Airport Bus” (because it comes from and goes directly to the airport) and “The OLG Bus” (because it picks up and drops of campers from the Twin Cities at Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina, MN). When campers take the bus to camp, a weird sensation runs through the campers called hunger. Camp Directors found a way to deal with this problem, “Bus Lunches.” These have changed over the years. Not long ago, campers would get a lunch from McDonald's. Now campers receive bagels, cream cheese, Chips Ahoy Cookies, chips and an apple. Camper do not receive silverware, so learning how to skillfully get the cream cheese onto the bagel has become somewhat of a rite of passage.
Canteen: Canteen generally happens after 4th period each activity day. Canteen includes the following: a variety of candy, ice cream, healthy snacks. Each camper can have one canteen per day unless Marie declares a DOUBLE CANTEEN! Special Canteen occurs on select days after the normal Canteen rush is over. It includes apparel items (sweatshirts, hats, t-shirts) and other miscellaneous items (toiletries, friendship bracelet string, camp chairs, water bottles). The amount of money campers have to spend at Special Canteen depends on how much money a parent puts into the camper's account before camp.
CDO (Cute Dinner Outfit) Night: CDO Night usually takes place on the second Friday of the session. It began as one night for the Tekawitha girls to dress up for dinner. Once upon a time this meant jeans and a nice top. In the more recent years, CDO Night means sun dresses and skirts. Also in the more recent years, other cabins like Hiawatha and sometimes Mingo and Wahtassa get caught up in the glamour of CDO Night. Counselors are also invited to dress up (although dressing up for a counselor usually just means clean clothes).
CFC: A Camp Foley crush. Crushes are generally discouraged at Foley but never-the-less present every summer.
Change Over: Between sessions, the four week campers do a variety of activities in the absence of the two-week campers. Typical out-of-camp changeover activities include: mini golf, going out for pizza, visiting a local water park or going to a movie. In camp, campers may go swimming, hang out on the dock, watch a movie in the loft or enjoy a sleep-in day.
Cool-Off Swim: Cool-off Swims are an essential part of Foley, especially during the hotter days of July. After an especially vigorous activity or event, campers are encouraged to put on a swimsuit and jump into the lake as the sun sets. Cool-off swims are sometimes mandatory and traditionally occur after the dance and evening activities such as three-goal soccer or capture the flag. For cool-off swims the boys use the Swimdock and girls use the Marina.
Departure Day: Departure Day begins with campers packing their last few belongings and hauling their bags from cabins to their departure location (typically spread around the Dining Hall). Breakfast consists of “depression donuts” and “misery muffins” – names given to the foods by campers due to the sadness felt by all because it’s the last day of the session. After breakfast, the buses are loaded with the campers departing for the airport or OLG (the Twin Cities drop off point). Everyone not leaving on a bus lines up from the Dining Hall to the doors of the buses for a large hug line, ensuring goodbyes are said to everyone desired. Campers leaving by car get picked up after the buses depart. Camp empties and only the staff remain.
Dishwashers: Camp is feeding approximately 200 campers and staff at every meal and therefore has a ton of dishes that need to be washed after every meal. With this tremendous amount of dishes come the wonderful campers who volunteer to wash dishes. Dishwashers don’t do it for the glory – they do it to cut tuition costs for their parents. Each camper who signs up to be a dishwasher gets money off of their camp tuition each time they wash dishes.
The Disk: The Disk is a red wooden circular disk that is used in attempting to achieve the Advanced Ski Award and the Intermediate Ski Award. One must be able to stand up on and rotate oneself on the Disk.
Double Canteen: Double Canteen is the act of receiving two canteens in one day. This can be a combination of two types of candy or ice cream, or a combo of a candy and ice cream. Back in the day, Double Canteen was only on Fridays and after Rest Period instead of after 4th period as it is today. Today, campers anxiously await the one day a session when Marie declares it’s the double canteen day.
Father John P. Foley: He was born in 1878. Father Foley was the Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Faribault, MN for 36 years. He founded Camp Foley, at the time known as Camp St. Thomas, in 1924. Father Foley was very involved within the College of St. Thomas and was the President of the college at one point. He passed away in 1964.
Flashlight Time: Flashlight Time is the time after lights out. Campers may use this time to read or write letters. Campers are discouraged from talking during this time, but whispers and giggles are usually present.
Foley Green: The grassy field south of the Dining Hall (lake side) where many friendships are born. It is a common hangout spot for campers of all ages who are there enjoying the sun, making friendship bracelets, writing letters, playing interactive games, etc. Foley Green is also used for large camp events such as boys or girls night as well as pack events.
Free Swim: A time similar to Morning Fun but during the afternoon. It is one hour during which campers are allowed to choose their own activity. There are multiple options available to campers; options are listed on a whiteboard outside of the Dining Hall. Popular options include actual free swimming at the Swimdock, playing at the water mat, 4-Square and Gaga Ball, Frisbee, friendship bracelet making or just hanging out in front of the Dining Hall at the Benches.
Friendship Bracelets: Small tokens of appreciation made by campers and staff for one another. String for bracelets is available at the camp store and designs for bracelets are passed along from counselors to campers and campers to campers.
Friendship Campfire: Friendship Campfire is one of the more serious and reflective events that take place at Foley at the end of each session. The girls go to the historic fireplace of Father Foley’s original house, and the boys bounce from the fire pit at the Swimdock, to Upper Mosquito to Lower Mosquito. The boys share a memorable moment, do some readings and have s’mores. For the girls, this is a time to have each cabin share a short skit, poem, story, etc. about what friendships at camp mean to that cabin. At both campfires the Anchor Award is presented to one boy and one girl. After the Anchor Award is handed out, the girls do a hug circle (started by the Anchor Award winner, every girl camper hugs every other girl camper) and then eat s’mores. The older girls often cry at Friendship Campfire, and it’s not unheard of for boys to cry either.
Fun Awards: Fun Awards are awards that are the non-ribbon awards at camp. These awards aren’t in the Foley Activity Guide and the requirements are made up by the counselors. These include things like the Closet Junkie (trying every piece of equipment in the Waterski Closet), Red Badge of Courage (an old Kayaking award), Super Surfer (a traveling Windsurfing award) and many others that are introduced or phased out each summer.
The Gong: A new addition in the new millennium. The gong hangs on a tree outside the Dining Hall. A privileged camper is granted the opportunity to “ring the gong” by hurling a large wooden hammer into an oversized frying pan, sounding for all campers attention. The Gong was also the name of Foley’s podcast, which only lasted a few seasons.
Grand Dance Festival: A longtime camp tradition, which has progressed over time. The dance is held within the last few days of camp, and all of the campers and staff are involved. The dance always has a fun theme (Nerds, MORP, Pajama, Beach, etc.), and everyone dresses up crazy. The counselors DJ and play songs that are fun for every age. Until recently, the dance was held on the Basketball Courts (or in the barn on rainy days). The summer of 2011 was the first summer that the dance was held in the Wabi Building, which is now decked out with lights and speakers for a real grand dance experience.
Greased Watermelon: An entertaining game played at the Swimdock. It involves placing some sort of slippery material (i.e. Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline) onto a watermelon. The watermelon is then placed in the water. A group divided into two teams proceeds to wrestle the watermelon; they attempt to wrestle it to their designated side of the dock. The game is over once the watermelon is placed on a teams designated dock.
Headlamps: Rather than using a flashlight, these are headbands with a light attached at the forehead. Very convenient for reading, writing letters and making friendship bracelets after lights out. Very often sported by counselors.
Human Foosball: Added for the summer of 2004, this is a court that resembles a foosball table. Campers act as the actual foosball men by placing their hands through handles and holding onto a PVC pipe that slides on a metal bar inside the court. The pipes slide from side to side in order to move from side to side on the court. Campers must coordinate with the other campers on their bar in order to move efficiently. The rules of the game are just like foosball – everyone uses their feet to kick the ball and score a goal. To shakeup the game, two balls are thrown in to make it more intense.
Lip Syncs: This activity is generally only done on rainy days. Cabin groups choose a song, choreograph a dance or routine to the song and dress up in appropriate costumes. These routines are then performed in front of the entire camp in the Wabi or The Barn. Occasionally, there is no rainy day during a session, in which case lip syncs are performed out on Foley Green.
LIT/CIT: Leader in Training (or LIT) is a program open to high school aged campers. It is meant to teach leadership skills and allow the oldest campers to have more responsibility within the camp community. The LITs lead some of the non-activity day games and typically do some type of community service during the session. LITs must take the “LIT Class” during one of their five activity periods. Counselor in Training (or CIT) is a program open to 16-year-old campers during their last summer at camp. It gives the oldest campers more responsibility and helps prepare them to be a Foley counselor. CITs are assigned to a younger cabin to help out during the session. Helping out includes going to the treehouses with the cabin, staying with the cabin during rest period, attending evening activities with that cabin and assisting the counselors of the cabin before lights out. CITs must stay at camp for four weeks (two sessions). The CITs lead Opening Campfire their second session, assist in an activity they would one day like to teach and sit with the youngest campers at meals to assist the counselors.
Lower Mosquito: Lower Mosquito is where Opening Campfire happens each session. It is the closest campfire site that the entire camp can use. At one point, green tents were set up at Lower Mosquito as an overnight destination before the treehouses were constructed.
The Marina: The white cement building has been a landmark on Whitefish Lake since the 1960’s. Sailing, Windsurfing, Waterskiing and Wakeboarding, Canoeing and Fishing all take place at the Marina. The actual Marina building houses all of the necessary equipment for these activities.
Mail Call: Every camper longs to receive mail at camp. Currently, Mail Call happens between the 4th and 5th activity periods. Each cabin now has a “mailbox” in a kiosk at benches where their mail is placed when it arrives in camp. One member of the cabin will grab all the mail and distribute it to their cabin mates. Back in the day, before email was the most popular form of communication, Mail Call was held after lunch. Campers would sit on the Benches in cabin groups and listen for their name to be called out. (Handing out mail was a huge honor, usually a job for the counselor but sometimes a job for a lucky camper.) If you received five or more letters on one day, you would have a bucket of water dumped on your head. Just for fun. Back in the day, campers were allowed to receive packages from home, but packages had to be opened at a table in front of a D/AD so any contraband items like candy or gum could be taken away. Nothing was safe, teddy bears would be opened, books would be paged through, and clothes would be unfolded on the hunt for candy.
Morning Fun (11:30 Fun Time): Morning Fun is one hour right before lunch which campers may choose their own activity. The available options can be viewed on a whiteboard on the porch of the Dining Hall. Popular options include crafts, Rec Center activities, socializing on the Benches or Foley Green, etc. Morning Fun used to be the half hour before lunch and was once called 11:30 Fun Time. Sometimes longtime campers or staff may slip up and refer to Morning Fun as 11:30 Fun Time.
Muck Pond: To find the Muck Pond one must trek past the Paintball Courses, past the turn to Upper Mosquito and continue further into the depths of the forest. Campers have the opportunity to experience the Muck Pond when the cabin groups are taken out on special adventures. At the pond, campers wiggle their toes in the muck and make their best guess as to what the muck is made of. Then the crazy “muck diving” begins. This is a time to get as dirty as possible and just have a blast.
Opening Campfire: Held on the first night of every session (a part of the Arrival Day Celebration), Opening Campfire is one of the greatest traditions at Foley. It gets all of the people in camp fired up for the session by singing camp songs and watching a variation of skits that all relate to a central theme. All of the counselors are introduced as well as the CITs for the session. The night ends with a lots of new memories and the dulcet tones of the traditional campfire closing song, Taps.
Open Activities: Open Activities typically happens in-between regular signup days. These are generally activities that don’t require a lot of set up or maintenance (fishing, nature, paddle mania, tennis). Sometimes specific activities are open for campers that are trying to complete awards. Campers are allowed to bounce from activity to activity at their leisure. Open Activities generally go on for two or so hours to allow campers to try everything they want.
Pack Groups/Tribes: Way back when, the camp was divided into Tribes for specific age groups. Now, the camp is divided into Pack Groups. There are Foxes (2nd to 5th), Coyotes (6th to 8th) and Wolves (9th to 11th). Many Evening Programs will involve more than one cabin from your Pack Group or may involve the entire Pack Group. For example, the boy Coyote cabins Kadigomeg, Shingwako and Seneca may join the girl Coyote cabins Micmac, Sacajawea and Menominee for a game of Capture the Flag. Pack Groups are not always made up of the same cabins, as cabins may move from Pack Group to Pack Group depending on the age of the campers living in it.
Professor Squeegee: Professor Squeegee is the trained professional on the paintball video. He explains to the campers the rules of paintball and has a PhD in safety and having fun. He is watched every single period by campers before they play paintball. It should be noted that he is a paintball squeegee cartoon character.
Red Ribbon: The Red Ribbon was used long ago during camps earlier years. Campers who failed the Swim Test would be forced to wear a red ribbon around their neck. This helped the counselors know who might need help swimming. The ribbons were phased out awhile back when lifejackets were more commonly used and because the practice wasn't very nice. Campers who wore Red Ribbons were known as “sinkers.”
Rice Krispie Treats: A delicious combination of crisped rice cereal (Rice Krispies), melted marshmallows and a dab of butter. At Foley, Rice Krispie Treats are cooked over a campfire while at the Treehouses or on a trip. They are cooked in an old tin can and you eat the gooey treat out of your hand. Hands are generally cleaned using a combination of water from a water bottle and hand sanitizer after eating.
Skillet Brownies: A treat reserved for Treehouses and tripping. Involves adding some “just add water” brownie mix and a splash of water to a cast iron skillet. The concoction is then carefully cooked over a campfire. In order to achieve the best possible result one must have constant vigilance to prevent burning. Furthermore, the mix must be stirred throughout the cooking process. Skillet Brownies really do not resemble actual brownies, but rather a chocolatey, mush of semi-cooked brownies. Campers gather around the skillet when the brownies are done to eat, using forks, directly out of the skillet. Some prefer to eat by hand.
Social Fishing: A popular activity that takes place as an evening program or during open activities. Campers fish off the end of the dock using bamboo poles and corn. The quest to catch a fish with such feeble bait is exciting! When fish fail to bite, campers utilize their time on the dock talking and singing songs.
Soda Bread: The traditional breakfast served to campers on Sunday mornings. It is similar to a coffee cake.
Spaghetti: Also known as the first meal of the session. Each arrival night, the first meal served is Spaghetti. Camp spaghetti is a goulash style pasta dish, meaning spaghetti noodles and marinara are already pre-mixed once it reaches the table. The meal is also traditionally served with garlic bread, corn, parmesan cheese and Jell-O.
Swamper Canoes: Canoes that have been used to the fullest in their classic use. These canoes have holes, dents and lots of memories embedded in them. They are now used for random camp activity days and fun competitions. These canoes are clearly labeled with large, red, spray painted “X”s and say “SWAMPER” in large letters.
Swim Across the Lake: On special days, under the perfect conditions (sunny skies, calm water, minimal boat traffic), campers are sometime given the opportunity to swim across the lake. Campers would be boated across the lake to O’Brian’s point. Upon reaching the point, they would get out and begin to swim back to camp. Counselors lifeguard from safety boats being rowed alongside the camper. Campers get the choice to wear a lifejacket or go without. The swim is approximately a mile and a half, and the swimmers are usually greeted upon their arrival with cheering crowds and cowbells.
Tepee Island: A small island of land the Camp Foley owns on the Whitefish Chain (on Island Lake). Tepee Island is approximately 15 minutes east of camp by pontoon ride. The location is occasionally used as a place for cabin overnights or one-day canoe trips. The island is frequently used as a snorkeling destination for the Beaver level Snorkeling class. In the past, Tepee Island has been used as a destination for special events on special, non-activity days.
Tin Foil Dinners: Tin Foil Dinners, more commonly known as TFDs, are first and foremost delicious. These meals are often made on trips or overnights (such as to the tree houses). There are many ways to create a TFD, but the essentials include: starting with a foot-longish piece of tin foil, smearing it with butter and adding a dash of salt, pepper and garlic salt. The creator then adds the main components: ground beef, onions, carrots and potatoes. Vegetarians may choose to omit the ground beef, and in recent years, peanut butter has become an interesting addition to the TFD.
The Tipi: The Tipi is a symbolic piece of Native American culture and there was once one set up at Foley. It was set up on a wooden deck, complete with fire pit in the middle. Cabin groups would come and sleep in the Tipi for overnights. Circling up around the fire pit. The Tipi is now gone, but the campsite and wooden deck remain as the location for Woodskills.
TNC: Thats Not Foley (TNC for short) is a term used to remind campers or staff to do and say appropriate things at Foley. People can be heard saying, “TNC" in response to inappropriate actions or language.
Treehouses: The Treehouses were added to Camp Foley in 2007. Each cabin gets to spend one night in one of the Treehouses. At the Treehouses cabins cook their dinner (Hotdogs for the Foxes, Pizza Pies for the Coyotes and Tin Foil Dinners for the Wolves) and make a dessert (Rice Krispie Treats, Skillet Brownies or S’mores). Campers play various evening games depending on which Treehouses you go to (Lower Treehouses or Upper Mosquito/Treehouses).
Umgawa: The Great Umgawa Festival long part of the camp tradition with tales of its events being recorded in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Chief Umgawa would reign over the Tribes as they would compete in Swimming, Sailing and Canoeing competitions. Recorded were games of greased watermelon, tug of war, counselor versus CIT/LIT water basketball, sail regattas against other camps, canoe fills and a parade of floats.
Upper Mosquito: This is the campsite where most Awards Campfires take place. While it takes a bit of time to get to Upper Mosquito, the trek is often looked forward to as a time to talk and joke with cabinmates. The campfire site is surrounded by wooden benches and is encircled by tall trees, but if you look up on a clear night, you’ll see the stars. Upper Mosquito is home to the Upper Treehouses as well.
Waterfront Toys: Over the years, there have been a vast number of water toys available for campers at the Swimdock. Past campers may remember the black inner tubes with the long metal piece to fill the tube with air (that always managed to jab you in the leg). Now campers know the lime green inner tubes and noodles. There was once a volleyball net for shallow, water volleyball games, and there is still a basketball hoop. There have been Fun Bugs, a paddle boat, white boards and red and yellow kayaks. At one time there was a raft anchored out for campers to jump off of, the Saturn, and the Log. Currently a water mat and water swing reside at the swim dock for campers to enjoy!