“It was like winning Miss America!”
If you were inducted into Lodge between 1969 and 1971, it was Barb Schutzenhofer (Schutzie) who opened the ceremony while balancing on a platform on top of two canoes in the middle of Lake Echon. Being the Supreme Princess during those years meant Barb was responsible for, among other things, coordinating and opening the Lodge ceremonies each Thursday during six weeks of Girl’s Season.
Barb first learned about Camp when she was in the 4th grade at St. Albert the Great School in Fairview Heights, Ill. Because she would not be eligible to attend until 5th grade, she eagerly waited a year until she was able to experience Camp in the summer of 1962. “I was in heaven!” Barb shared. The experience lived up to her expectations and she returned as a camper every summer until she became a C.I.T. and then worked on staff for five years.
Though she had great respect for the Lodge and what it meant, she didn’t want to hear her name called during her first summer. She explained, “I was timid at that time and wasn’t ready to be called out. The next year I’d grown a lot and was so excited to be chosen.”
She went on, “I cannot tell you the impact the Lodge ceremony had on me. The smudge pots, the Lodge members dressed as Native Americans on horseback, the whole thing. It was a badge of honor. It was like winning Ms. America!”
Being elected Supreme Princess in 1969, Barb was Katherine Tekakwitha (Kateri) in those early ceremonies, and she was eager to serve like those who had been in the role before her. “I worked so hard to memorize the lines because I didn’t read from the paper,” Barb explained, “I felt like that took away from the moment.”
Now a Lifetime Lodge Member, Barb has not lost her connection to Camp. “I’ve never been so connected to anything in my life. It always feels so good to drive through the Camp Gate,” she shared.
Visiting Camp each year remains a priority for Barb despite living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Each fall she joins a group of friends to stay at Camp for a weekend. They hike during the day and pull out their guitars in the evenings singing around the campfire while enjoying foil burgers.
Barb has great pride in her Lodge membership and wants the younger generations of Lodge members to continue the traditions she holds dear. In addition to the things that make the Lodge ceremony special, she hopes they stay engaged during their lifetime and support Camp for future generations.
“I’m proud of how Lodge members and the Camp community came together in 2020,” Barb explained. “It’s important that Lodge members continue to give back to the place that gave us so much.”