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Brainerd draws hockey, language campers

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Sunday afternoon’s flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport to Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport had its usual passengers — grandmas returning from visiting their grandkids, families heading to Brainerd to enjoy a week with family and friends on the lake, and a different assortment of passengers, consisting of two camper groups. Language and hockey campers were on board the 11:40 a.m. Delta connection.

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I wasn’t able to talk with any of the language campers, but I had the chance to sit next to a young hockey camper from the Chicago area heading to a place he’d never been before — Brainerd’s hockey camp.

This camper looked like any kid heading off to summer camp. He’d had his summer haircut (a buzz cut) and was excited about heading off to his first camp experience. His name (first name only) was Derek.

He was more concerned that his hockey gear had made the transfer from his Midway Airport in Chicago than he was about whether he’d miss mom or dad during his six-week stay.

He knew hockey, too. At least he knew four of the original National Hockey League teams — Blackhawks (of course), Montreal, Toronto, Boston — I filled in the other two, New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings.

While thousands of tourists, cabin owners and weekenders make the Brainerd lakes area their destination during the months of summer, it’s nice to see young people arriving to hone their skills in hockey and languages.

Who knows, these young hockey students and language arts campers may be our future lake home owners once they take in all of the natural beauty we enjoy every day of the year.

It’s good to be home.

—Keith Hansen

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