Manitou and Save A Child’s Heart!

It was another beautiful day at Manitou, and I’m still inspired from last night! We had Friday Night Fireside—one of my favourite parts of camp—and it was an extremely special edition. As the entire camp walked down to Fireside, we were greeted with the lovely sound of the Activity Heads and Specialists singing “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer. It was so nice to hear all of the Head Staff voices blending together to bring such a wonderful song to us.

Once they were done, we gave out our traditional candles to our campers and staff for going above and beyond during the week, and then we heard from some very special guests. First we had Karen Diamond, from the board of Save A Child’s Heart, tell us about how the organization was brought to Canada and all the amazing things they do for kids all around the world. Next we had the Baldwin family, made up of Melissa and Larry and two of their five children Benjamin and Madeline, who came to us from California to tell us their moving story, and how they were helped by the incredible organization Save A Child’s Heart. Melissa told our campers and staff all about how after their family was complete, they were approached to adopt Benjamin, a boy from China. Benjamin had to be operated on immediately by Save A Child’s Heart in Israel, and through fantastic fundraising efforts, not only was Benjamin’s life saved, but he was united with his new family! We were then treated to a sweet musical interlude when some of our campers performed “Blackbird” by The Beatles…it was amazing! Our Manitou family then gave a huge round of applause when Benjamin and the Baldwins read our Manitou poem, and then we all ended Fireside with our classic Manitou song, “Deep In The Heart Of The North.”

But the night was not over yet! After Fireside, our C.I.T.s and Senior Unit campers saw an amazing documentary showing the life and death decisions of the doctors working at Save A Child’s Heart, and how all of their incredible work helps people worldwide. We had a wonderful question and answer period after the movie, and I was so impressed by the questions coming from our brilliant campers!

All of the inspiring messages we heard tonight are what define the Manitou experience, and allows all of us to remember that true happiness comes from giving back to others and putting yourself second.

If you want to see more of our journey with Save A Child’s Heart, watch the video below.

Off to go say goodbye to all our Rookie Day campers…I made a bunch of new friends! But you’ll hear all about that tomorrow! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

SACH at Fireside

Under The Sea, On The Bus, and To The Beach!

We’re into another new week at camp, and there are so many exciting things happening already! Last night we were treated to our first theatre show of the summer, with the Freshkids and Sophomores performing The Little Mermaid. I forgot we were even sitting in the theatre because the amazing cast took us under the sea with their incredible version of the Disney classic. Our talented theatre staff and campers had us all humming the tunes long after the show was done, and I was still marveling at the fantastic costumes and sets that took us into the underwater world! I can’t wait until the next theatre show, but until then I’ll be singing ‘Part of Your World,’ and thinking about this amazing start to the theatre season.

Just this morning, after I had practically licked my plate clean from the buffet, I had to say goodbye to some friends I’ve made over the past two weeks. Our two-week campers got on the bus and left us this morning, but judging by the hugs and smiles, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them again next summer. It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by already this summer, but time flies when you’re having fun!

After the bus had rolled out of camp and out of view, our regular Thursday morning activities started. We had Hobby Hubs as usual–activities for campers who don’t sleep-in–and this week’s Hobby Hub were bracelet making and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament run by some of our great LITs. Between the tournament this morning and our 2-Ball Tournament yesterday, I’m starting to think we have some future NBA players on our hands!

Our Thursday morning fun may be coming to a close, but there’s still more to come this afternoon. Some of our younger campers will have the exciting opportunity to do horseback riding…in camp! The horses are visiting Manitou, and I bet they’ll love it here as much as we all do! And I’m off to Beach Day with the Junior Unit…I can’t wait to swim and have some grilled hot dogs with them! Time to put on my sunscreen! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

The Carnival of Camp

It’s a new day at camp and I’m still reeling with excitement from the HUGE Carnival we had yesterday! Themed as a birthday party for Mark and Jeff’s 20th summer at Manitou, it was loads of fun for staff and campers! All across our Main Field–which is huge and nice and breezy for those of you who haven’t seen it–a variety of Carnival games, attractions, and snacks were spread out to amuse everyone…including me! I could snack on some popcorn or cotton candy, play Chicken in a Pot, take a picture at the photo booth, have a birthday cupcake, and then jump around with all my friends on one of the big inflatables, like the Wrecking Ball or the 21 Foot Slide. Even when the Carnival ended, there was more to come! We all ended the night with a big camp-wide dance, where the DJs and dancers of Sole Power had us in our dancing shoes until the sun set on another Manitou day. Overall, it was an incredible day, and we’re having another amazing one today!

There are lots of fun programs happening at different activities today and I can’t wait to try them all out! First I’m going to go down to the Swim docks where Swim, Pottery, and Woodworking campers will be playing in a Squidditch Tournament. Quidditch is a game from the Harry Potter book and movie series, and when you throw on the ‘S’ from swim, you have Squidditch! I know our Manitou swimmers will have a blast playing a fun game in the water, and I can’t wait to join in! After I get a round of Squidditch in, I’m going to head over to Basketball where my good friend Teghan (the Head of Basketball) is holding a 2-Ball Tournament. Our former head of Basketball Mama D–current Facilities Director–just explained to me that a 2-Ball Tournament is basically a shooting competition and the team with the most points will win! I’m excited to see all of our fantastic Manitou B-Ball players shine, and maybe I’ll try to throw a basket, too!

All of our activities have been super busy holding tryouts for Intercamp teams, having tournaments and wacky programs, and I know our Theatre program has been gearing up for their first show of the summer. Tomorrow night all of us at Manitou will have the pleasure of watching the Freshkids and Sophomores perform in The Little Mermaid, a Disney-musical classic! After the Talent Show, I know we’re in for a treat, and sometimes I stop outside the Theatre just to hear them rehearsing ‘Part of My World.’ Even around camp, I see groups of campers singing all the show’s tunes and I can’t wait to tap my foot along with them when we see them onstage and go under the sea along with them!

Off to put on my swim trunks and play some Squidditch! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Manitou’s Bursting With Talent!

Wow wow wow! It’s another gorgeous day at camp and it’s jam-packed with all sorts of fun things! As I promised yesterday, I can’t wait to tell you all about the Camper Talent Show we had last night. There were so many incredible acts that covered singing, dancing, magic, and even Rubik’s Cubes! Plus, as a finale, we had special guest staff members Natasha Bali, Mike Plume, and director/owner extraordinaire Jeff Wilson singing Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man,’ while one of our campers accompanied like a rockstar on the piano. It was very inspiring to see all of our creative and talented campers have all the courage in the world and perform in front of the entire camp. I can’t wait for the second session talent show!

Speaking of talented campers, we had our first Intercamp of the summer today where we witnessed all our gifted Manitou athletes go for the gold against Camp Tamakwa. For those readers out there who aren’t familiar with Intercamp, it’s when camps visit Manitou or we visit them and we compete in a variety of sporting events, such as softball, hockey, basketball, climbing, archery, soccer, and swim! It’s so exciting to welcome new friends from other camps, and it’s great for us all to have a healthy, fun competition. The last event just finished and it turns out Manitou were the winners of this round of Intercamp! But it’s not about winning, because our Manitou Intercamp squad made us proud as the most sportsmanlike team around. Next Sunday will be another round of Intercamp when we go to Camp Tamakwa…stay tuned for those results!

As you can tell, the days here are always filled with fun, and we’ve had tons of cabins going out on canoe trips daily. Our incredible canoe trippers are constantly packing out trips, welcoming some back, or they’re out in the wilderness right now enjoying nature. Canoe trips are a great way for cabins to bond, and for campers to learn independence, and skills they may not learn here at camp like making a fire! I hope to go on a canoe trip soon…I love a day of canoeing that ends with roasting marshmallows under the stars!

Our wacky programmers Justin and Sarah-Rose are always cooking up something good, and yesterday we had a camp Doppelgänger day. Campers and staff dressed up like each other—and some acted like each other too—and boy was it funny! Everyone got very involved in the day, and it was fun to watch all the lookalikes have a dance off at lunch. I hear there may be some other exciting programs coming soon, too, so stay tuned for that!

Better change into my technicolour dreamcoat for Rainbow Day at Canoe/Kayak! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

A Freshkid Fireside

Once again, all of our Manitou campers and staff gathered together for Friday Night Fireside last night. I love how we can quietly reflect at Fireside, and it’s a precious time for us all when we can have everyone in camp be together in such an amazing place. With the beautiful weather we have been having this summer, it is always a pleasure seeing our Manitou family overlooking the sparkling twilight water and appreciating the land our home is on with our weekly land acknowledgement, spoken by our Head of Canoe Tripping Rach Klein. After that, we honoured, as we always do, one female and one male camper from each unit—including staff—with a candle for going beyond what is expected in terms of the value system we have in our Manitou community.

Our fearless director and owner Mark Diamond then spoke briefly about Betty, a beautiful Ethiopian child whose life was saved by the amazing organization Save A Child’s Heart. It is incredibly special to hear about doctors and hospitals giving all their time and expertise to help these children, for absolutely nothing in return. And it was a beautiful Manitou moment that after Mark had told us about Betty, our campers and staff applauded and cheered without even being asked.

It was the Freshkid Unit’s week at Fireside, and they all spoke genuinely and warmly about our theme Caring is Community. Some campers spoke about how they raised money for Ronald McDonald House, and that reaching out to others can make your community stronger. Others told us about their cabin and how they are one family that are always inclusive to everyone. To show the strong bond of the Freshkids, the entire unit then came up in front of the whole camp and sang “You’ve Got A Friend In Me.” It was so brave of them to sing in front of everyone, and they sounded great!

We had more singing to come, too, as our Manitou Choir—led by Vocal Music staff member Paige Kruger–came up to sing an incredible rendition of “Meant To Be.” They had me humming the tune for the rest of the night! Our director of 19 years Chris McKibbin was then chosen to read our Manitou Poem, and finally we ended with our traditional camp song to conclude the wonderful evening.

If you haven’t ever read our Manitou Poem, I have attached it HERE for you all to read!

Plus, for all of our readers in Toronto, we are having a very special film screening on Thursday July 12thA Heartbeat Away tells the story of a former patient of the amazing charity Save A Child’s Heart, and it’s sure to be an inspiring event that you don’t want to miss!  Please RSVP as soon possible as space is limited at  The theatre only holds 50 people and Save A Child’s Heart is giving Manitou parents first choice to attend this event! What a deal!

Now off to watch a beautiful Manitou sunset! Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the talent show! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Shakes, Snakes, and Jumping in the Lake!

It’s been a busy few days at Manitou! We never let the heat interrupt our busy days…we just soak up the sun and keep having a blast! Plus with an amazing lake, even when it does get hot, it’s great to jump in with some friends and cool off. But enough about the weather, here’s what we’ve been up to at camp…

On Tuesday, we had a Secret Handshake competition where multiple pairs of campers showed off their super cool handshakes to the camp. There were some incredibly creative handshakes, and it reminded me once again just how talented our campers are!

Thursday was our classic ‘Manitou Thursday,’ where we drop our activity schedules for the day and do other fun and exciting things. Thursdays always start off with a sleep-in, and while most of the older campers slept soundly, our younger campers had amazing activities to participate in. They were able to go to two Hobby Hubs –activities that run Thursday mornings– and I know that our Nail Polish table and the Mini Golf tournament were both extremely popular! After those two Hobby Hubs were over, our campers were able to enjoy the wonderfully exotic animals of Reptilia–a reptile zoo experience with a wide range of snakes, lizards, and even alligators! And of course, like every Manitou Thursday, our world-famous buffet ran all morning long. Campers and staff could enjoy a wide-range of food from fruit to smoked salmon to eggs and to Will’s world famous chocolate croissants! It’s a delicious and nutritious buffet, and one of my favourite parts of camp!

As if this week wasn’t busy enough, we kicked off our annual partnership with the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) Lake Joseph Centre. For the past few summers, we have had our L.I.T.s (Leaders in Training–second year seniors) visit the CNIB Lake Joseph Centre to learn all about accessible sites and train how to work with people who are blind or have vision impairment. This year was no different, but we had a very special addition to our Manitou-CNIB experience. After we visited the CNIB site on Wednesday and had a blast doing things like guided sight tours on a nature path, tossing people up in Inuit Blankets, and learning how to prepare a meal with no vision, the campers from CNIB came to visit us! For the first time ever, we had campers and staff from the CNIB come to Manitou and participate in some of our amazing activities. Our L.I.T.s were able to put their training to use, and our friends from the CNIB were able to do activities that they don’t have the opportunity to do at their own camp. I walked around camp and saw them working together at the Adventure Park, shooting arrows at archery, and even going up to the highest of heights on our climbing wall! It was great that after years of visiting the Lake Joseph Centre, we were able to treat them to a classic Manitou day. Our L.I.T.s learned a lot, and I hope our visits last for years to come!

A week has gone by here at Manitou, and there are more and more special things happening every day! Off to get ready for Friday Night Fireside…I can’t wait to hear what the Freshkids have to say about community. Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

CNIB at Manitou

The Mosquito: Edition 1

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Today started off with a delicious breakfast of Manitou McMuffins and the first 2018 edition of The Mosquito–Manitou’s very own newspaper. Filled with comics, stories, camp news, and horoscopes, The Mosquito is always a great read for campers and staff. Our reporters worked hard all week long on this edition and I want to share it with you…click below to check it out! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did up here. And before I go…a Happy 4th of July to all our readers in the good ol’ USA!

Off to the Slip ‘N Slide with all my pals! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose




How We Keep Cool At Manitou!

Although Manitou 2018 has just started, there is one thing we know about the summer already…it has been hot hot hot!!! While we don’t have much A/C like you readers may in the city, up here we have other ways of beating the heat including the beautiful winds that cross the lake, go up Main Field and keep us all refreshed. Here are the top ten ways we keep cool at Manitou.

1 ) Hats: Hats are the first stage in our trifecta of keeping safe while it’s hot and sunny outside. Not only do they keep your face protected from the sun, but they look cool, too! I love seeing everyone’s different hats, and I like when people get to see all my stylish caps, as well! We even have one cabin wearing all the same bucket hats- sent up by a camper parent – and the kids love it!

2 ) Water: In the middle of our “keeping safe trifecta,” we have water. We all forget to drink water sometimes—even me! —so it’s important we keep reminding each other to bring our water bottles around camp and keep drinking throughout the day. Even Dr Perlon has been reminding campers to drink water all day long. We also have Gatorade stations set up for all campers to fill up their water bottles on hot days, in addition to our many water fountains serving up our Manitou Springs delicious water…best water this side of Fiji!

3 ) Sunscreen: Completing our trio of safety is sunscreen. Here at camp we always lather up in sunscreen in the morning, and since there are sunscreen bottles all around camp, including at the office and at every activity, everyone is able to keep reapplying throughout the day. Every morning we all chant “Hats! Water! Sunscreen!” It’s so catchy, I bet you’ll be saying it, too!

4 ) The Shade: When it’s a sunny day, that sunshine covers pretty much the whole camp. But, there are some nice spots of shade under trees and at activities that are great to sit in on a hot day. I’ve been known to be found in a nice bit of shade reading my book and sitting with friends. Wait until you see our new shade spots built all around camp!

5 ) Taking Breaks: We’re always busy, busy, busy here at camp, but it’s important to stop and take a break once in awhile. In this heat, I have seen lots of activities take breaks together, relax for ten minutes, or jump into the “Car Wash” or a sprinkler and go back into action!

6 ) Snack Attack: Some of you may be wondering how snack could ever help beat the heat, but here at Manitou our Snack Attack is always something cold and refreshing. Whether it’s juice boxes, Freezies, or popsicles, Snack Attack is always a great way to keep cool.

7 ) Jumping in the Lake: One of the reasons we always have lifeguards on call at camp is because we know Manitou campers and staff love cooling off in the lake. It’s a great way to beat that heat quickly, and it’s refreshing! Our beautiful Lake Manitou-Wabing is always at a perfect temperature for swimming, and even I’ve been known hang out with friends while taking a dip. We have a quick and easy system for cabin groups to take a quick dip!

8 ) Making Fans: Our Manitou campers are always thinking quick and creatively, and the past few days have been no exception. I have seen all sorts of handmade fans around, all crafted from paper and in different ways. They’re easy to make, and they’re a simple way to be comfortable in the cabin, the dining hall, and all around camp!

9 ) Find That Breezy Spot: Just like finding the shade at camp, there are some secret breezy spots in camp that can cool anyone off. Yesterday, I spent a couple of minutes with some friends just standing in the breezing and letting it wash over us. If you can find that breeze, you’ll feel refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. Here’s a tip: look at the trees around you and see if any leaves are blowing…it’s likely whatever is making them move will be that perfect breeze you’ve been looking for. It’s so breezy on Main Field as you approach the lake and it’s the perfect place to hang out on a hot day.

10 ) Manitou’s Legendary “Car Wash”: Just like Snack Attack, we have some funny terminology at camp. The Car Wash isn’t actually for vehicles at all…it’s for our campers and staff! If it’s a hot day but you don’t feel like jumping in the lake, the Car Wash is the next best thing. Looking like an outdoor hut with sprinklers on the roof, the Car Wash can get rid of that heat with a quick run or stroll through it, plus it can make anyone smile!

We’re keeping cool up at Camp with these ten tips, and we’re having a blast as always! I hope everyone is beating that heat wherever you are, too. Off to play tennis with my pal Jose, our amazing Head of Tennis. Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

A Fireside Welcome

Two nights ago we had Manitou’s first Friday Night Fireside of 2018, and there’s only one word to describe it: magical.

After the campers enjoyed free swim in the warmest lake we’ve had in years, and everyone finished off their traditional Friday night meal of chicken, veggies and potatoes, the sun was setting and we all headed down to our Fireside spot; a secluded, quiet area with a gorgeous view overlooking Lake Manitou-Wabing. Each Friday night when we all arrive at Fireside, we give a land acknowledgement to remind our campers that the places we enjoy—including Camp Manitou– were once occupied by our precious Indigenous populations.  To start our first Fireside with our campers we felt it was important to invite a member of the Wasauksing First Nations Reserve, Jodi Baker Contin, to speak to our Manitou community. Through her wonderful words, singing, and drumming, campers could more fully understand the vibrant and wonderful culture of our Indigenous friends while acknowledging the land we are all so blessed to enjoy.

Following that was our candle ceremony, a tradition we do every week at Fireside, where a candle is given out to a female and male camper from each unit (including staff), who exemplify the positive values of our Manitou community. Since our campers have been here for just a day, only a staff candle was given out this week, and we were told that it has been renamed the “David Sheffe Candle”, in honour of our dear friend Luigi. Though the staff had a full memorial during pre-camp, the campers were able to hear a bit about Dave as well when the Unit Heads each described a word or phrase that defined Dave’s endless and selfless love and support of everyone. It was also a touching moment to hear David’s nephew speak at Fireside and thank everyone for their support of their family these past couple of months.

As we do on every first official Fireside of the summer, we had our “Camp Is” campers speak and tell us why their first year at Manitou was so special, and give out messages of support especially to our first time campers. I thought they did an amazing job and hope that their words help some of our new campers along the way this summer! I wish you could all hear their speeches, but here are some fantastic quotes to give you a taste:

“Where else do you get to come to breakfast in your pajamas and eat pancakes with thirteen of your closest friends. Camp is a place where you can be yourself, meet kids from different places in the world, and share interests with those you’d least expect to.”

 “Last year I missed home a bit so I talked to my counsellor about it and he told me that there is no reason to be scared or miss home because you have two homes and camp is one of them…Camp is so important to me because I can be off screens and with this wonderful world that we are blessed to live in.”

 “Last year was my first year at Manitou and I was 7 years old.  I realized that camp is so important to me because I learned how to do things, make new friends, and grow up without my parents being there all the time…If you ever need advice here at camp come and talk to me- everyone at camp is so friendly and we’re like one big family.”

 “I love camp because you get to spend time away from your parents which means you don’t have to listen to them which is awesome… if you are ever feeling homesick, your counsellors and friends are here to make you feel better and soon Manitou will be your home away from home.”

 “The staff at Manitou are some of the most welcoming people I have ever met…While I was waiting to board the bus many girls came and started introducing themselves and then I basically knew my whole cabin. But the true friendships developed in the cabin over the summer.”

 “I had been to prior camps before Manitou but my experience was well -meh… but I came to Manitou last year and I was nervous and scared. That all changed as soon as I got on the bus.  I was greeted by at least five people with high fives and how you doings.  I found my spot in the camp and had the best summer of my life”

 “Manitou offers the chance to give back to the community and I love that. From inspiring speakers to the programs that allow us to contribute to the final donation for a charity.  Manitou teaches us the importance of thinking of others even while we are having fun at camp.”

As you can see from those tidbits, we have some bright young campers, who are sure to mature into amazing Manitou staff one day. Camp is my home, too, and I love sharing it with all of these great campers on a special evening like Friday Night Fireside, and all summer long.

With all of our ‘Camp Is’ speeches finished, our beautiful Fireside poem was read and our camp song was sung in unison by all, displaying our theme of the summer:  “caring is community.”

Now off to lunch…a Canada Day celebration! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose