OoOoOoOoOo! Happy Halloween everyone! Yes, I know it’s the middle of the summer, but up at Manitou we have a very special July Halloween! Last night, everyone got dressed up in different costumes and celebrated our annual camp Halloween. Not only did our campers get to trick or treat–with candy given out by our head staff–but there was a hay ride, a spooky haunted house, and even a costume contest to declare the most creative outfit in camp! I saw people dressed as hot dogs, princesses, unicorns, athletes, and so much more! And once everyone got their fill of treats and the Halloween spirit, we all had our annual Halloween Dance, where dancers and DJs from Sole Power partied with us all night long! It was a great night and I know our campers will remember it for a long time.
And with Halloween came our first big rain of the summer! But our campers and staff don’t let the rain get us down, instead I saw people dancing in the rain to beat the heat, and even mudsliding down Main Field! It’s always great to see our Manitou campers and staff making the most of everything…even if the weather isn’t a perfect sunny day!
After our big rainstorm yesterday, we woke up to a gorgeous sun-filled day today! And it’s perfect for all of the fun things happening around camp. Today, our Zumba and Rock Music campers are joining forces for Zumband, those who signed up for Creative Arts will be down at our Fireside location painting and drawing the beautiful landscapes there, and our Woodworking campers will be out of the shop and playing Quidditch down at swim! I can’t believe how imaginative our Activity Heads and Specialists are, and I know our awesome and spirited campers are going to have a great time with all of the special programs happening today.
And if that wasn’t enough, our LITs (Leaders In Training, our Second Year Senior campers) are off on their annual rafting trip! I wish I could join them, but I can’t wait to hear all of their stories when they return.
Well, I’m off to the lake so my friend Elly Weisbrod, the Head of Swim, can teach me how to dive!
Manny the Moose
WOWZA! We’ve been having a blast these past few days, and I can’t wait to tell you all about what we’ve been up to!
On Friday night we had our first Friday Night Fireside of Second Session, and our campers and staff were all at peace and respectful of our traditions. We started off the evening with Rach Klein, our Head of Tripping, giving a land acknowledgement that recognizes the original caretakers of our land and that we are not the first people to be on it. After that, Denise “Mama D” George, our Operations Director and one of the founders of Fireside, spoke about how Friday Night Fireside originated and why we sit together every week for it. We then had our candle ceremony, where two campers from each unit receive the honour of receiving a candle, which recognizes their camp spirit and how they represent Manitou values and beliefs. It’s always exciting to see which camper is going to receive a candle that week, and to hear all of their friends cheering them on.
We then continued into a very special Friday Night Fireside, where we had some of our amazing staff members educate us about the LGBTQ+ community. These staff members each talked about their experience and how being at camp also plays into that. I think it was extremely important for our campers and staff to hear about the experience of others in a community they may not be part of, and how they can learn from that and take the LGBTQ+ community into account. I’m always in awe of our brave staff, and I was inspired to hear them all tell their stories.
After we hear from some of our staff, we continued into our ‘CAMP IS’ speeches, brief stories and words of wisdom from campers, sometimes giving their advice to new campers or just telling their story and how they feel about Manitou. Here are bits of the speeches from our amazing campers:
“The most important thing I like most about camp is friendship; I’ve made some amazing friends . Secondly I love the nights. Why the nights? Because Mexico is a polluted city which makes it difficult to see any stars at night, but at camp the sky is full of stars. Third, the staff who are so professional and you can really bond with them and make a friendship ….for every new camper I promise you will love the camp, environment, and the people.”
“I remember when I first came here, instead of being excluded everyone welcomed me. And here I can do activities I can’t do at home. I love camp because it feels like a home that I belong to.”
“Camp Manitou taught me the values of great new friendships and made me feel like I was part of a family. I loved meeting new friends and I learned to waterski and I trust you too will have a great summer.”
“When I came here last year from Chicago, I barely knew anyone and then I met my cabin mates. Everyone was so nice that I immediately forgot about home. I came back because of the many friends I made here. Camp is different than Chicago because I am always making new friends at camp.”
“The first time I came to Manitou I was nervous but excited. I didn’t know anybody or if I was going to make any friends, but once I met my cabin and counsellors I felt right at home. So just remember that at Manitou there are people who care about you and you can trust.”
I can’t believe how mature and well-spoken our campers are and how they were able to put all of their feelings into words! But it’s not just Friday Night Fireside that we’ve been busy with! Our campers have been going to their activities and working on projects and completing their goals. It’s so exciting seeing a camper getting up at Waterski or witnessing someone catching a fish! And after our full activity days, the Unit Heads have been planning incredible Evening Programs for their Units like Counsellor Hunt or Egg Drop.
And tonight is very special because on Sundays we have Outdoor Dinners, where we have Will’s Famous Burgers, and then the counsellors plan Cabin Activities for their campers, and it’s always a thrill seeing the creative things that our staff come up with.
Well, I’m off to see my friend Amber Hartley, our Head of Creative Arts, so I can learn how to paint!
Manny the Moose
YIPPEE! Second Session has just started and there’s already fun stuff going on all over camp! Campers had their first day of activities yesterday and it looked like everyone was having a blast!
New goals were being set Hockey, Baseball, and Soccer, and projects were getting started at Pottery, Creative Arts, and Woodworking. Campers auditioned and got their roles in Theatre, and articles were started at Radio/Media! Things are getting going all around camp, and it’s going to be a fantastic session!
Yesterday we also had our first special day of Second Session: Twin Day! Campers and staff all around camp dressed as each other to become twins for the day, and some of the impressions were uncanny! It was a fun fun day, and our new campers got a little taste of that Manitou spirit and whimsy! It was an exciting day all around, and a great marker of what’s to come.
Today is another exciting day as we have some of our LITs (our Leaders In Training–second year Seniors) going off to the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) Camp to learn how to work with campers who are visually impaired. It’s an awesome leadership experience, and a fantastic bonding tool for some of our oldest campers, and I can’t wait to hear about all of the things our LITs learn there.
And tonight, as usual, is Friday Night Fireside…a peaceful way to end a perfect week. Tonight is a very special Fireside as some of our staff will be speaking on the LGBTQ+ community, and leading a dialogue on that. It’s going to be a great evening, and I will update all of you lovely readers on that in the coming days!
Well, I’m off to Eco Adventure to learn how to fish!
Manny the Moose
WAHOO! Second Session has arrived and we’re off to a great start! It was so great to see smiling faces new and old stepping off the buses yesterday and running into their counsellor’s arms for a big hug! It’s always exciting to meet new Manitou campers and it’s equally great seeing veteran Manitouers showing everyone around and already making lifelong friends.
It was a great first night filled with Chef Will’s famous pasta and an activity tour to introduce everyone to camp, and I think everyone got a great Manitou sleep for today’s big day! Today our cabins will have some great bonding time where they will do an activity rotation together and get the chance to try new things. Plus tonight will be the first Evening Program of Second Session, so our whole Units can meet each other and have a great start to the month! I know it’s going to be a great day today…and a fantastic session!
And because I always like to give you readers a special treat, I got my moose paws on a very special recipe book. Arly Abramson, our Head of Culinary Arts, has attached some great recipes for our First Session cooking campers, so that they can make some fantastic meals at home! I know I’ll be making some of these delicious recipes! Click BELOW to check out Arly’s recipes!
Here are Arly’s amazing Manitou Recipes!
Well, I’m off to make a beautiful bowl with our Head of Pottery Brian Ebata!
Manny the Moose
YABBA DABBA DOO! It’s been a jam-packed couple of days up here, and it’s all been fun fun fun! Even though the end of first session is near, our campers and staff are all still having a blast and enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather we’ve been having.
Friday was our last full day of activities for first session, and campers were finishing up their art projects and completing all of their various goals: like getting up in Waterski or perfecting their wrist shot down at Hockey! We ended our Friday nights as we always do with another inspiring Friday Night Fireside. This week, our Senior Unit took to the stage to talk about our theme for the summer, “We Don’t Stand By.” As some of our older campers, they were able to share some wisdom and thoughts on the theme and they all spoke so gracefully. Here are a few of the things our Senior Unit campers mentioned.
“Don’t Stand By. This is the message for Fireside. This year’s theme is probably my favourite in the five years I’ve been at this camp. There are always going to be moments in life when you are faced with a decision between doing something and doing nothing, and even though it is almost always harder to act than watch, it is almost always more rewarding.”
“Being a dissident in a group of friends is difficult, and you open yourself up to criticism when you don’t conform with the group, instead advocating for yourself or others. Camp is the perfect opportunity to take those risks. Additionally, at Manitou there will be times when someone else–maybe it’s someone in your cabin, or someone in the same activity as you–is being excluded and all it would take to help them is a single invitation to sit together at outdoor dinner, or hang out at O&A. You can initiate that change! Don’t stand by, stand up!”
I’m always so impressed by the maturity of our campers, and it was so amazing to hear them speak on our theme in such a passionate way. It was a lovely Friday Night Fireside as always, and I can’t wait to hear from our next unit!
Saturday was a big day at Manitou–as I’m sure many of you know–because it was our annual Visitor’s Day! We welcomed all of our camper’s parents and family members into camp to see what Manitou is like! Everyone was able to see the activities, meet the counsellors and staff, and eat at Chef Will’s famous Visitor’s Day buffet! It was fun to meet everyone’s family and see everyone having such a great time! I even invited my moose family to see our camp!
After all the excitement of Visitor’s Day, it’s hard to believe there was more to come! That night, after all of our visitors had left, we all went to the theatre to see the Seniors and C.I.T.s perform in Mamma Mia! It was a blast to see everyone having so much fun, and I know I’ll be humming those ABBA songs for a few days!
That night, as is tradition, we had our opening for Tribal Games. Tribal Games is our one-day camp-wide program where a theme and captains are chosen to lead their teams to victory, through sports events, artistic endeavours, and general cheering and spirit! This year, our opening revealed that the theme was redemption for past Tribal Games teams that have lost. It was their second chance at glory, and very exciting for our campers to compete on teams they may never have had the chance to perform on.
There was Team Candyland led by Head of OCS Tyler Svadjian and Senior Girls Counsellor Gaby Sheiner, Team Superheroes led by Head of Crafts Jordy Haar and Canoe Tripper Tom Gurn, Team Asian Cuisine captained by Senior Boys Counsellor Daniel Goldman and Head of Adventure Park Soph Lewis, and Team Country Music spearheaded by Head of Dance Edyn Karney and Senior Boys Counsellor Cole Tishler. The morning started with a thrilling sports rotation, which led right into our Spirit Lunch where the Dining Hall had been transformed for each team and cheers were yelled as loud as they could be! After lunch, we had our first ever Manitou Competition, where Units participated in a rotation together, and then we had our annual 4-way Tug of War, with our staff round lasting a whopping 45 minutes! The day ended with the teams presenting their plaques, songs, and dances, which campers and staff had spent all day working on. The whole day was an extremely close battle, and I had no idea who was going to be announced as the winner! In the end, the winner was Team Superheroes…a fantastic victory and a fun day for all!
It’s been a fun three days, and I know there are more to come second session. But for now, I’m going to help my friends pack that are leaving tomorrow!
Manny the Moose
It’s hard to believe First Session is flying by so fast, and that we’ll be welcoming up our Second Session campers in just a matter of days! We say it every year, but we think this may be our Best Summer Ever and we can’t wait for you all to join us!
As some of you know, here at Manitou we are constantly getting involved with giving back through various organizations and charitable events. During the year, we have our Manitou Cares program where our campers, staff and families volunteer at different events each month to contribute to various charities across Canada. While we’re up at camp for the summer, we have our annual Community Week where each cabin group and activity creatively raises money for a different charity each year. We have had everything from water treading contests to “Handstands for Humanity” just to fundraise for a good cause. As well as our events and programs, Manitou invites speakers to Friday Night Fireside, Community Week, and the Walk Of Hope to enlighten and inspire us to strive and make the world a better place.
For our Community Week this summer, we have the privilege to welcome Alvaro and Boris Castellanos who will tell the story of their grandfather José Arturo Castellanos – a Righteous Among the Nations who refused to “stand by” in the face of injustice and as a result, helped to rescue thousands of people from the Nazis during WWII. They have made an incredible documentary to tell his story, which has been playing throughout the world to critical acclaim. For our annual Walk of Hope event, they will be talking to our campers and screening the 70-minute documentary combined with a simultaneous live musical performance of its soundtrack. “The Rescue – A Live-Film Concerto” promises to make an already special night even more memorable!
Our Friday Night Fireside theme for this summer is “We Do Not Stand By” and Boris and Alvaro are now working on another movie that also touches on this theme. Their upcoming film will tell the story of Indian Residential School Survivors in Canada and how many stood by allowing their abuse to occur.
We are sending an exclusive viewing link for the documentary “The Rescue” so our Manitou Families can witness the incredible story of their grandfather and the risks he took to save so many lives. Boris and Alvaro sold all of their assets to travel and film this movie and have now made it their life mission to spread the message of not standing by, so we can ensure that this does not happen again. Please CLICK HERE to access this inspirational film. The password to access the video is Manitou2019.
After watching this moving story, if you wish to make a contribution to their upcoming film on residential schools, please CLICK HERE to donate and support this important cinematic project.
If you can take the time to watch this film, we are sure you’ll be just as touched and inspired as we were when we first watched it earlier this year.
Hope everyone has a fantastic summer day…we know we will!
-Mark & Jeff
WOWOWOW! It’s another gorgeous sunny day at camp, and it’s looking like it’s going to be another fantastic, fun-filled day! Yesterday we had another thrilling Intercamp against Camp Tamakwa, where we competed in Basketball, Soccer, Softball, and even Climbing! It was great to see both camps exhibiting sportsmanship and spirit, and to see all of our campers not on teams cheering everyone on!
Today we have a ton of fun programs happening at activities, and I can’t wait to see all of them run! Starting at breakfast we had Pajama Day, where campers and staff came dressed in their best (and funniest!) pajamas. It was a very cozy meal, and I think I might leave on my moose pajamas all day now! Down at the river, Canoe/Kayak and Guitar will be joining forces in the annual Caneotar day! There will be some awesome tunes played on the beach, and I’ve seen campers strumming while being paddled down the river. It’s always a fun day, and it’s a blast to see our campers come together from such different activities.
Over at our Ropes course, it’s Balance Day, where our climbing campers will be testing–and maybe even improving–their balance. They’ll be doing all the usual Ropes course elements, but adding a twist like putting on a blindfold or not using hands! It’s a great challenge for our campers, and I’m sure they’ll be up to the task!
And fun things are happening up on Art Hill, as well. Crafts is having Valentine’s Day today where campers will be making Valentine’s cards and red and pink jewelry. I hope this old moose gets a Valentine! Creative Arts will be doing an ocean-themed art show, all to raise money and awareness about the oceans and their environmental concerns. Staff and campers will be making beautiful art pieces inspired by the ocean and the wildlife that lives there, and then they’ll be having a little gallery showing of all the pieces! I’m always so inspired by our campers and staff who use their creative talents for good causes.
Today is a full day of activities and fun, and then tonight is our weekly Cabin Activity Rotation where cabins go to activities that they may not usually have on their schedule. It’s a fun night to see our campers trying new things, and it’s always a ton of fun. Plus tomorrow is the start of another exciting journey when Adventure Valley Day Camp visits for a few days. But more on that soon!
And to HEAR more about we’ve been up to around camp, click on the logo BELOW to hear Episode 2 of our Manitou podcast!
Well, I’m off to see my friend Sarah Driscoll, our Head of Ropes & Climbing, to test my balancing skills!
Manny the Moose
WOOHOO! It’s a gorgeous Manitou day here, and there’s excitement in the air for today! But before I get to all the fun of today, I want to tell you about the beautiful Friday Night Fireside we had last night.
As always, we all gathered down by the lake and reflected on our week up at camp. I know I always appreciate being at camp when we go down to Fireside, and I think the campers and staff feel at peace as well. We started as always with our land acknowledgment, and moved into our candle ceremony, where campers and staff are honoured for their contributions and their Manitou spirit. Next, our Junior Unit did a short presentation on our theme “Don’t Stand By.” They presented a paper quilt where campers each made a square showing what the theme means to them and how important it is to stand up.
After our brilliant campers had finished, we heard from Martina and Wayne, two speakers from the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, Manitou’s charity for the summer. Martina and Wayne spoke to our campers and staff about what Children’s Aid does and how they help people in need find foster homes, and help them within the foster care system. They spoke about all of the amazing work Children’s Aid has done so far, but how there is always work that can be done and people that need to be helped. It was eye-opening for everyone–myself included–to hear the high rates of people that are within the foster care system in Canada, and I think it’s great that they came to speak to our Manitou family. I bet many of our campers and staff were inspired to take action and stand up to help people that are in need.
After a moving talk, Martina was then given the honour of reading our end of Fireside poem, and we all sang our camp song as we always do when we end our Friday nights. It was an incredible evening, and I always feel so at peace when we end our Friday Night Firesides. A perfect end to a perfect day!
Today we all woke to a sunny day here at camp…perfect for Rookie Day! Today is our annual Rookie Day, where 5 – 9 year olds visit Camp Manitou for the day, and live the day of a camper. And more often than not, these Rookies become Manitou campers one day! Today they’ll be trying Culinary Arts, Tennis, Woodworking, Adventure Park, Horseback Riding, and more! Plus they’ll get to eat in the Dining Hall for meals AND end the day with Tuck, just like a regular Manitou camper would. I can’t wait to meet all of the Rookies and see them enjoying the camper lifestyle!
Well, I’m off to go shoot some hoops with my friend Michael Palma, the Head of Basketball!
Manny the Moose
WOWEE! The weather is a little cooler here today on the shores of Lake Manitouwabing, but I know the sun is going to come out any second now and make this another perfect Manitou day! And speaking of perfect days, our Thursday yesterday was one of the best yet!
Everyone woke up on Thursday still raving about the Freshkids/Sophomore play the evening before…Mary Poppins! There were incredible performances, beautiful sets–made by Emma Szpindel and the Theatre Sets campers–and some wonderful singing and dancing! I’ll be singing those songs and thinking about the play for days to come!
Our Thursday then started with Chef Will’s famous breakfast buffet, an amazing spread with everything from chocolate croissants to watermelon to scrambled eggs to lox and bagels! Everyone can find something to enjoy, and I know this moose went in a couple of times to have the delicious food! After I had some food, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to our 2-week campers. I shed a moose tear watching all my new friends go back home and seeing their counsellors giving them big farewell hugs. But I know they’ll be back next summer, and maybe they’ll stay for even longer!
After everyone had their brunch, it was Super Cabin Cleanup time, where our campers spent time making their cabins look perfect, and tried to win the cleanup prize: an Ice Cream Party or even the elusive Steak Dinner! Then it was off to Beach Day for our Junior Unit! It was a great day to go to the beach and have an afternoon out of camp. There was swimming, games of volleyball, cabin hangouts on the beach, and it ended as all Beach Days do: a cookout complete with hot dogs and pop! I can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon!
It’s another activity day here today, but with Friday Night Fireside this evening and Rookie Day tomorrow there will be plenty to tell you all about soon! I’m off to go practice my serve with Sydney Shore, our Head of Volleyball!
Manny the Moose
WOOT WOOT! It’s another sunny day today, and it’s sure to be an exciting one! After our big Carnival yesterday, our Units had their regular Evening Programs, and I went to go check out some of them. Our Senior Unit had Splash Bash, a fun–and messy–activity that is basically one big paint water fight…but it’s all in good fun! And at the end, I’m sure some people had some awesome colourful shirts that they’ll keep forever. After I was done Splash Bashing, I went over to the Theatre to see what the C.I.T.s were up to. Usually our C.I.T.s would be with their cabins for E.P., but last night they had a very special night instead…it was their annual Salsa Night! Every year, as far back as I can remember, the C.I.T.s have learned to Salsa Dance and then competed to see who was the best pair. It’s a great night for bonding, and since the pairs are all mixed up, it’s nice for everyone to get to know each other a little better. Some of those C.I.T.s had fantastic dance moves…I wish I could dance like that! After all the fun of Carnival and Evening Programs, it was off to bed to rest up for another Manitou day.
Today is a beautiful day for activities, and there are kids outside everywhere smiling and having fun! I’ve been walking around because there are some very special programs happening at activities today, and I wanted to see what everyone was up to. Over at Martial Arts there is a Taekwondo competition where campers (and staff) signed up to compete in “fights,” and at the end there will be an ultimate champion. It’s all for fun of course, and I just saw some of the epic battles outside, all run by our Head of Martial Arts, Ivette! I then wandered over to Radio/Newspaper for their special Radio Gaga day. They’re over at the Gaga Court today to play the music of Queen and Lady Gaga and to play actual Gaga. For those of you who don’t know, Gaga is a game where players are in an octagon shaped court, and they have to hit a ball around using only their hands. If it touches their legs or feet, they get eliminated until the next game. The Radio campers–and campers around camp–love to play, and it’s even more awesome that they have a soundtrack to accompany them today! Plus, Yoga and Creative Arts are doing a Zen and Mandala day, where they will have a relaxing meditation day, and the Creative Arts campers will be drawing Mandalas. It sounds like an exciting day for a bunch of activities!
But that’s not all for today! Tonight, we have our first play of the 2019 Manitou Theatre season: Mary Poppins! Put on by our Freshkid and Sophomore campers, and directed by Theatre Specialist Miranda Wiseman, it’s going to be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and I can’t wait to see it and tell you all about it!
And because it’s Wednesday, we have an edition of The Mosquito–the camp newspaper–to share with you all! Our campers have been hard at working writing articles, reporting, and drawing comics and puzzles, and I thought some of you readers may want to see it as well. Click here to read the latest edition: Mosquito 2 2019 !
Our Radio/Newspaper campers and staff have also released the first ever Manitou podcast! We apologize for the sound–we are up in the woods after all!–but look out for a clearer episode next time. For now, take a listen here:
Well, off to the Rec Room to get some supplies and see my good friend Matt Wilson!
Manny the Moose