Second Session, Intercamp, and Fireside!

YABADABADOO! We’ve been having fun in the sun up here at camp and I’m so excited to tell you about all the amazing stuff we’ve had going on!

Second Session has started and it’s off to an fantastic start! Our Second Session campers, both new and old, hopped off the bus with big smiles on their faces. I’ve seen them all at their activities learning new things and having the times of their lives. in addition to going to activities and bonding with cabinmates, our campers have had some special moments in these first few days of Second Session.

On Friday we had another Intercamp competition with our long time competitors Camp Winnebagoe! This time, Winnebagoe campers and staff visited us and competed in soccer, basketball, hockey, volleyball, and tennis with our Manitou campers. Our Manitou Moose athletes were amazing both in skill and sportsmanship, and I saw a lot of smiling faces throughout the day!

After a big Intercamp day, we all had the opportunity to relax as a camp at our first Friday Night Fireside of Second Session. For those who are new readers, Friday Night Fireside is a time to come together as a camp community and think about the place we are in and how lucky we are to be here. We often have speakers from units or sometimes guest speakers talk about our theme of the summer, too. This summer, our theme is “It Takes Courage to be Kind” and we have heard some amazing speeches so far this summer. As our campers and staff came down to Fireside this week, our Activity Heads sang “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” to get everyone in the mood for the theme of Fireside. We then started our Fireside as we always do with our Land Acknowledgement to recognize those who came before us on this beautiful land we now call home. After that, our Unit Heads gave out candles to campers who have gone above and beyond this week, a tradition that’s always so special, especially when our other campers cheer them on! We then moved onto our “Camp Is” speeches where select 2nd year campers spoke a little bit about their first experience at Manitou to help our new Manitou campers adjust and relate. Here are a couple of tidbits from their amazing speeches…

Constanza: When I decided to spend my summer here I was a bit nervous, but all the people here did their best to make me at home. So enjoy it and have fun!

Isaac: While the activities are great and fun, you will also get to have fun with all of your friends both new and old. You can go to activities together or just talk during rest hour. And who knows maybe next year you will be here giving a speech in my place.

Heloise: Camp is about friendships and a great adventure. I flew here alone for the first time and discovered incredible people.

Dhaya: This year I was really excited for camp. I would be with three of my friends and I was excited to see the friends I made last year. Everyone is so kind and welcoming and I also love that kids have so much independence.

Nate: Camp is a great opportunity to try new and different things for fun and it’s amazing because you’re essentially free! You get to make your own decisions and get to choose the activities you do.

One camper named Cameron didn’t prepare a speech and spoke from his heart. He talked about how it’s okay to be homesick and that everyone feels that way at first, but eventually you will get over it and learn to love camp.

After these incredible and heartwarming speeches, we ended Fireside as we always do with the reading of our poem and our camp song.

After an action-packed Friday, the fun didn’t stop there! Our campers woke up Saturday to discover the Dining Hall had been transformed for Mark Day! This summer is Director Mark Diamond’s last with Manitou, and so today we did a top secret special day for Mark. He didn’t know a thing when he entered the Dining Hall and he was so excited to see all the photos of him throughout the years. We made hundreds of stickers of his face, and there were Toronto Maple Leafs decorations everywhere (his favorite team). In the morning, he got to go to activities just like our other campers, and in the afternoon, Mark got to DJ music lunch as DJ Marky Mark and play an MHL game for his own team the Marlies! We ended the day with some very special speeches from Manitou alumni in honour of Mark. It was an amazing day all around and I know it’s one that Mark will remember for a very long time.

Well, I’m off to perfect my lacrosse skills with my friend Ramon!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Visitors Day, Grease and Manny Games!

Grease is the word! Before I get ahead of myself, first we have to go over some incredible Manitou moments in the last few days. 

On Saturday, we had our annual Visitors Day (as you readers all know!) and it was so amazing seeing our wonderful camper parents and families visiting Manitou. Our new families had an amazing time seeing the camp for the first time, and I can’t wait until we see them in the future! All of our campers showed their visitors around to their cabins, different activities, and there was a huge buffet lunch with all sorts of tasty goodies! It was another great Visitors Day closing, with our Freshkids and Sophomores having the time of their lives on our giant slip and slide!

That night we had our final Theatre production of First Session, and I’ve had the tunes of Grease stuck in my head since the show! Our campers were so amazing, once again showing of their singing and dancing talents, and we all got a kick out of actors doing their finest 1950s greaser accents. They sang “Summer Loving” onstage and it was the audience summer loving the show as well! 

If you can believe it, the night was not over then! After the play, all of our campers went back to their cabins to find out what colour team they would be on for Manny Games. Manny Games is our big end of session one day colour war program, and our campers and staff look forward to it every year. This year, our theme was ‘Places to Have Fun,’ and a hard battle was fought between Team Museum, Team Arcade, Team Circus and Team Cinema! After a full day of sports rotations, decorating the dining hall, song and dance performances, a relay race, and our campers cheering their hearts out, it was Team Museum who was revealed to be the winner! Whether they won or lost, our campers had the time of their lives and I know they will have memories for many years to come.

I am off to help my new camper friends do their swim checks!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Blankets, Dance Intercamp, CNIB and Fireside!

YIPEE! It’s a beautiful sunny day here at Manitou and we’ve had a fun filled week recently!

On Monday night we had our annual Blanket Ceremony where we honour staff who have been at Manitou for ten years. Every recipient receives an incredibly beautiful and warm fleece blanket, with their name and the Manitou logo stitched on it. Chris, Mark and Jeff talk- about each honouree and recount the memories of all of their years at Manitou. It’s always a special night and so amazing how many people stay at Manitou for ten years and love calling this place home.

On Tuesday we had two wonderful events and they were both great opportunities for Manitou to show how special we are to other camps! We had two dance teams go to Camp Wahanowin for the annual Dance Intercamp, where multiple camps compete against each other and show off their incredible choreographed dances. Our teams were filled with dancers who showed off their impressive talent and skills, and at the end of the day Manitou placed 2nd overall! We are all very proud of our Dance Team and how well they did at Wahanowin and I can’t wait to see their fantastic dance routines at some point this summer!

Later in the day on Tuesday, we had another incredible annual event, which was our partnership with CNIB and our LIT campers. LITs (Leaders in Training) are our campers who are going to be CITs next summer. They participate in multiple leadership and programming events during the summer, one of which is our annual partnership with CNIB Lake Joseph. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind camp at Lake Joseph is an awe-inspiring place where campers go to activities similar to Manitou but the facilities have been revamped so that anyone with sight disabilities can also be a camper. Our LIT campers go to Lake Joseph, learn how to work with people who are visually impaired, and even participate in activities at their camp. The following day, CNIB Lake Joseph campers come to us and our LITs assist them in all of their programming at our camp! The Lake Joseph campers participate in Archery, Ropes and Adventure Park, and even though they’re here for a short afternoon, they really get the full Manitou experience. It’s incredible for our LITs to experience, and amazing as well that we get to host the CNIB campers as well!

And then to end the week, we once again had an incredible Friday Night Fireside. After our important Land Acknowledgement, each Unit Head gave candles to some amazing campers who have been leaders throughout the week. The reception for these candle recipients is always so loud and supportive and it’s heartwarming to see. We then had our Sophomore Unit speak on our theme of the summer, “It Takes Courage to Be Kind.” Each cabin worked together and wrote about what the theme meant to them and spoke about it at Fireside. Then all of the cabin’s thoughts were put together and made a chain of kindness. It’s hanging up at Fireside now and it brings this moose so much joy to see all of the amazing words and thoughts our campers come up with. As always, we ended with our song, arm and arm with each other.

And then if you can believe it, the week wasn’t over just then! After Friday Night Fireside, the whole camp went to the theatre for our double-header evening of the Dance Show and the Junior theatre production of The Little Mermaid. Our dance campers showed off their airbands, hip-hop dances, tap routines, and our Intercamp teams performed in front of the camp and showed off their unbelievable talent! After a huge applause for the Dance Show, we then had the opportunity to see our Junior campers put on the Disney classic, The Little Mermaid. I was once again blown away by the costumes, sets, music, and of course the incredible cast who acted and sang their hearts out. I was smiling from ear to ear when the show ended, and I know the rest of the theatre was too!

It’s been a fantastic couple of days at Manitou and I just know all the fun and memories will continue!

Off to Theatre to see all of our kids rehearse for our upcoming shows. Stay tuned for that!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Carnival Fun!

WOOHOO! Another day and another exciting Manitou event! It’s a sunny, warm day over Lake Manitou-Wabing which means it’s perfect weather for our annual Carnival.

On Sunday afternoon, all the campers and staff went to Main Field to celebrate Carnival, and it was as amazing as ever! There were inflatables, bouncy castles, classic games like ring toss, an incredible foam party, and fantastic carnival food like cotton candy and sno-cones. We even brought back our classic dunk tank! I even saw kids getting their face painted and becoming part of a human mural. Campers and staff had the best time running around, playing games, and laughing. It was a successful Carnival as always and I know our campers will have memories for years to come.

It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of First Session, but there’s still lots of fun to be had! Our campers still have 4 days of full regular activities left, filled with sports championships and tournaments, special arts programs, and amazing theatre productions to see as well! To top it all off, as always we end our session with Manny Games! I’ll tell you more about all of this very soon…stay tuned!

Off to go to Pottery and learn the wheel with my friend Ashley!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Another Special Friday Night Fireside and Rookie Day!

WOW! It’s been another amazing Manitou week and we capped it off with a very special Friday Night Fireside. 

This Fireside was an inspiring evening, led by the Junior Unit. We started off with our land acknowledgment, read by our Programming Coordinator Isobel San Martin, recognizing how fortunate we are to be at Manitou and the importance of being caretakers of this land. Next, the Unit Heads gave out candles to campers that have gone above and beyond in their daily routine and truly demonstrated the Manitou spirit. There were so many cheers and smiles for our candle recipients as they were being honoured. After the candle ceremony, we had a few Junior campers speak about our theme of the summer, “It Takes Courage to Be Kind,” and what it means to them. It was so great hearing from our older campers and here are some amazing quotes from some of our campers:

Penny and Maddy: What does it mean when we say it takes courage to be kind? It means to be a leader, not a follower, it means to do right over wrong.

Matthew: Even though it may take a lot of courage to be kind, we all have it in us.

Carson: I’m here to talk about one of the most contagious diseases…kindness. When you’re kind to someone, it brightens their day up and gives them courage to be kind to someone else.

After our campers spoke, we had a group of Junior campers sing “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw and it was so nice to hear and see our campers singing with their Unit Heads in front of the entire camp. 

As always, we ended Friday Night Fireside with our camp song and I saw our campers and staff with arms around each other, feeling the love from everyone around. We have such a fantastic Manitou community here and I love when our big Manitou family comes together every Friday night to reflect on how lucky we all are to be here together. 

Today at Manitou is another exciting and jam-packed day as it’s our annual Rookie Day! This is when we invite younger kids to try out the camp experience for a day. Our older Senior campers partner with our Rookies to lead them around to activities like Wood Working, Basketball, Greenhouse and a campfire with s’mores! They also get the opportunity to try our delicious Manitou meals and have tuck at the end of the day…just like our regular campers! It’s an amazing day and we always love seeing our Rookies having an incredible time and coming back the following summer as Manitou campers! 

I’m off to go try Wakeboarding with my friend Ali, our head of Waterski/Wakeboard!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

More Intercamp, Hoedown Day and Frozen!

Yeehaw! It’s been a rootin’-tootin’ time up at Camp Manitou! But before we get to our very special day we had yesterday, we want to share with our Manitou family all about our 2nd Intercamp of the season!

On Monday, our Manitou Moose athletes went to another Intercamp competition, this time at Camp Winnebagoe…a long time Intercamp competitor! We faced off in basketball, softball, hockey and soccer and demonstrated athletic prowess, grit and amazing spirit and sportsmanship! We’re always so proud of our Manitou athletes and coaches and they all returned to camp with the biggest smiles on their faces!

After the excitement of Intercamp, everyone put on their cowboy hats and plaid and got in the spirit for Hoedown Day! When everyone woke up on Tuesday, the Dining Hall had been transformed into a barn, and the whole camp was in cowboy spirit for Hoedown Day! There was country music at breakfast, people in cowboy costumes, line dances and all the country and western fun you can imagine. The day then ended with an amazing dance put on by the Magen Boys. I saw all of our campers and staff dancing to all their favourite country hits with lots of that classic Manitou spirit and I know Hoedown Day will be a day everyone remembers for a long time!

And after Hoedown Day, our next evening was exciting as well! We got to watch our first theatre show of summer 2023, and this time it was the incredible Freshkids and Sophomores treating us to a fantastic production of Frozen. It was amazing seeing our youngest campers going onstage in front of the whole camp and singing their hearts out! It was clear everyone was having a fun time performing and they all knew the songs and dances so well! I can’t wait until our next show, but for now I will be humming the tunes of Frozen and thinking of our performers!

Finally, because Manitou is always a busy and happening place, we have attached a copy of our camp newspaper, the Mosquito HERE for everyone to peruse!

Well, I’m off to Canoe to see my friend TJ…he’s going to teach me how to do a proper J-stroke!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Fireside, Talent and Intercamp!

WOWEE! It’s been such a busy few days at camp, I haven’t had the chance to tell you all what’s been going on! We’ve been blessed with beautiful sunny days for all of our fun activities and nice cool nights to rest after full days. Perfect Manitou weather to match perfect Manitou days!

On Friday we had our second Friday Night Fireside of the summer, and it was another inspiring evening. We started off Fireside with our land acknowledgment, recognizing how fortunate we are to be at Manitou and the importance of being caretakers of this land. The Unit Heads gave out camper candles to campers that have gone above and beyond in their daily routine and truly demonstrate the Manitou spirit. I love hearing the cheers for our candle recipients, and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when they see their friends being honoured. After the candle ceremony, a couple of Freshkid campers spoke about what our theme of the summer, “It Takes Courage to Be Kind,” means to them. It’s incredible that even at a young age, these campers understand how wrong bullying is and how good it is to stand up for your friends and others.

Next, we had our inspiring guest speaker Peter Katz, speak on our theme while using his music to help convey his powerful messages. Peter is a Juno winning folk singer and speaker who uses the power of words and song to communicate important messages to kids and adults everywhere. Peter spoke about his experience growing up at summer camp changed his life in so many ways. He explained how his counsellor encouraged him to learn guitar at camp and now he is performing for people all over the world! It was so great to hear from someone who had grown up in a beautiful place like we do. Peter played two of his songs for us, including his most famous “The Camp Song,” an ode to summer camp. As all of our campers and staff swayed along, I know the song’s words resonated with everyone…including me! Peter spoke to our CIT campers later in the evening, further driving home his message and his art form. We ended our Friday Night Fireside as we always do, with the reading of our special poem and the singing of our camp song. It was a great way to end the night, and I think it inspired a lot of our Manitou campers. You can check out Peter’s incredible music HERE and singalong!

Saturday was another busy activity day with some of our Manitou Moose athletes heading on the bus to go to Camp Tamakwa for our first Intercamp of summer 2023! Intercamp is when different summer camps compete against in each other in various sports like basketball, hockey, baseball and soccer. We haven’t had Intercamp since 2019, and our campers are beyond excited to go and play against other camps! Stay tuned for a video of intercamp which we will post later this week.

Later Saturday evening is when we really kicked things into gear and had an amazing time! In the evening we all went to the theatre for the First Session Camper Talent Show! There was singing, dancing, karaoke, guitar playing and drumming, and even an epic martial arts battle. It was an amazing show and I can’t believe how talented our Manitou campers are!

We always wish all of you could see our special Friday Night Fireside guest speakers, so we have posted a special video below, made by our Videographer Fahim Rahman. Check it out to get a glimpse of our wonderful Freshkids and our fantastic speaker!

Well, I’m off to go see my friend Lanny Foster, the Head of Hockey, and he’s going to teach this old moose how to shoot a ball!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

One Amazing Week at Camp!

HOORAY! We have had one AMAZING week at camp and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

After all of our campers did their swim checks, cabin photos, and unpacked to make their cabins look perfect, they were able to start their own activity schedules! So far, we have had five activity days and I can tell you the campers are having a BLAST! I’ve seen kids get up on the rope for the first time at Waterski, had campers make me mugs on the wheel at Pottery, and I’ve even played Basketball with some Seniors! The sun has been shining brightly at camp and it’s so great to see all of our campers having fun at their activities!

In addition to their activities, we have also seen some fantastic Evening Programs in the first week. Evening Programs are when units get together at night and participate in a creative game or activity that their Unit Heads have planned. We’ve had Capture the Flag, Minute to Win It, and even a night to learn their unit cheers!

Between activities, evening programs, and some delicious meals, it seems summer 2023 is off to a great start!

Time for me to go out in the sun and then I’m off to help clean my cabin for “Super Duper Clean Up” where the cleanest cabin in each unit has a chance to win ice cream party!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Our First Fireside of 2023

Last night we had our first Friday Night Fireside for summer 2023! For those of you new to the Manitou family, Friday Night Fireside is a time where we all gather together down by the lake for a time to reflect. It’s the perfect time to think about how lucky we are to be in such a beautiful and amazing place like Manitou.

As always, we had a beautiful and meaningful time at Fireside together as a camp. The evening began with a land acknowledgement delivered by our Head Counsellor Kailee, who really got the kids thinking about the land we live on like all of those before us. We then proceeded to introduce to the camp this year’s summer theme: “It Takes Courage to Be Kind.” 

Throughout the summer we will be focusing on the positive changes we can make in the world when we work together, support each other, and come together as a group. We will be encouraging all campers and staff to think about our theme and figure out how it applies to their own life and experiences. We can’t wait to see what they come up with! 

Next, we invited up a few campers to make speeches about what camp means to them, with some amazing results! 

Here are some excerpts from some of the speeches:

Ace: I can say that camp is the absolute best place on earth! Last year I only signed up for 2 weeks, but I ended up staying the whole months because I didn’t want to leave. And this year, I’m going for the gold – i’m staying the entire summer!

Jamie: For all of the NEW campers you should know that once you’re comfortable here, it will feel like home!

Parker: Camp makes me feel happy and comfortable. Don’t feel left out because we are always here for you!

Jack: As I embark on my second summer at Manitou, I am grateful for the opportunities camp has provided me, and I’m excited for the adventures that lie ahead. Let’s have a great summer!

Laine: Camp creates memories big and small that I will cherish forever. There is no doubt that I will be making so many more memories this year.

Sarah: Manitou is such a special place where everyone can be who they want to be. Whether you are into sports or arts, there is an activity for everyone. You might be feeling scared and overwhelmed right now, but I promise, in no time, you will feel right at home with your Manitou family, just like me.

Pia: Last summer was my first year and I didn’t know anyone, but this camp was very welcoming and I made a lot of friendships that I know will go on for many years.

Jack: Camp is going to feel like your second home in a matter of what feels like just a snap of your fingers. To be able to play basketball, volleyball, bake something, go make a bracelet, all within a distance of ten minutes feels unreal to me and I will never take it for granted.

And one of our speakers, Jacob, led the camp in a beautiful sing-along of Lean on Me!

It was so nice to have the Manitou family together again, singing the camp song with their arms around their cabinmates. It just felt right. We’re so happy to be back and to get to have many more amazing Friday Night Firesides this summer. 

Off to dinner…I can’t wait to see what amazing meal Chef Will has made!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose