A Final Goodbye to Summer 2023!

OH MY! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! I can’t believe it’s the end of summer 2023 already, but thankfully we’ve all made some lifelong friends and memories. We’re so lucky here at camp to have the greatest staff and campers in the world in one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

Yesterday, all of us were hard at work packing out. It’s a bittersweet time, but if I know our campers, I’m sure they all had a blast packing together and helping each other out.

Last night, we celebrated the last night of camp. First, we had our activity awards, where each Activity Head gives out two awards to campers who have improved at their activity throughout Second Session. It’s so awesome seeing our campers cheer for each other when their names get called out! After our awards, we watched the slideshow, which our Photographer David Hamilton put together, and I can tell all the hard work he put in capturing the magic of camp. We finished off our night in the theatre by giving out a 15-year gift to this year’s recipient CIT Director Jonah Opler and honouring Mark Diamond in his final summer. We then all headed out to flagpole where the Jordana Lokash Award for Spirit and Sportsmanship was given out to our well-deserving recipients: Margo Cholakis and Cooper Pantel. The cheers for them and the smiles on everyone’s faces made it clear these campers are an awesome pair and perfect recipients for this award. We then sang our camp song as we lowered the flag, and I saw cabin groups arm in arm singing the song one final time.

It was an amazing last night, and a perfect way to end a perfect summer.

The buses are just rolling out and I am going to say goodbye to my friends, but I know I will see them all again next year for summer 2024.

Until then…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

A Final Friday Night Fireside, Many Theatre Shows and World Games!

YAHOO! It’s been another exciting last few days at Manitou and there’s so much to share with you all!

On Friday, we had our final Fireside of the summer, and it was another inspiring evening. After the Unit and Dave Sheffe Memorial Staff Candles were given out to honour someone who has gone above and beyond this week, we heard from our CITs who sang “In My Life” to go with our theme “It Takes Courage to Be Kind.” It was so great to see the CIT unit bond together and show the camp how close they have become as a unit. I can’t wait to see them become staff next year!

We ended Fireside as we always do, with our poem, read by Mark Diamond, and song, and then we were off to our next destination, because the night was just beginning! Everyone in camp then went to the theatre for a double-bill performance of the Dance Show and the Junior Theatre Show. Our first show was titled The Manitou Cabaret, and once again creativity was on display! The Junior campers showed off their acting and singing chops, and the group of theatre staff and campers who wrote the show should be so proud of the fantastic play that they made. The Dance Show was, once again, a thrilling and excitement performance, and I was extremely impressed by our group of talented dancers who were able to perform so many different types of dances!

On Saturday, we had our final Theatre show of the summer, which was The Addams Family performed by the Seniors and CITs. It was an amazing (and spooky) show, and the cast put on an incredible production. I’m always impressed by the talent we have at this camp, and how well our campers pull of these shows! I can’t wait for all of you to see these shows when they’re up online after the summer!

After the play, was one of the huge highlights of the summer for most of our campers and staff…the start of WORLD GAMES 2023! The teams were Sweden, led by Canoe Tripping Coordinator Mina Curran and Gameshow Specialist Zev Friedman, and team Chile, led by Theatre Head Alexa Jacoby and OCS Head Ramon Parera. This year’s matchup is the first time we’ve had a rematch in World Games history! Our captains and steering committees did amazing dances and speeches to present their teams to the campers, and everyone was already cheering and showing their spirit for their teams.

The last three days have been an incredible showing of spirit, sportsmanship, cheering, athleticism and creativity! We’ve had a marathon, a track and field competition, a cabaret, opening and closing ceremonies, and of course our amazing dinners where the Dining Hall gets transformed and you really feel transported to the country! On the final day, we had our big relay where every camper and staff got involved and it ended in our classic World Games rope burn. It’s always a close finish and just adds to the excitement of the games! When the three days were over, the whole camp stood watching their flags wave to see which flag would drop and which would remain waving. At the end of the three days it was TEAM SWEDEN who was crowned victorious in World Games 2023!

I know whether they lost or won, everyone will always have memories of World Games! Time to pack my bags now and get ready for a bittersweet final day.

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Walk of Hope and Alice in Wonderland!

Golly gee! It’s been another exciting few days at Manitou, complete with an annual tradition, a fantastic musical, and a bittersweet goodbye.

On Monday evening we had our annual Walk of Hope, a Manitou tradition that happens each summer. It is an event during our ‘Community Week’ where campers and staff reflect, learn, listen, and find new ways to give back. We usually walk around Main Field for this event, but due to rain we reinvented our walk this year. It was awesome to see a new Walk of Hope form! First, our units went into the theatre which was transformed into a soothing, calming, beautifully lit space. Each artificially lit paper bag was decorated by campers and had messages and drawings of hope and peace covering them. The focal point of the evening was our speaker from Seeds of Hope, our charity of the summer. Seeds of Hope helps people who are experiencing homelessness in the Toronto area. It was so special for our Manitou campers and staff to hear how Seeds of Hope helps people experiencing homelessness and how we can give back to this charity and the community as well. Our campers and staff then moved to the Dining Hall where they listened to campers perform and participate in activities. One of the activities was writing down improvements to make in their lives and another was writing down fears they wanted to get rid of and then put them in a fire outside in a quiet space. It was not the same outdoor walk as usual, but it was still a moving evening and I know our campers and staff all enjoyed it!

The following night was another exciting evening with the performance of the Freshkid/Sophomore play, Alice in Wonderland! Our campers all had a blast singing and dancing for the camp. The costumes, sets, and talent were all out of this world, and it was so much fun going down the rabbit hole and seeing everyone perform! I can’t wait until the next show and seeing more of our talented campers!

On Wednesday morning, we had a bittersweet goodbye when we said farewell to our 2-week campers. It was sad seeing them all go, but I know that they made so many memories and that they’ll be back again next summer for more fun times!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

A Very Special Friday Night Fireside, Intercamp, Talent Show and Midnight Madness!

Oh me oh my! It’s been another exciting couple of days here at camp and I’m just bursting at the seams to fill you all in.

On Friday, we had our last Intercamp competition of the summer and it was an amazing day! This time, we welcomed Camp Wahanowin to Manitou and had an amazing day of athleticism and sportsmanship. Our campers were extremely spirited cheering on our basketball, hockey, tennis, and swim teams and our teams won every single game! I was so proud of our campers who demonstrated it wasn’t just about winning and that having a good attitude and having fun was just as important. I can’t wait until next summer when we have Intercamp again, but for now I’ll just have to congratulate our incredible Manitou Moose athletes!

In typical Manitou fashion, the day wasn’t done there! After a big day of Intercamp and activities, we all went down to Friday Night Fireside for another evening of relaxing and thinking about the past week in this special place we call home. The evening began with our Land Acknowledgement, delivered by Junior Unit Head Dylan Brown, who spoke about appreciating the land we are on and thinking about those who came here before us. We then gave out our weekly candles to campers and staff who have been exceptional leaders this week.

Following all that, we had a very special guest speaker named Tareq Hadhad who came to talk to all of us about his journey. He spoke about about escaping the Syrian war and becoming a refugee to Canada, where he was welcomed with open arms to Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He told us all about his family’s chocolate factory in Syria, and how he has started it here in Canada. It was incredibly moving to hear such an inspiring story of triumph, courage, and perseverance. I know I was motivated and moved by his speech, and I’m sure our campers were too.

After Tareq spoke, our Senior Unit sang “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, an inspiring tune to go with our theme “It Takes Courage to Be Kind.” We then ended with our poem and song as always, and I saw our cabin groups arm in arm, swaying side and to side and it made this Moose’s heart swell!

Our weekend of fun didn’t stop there! Saturday held another batch of Manitou excitement! Our Second Session Talent Show was Saturday night and it was another incredible showcase of dancing, singing, ukulele, and an impressive 45 songs in 75 seconds! Our campers were cheering on their friends, and it was so amazing to see the support for all of our incredible performers.

After our Talent Show, all of our campers were in for another treat! It was our annual Midnight Madness, where our CITs put on an incredible themed program for the whole camp. This year the theme was Back to the Future, and our campers transformed the Dining Hall into a Time Travel extravaganza, complete with fun game booths, dancing, and some treats! It was an amazing night, and I’m so amazed and proud of our CITs who made a memorable night for all of our campers.

There’s more fun in store, but right now this moose is going to Crafts to make a friendship bracelet!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

A SpOoOoOoky Halloween!

OH ME OH MY! It’s been a fun couple of days here at camp and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

On Monday, camp was a little bit spookier as we had our annual Manitou Halloween celebration. All day long at activities, they were making decorations, and campers and staff were working on their costumes in preparation for the big night. Once it was finally time, I couldn’t believe some of the creative costumes I saw! There were people dressed as Care Bears, some were unicorns, and I even saw a bunch of Smurfs running around! Everyone was having an amazing time trick or treating and showing off their incredible outfits in the costume contest. But that wasn’t all! There was a spooky Haunted House, a hay ride that drove all around camp, caramel apples, and for the first time ever there was a Halloween maze! As always, we ended the night with a Halloween dance where we all danced together in our awesome costumes. Our campers and staff get more creative every year and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

On Tuesday night we had a classic Manitou Evening Program…Stock Ticker! Our Freshkid and Sophomores were invited to the Manitou Stock Exchange where they could buy and sell stocks using our Manitou currency, Moosebucks, from some wacky companies. It was a fun night with some great companies like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bee Apparel, and Croc Inc. all participating in the event, along with many more. I can’t wait to see which cabin did the best!

Well I’m off to Volleyball where the Activity Head, Gabi, is running an awesome three-on-three tournament!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose