A Very Special Fireside

It was another beautiful night yesterday, and before heading down to our weekly Friday Night Fireside spot overlooking the majestic Lake Manitouwabing, we had the entire camp meet us at Dave’s Place, a new sunset firepit that was built to honour the legacy of David Sheffe. Below you can read what Mark and Jeff said in honour of David, and it was, of course, a very emotional time for all of us, but a very special thing to do.

We then continued down to Fireside, and our 8 core values that were written 20 years ago by Manitou campers were explained to our new Second Session campers. After that, we once again honoured one male and one female camper from each unit with a candle, for demonstrating all of those Manitou values, and going above and beyond. We then heard eight campers who were all at Manitou for their second summer speak to new campers about their experience of when they were new up here at camp. They blew me away with their wise words, and it was so special of them to say that every staff and camper is here for each other.

Because you readers didn’t get to hear all of the speeches, here are some quotations I’ve put here just for you:

“At first I was afraid of coming because I didn’t speak English, and sometimes I cried, and then one day I said ‘I feel better’ and camp made me feel at home. It’s my family now. So to the first time campers I want to tell you that these are going to be the best days of your life …and you will learn a lot of English too!”

– Daniel age 9

I would love to tell you what our Freshkid camper said, but Jennifer spoke with no notes and somehow was able to articulate how much she loved camp last year and not to worry about anything!

Isabelle, our Sophomore camper then spoke so beautifully and said, “Camp will become your family … not like brothers and sisters and parents, but I mean family as a bunch of different people of all over the world  who become such good friends.” I agree Isabelle!

Noah, who is also just 9 years old, talked about his supportive and caring counsellors.  He also told us he’s a picky eater, but he loves the food here…so go Chef William!

Ally, from our Junior Unit, talked about how Manitou “feels like home, because everyone is kind and tries to make new campers feel comfortable.” Plus she can’t wait for World Games…and I feel the same!

Moumoud talked about how his brother and him had never been to camp before and how nervous they were, but how they ended up having the best time. He told us, “We fished, played volleyball, learned how to shoot an arrow, took yoga classes, did woodworking, and had campfires. We even learned how to handle horses, how to treat them, how to groom them, and of course how to ride them.” I think everything he did is super cool!

Ruby in Seniors wrote a beautiful poem about how she knew nobody last year, and how she now has a whole cabin of friends. She said that, “Camp is staying up late with friends, praying that camp never ends. Camp is the best place, and I am sure by now you will see a smile on your face.”

Finally, our wonderful camper Ferran, all the way from Spain, wrote a beautiful piece, where he said, “I was nervous flying on my own to a different country, but Manitou treated me so well that those feelings disappeared and my cabin accepted me with open arms. Manitou has also been good for me, as I could only come to camp if my grades were good, so it was a good motivation all year! The best way to enjoy Manitou is to try all of the activities, and meeting new people…don’t close your mind and make sure you go meet people. Then you will return with amazing relationships and unbelievable experiences.”

We closed out our inspiring Fireside with the Sophomore Unit singing “Lean On Me,” and saying some brief, wonderful words about out theme for the summer “Caring is Community.” And we finished off with our directors Mark Diamond and Jeff Wilson telling us about our First Session charity, Save A Child’s Heart, which provides life-saving surgery to people around the world.

We then read our poem and sang our Manitou song to end off a perfect Fireside. We can’t wait until next Friday night when we have a gust speaker from Eva’s Place—an organization that provides shelter for homeless youth. We can’t wait until our campers learn about how they can make a difference in this world. And we will be kicking off my favourite part of every summer—Community Week! That’s where we dedicate an entire week to giving back and doing Random Acts of Kindness. Stay tuned for all of that!

If you would like to read what Mark and Jeff said for their dedication to Dave’s Place, just click HERE!

Now I’m off to Crafts to go make bracelets with the Head of Crafts, Jordy! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

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