A Final Goodbye!

OH MY! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! I can’t believe the end of summer 2019 is upon us already, but thankfully we’ve all made some lifelong friends and memories.

Last night, we closed out World Games 2019 and crowned Team Brazil victorious! It was a tight race up until the finish line and I’ve never seen a more amazing three days! After the big World Games closing, our staff were treated to their very own Staff Banquet, a nice evening filled with speeches and a staff slideshow. It was a great way to celebrate our incredible staff team, and I was amazed as always at how brilliant our staff were in their speeches. Here are some fantastic quotes from some of those speeches:

“What makes camp so special isn’t that the sky is full of stars, the hockey rink, or the lake. Camp is unique because it has its own carefully designed culture. Kids feel like they belong, can take risks, and be a different, better version of themselves. Camp isn’t a place; it’s a feeling. But that feeling doesn’t appear spontaneously—it arises by design and you have all been part of the 2019 award winning design!”

“Please remember, it is the diversity of this group, the different perspectives and backgrounds that make us so strong. People from all walks of life, different countries, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, political view points, and so on. Let us all light our candles in recognition that we are one community, we are one family, with a common purpose, to help children grow. Well, for this summer, Jeff and I are so proud to say that you have exceeded beyond our expectations, and how blessed are we that we can stand before you to tell you that.”

We’re so lucky here at camp to have the greatest staff and campers in the world! And today, 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.

And tonight, we get to celebrate the last night of camp as a whole. First, we have our activity awards, where each Activity Head gives out two awards to campers who have improved at their activity throughout Second Session. After our awards, we’ll get to watch the slideshow, which our Photographer Morgan Vandermark has been hard at work making. We’ll finish off our night in the theatre by giving out some 15-year gifts to this year’s recipients: Freshkid Unit Head Sydney Wilson, Junior Unit Head Lizzie Moscoe, Head of Hockey Lanny Foster, and Head of Volleyball Sydney Shore. We’ll then all head out to flagpole where the Jordana Lokash Award for Spirit and Sportsmanship will be given out and we’ll sing our camp song as we lower the flag.

It’s sure to be an amazing last night, and a perfect way to end a perfect summer.

Well, I’m off to Banquet now!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

World Games 2019: Day 3!

It’s another gorgeous Manitou day, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a fantastic final day of World Games 2019! Yesterday’s events made the competition even tighter, and I think it’s going to come down to one final push for both teams!

Yesterday, we had an incredibly close Marathon where every camper and staff ran or walked for their team, and then we went into a charged Spirit Lunch, where campers had painted themselves fully in their team colour, and were cheering at the top of their lungs. We had a World Games favourite after lunch, Staff Hockey, and then following the afternoon Activity Blocks, we went over to Brazil for their team dinner. They kindly invited us into their Carnival (with a full functioning zipline!) where we could play human foosball, see the Amazon wildlife, and even enter through a giant toucan! Both team dinners were incredible this year, and I am in awe of the creativity of our Manitou family! We ended off last night with our annual World Games Cabaret, where each team performed an original song, a dance, painted a mural in four minutes live, showed us a video, and played past World Games trivia. It was a jam-packed night filled with lots of talent, and we got to learn about each culture a little more, too! But enough about yesterday…here’s what we have going on today!

This morning was the Manitou Medley, a relay where every single camper and staff from both teams participate and try to get a big win for their team. Each relay event is a wacky take on a game or sport, and I love running around camp with the kids and seeing how much fun they’re having. It always ends in an intense rope burn competition, with plenty of cheering from both sides, and this year Greece took the win! After all the cheering of the relay, and from yesterday’s Spirit Lunch, we all headed into Monk Lunch, a meal where everyone has to be completely silent. If a team is caught talking they may risk the points, so everyone was at their quietest!

After Monk lunch, the teams competed in the Eliminator, a sock war game done by Units– one more epic battle and final push towards victory! And then finally, we will see the Closing Ceremonies from each team, where the story lines we have been following will conclude, and we will get to hear a World Games favourite: the closing songs. I anticipate a very tight finish, so keep your eyes on Manitou’s social media to find our the winner later tonight!

Off to follow the relay now! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

World Games 2019: Day 2!

It’s a beautiful sunny day here at Manitou…perfect weather for Day 2 of World Games 2019! But before we move onto our events for today, I’ll give you a quick recap of yesterday!

We had cheering all day long, and I loved seeing all of our campers and staff getting into the spirit and culture of their countries. Greece’s opening ceremony wowed us with their Greek choruses and pitch perfect singing, and Brazil’s opening had us laughing as we got sucked into the world of Telenovelas and the Amazon. In the afternoon, there was an extremely close Track and Field event, which Team Greece ended up winning in the end, and then we went into the markets and ruins of Greece for their team dinner. We feasted on traditional Greek dishes, rebuilt ruins, and even got to see some weather phenomena and Greek gods! The day ended with the Fashion Show and Dance Off, a thrilling night filled with spirit and fun! The race is very tight right now as we head into Day 2!

This morning we had our World Games Marathon, where all of the campers and staff from each team go on a run (or Fun Walk!) and gain points for their teams! It was a close battle–and there were some very fast runners–but Brazil took home the Marathon win for their team! And as if the morning wasn’t exciting enough, we then headed into one of my favourite lunches of the summer: Spirit Lunch! Both teams showed off their best cheers, their spirit, and their wildest ideas! Sometimes campers paint themselves in their team colours to show their commitment to their team! It was a very exciting lunch, and I couldn’t believe how creative our campers and staff are every year!

This afternoon, there are some more activity blocks, where campers will compete in various activities to take the points for their team, and then we will head into our second team dinner, hosted by Team Brazil. I’m sure they have a lot of surprises up their sleeve, and I’m excited to see what will be in store! To end the day, we have Cabaret, an evening of performances where each team will show us their prepared dances, original songs, paintings, videos, and past World Games trivia skills! It’s a great way for teams to get pumped up, and I love seeing the creativity and imagination of both teams.

It’s a very close World Games right now, and there’s still lots of events left before we find out the winner!

I’m off to watch the Canoe Race down at the river! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

World Games 2019: Day 1!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…we have some amazing and talented campers! Last night we were treated to the Senior/C.I.T. theatre show, which was Sweet Charity, and I was blown away. All of the campers were amazing singers and actors, and they put on an absolutely incredible show for the rest of the camp. When the show was over, everyone knew what was going to be happening later that night, so all of our campers raced back to their cabins…

Yes, it’s finally here! The time of camp everyone has been waiting for: World Games! Last night we started the 2019 World Games, and you could feel the excitement and energy in the air! Everyone came down wearing their colour and with yellow or blue paint on their face, eagerly awaiting to find out what country they would be representing this year. We first saw the yellow team Captains and their Steering Committee (their hardworking crew of helpers) perform a traditional Samba dance filled with flowers and fun, and it was revealed to us that the team was Brazil, led by our Head of Hockey Lanny Foster and Junior Girls Counsellor Vicky Valentine! We then went on over to the blue side, where we saw a traditional European dance, while the Steering Committee was covered in glitter with big smiles on their faces! Then we found our captains of Greece, Head of Culinary Arts Arly Abramson and Senior Boys Counsellor Simon Grammer! I have never seen the campers and staff so excited for their captains and countries, and I can tell already that it’s going to be a great World Games!

The first day is already a packed one, and I will give you a little taste of what they have to come! To start off the day, our two teams will be working the whole morning on their Opening Ceremonies, a way to introduce to the judges and other team what their culture is and different parts of their country. I have seen some incredible Opening Ceremonies in the past, and I can’t wait to see the creativity of our teams, and learn more about these great countries.

After that, our entire camp participates in a Track and Field event, where every Unit gets the chance to compete in events like Long Jump, Relay Race, Sprint, and even Shot put! It’s a great way to see our athletes in action and to cheer on the teams! And after our Track and Field event, our teams will go to their first Activity Block, a period of time where campers get to sign up for different activities, compete against the team, and have a blast, as well! There are things like Canoe Races, Painting Challenges, and even Trivia!

We’ll then be off to one of the most highly anticipated events of World Games: the team dinners. Tonight we’ll be heading to Greece, and though it’s a secret what they have in store, it’s bound to be breathtaking. But I’ll update you all on that tomorrow! And finally, to end off the day, we have our Fashion Show and Dance Off. Our Fashion Show is where campers have been making outfits throughout the day based on their teams, made out of their team t-shirts, and they strut down the catwalk to impress the judges. We end on a high note with our Dance Off, where our Captains, Top Ten, and Campers Captains lead their teams in wacky and crazy dances. Whoever the judges think got their team the most involved and dancing the hardest will win!

It’s a fun ending to a great day, and I can’t wait for it all to start! Plus, there will be cheering throughout the day during meals, and I’m very excited to hear the creative chants the teams have come up with this year.

Time to go and watch the Opening Ceremonies now! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Community Week and Walk of Hope 2019

WOWEE! It’s been an inspiring couple of days up at camp, and I can’t wait to share with all of you what we’ve been up to!

Our annual Community Week has started and it’s been chugging along with some incredible events. For those of you who don’t know, Community Week is when our cabins and activities work together to raise money to give to a certain charity. Our campers and staff use their creativity and imagination to come up with some fantastic activities that help raise funds. This year alone I’ve seen headstand competitions, tetherball contests, and even campers from our arts activities going to a Seniors Home to perform their various talents. This year, the Manitou Cares charity is the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, and I feel so proud of our Manitou campers and staff who are working hard to donate money to such a great cause. There are still a couple of days left in Community Week and I know we’ll reach our goal!

One of the most peaceful parts of Community Week also happened this week, which is the Walk of Hope. The Walk of Hope is a very special night which always inspires our campers to think about their own place in the world and how they can work to make a difference. Throughout the night, our campers get to see a short film on people in history who did not stand by, listen to some of our talented campers sing songs inspired by our theme “We Do Not Stand By,” and they walk a beautifully lit path around Main Field, and have the chance to be at peace and think. Plus, our Junior, Senior and CIT campers had the very special opportunity to watch an exclusive documentary made by Boris and Alvaro Castellanos about 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 screened the 70-minute documentary combined with a simultaneous live musical performance of its soundtrack, and it was a night our campers and staff are going to remember for a very long time!

Though it’s been a jam-packed Community Week, our activities are still busy busy busy, and we have our weekly camp newspaper, The Mosquito, to prove it! Click BELOW for the latest edition!

Mosquito 5 2019

Well, I’m off to see what amazing cabin activities are happening around camp today!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Sports and Islands and Talent, Oh My!

MY OH MY! It’s been a fantastic few days up at Manitou, and there’s so much to tell you all! On Friday, we had Intercamp where we invited Camp Tamakwa to face off against our Manitou athletes. They competed in hockey, basketball, volleyball, climbing, and more! It was a great day for that classic Manitou spirit and sportsmanship, and to see our talented athletes show off their skills. I can’t wait to cheer on our teams in our next Intercamp!

Saturday was another busy, but fun-filled, day! The morning started off with our LITs (Leaders In Training–second year Seniors) welcoming campers from the CNIB Lake Joe camp to participate in activities around Manitou. Our LITs used their skills they had learned previously to work with kids who are visually impaired, and it was awesome to see friendships being formed. Our visiting campers got to try their hand at Adventure Park, the Climbing Wall, and they even went up to Rock ‘n’ Roll to jam out on some instruments! I think our LITs are going to be awesome when they return as CITs next year, and I can’t wait to see their leadership skills in action next summer!

In the evening, we all went into the Theatre to watch the Second Session Camper Talent Show! There was singing, dancing, Air Bands, a special performance by the Directors, and even an incredible DJ set! I’m always blown away by the talent and creativity in the camp, and I know everyone here at Manitou feels the same way!

Then, after the Talent Show was done, we all went to bed. Or we TRIED to go to bed, but instead were swept off to CIT Village for a very special presentation. We were told that a plane had crashed on a desert island and before we could make it back to camp, we would have an island party as a whole camp! For those of you who may be confused, I’m talking about Midnight Madness, a special program our CITs run every year for the camp. For one special night, the CITs plan a themed night where the Dining Hall is transformed, and campers get to eat all sorts of great food and play a variety of fantastic games! This year the Dining Hall looked like an exotic tropical island, and there was even pineapple and beach games to complete the theme. It was an awesome night, and I was very impressed by our CITs who planned the whole thing!

When we woke up Sunday morning, it seemed like the previous night had been but a dream, but there was more fun in store to keep the amazing camp spirit going. Yesterday we had our annual Art in the Park, an outdoor festival held on Art Hill where all of our arts-based activities hold their programs outside for the day. It’s a great way for the camp to see what the arts activities get up to in a day, and a fun way for those arts programs and campers to have a fun-filled day outside! This old moose walked around Art Hill and I saw Crafts campers tie-dying shirts, Woodworking catapulting tennis balls on a homemade catapult, and Pottery doing clay facemasks! It was a great day overall, and I know all of our campers had a blast!

Well, I’m off to see what different activities are doing for Community Week…but more on that tomorrow!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Amazing Activities and Perfect Programs!

OH ME OH MY! Yesterday was an incredible day at camp, and I know today will be just as fun! During the day yesterday, lots of our activities teamed up for special days like Creative Arts and Eco Adventure for Artchery, and Culinary Arts and Radio for ASMR Day! It’s always great for our campers to try something new, and I think they all had a fantastic time!

And as if the day couldn’t get any better, there were some fantastic Evening Programs for our units last night! Our Freshkids did their own version of the TV show Property Brothers, where they “fixed up” their cabins and “sell” them to their Unit Heads, Sydney Wilson and Daniel Wexler. Over at the Theatre, the Sophomores were doing a classic Manitou Evening Program: Air Bands! For those of you who don’t know about Air Bands, each cabin chooses a song and then lip syncs and creates group choreography for that tune! Every cabin was extremely talented and you could tell by their big smiles that they were all having fun. The Junior and Senior Units teamed up for one of the most creative Evening Programs this old moose has ever seen: Every Single Program. Sometimes it’s hard to choose between one Evening Program, so why not do them all? That’s what our Junior and Senior campers did! They all did ten minute rotations of classic Manitou Evening Programs, and by the end they were covered in paint and grass, and they were laughing and smiling! Our Unit Heads keep coming up with the best ideas, and I had a blast just watching our campers having fun!

As some of our First Session readers know, Thursdays are a little different here at Manitou. Instead of a regular wake-up time, our campers and staff have the opportunity to sleep-in and eat at Will’s Famous Breakfast Buffet! And instead of going off to normal activities, there are special programs that happen in the morning. Today, for instance, campers can play some big board games or they can go watch a very special bubble show! And in the afternoon today, our Freshkids and Sophomores will be going out of camp on a very special Beach Day, while our Juniors and Seniors will do Cabin Activities that their counsellors have planned right here in camp. Plus, we get to end the day with an Outdoor Dinner, where our kitchen staff always cook those burgers to perfection. Mmmmmm!

And as a special bonus for all my faithful readers, we have the latest Manitou podcast episode from our Radio/Media campers! Click on the logo BELOW to give it a listen!


Well, I’m off to do check out those ultra-clean cabins!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Happy Halloween!

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!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Friday Night Fireside and More!

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!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose



Activities Are Starting Back Up Again!

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!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose