đŸ€ MANITOU CARES: Fall Newsletter

After an incredible summer, we are looking forward to continuing the magic of camp by connecting with our Manitou families to help make a positive impact on those less fortunate. Our community efforts throughout the summer at camp is only the first step. In spite of the ongoing pandemic, Manitou remains committed to supporting many life changing initiatives and charities all over the world! Due to restrictions on gatherings, we are unable to have some our most popular in person events at this time like our community meals, soup making, and more, but we have developed some incredible for families to enjoy!

Take a look at our upcoming #MANITOUCARES programs below. We are officially kicking off the year with card making in honour of Emergency Nursing Week. We are also working to support a refugee family from Rwanda through JIAS. If you or anyone you know has a lead on a subsidized 2 bedroom apartment, please get in touch with Mark at mark@manitoucamp.com. We will provide more updates on opportunities to get involved in helping welcome this young family to Canada.
Stay tuned closer to the events for more information and how to sign up. Please feel free to reach out if you have ideas of other programs helping those in need!

EMERGENCY NURSING WEEK

Manitou is excited to support the nurses in the ER at SickKids Hospital in honour of Emergency Nursing Week with a card making program. Many of our families have benefitted from the incredible nursing team at SickKids and now it’s time for us to show our appreciation. For any family who signs up, we will provide the name of a nurse in need of some uplifting during these challenging times. Please email Jen to get matched with a nurse. We hope to be able to send at least 1 letter to each of the 100 nurses who work in the Emergency Room department. Time is of the essence for receiving letters, so if you are interested, please let us know right away!

EVANGEL HALL SANDWICH PROGRAM
 

We are now able to restart our successful Evangel Hall Sandwich Initiative! We have partnered with Evangel Hall for many years to help in food insecurity for both their residents and marginalized people in the area. We are reaching out to Manitou Families to ask that one family sign up each month from October to June to take on preparing 200 sandwiches. These sandwiches will then be delivered by the family to Evangel Hall Mission to be given out to their clients.

Please email Jen at jen@manitoucamp.com to sign up!

ECHOAGE BIRTHDAY PARTIES

We are proud to be part of ECHOAge with the Manitoucamp Foundation as a charity for birthday parties. By choosing ECHOage, you are allowing your child to understand the joy of giving back as part of the birthday party experience. This is a great way to have a birthday party with a meaningful impact. Please visit www.echoage.com to learn more!

2021-2022 MANITOU CARES CALENDAR
CARD MAKING
Letters Against Isolation
October
We are excited to report our first Manitou Cares Program of the season exclusively for our 2021 LITs helped kick off another year of incredible Manitou Cares events. We created cards with words of encouragement for senior citizens who are dealing with isolation due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Thank you to all who participated!
SHOE BOX PROJECT
Gifts for Shelters
Month of December
Let’s start the new year off on the right foot by supporting The Shoebox Project. Each thoughtfully created and decorated Shoebox is filled with items valued at $50 that can enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation for women in crisis. Create, decorate and then drop off your box throughout the month of December at our Toronto office to help!
VE’AHAVTA PROJECT
Ve’ahavta
December 3
The Ve’ahavta Project is back for it’s 3rd year! As a Manitou community we will once again come together with Ve’ahavta for an afternoon of virtual volunteering and learning. With our family and friends of all ages we will have an opportunity to work together on hands-on projects that will directly benefit Ve’ahavta’s clients.
MANITOU FEEDS THE WORLD
Manitou Cares
March
Once again this spring, we are excited to continue our 4th annual Manitou Feeds the World campaign. Campers, parents, staff, alumni, grandparents, aunts and uncles – join us as we help curb  hunger across the globe.
BAKING FOR A CAUSE
Irresistibly Delicious
Spring
Long time parent of the Manitou Family, Jennifer Grossman, of Irresistibly Delicious is going to be leading baking sessions where participants will make treats for those facing food insecurity benefitting Ve’ahavta, Seaton House and Evangel Hall.
MANITOU GOES GREEN
Seeds of Hope
May
Please join us to clean up the Seeds of Hope garden. As a Manitou Family, we can make a difference in our environment by working together to get this garden ready for the summer and for residents to grow their own vegetables!
WALK FOR THE AGES
Baycrest Foundation
June
Join Manitou for the 2nd annual Walk for the Ages. This event includes an exclusive walk around Canada’s Wonderland before the park opens to the public and full access to rides for the remainder of the day. This is a great day for the whole family! Stay tuned for more.
BAYCREST BUDDIES
Baycrest Foundation
CIT Program
We are excited to announce our 2nd year of our Baycrest Buddies Program open to our Summer 2022 CIT Unit. This is a fantastic way to receive community service hours, be part of a movement and show that #ManitouCares. This will allow CITs to connect with seniors in our community, one of the most vulnerable and isolated populations right now, and embody our Manitou values of supporting and learning from the wisdom of the older generation.
WELCOME REFUGEES
JIAS
Winter 2021-2022
Want to help a refugee family in need? Mark and Jen are joining forces with JIAS to welcome a family arriving from Rwanda in the next couple months. Please be in touch if you are interested in becoming involved in assisting with helping the family settle into life in Toronto.

CITS 2020: Adopt a Grandparent Program!

Dear CITs 2020,

We hope you are all doing well. We are excited to announce our new partnership with Baycrest, a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging. We will be taking part in Baycrest’s “Adopt a Grandparent” initiative, with a pilot group exclusive to our 2020 CITs. This is a fantastic way to receive community service hours, be part of a new movement and show that #ManitouCares. This will allow you to connect with seniors in our community, one of the most vulnerable and isolated populations right now, and embody our Manitou values of supporting and learning from the wisdom of the older generation.

To take part in the program, you will submit an application, participate in an interview, and attend an orientation to give you the tools to make a meaningful connection. You will then be matched with one of Baycrest’s residents and begin your correspondence. This is an amazing chance to develop a long term relationship with a Baycrest resident and be able to offer them support. We ask that you make a commitment for 1 year until June 2021 to communicate with your match once a week.

We will work closely with Baycrest staff to provide you with leadership and programming opportunities, as well as ongoing support. For now, all communication and programs will be virtual. However, as restrictions change, we hope for you to have the ability to mail cards, meet in person and get involved with on-site Baycrest activities.

Please let us know if you are interested in taking part in this unique opportunity by submitting a form by no later than Tuesday, June 9th.

Choosing to be a part of this program through Manitou will help us to continue to provide you with opportunities to give back and step out of your comfort zone. This will increase your skillset and positively impact both your future camp applications and beyond. As we always recite at the end of our Manitou fireside poem, “double blessed is the generation in which the young listen to the old.”

We look forward to taking the next steps with you, providing you the chance to give back and be fortunate enough to grow from these new connections.

Manitou Cares Presents: Les Miserables

With 2 weeks to go 280+ tickets have already sold – reserve your seats NOW!

The Manitou theatre is coming to Toronto in just 2 weeks! This past summer, a talented group of campers put on one of the best performances Manitou has ever seen. It was the broadway musical ‘Les Miserables’ and we can’t wait to share it with everyone. Join us for what will be a spectacular evening of Manitou entertainment!

If that isn’t enough, everyone’s invited to join us at our post performance get-together where rumour has it there will be delicious camp treats, games and hidden clues to next summer’s Tribal Games theme and World Games countries!We are excited to announce that the Manitoucamp Foundation is supporting Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada for our 2019 season. Through the foundation, the proceeds from Les Miserables will be donated to help CAFC improve the lives of children and youth in the welfare system. In honour of this announcement, CAFC will be joining us to give a short presentation before the play and we will have a donation bin for packaged diapers in the lobby – please bring what you can and support families in need!

Tickets are available now and are $40.00 for adults or $25.00 for students.

You can order online anytime by clicking HERE. Tickets are also available at the box office by calling 905-303-2000 and press 4 to purchase.

We can’t wait to reunite as a camp community and relive the magic from the past summer. We hope to see you there!

– Mark, Jeff, Jen, Alec & Melissa

The Walk of Hope

A special evening of learning and hope to make a positive difference in our world:

Last night before our poignant Walk of Hope, we shared with our campers and staff the many values that we hold so important here at Manitou. We ask that you set aside 15 minutes of your day to watch the video below as a way of connecting with our message and experiencing the same magic that your kids did yesterday evening.

As we embarked on our annual tradition of the Walk of Hope, each of our units discussed the many charitable endeavors that Manitou is supporting this summer but more importantly, discussions were held around the theme of the video below.  All campers were asked to contribute their ideas on what might be pursued when they get back home to positively impact their world. The senior unit spent several hours discussing incredibly well thought out concepts for new charitable initiatives that were then presented to us all for consideration.  We are proud to say that the ManitouCamp Foundation is providing a $500 donation for what we feel is the most inspiring cabin idea to support!

As day three of Community Week came to a close, we had kids in every activity doing events to support Autism Speaks Canada, as well as cabins and campers coming up with dozens of fun events. But last night soared to new heights as we lit up main field in blue to support our charity of choice. Everyone walked around the hundreds of candle lit bags, each one decorated by every camper with the themes of hope, change, and the power of one.  Campers stopped first at the bonfire where they would symbolically burn their fears, signifying a letting go of all that holds them back. After that, they joined in the footprint canvas, leaving their painted feet as a remembrance of our special evening. An uplifting photo booth where campers took photos holding inspirational slogans marked the end of the Walk while in the background, our campers and staff sang and entertained us all night long with wonderful music. It was one of those remarkable Manitou nights to remember and one which had a profound impact on everyone who was present. While the attached video can’t replace the magic we all experienced together, it does capture the wonderful Manitou spirit that shone throughout! Enjoy


One of the most inspiring evenings in Manitou history

We had a wonderful, inspiring evening last night as we welcomed the Lake family, representing the charity AUTISM SPEAKS, our charity for second month. Fireside started with our usual candle ceremony honouring campers in each unit for representing the Manitou values. We also had a wonderful Sophomore do our “Camp Is” speech as she was on a canoe trip the week before. We are including her speech below as an example of the wonderful words of wisdom that come from our campers.

We then kicked off Community Week by talking about the many events that will be held all week long to raise money for Autism Speaks. The activities, cabins and individuals will be coming up with ideas to help raise money for this charity and then our foundation will write the cheque to Autism Speaks. Even a Freshkid cabin, independent of their counsellors, approached us with an idea that was simply brilliant and well thought out. Look out for more information about our Community Week events soon! On Monday night community week reaches its pinnacle with our Walk of Hope, where campers will learn more about the POWER OF ONE and how one person can make a difference in the lives of others. Campers will partake in a discussion with their unit about the Power of One before walking around a candle-lit field to the sound of campers’ musical performances.

We also welcomed MP Mike Lake, his daughter, Jenae, and his son, Jaiden to camp. Mike came to speak about Jaiden, a wonderful young man with Autism. Together, the three of them gave an impactful speech on what it is like to have Autism and how Jaiden, despite being unable to communicate with words, is able to communicate messages of love, life and the power of one so effortlessly.  You could hear a pin drop in the theatre, as the campers were so inspired and touched by the Lake family’s talk. Mike along with Jaiden and Janae then spoke to the CITs and seniors separately for a more detailed talk about autism and developmental changes.

Jaiden, his father, and sister are spending the weekend with us and its truly an honour to see such a loving family teach us all what truly matters in our lives. At lunch on Friday, Jaiden ran up to the Microphone when he heard his name and gave high fives to over 100 campers and staff. The spontaneity of his actions set the tone for the weekend. After this wonderful evening, campers made the special paper bags with beautiful designs that will light up the field and then went back to the cabin for a special bead ceremony. Ask your kids about the questions they were asked to further educate and remind your children of the wonderful lives and privileges they have and to emphasize the values that we all hold dear to us.

If you feel inclined to support Autism Speaks, please click on the links below.

Autismspeaks.ca

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CAMP IS- SOPHOMORE GIRL

This is my second summer at Manitou. When I first arrived last summer, I had the normal jitters than any camper would have. Of course, I really missed my cat
By the way, his name is furball. But right away I started to make new friends.

The activities were great: waterskiing, cooking pottery, and of course, the famous “World Games.”

Here is a poem that I wrote about why Manitou is great.

M is for the many, many friends that you will make

A is the action and swimming in the lake

N is for the nature by day and by night

I is for the ice-cream parties
what a delight

T is for the tetherball , a game that we play

O is for optimism to start every day

U is for YOU, with all of your grace, because it is you that makes Manitou OUR special place!

To finish off, my advice is to try to keep an open mind and you will be sure to make new friends too!  And before you know it you will be going home with a whole bunch of great memories that will stay with you long after the summer ends, which remind me of the expression:

“You can take the kid out of Manitou , but you can’t take Manitou out of the kid.”

A Day in the Manitou Life – July 31st

Let’s make a deal, intercamp tryouts, Halloween, canoe trips, an inline hockey tourney, a triathlon, quidditch by the lake, MHL hockey action, camp wide dance
.That’s how we ended the month of July yesterday. All that and so much more!!  It was an epic day topped off with Chef William’s annual Steak-Frites dinner complete with homemade pumpkin pie for dessert!  The trick or treaters were in full swing and enjoyed hay rides, the always crazy Haunted House and our newest tradition, ‘Trunk or Treat’, where campers got to choose their prizes from the trunks of staff cars!  So much fun was had by all as we finished with our camp wide dance set against the backdrop of a magnificent Manitou sky. The temperature as just right and the campers’ spirits even warmer.  Hard to believe it’s already August, but we have so much more to get excited about in the coming weeks.

The lake is a perfect temperature and so many kids are excited about tomorrow morning’s ‘polar bear’ swim at 6:30am. What a great way to start the day!

Second Session is in Full Swing!

We are sailing into second session–We can’t believe almost 250 new second session camper arrived (an all-time record)!  But the nicest part is how well they are adapting to camp.  This is in large part is due to the camp culture where long-time campers welcome the new kids and where the first month campers understand how important their role is in making the second session campers feel supported.

And speaking of feeling supported, we had the pleasure of hearing six campers who were new last summer along with two wonderful CITS speak about their experiences and remind the campers who just arrived that they don’t need to worry because this place will become their summer home before they know it.  As of today we are removing the word ‘homesick’ from the Manitou vocabulary and replacing it with ‘HOME THINK!’

These are some small sounds bites of what the campers had to say at Fireside last night:

“First the great staff here told me it was normal to be homesick and suggested I make a big project in woodworking.  This really kept my mind off of being homesick and after a few days I noticed I wasn’t homesick any more.  It was just that I was thinking about home so I called it “home think” 
. I went to camp with only three friends and came home with six …So, homesickness is normal and we should rename it HOME THINK. The friends you will make at camp will help you through the bad and bring you the good. And finally, have FUN!”

“Last year my parents made me go to camp and I didn’t want to, but I went anyways.  I came to camp really shy 
my friends helped me speak up and say something.  I left camp so much more confident than when I first came.  Now when people ask me questions I give full answers instead of just a yes or no. Not speaking to people and being shy was my biggest challenge before I came to camp.  So in the end coming to camp will change you for the better and you will always want to come back”

“It’s the people that make camp special for me. I have to admit there were times when I was homesick (or I guess Home Think now) last year but there was always someone to help and through those times is when I connected with so many people.  I recommend all the new campers this summer to just enjoy all your activities, memories and simple moments at camp like cabin time with your friends, or eating tuck and I promise this summer is going to fly by 
.”

And finally from our CITS:

“From a young age we are taught the importance of helping others. Something we have learned from Manitou is the value of giving back to the community and the value of charity 
Manitou represents this idea and is why our camp is unique.

And speaking of giving back, tonight at this same Friday night Fireside we had two amazing guest speakers; Max Daviau and David Levine two former campers (and staff), who took it upon themselves at age 23 to start their own charity – “Lay up Youth Basketball”.   Max who first started the charity four years ago, along with David explained to the campers that they started this charity from nothing, but what originally seemed like just a job became so fulfilling and fun because basketball was their passion and they loved seeing the impact the charity had on those in need. Kids were inspired as they learned how to start a charity from scratch, and also received the most important message that giving back is actually selfish because it just makes you feel so happy!

Check out Lay-up Basketball to learn more about the services they provide at www.lybs.ca. Congrats to you all and thanks for sharing your story with our Manitou Family

Greetings from the Manitou Kitchen!

Feeding over 400 hungry campers and our staff is no small task! Not only do we strive to make food that kids get excited about, we are equally focused on providing healthy choices and engaging in responsible food practices. It is our duty as camp directors to acknowledge that agriculture and food production has a huge impact on our environment and at Manitou, we’re proud to lead the charge in changing the way we operate to minimize our carbon footprint.

We feel so fortunate to welcome back Chef William Rodrigue as our head/executive chef for his seventh year at Manitou. Chef William has a few words to say about his commitment to offering delicious and inspiring meals all summer long:

“Here in the Manitou kitchen, we’re lucky to be able to serve tasty and nutritious food to hundreds of campers and staff every-day. Meals are designed to be comforting and nutritious but we’ve got a lot of palates to satisfy! More vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options have been added to our menu and we’re constantly aiming to be innovate in our offerings, including our world famous lunch time salad bar with over 40 different options that change daily! A huge shout out goes to Vanessa, who is simply the best special meals chef anywhere, and the over 20 hardworking staff that run the Manitou Kitchen all summer long.

We are also excited to strengthen our relationships with our local independent farmers, butchers and fresh markets. Manitou is a camp leader in its commitment to sustainability and connection with the local food movement and we’re proud to be part of such a forward-thinking and responsible family. We can’t wait to cook for you on Visitor’s Day!”

See you soon!
Mark and Jeff

PS—don’t worry, our legendary Tuck Shop is also open for those special camp treats every other day!!

Two Weeks at Camp Have Flown By!

It feels like we blinked and two weeks have flown by! What our Manitou kids have accomplished in this time is extraordinary. Campers have participated in over 15 activities, 10 evening programs and six special bunk activities with everyone jumping in with both feet and soaking it all up. New and lasting friendships have been formed, all while developing confidence and understanding the special and unique qualities in both themselves and others.

Camp at this point starts to go from an incredibly fun and spirited place to a true community as we all embrace and enjoy special markers of our summer together. It might be singing Herman the Worm at Flagpole or having Zack lead the entire camp in “Pizza Man”, over 40 campers waking up at the crack of dawn to start the day with a good ol ‘polar bear swim’ down at the dock with the swim staff, or celebrating the camper talent show when the kids get the opportunity to show off what they do best. Just last night, we applauded the Fresh kids and Sophomores as they performed in ‘Aladdin.’

As we celebrated Aladdin last night, we were reminded that it isn’t only about the exhilarating and entertaining performance. It’s really about working hard, working together and reaching an awesome end result. Our legendary theatre director Sandy Foster told us the story of how one camper, who had lots of lines in the play last year, had just two in this summer’s show. Instead of complaining, our Manitou camper offered one of her lines to another camper who had none. It is messages just like these that make the positive values of Manitou so special.

As we say “so long” to our Freshkid 2-week campers, we look forward to a jam-packed week ahead! Stay tuned for more wonderful Manitou moments!
As always,
Manny Moose