Community Week 2022

On Friday night we kicked off Community Week 2022, one of the most fulfilling and exciting weeks at Manitou. We began the week by welcoming Emmanuel Jal who started his life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan. Through music and motivational storytelling, he shared messages of hope and perseverance and inspired us to find the good in everything. Emmanuel is now an artist, actor, and political activist who speaks to groups around the world and, thanks to the efforts of the incredible people at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, we were incredibly fortunate to have him come to speak at Manitou. 

On Monday night, we held our annual Walk of Hope. Campers and staff walked a path around camp, completing meaningful, thought-provoking activities along the way. Some of these activities include the ‘Fear Fire’ (you write down your fear and burn it in a campfire) and the ‘Wishing Well’ (campers write wishes for the world on stones and throw them in a fountain). Many campers performed poems, speeches, and songs for everyone to listen to as they completed the walk. 

Prior to starting the walk, however, campers met in the theatre where they watched a video about why we walk which explained the history of famous marches and walks and what their significance has been in the world. We were also fortunate to welcome Hannah Alper, youth activist, author, public speaker, and environmentalist. Coordinated by our friends at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Hannah spoke to our campers about the power of one. Inspiring them to make a difference using whatever tools and gifts you may have; big or small. Hannah taught us how every action makes an impact and answered many questions about how our campers can start to make a difference around the world. 

In camp, we have been seeing the impacts of our speaker’s words and so many campers have been busy raising money for community week! All of the proceeds that campers and staff raise will be donated to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. At Archery, campers are raising $5 for every bullseye they hit. Gameshow is hosting a charity casino. Swim is running “swim around the world” with each lap raising money, and woodworking is making appreciation signs for hardworking staff around camp. Campers from Freshkids to CIT’s are hosting handstand competitions for charity, charity trivia contests, bracelet making to give to people to brighten their day and so much more. The ideas and initiatives that have been coming from our campers have just been incredible! So far we have raised over $8,000 and we’re not done yet! 

It’s been so wonderful to see kids get together with their cabins and unite for a good cause. They are so proud of themselves when they get up in front of the camp and announce what their cabin will be doing to raise money for the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and it’s amazing to watch them understand the importance of giving back. Our hope is that this is just the beginning and that this week can help spark a passion for philanthropy that remains throughout their lives. 

So far, it’s been a great week and it’s not over yet! Stay tuned for even more community week info to come.

🤝 CNIB and Manitou

Friday Night Fireside is our favourite evening of the week. Some of our older campers were discussing with the directors that everyone knows at fireside to embrace it, and truly as our poem says be their best self.

This past week, we took thirty of our oldest campers, the Leaders-in-Training (LITs), to Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s Lake Joseph Camp. The LITs went on this incredible day trip to learn how people with different abilities function and enjoy their summers at camp and also how to adapt many of the activities we do at Manitou for people with different needs.

Later in the week, our LITs welcomed 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. Their visiting campers got to try their hand at Adventure Park, wheel at Pottery, and they even went to our Archery range! We think our LITs are going to be awesome when they return as CITs next year, and we can’t wait to see their leadership skills in action next summer. Please watch the short video below for our CNIB and fireside recap.

Of course, fireside has the wonderful candle ceremony and campers spoke about our theme, “Grow through what you go through”. Our junior campers had much to say and here are some favourite quotes from the night:

“An example is at the beginning things started off rough in our cabin and then we all though it wouldn’t be better but we started to grow together and  now look back on how our cabin has come together and we have become better people”

“When I first came to Canada  all the way from Spain I was so but people welcomed me into the awesome community that Manitou is.  At Home in Spain Manitou Is a very special thing and is so important to my family.”

“Our theme of the summer is to learn from past experiences. An example of this is I signed up for wakeboard  and at first was really nervous  but with the help of the staff I was able to get up,   and I learned to trust others to help me and grow through what I go through.”

I guess we all could learn from our campers this summer!

🚌 The Tour of Humanity

Friday Night Fireside is our most special time of the week and once again, this week was no exception. Every Junior, Senior and CIT participated in the “Tour of Humanity” bus through the Simon Wiesenthal Center and this wonderful presentation opened up their eyes to ensuring we always take a stand and never turn away in the face of injustice and racism.

We hope you enjoy the video below showcasing this incredible #ManitouCares program!

🇺🇦 Help us Support Ukraine

Dear Camp Manitou Community,

I’m sure that you, like us are deeply troubled by the war currently unfolding in Ukraine. It is time as part of our ManitouCares program that we encourage our community to get involved to help. After reviewing so many excellent organizations we have found a very special fundraising program through a charity called Hashomer Hatzair that provides food, generators, travel and access to safe housing for both people in Ukraine and for refugees in Poland. This global organization has recruited volunteers from around the world to mobilize efforts to assist those in need.

This charity is incredibly fitting for us as a summer camp because much of their work is focused on supporting youth. Hashomer Hatzair is running a kindergarten within a refugee centre on the border Ukraine in the Polish City of Przemyśl. Volunteers run educational activities for various age ranges where approximately 300-400 kids pass through the children’s centre daily. They also provide professionals who have been assisting individuals of all ages with mental health and translation needs. Click below to watch a video made about the refugee centre:
Hashomer Hatzair in Przemysl, Poland - Daycare in refugee center
If you have children in your household, depending on their age, you may want to watch the video together and discuss how we can make a difference.



You can show your support by sending messages of love and hope to Ukrainians. Feel free to add a written message to our google doc: Camp Manitou Messages for Ukraine, and we will make sure that Ukrainians receive the messages. While a short message may seem like a small contribution, the Ukrainians have told us that messages of solidarity inspire hope and serve as reminders that we stand with them.


We would love as a Manitou community to contribute $10,000 to this wonderful cause. If every household donates between $50 – $150 dollars we can easily surpass this goal. If you are able to contribute, please make a donation to the Manitoucamp Foundation Ukraine Support Fund and we will forward 100% of all donations to Hashomer Hatzair. Any amount will make a difference and we thank you in advance for supporting this important cause. Please share this link with your friends, family, and broader communities as well.


🎁 GIVE BACK: The Manitou Cares Shoebox Project is here!

As the holiday season is now upon us, it can be hard to find programs to give back in a meaningful way. We are very excited to be continuing our partnership project with Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth for the holidays. Eva’s provides shelter, transitional housing and programs for youth experiencing homelessness. They work to empower young people towards brighter futures by building skills and providing support to reach their goals and dreams.

We are fortunate as a Manitou community to be able to give and receive gifts during the holidays. However, the homeless youth at Eva’s, will most likely not be receiving gifts or have the opportunity to celebrate with friends and family. Again this year our Manitou Cares Shoebox project will be benefitting the 123 youth at Eva’s who could use some holiday cheer!

If you haven’t had the chance to join our Manitou Cares movement this year, now’s your chance! We hope all of our Manitou families and greater community will choose to give back this holiday season!


The Manitou Cares Shoebox Project is the perfect way to give back to youth who need it most. This year, we will collect and distribute gifts in the form of Shoeboxes to youth who have experienced homelessness or have been at risk of becoming homeless. Each thoughtfully created and decorated shoebox is filled with items valued at $50 that can enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation for youth in crisis. It helps provide youth with gifts they would appreciate, but not necessarily purchase during difficult times.



Decorate your shoebox with wrapping paper to make it festive. Make sure to wrap the lid and container parts separately so it can still be opened! You can also find pre-decorated holiday boxes at your nearest dollar store too!


The contents of the box should have a value of approximately $50. Items could include beauty/hygiene products, Black hair care, nut-free chocolates, flip flops, headphones, warm accessories, small notebook and pen and gift certificates from stores such as McDonalds, Tim Hortons, Dollarama, and Shoppers Drug Mart.


Youth who receive a gift from The Manitou Cares Shoebox Project are touched by the effort that goes into decorating the Shoebox as well as the special cards, messages, and poems contained inside. Get creative and have fun!


Drop off your shoebox between December 13th – 16th between 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

TORONTO – Toronto camp office 2478 Yonge Street (at Castlefield Ave.)

VAUGHAN – 217 Southdown Avenue (leave on porch)

If you need to drop off outside of these times, please email Jen ( to arrange.


As always, we encourage you to motivate your friends and family to get involved and give back. Post photos with your shoeboxes on social media using #ManitouCares or e-mail them to us to share with our community!



Our goal is to collect as many shoeboxes as possible from our Manitou community, 123 shoeboxes would be enough to provide for each youth at Eva’s right now. We will collect the boxes at our Toronto office (2478 Yonge Street) to be distributed in time to the youth for the holidays. Please join us and give to those in need!

🤝 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 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!


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!


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 to sign up!


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 to learn more!

Letters Against Isolation
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!
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!
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 Cares
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.
Irresistibly Delicious
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.
Seeds of Hope
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!
Baycrest Foundation
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 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.
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.



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.”