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.
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.”
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!
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
Today Manitou hosted a very special Carnival in support of the MLSE Foundation. Watch the video below to learn more about our exciting event!
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!!
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!
Lots of people know about the incredible 34 activities at Manitou, but it’s the cabin activities that can truly make these kids’ summers complete. Cabin activities that happen three times a week at Manitou are not necessarily about a having a specific activity as a cabin, but rather about having kids participate in creative, off the wall, silly programs that truly create a sense of play in the old fashioned, traditional way. Survivor, boot camp, capture the flag, an incredible toilet paper fashion show, the craziest paint twister game ever, a clever photo scavenger hunt, baking with Shelley, a Spanish lyric challenge where our Spanish guitar teachers taught Spanish songs to kids hollering them out across main field, and a pontoon boat ride lead by tour guide Mark Diamond are just examples of some of these fun and classic Manitou programs. Seeing cabins out on a beautiful night having fun is one more reason to love Sundays and Thursdays at Manitou.
Our Manitou theme for the summer is the ‘POWER OF ONE’ and how one person can make a difference in the lives of others no matter what age they are, background or where they are from. Last night we had our Freshkids’ present after our candle ceremony honouring one child from each unit for representing positive values. Over twenty campers presented on the power of one, making wonderful comments such as:
“Lots of great things started with the power of one. ‘The power of one is getting people to do something you believe in even though people tell you not to do it. A small change can make a big change in life.’
“On December 1, 1955 one woman refused to give up her seat on the bus, protesting the unfair treatment of African American people. Rosa parks went on to be one of the founders of the American Civil Rights movement…”
“Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 26 years because he tried to help people in South Africa be treated without prejudice. He refused to back down in his fight to do what was right….”
“The power of one is a lesson telling us that it takes one person to come up with an idea that can inspire others and help make that vision happen. So we think that the power of one is the power of one person to inspire others to do better, to stand up for what they believe in, challenge what is currently done and reach heights never reached before. We hope you can inspire someone to do better this summer.”
We then welcomed Ryan Hreljac founder of ‘Ryan’s Well’ deliver a touching and powerful talk on how at the age of seven, he raised $70 dollars to provide clean water for a well in Africa. He discussed how he was just a typical kid in school who didn’t participate but couldn’t understand how someone couldn’t have clean water. After a year, he had raised $2000 and even appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, being praised by Oprah for all his wonderful community service. Three years later he had raised $750,000 in total. He now runs the Ryan’s Well Foundation (www.ryanswell.ca) at age 26, raising over one million dollars each year. After he spoke, the kids swarmed Ryan as if he were a celebrity because they were so excited to meet someone that could make such a positive difference in the lives of others at such a young age.
Afterwards, he spoke to the Senior’s and CIT’S about his relationship with a boy Jimmy, who he visited in Uganda at age 10. They became best friends. A few years later Jimmy’s family was killed by rebels.
Ryan and his family decided to bring Jimmy to Canada and he received refugee status immediately. We discussed how Canada is such a special country and in the wonderful position to save people like Jimmy and how important it is to help people around the world and bring them to Canada. Ryan explained how Jimmy became Ryan’s brother, and now Jimmy is happily married and Ryan was his best man at his wedding..
Best of all was how captivated, respectful and inspired all our campers and staff were during this wonderful Fireside chat. Proving once again Manitou is more than just incredible activities, wonderful staff and our magical setting, it indeed is a place to grow!
Click HERE to watch a video clip of Ryan’s Fireside chat
After basking in a sea of red and white for our exciting Canada 150 celebrations, the enthusiasm at camp couldn’t be higher! Chef William treated us royally on July 1st with Red and White Waffles followed by some world class poutine at lunch – a real Canadian hit! Today we celebrated our US campers and staff with a Happy Independence Day and added some blue to the colorful display of patriotism here at Manitou.
Maybe the silver lining in the soggy lead-up to camp is that we sure do appreciate it when the sun is shining and the skies are blue. There’s plenty to do around here when it rains but nothing beats the energy of a real summer day. The amazing blueberry smoothies whipped up by our kitchen crew provided just the right pick-me-up midday and our new Mastercraft ski boat was working overtime as camp positively exploded with excitement!
Our CITs rolled back into camp today with plenty of stories after an inspiring four-day canoe trip in Killarney. Campers have settled in beautifully and are loving our new fitness studio and we’ve even enjoyed the occasional sunset cruise on our new pontoon boat. There’s no better way to appreciate all that surrounds us here than to witness it at its most peaceful time of day. So much to be thankful for as the sun goes down on day 6 here at Manitou!
I’ve got to go now, it’s cabin activity night, where so many campers will have a chance to try something new and even for the first time! Can’t wait to see the excitement on their faces! After the activities we have lots of camp fires going and my guess is we can sample more than a few s’mores!
Keep you posted,