A Final Goodbye to Summer 2023!

OH MY! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! I can’t believe it’s the end of summer 2023 already, but thankfully we’ve all made some lifelong friends and memories. We’re so lucky here at camp to have the greatest staff and campers in the world in one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

Yesterday, 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.

Last night, we celebrated the last night of camp. First, we had our activity awards, where each Activity Head gives out two awards to campers who have improved at their activity throughout Second Session. It’s so awesome seeing our campers cheer for each other when their names get called out! After our awards, we watched the slideshow, which our Photographer David Hamilton put together, and I can tell all the hard work he put in capturing the magic of camp. We finished off our night in the theatre by giving out a 15-year gift to this year’s recipient CIT Director Jonah Opler and honouring Mark Diamond in his final summer. We then all headed out to flagpole where the Jordana Lokash Award for Spirit and Sportsmanship was given out to our well-deserving recipients: Margo Cholakis and Cooper Pantel. The cheers for them and the smiles on everyone’s faces made it clear these campers are an awesome pair and perfect recipients for this award. We then sang our camp song as we lowered the flag, and I saw cabin groups arm in arm singing the song one final time.

It was an amazing last night, and a perfect way to end a perfect summer.

The buses are just rolling out and I am going to say goodbye to my friends, but I know I will see them all again next year for summer 2024.

Until then…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

A Final Friday Night Fireside, Many Theatre Shows and World Games!

YAHOO! It’s been another exciting last few days at Manitou and there’s so much to share with you all!

On Friday, we had our final Fireside of the summer, and it was another inspiring evening. After the Unit and Dave Sheffe Memorial Staff Candles were given out to honour someone who has gone above and beyond this week, we heard from our CITs who sang “In My Life” to go with our theme “It Takes Courage to Be Kind.” It was so great to see the CIT unit bond together and show the camp how close they have become as a unit. I can’t wait to see them become staff next year!

We ended Fireside as we always do, with our poem, read by Mark Diamond, and song, and then we were off to our next destination, because the night was just beginning! Everyone in camp then went to the theatre for a double-bill performance of the Dance Show and the Junior Theatre Show. Our first show was titled The Manitou Cabaret, and once again creativity was on display! The Junior campers showed off their acting and singing chops, and the group of theatre staff and campers who wrote the show should be so proud of the fantastic play that they made. The Dance Show was, once again, a thrilling and excitement performance, and I was extremely impressed by our group of talented dancers who were able to perform so many different types of dances!

On Saturday, we had our final Theatre show of the summer, which was The Addams Family performed by the Seniors and CITs. It was an amazing (and spooky) show, and the cast put on an incredible production. I’m always impressed by the talent we have at this camp, and how well our campers pull of these shows! I can’t wait for all of you to see these shows when they’re up online after the summer!

After the play, was one of the huge highlights of the summer for most of our campers and staff…the start of WORLD GAMES 2023! The teams were Sweden, led by Canoe Tripping Coordinator Mina Curran and Gameshow Specialist Zev Friedman, and team Chile, led by Theatre Head Alexa Jacoby and OCS Head Ramon Parera. This year’s matchup is the first time we’ve had a rematch in World Games history! Our captains and steering committees did amazing dances and speeches to present their teams to the campers, and everyone was already cheering and showing their spirit for their teams.

The last three days have been an incredible showing of spirit, sportsmanship, cheering, athleticism and creativity! We’ve had a marathon, a track and field competition, a cabaret, opening and closing ceremonies, and of course our amazing dinners where the Dining Hall gets transformed and you really feel transported to the country! On the final day, we had our big relay where every camper and staff got involved and it ended in our classic World Games rope burn. It’s always a close finish and just adds to the excitement of the games! When the three days were over, the whole camp stood watching their flags wave to see which flag would drop and which would remain waving. At the end of the three days it was TEAM SWEDEN who was crowned victorious in World Games 2023!

I know whether they lost or won, everyone will always have memories of World Games! Time to pack my bags now and get ready for a bittersweet final day.

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Walk of Hope and Alice in Wonderland!

Golly gee! It’s been another exciting few days at Manitou, complete with an annual tradition, a fantastic musical, and a bittersweet goodbye.

On Monday evening we had our annual Walk of Hope, a Manitou tradition that happens each summer. It is an event during our ‘Community Week’ where campers and staff reflect, learn, listen, and find new ways to give back. We usually walk around Main Field for this event, but due to rain we reinvented our walk this year. It was awesome to see a new Walk of Hope form! First, our units went into the theatre which was transformed into a soothing, calming, beautifully lit space. Each artificially lit paper bag was decorated by campers and had messages and drawings of hope and peace covering them. The focal point of the evening was our speaker from Seeds of Hope, our charity of the summer. Seeds of Hope helps people who are experiencing homelessness in the Toronto area. It was so special for our Manitou campers and staff to hear how Seeds of Hope helps people experiencing homelessness and how we can give back to this charity and the community as well. Our campers and staff then moved to the Dining Hall where they listened to campers perform and participate in activities. One of the activities was writing down improvements to make in their lives and another was writing down fears they wanted to get rid of and then put them in a fire outside in a quiet space. It was not the same outdoor walk as usual, but it was still a moving evening and I know our campers and staff all enjoyed it!

The following night was another exciting evening with the performance of the Freshkid/Sophomore play, Alice in Wonderland! Our campers all had a blast singing and dancing for the camp. The costumes, sets, and talent were all out of this world, and it was so much fun going down the rabbit hole and seeing everyone perform! I can’t wait until the next show and seeing more of our talented campers!

On Wednesday morning, we had a bittersweet goodbye when we said farewell to our 2-week campers. It was sad seeing them all go, but I know that they made so many memories and that they’ll be back again next summer for more fun times!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

A Very Special Friday Night Fireside, Intercamp, Talent Show and Midnight Madness!

Oh me oh my! It’s been another exciting couple of days here at camp and I’m just bursting at the seams to fill you all in.

On Friday, we had our last Intercamp competition of the summer and it was an amazing day! This time, we welcomed Camp Wahanowin to Manitou and had an amazing day of athleticism and sportsmanship. Our campers were extremely spirited cheering on our basketball, hockey, tennis, and swim teams and our teams won every single game! I was so proud of our campers who demonstrated it wasn’t just about winning and that having a good attitude and having fun was just as important. I can’t wait until next summer when we have Intercamp again, but for now I’ll just have to congratulate our incredible Manitou Moose athletes!

In typical Manitou fashion, the day wasn’t done there! After a big day of Intercamp and activities, we all went down to Friday Night Fireside for another evening of relaxing and thinking about the past week in this special place we call home. The evening began with our Land Acknowledgement, delivered by Junior Unit Head Dylan Brown, who spoke about appreciating the land we are on and thinking about those who came here before us. We then gave out our weekly candles to campers and staff who have been exceptional leaders this week.

Following all that, we had a very special guest speaker named Tareq Hadhad who came to talk to all of us about his journey. He spoke about about escaping the Syrian war and becoming a refugee to Canada, where he was welcomed with open arms to Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He told us all about his family’s chocolate factory in Syria, and how he has started it here in Canada. It was incredibly moving to hear such an inspiring story of triumph, courage, and perseverance. I know I was motivated and moved by his speech, and I’m sure our campers were too.

After Tareq spoke, our Senior Unit sang “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, an inspiring tune to go with our theme “It Takes Courage to Be Kind.” We then ended with our poem and song as always, and I saw our cabin groups arm in arm, swaying side and to side and it made this Moose’s heart swell!

Our weekend of fun didn’t stop there! Saturday held another batch of Manitou excitement! Our Second Session Talent Show was Saturday night and it was another incredible showcase of dancing, singing, ukulele, and an impressive 45 songs in 75 seconds! Our campers were cheering on their friends, and it was so amazing to see the support for all of our incredible performers.

After our Talent Show, all of our campers were in for another treat! It was our annual Midnight Madness, where our CITs put on an incredible themed program for the whole camp. This year the theme was Back to the Future, and our campers transformed the Dining Hall into a Time Travel extravaganza, complete with fun game booths, dancing, and some treats! It was an amazing night, and I’m so amazed and proud of our CITs who made a memorable night for all of our campers.

There’s more fun in store, but right now this moose is going to Crafts to make a friendship bracelet!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Second Session, Intercamp, and Fireside!

YABADABADOO! We’ve been having fun in the sun up here at camp and I’m so excited to tell you about all the amazing stuff we’ve had going on!

Second Session has started and it’s off to an fantastic start! Our Second Session campers, both new and old, hopped off the bus with big smiles on their faces. I’ve seen them all at their activities learning new things and having the times of their lives. in addition to going to activities and bonding with cabinmates, our campers have had some special moments in these first few days of Second Session.

On Friday we had another Intercamp competition with our long time competitors Camp Winnebagoe! This time, Winnebagoe campers and staff visited us and competed in soccer, basketball, hockey, volleyball, and tennis with our Manitou campers. Our Manitou Moose athletes were amazing both in skill and sportsmanship, and I saw a lot of smiling faces throughout the day!

After a big Intercamp day, we all had the opportunity to relax as a camp at our first Friday Night Fireside of Second Session. For those who are new readers, Friday Night Fireside is a time to come together as a camp community and think about the place we are in and how lucky we are to be here. We often have speakers from units or sometimes guest speakers talk about our theme of the summer, too. This summer, our theme is “It Takes Courage to be Kind” and we have heard some amazing speeches so far this summer. As our campers and staff came down to Fireside this week, our Activity Heads sang “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” to get everyone in the mood for the theme of Fireside. We then started our Fireside as we always do with our Land Acknowledgement to recognize those who came before us on this beautiful land we now call home. After that, our Unit Heads gave out candles to campers who have gone above and beyond this week, a tradition that’s always so special, especially when our other campers cheer them on! We then moved onto our “Camp Is” speeches where select 2nd year campers spoke a little bit about their first experience at Manitou to help our new Manitou campers adjust and relate. Here are a couple of tidbits from their amazing speeches…

Constanza: When I decided to spend my summer here I was a bit nervous, but all the people here did their best to make me at home. So enjoy it and have fun!

Isaac: While the activities are great and fun, you will also get to have fun with all of your friends both new and old. You can go to activities together or just talk during rest hour. And who knows maybe next year you will be here giving a speech in my place.

Heloise: Camp is about friendships and a great adventure. I flew here alone for the first time and discovered incredible people.

Dhaya: This year I was really excited for camp. I would be with three of my friends and I was excited to see the friends I made last year. Everyone is so kind and welcoming and I also love that kids have so much independence.

Nate: Camp is a great opportunity to try new and different things for fun and it’s amazing because you’re essentially free! You get to make your own decisions and get to choose the activities you do.

One camper named Cameron didn’t prepare a speech and spoke from his heart. He talked about how it’s okay to be homesick and that everyone feels that way at first, but eventually you will get over it and learn to love camp.

After these incredible and heartwarming speeches, we ended Fireside as we always do with the reading of our poem and our camp song.

After an action-packed Friday, the fun didn’t stop there! Our campers woke up Saturday to discover the Dining Hall had been transformed for Mark Day! This summer is Director Mark Diamond’s last with Manitou, and so today we did a top secret special day for Mark. He didn’t know a thing when he entered the Dining Hall and he was so excited to see all the photos of him throughout the years. We made hundreds of stickers of his face, and there were Toronto Maple Leafs decorations everywhere (his favorite team). In the morning, he got to go to activities just like our other campers, and in the afternoon, Mark got to DJ music lunch as DJ Marky Mark and play an MHL game for his own team the Marlies! We ended the day with some very special speeches from Manitou alumni in honour of Mark. It was an amazing day all around and I know it’s one that Mark will remember for a very long time.

Well, I’m off to perfect my lacrosse skills with my friend Ramon!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Blankets, Dance Intercamp, CNIB and Fireside!

YIPEE! It’s a beautiful sunny day here at Manitou and we’ve had a fun filled week recently!

On Monday night we had our annual Blanket Ceremony where we honour staff who have been at Manitou for ten years. Every recipient receives an incredibly beautiful and warm fleece blanket, with their name and the Manitou logo stitched on it. Chris, Mark and Jeff talk- about each honouree and recount the memories of all of their years at Manitou. It’s always a special night and so amazing how many people stay at Manitou for ten years and love calling this place home.

On Tuesday we had two wonderful events and they were both great opportunities for Manitou to show how special we are to other camps! We had two dance teams go to Camp Wahanowin for the annual Dance Intercamp, where multiple camps compete against each other and show off their incredible choreographed dances. Our teams were filled with dancers who showed off their impressive talent and skills, and at the end of the day Manitou placed 2nd overall! We are all very proud of our Dance Team and how well they did at Wahanowin and I can’t wait to see their fantastic dance routines at some point this summer!

Later in the day on Tuesday, we had another incredible annual event, which was our partnership with CNIB and our LIT campers. LITs (Leaders in Training) are our campers who are going to be CITs next summer. They participate in multiple leadership and programming events during the summer, one of which is our annual partnership with CNIB Lake Joseph. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind camp at Lake Joseph is an awe-inspiring place where campers go to activities similar to Manitou but the facilities have been revamped so that anyone with sight disabilities can also be a camper. Our LIT campers go to Lake Joseph, learn how to work with people who are visually impaired, and even participate in activities at their camp. The following day, CNIB Lake Joseph campers come to us and our LITs assist them in all of their programming at our camp! The Lake Joseph campers participate in Archery, Ropes and Adventure Park, and even though they’re here for a short afternoon, they really get the full Manitou experience. It’s incredible for our LITs to experience, and amazing as well that we get to host the CNIB campers as well!

And then to end the week, we once again had an incredible Friday Night Fireside. After our important Land Acknowledgement, each Unit Head gave candles to some amazing campers who have been leaders throughout the week. The reception for these candle recipients is always so loud and supportive and it’s heartwarming to see. We then had our Sophomore Unit speak on our theme of the summer, “It Takes Courage to Be Kind.” Each cabin worked together and wrote about what the theme meant to them and spoke about it at Fireside. Then all of the cabin’s thoughts were put together and made a chain of kindness. It’s hanging up at Fireside now and it brings this moose so much joy to see all of the amazing words and thoughts our campers come up with. As always, we ended with our song, arm and arm with each other.

And then if you can believe it, the week wasn’t over just then! After Friday Night Fireside, the whole camp went to the theatre for our double-header evening of the Dance Show and the Junior theatre production of The Little Mermaid. Our dance campers showed off their airbands, hip-hop dances, tap routines, and our Intercamp teams performed in front of the camp and showed off their unbelievable talent! After a huge applause for the Dance Show, we then had the opportunity to see our Junior campers put on the Disney classic, The Little Mermaid. I was once again blown away by the costumes, sets, music, and of course the incredible cast who acted and sang their hearts out. I was smiling from ear to ear when the show ended, and I know the rest of the theatre was too!

It’s been a fantastic couple of days at Manitou and I just know all the fun and memories will continue!

Off to Theatre to see all of our kids rehearse for our upcoming shows. Stay tuned for that!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Carnival Fun!

WOOHOO! Another day and another exciting Manitou event! It’s a sunny, warm day over Lake Manitou-Wabing which means it’s perfect weather for our annual Carnival.

On Sunday afternoon, all the campers and staff went to Main Field to celebrate Carnival, and it was as amazing as ever! There were inflatables, bouncy castles, classic games like ring toss, an incredible foam party, and fantastic carnival food like cotton candy and sno-cones. We even brought back our classic dunk tank! I even saw kids getting their face painted and becoming part of a human mural. Campers and staff had the best time running around, playing games, and laughing. It was a successful Carnival as always and I know our campers will have memories for years to come.

It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of First Session, but there’s still lots of fun to be had! Our campers still have 4 days of full regular activities left, filled with sports championships and tournaments, special arts programs, and amazing theatre productions to see as well! To top it all off, as always we end our session with Manny Games! I’ll tell you more about all of this very soon…stay tuned!

Off to go to Pottery and learn the wheel with my friend Ashley!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

More Intercamp, Hoedown Day and Frozen!

Yeehaw! It’s been a rootin’-tootin’ time up at Camp Manitou! But before we get to our very special day we had yesterday, we want to share with our Manitou family all about our 2nd Intercamp of the season!

On Monday, our Manitou Moose athletes went to another Intercamp competition, this time at Camp Winnebagoe…a long time Intercamp competitor! We faced off in basketball, softball, hockey and soccer and demonstrated athletic prowess, grit and amazing spirit and sportsmanship! We’re always so proud of our Manitou athletes and coaches and they all returned to camp with the biggest smiles on their faces!

After the excitement of Intercamp, everyone put on their cowboy hats and plaid and got in the spirit for Hoedown Day! When everyone woke up on Tuesday, the Dining Hall had been transformed into a barn, and the whole camp was in cowboy spirit for Hoedown Day! There was country music at breakfast, people in cowboy costumes, line dances and all the country and western fun you can imagine. The day then ended with an amazing dance put on by the Magen Boys. I saw all of our campers and staff dancing to all their favourite country hits with lots of that classic Manitou spirit and I know Hoedown Day will be a day everyone remembers for a long time!

And after Hoedown Day, our next evening was exciting as well! We got to watch our first theatre show of summer 2023, and this time it was the incredible Freshkids and Sophomores treating us to a fantastic production of Frozen. It was amazing seeing our youngest campers going onstage in front of the whole camp and singing their hearts out! It was clear everyone was having a fun time performing and they all knew the songs and dances so well! I can’t wait until our next show, but for now I will be humming the tunes of Frozen and thinking of our performers!

Finally, because Manitou is always a busy and happening place, we have attached a copy of our camp newspaper, the Mosquito HERE for everyone to peruse!

Well, I’m off to Canoe to see my friend TJ…he’s going to teach me how to do a proper J-stroke!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose

Fireside, Talent and Intercamp!

WOWEE! It’s been such a busy few days at camp, I haven’t had the chance to tell you all what’s been going on! We’ve been blessed with beautiful sunny days for all of our fun activities and nice cool nights to rest after full days. Perfect Manitou weather to match perfect Manitou days!

On Friday we had our second Friday Night Fireside of the summer, and it was another inspiring evening. We started off Fireside with our land acknowledgment, recognizing how fortunate we are to be at Manitou and the importance of being caretakers of this land. The Unit Heads gave out camper candles to campers that have gone above and beyond in their daily routine and truly demonstrate the Manitou spirit. I love hearing the cheers for our candle recipients, and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when they see their friends being honoured. After the candle ceremony, a couple of Freshkid campers spoke about what our theme of the summer, “It Takes Courage to Be Kind,” means to them. It’s incredible that even at a young age, these campers understand how wrong bullying is and how good it is to stand up for your friends and others.

Next, we had our inspiring guest speaker Peter Katz, speak on our theme while using his music to help convey his powerful messages. Peter is a Juno winning folk singer and speaker who uses the power of words and song to communicate important messages to kids and adults everywhere. Peter spoke about his experience growing up at summer camp changed his life in so many ways. He explained how his counsellor encouraged him to learn guitar at camp and now he is performing for people all over the world! It was so great to hear from someone who had grown up in a beautiful place like we do. Peter played two of his songs for us, including his most famous “The Camp Song,” an ode to summer camp. As all of our campers and staff swayed along, I know the song’s words resonated with everyone…including me! Peter spoke to our CIT campers later in the evening, further driving home his message and his art form. We ended our Friday Night Fireside as we always do, with the reading of our special poem and the singing of our camp song. It was a great way to end the night, and I think it inspired a lot of our Manitou campers. You can check out Peter’s incredible music HERE and singalong!

Saturday was another busy activity day with some of our Manitou Moose athletes heading on the bus to go to Camp Tamakwa for our first Intercamp of summer 2023! Intercamp is when different summer camps compete against in each other in various sports like basketball, hockey, baseball and soccer. We haven’t had Intercamp since 2019, and our campers are beyond excited to go and play against other camps! Stay tuned for a video of intercamp which we will post later this week.

Later Saturday evening is when we really kicked things into gear and had an amazing time! In the evening we all went to the theatre for the First Session Camper Talent Show! There was singing, dancing, karaoke, guitar playing and drumming, and even an epic martial arts battle. It was an amazing show and I can’t believe how talented our Manitou campers are!

We always wish all of you could see our special Friday Night Fireside guest speakers, so we have posted a special video below, made by our Videographer Fahim Rahman. Check it out to get a glimpse of our wonderful Freshkids and our fantastic speaker!

Well, I’m off to go see my friend Lanny Foster, the Head of Hockey, and he’s going to teach this old moose how to shoot a ball!

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

One Amazing Week at Camp!

HOORAY! We have had one AMAZING week at camp and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

After all of our campers did their swim checks, cabin photos, and unpacked to make their cabins look perfect, they were able to start their own activity schedules! So far, we have had five activity days and I can tell you the campers are having a BLAST! I’ve seen kids get up on the rope for the first time at Waterski, had campers make me mugs on the wheel at Pottery, and I’ve even played Basketball with some Seniors! The sun has been shining brightly at camp and it’s so great to see all of our campers having fun at their activities!

In addition to their activities, we have also seen some fantastic Evening Programs in the first week. Evening Programs are when units get together at night and participate in a creative game or activity that their Unit Heads have planned. We’ve had Capture the Flag, Minute to Win It, and even a night to learn their unit cheers!

Between activities, evening programs, and some delicious meals, it seems summer 2023 is off to a great start!

Time for me to go out in the sun and then I’m off to help clean my cabin for “Super Duper Clean Up” where the cleanest cabin in each unit has a chance to win ice cream party!

Yours moosily,

Manny the Moose