It’s hard to believe First Session is flying by so fast, and that we’ll be welcoming up our Second Session campers in just a matter of days! We say it every year, but we think this may be our Best Summer Ever and we can’t wait for you all to join us!
As some of you know, here at Manitou we are constantly getting involved with giving back through various organizations and charitable events. During the year, we have our Manitou Cares program where our campers, staff and families volunteer at different events each month to contribute to various charities across Canada. While we’re up at camp for the summer, we have our annual Community Week where each cabin group and activity creatively raises money for a different charity each year. We have had everything from water treading contests to “Handstands for Humanity” just to fundraise for a good cause. As well as our events and programs, Manitou invites speakers to Friday Night Fireside, Community Week, and the Walk Of Hope to enlighten and inspire us to strive and make the world a better place.
For our Community Week this summer, we have the privilege to welcome Alvaro and Boris Castellanos who will tell the story of their grandfather José Arturo Castellanos – a Righteous Among the Nations who refused to “stand by” in the face of injustice and as a result, helped to rescue thousands of people from the Nazis during WWII. They have made an incredible documentary to tell his story, which has been playing throughout the world to critical acclaim. For our annual Walk of Hope event, they will be talking to our campers and screening the 70-minute documentary combined with a simultaneous live musical performance of its soundtrack. “The Rescue – A Live-Film Concerto” promises to make an already special night even more memorable!
Our Friday Night Fireside theme for this summer is “We Do Not Stand By” and Boris and Alvaro are now working on another movie that also touches on this theme. Their upcoming film will tell the story of Indian Residential School Survivors in Canada and how many stood by allowing their abuse to occur.
We are sending an exclusive viewing link for the documentary “The Rescue” so our Manitou Families can witness the incredible story of their grandfather and the risks he took to save so many lives. Boris and Alvaro sold all of their assets to travel and film this movie and have now made it their life mission to spread the message of not standing by, so we can ensure that this does not happen again. Please CLICK HERE to access this inspirational film. The password to access the video is Manitou2019.
After watching this moving story, if you wish to make a contribution to their upcoming film on residential schools, please CLICK HERE to donate and support this important cinematic project.
If you can take the time to watch this film, we are sure you’ll be just as touched and inspired as we were when we first watched it earlier this year.
Hope everyone has a fantastic summer day…we know we will!
-Mark & Jeff
WOWOWOW! It’s another gorgeous sunny day at camp, and it’s looking like it’s going to be another fantastic, fun-filled day! Yesterday we had another thrilling Intercamp against Camp Tamakwa, where we competed in Basketball, Soccer, Softball, and even Climbing! It was great to see both camps exhibiting sportsmanship and spirit, and to see all of our campers not on teams cheering everyone on!
Today we have a ton of fun programs happening at activities, and I can’t wait to see all of them run! Starting at breakfast we had Pajama Day, where campers and staff came dressed in their best (and funniest!) pajamas. It was a very cozy meal, and I think I might leave on my moose pajamas all day now! Down at the river, Canoe/Kayak and Guitar will be joining forces in the annual Caneotar day! There will be some awesome tunes played on the beach, and I’ve seen campers strumming while being paddled down the river. It’s always a fun day, and it’s a blast to see our campers come together from such different activities.
Over at our Ropes course, it’s Balance Day, where our climbing campers will be testing–and maybe even improving–their balance. They’ll be doing all the usual Ropes course elements, but adding a twist like putting on a blindfold or not using hands! It’s a great challenge for our campers, and I’m sure they’ll be up to the task!
And fun things are happening up on Art Hill, as well. Crafts is having Valentine’s Day today where campers will be making Valentine’s cards and red and pink jewelry. I hope this old moose gets a Valentine! Creative Arts will be doing an ocean-themed art show, all to raise money and awareness about the oceans and their environmental concerns. Staff and campers will be making beautiful art pieces inspired by the ocean and the wildlife that lives there, and then they’ll be having a little gallery showing of all the pieces! I’m always so inspired by our campers and staff who use their creative talents for good causes.
Today is a full day of activities and fun, and then tonight is our weekly Cabin Activity Rotation where cabins go to activities that they may not usually have on their schedule. It’s a fun night to see our campers trying new things, and it’s always a ton of fun. Plus tomorrow is the start of another exciting journey when Adventure Valley Day Camp visits for a few days. But more on that soon!
And to HEAR more about we’ve been up to around camp, click on the logo BELOW to hear Episode 2 of our Manitou podcast!
Well, I’m off to see my friend Sarah Driscoll, our Head of Ropes & Climbing, to test my balancing skills!
Manny the Moose
WOOHOO! It’s a gorgeous Manitou day here, and there’s excitement in the air for today! But before I get to all the fun of today, I want to tell you about the beautiful Friday Night Fireside we had last night.
As always, we all gathered down by the lake and reflected on our week up at camp. I know I always appreciate being at camp when we go down to Fireside, and I think the campers and staff feel at peace as well. We started as always with our land acknowledgment, and moved into our candle ceremony, where campers and staff are honoured for their contributions and their Manitou spirit. Next, our Junior Unit did a short presentation on our theme “Don’t Stand By.” They presented a paper quilt where campers each made a square showing what the theme means to them and how important it is to stand up.
After our brilliant campers had finished, we heard from Martina and Wayne, two speakers from the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, Manitou’s charity for the summer. Martina and Wayne spoke to our campers and staff about what Children’s Aid does and how they help people in need find foster homes, and help them within the foster care system. They spoke about all of the amazing work Children’s Aid has done so far, but how there is always work that can be done and people that need to be helped. It was eye-opening for everyone–myself included–to hear the high rates of people that are within the foster care system in Canada, and I think it’s great that they came to speak to our Manitou family. I bet many of our campers and staff were inspired to take action and stand up to help people that are in need.
After a moving talk, Martina was then given the honour of reading our end of Fireside poem, and we all sang our camp song as we always do when we end our Friday nights. It was an incredible evening, and I always feel so at peace when we end our Friday Night Firesides. A perfect end to a perfect day!
Today we all woke to a sunny day here at camp…perfect for Rookie Day! Today is our annual Rookie Day, where 5 – 9 year olds visit Camp Manitou for the day, and live the day of a camper. And more often than not, these Rookies become Manitou campers one day! Today they’ll be trying Culinary Arts, Tennis, Woodworking, Adventure Park, Horseback Riding, and more! Plus they’ll get to eat in the Dining Hall for meals AND end the day with Tuck, just like a regular Manitou camper would. I can’t wait to meet all of the Rookies and see them enjoying the camper lifestyle!
Well, I’m off to go shoot some hoops with my friend Michael Palma, the Head of Basketball!
Manny the Moose
WOWEE! The weather is a little cooler here today on the shores of Lake Manitouwabing, but I know the sun is going to come out any second now and make this another perfect Manitou day! And speaking of perfect days, our Thursday yesterday was one of the best yet!
Everyone woke up on Thursday still raving about the Freshkids/Sophomore play the evening before…Mary Poppins! There were incredible performances, beautiful sets–made by Emma Szpindel and the Theatre Sets campers–and some wonderful singing and dancing! I’ll be singing those songs and thinking about the play for days to come!
Our Thursday then started with Chef Will’s famous breakfast buffet, an amazing spread with everything from chocolate croissants to watermelon to scrambled eggs to lox and bagels! Everyone can find something to enjoy, and I know this moose went in a couple of times to have the delicious food! After I had some food, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to our 2-week campers. I shed a moose tear watching all my new friends go back home and seeing their counsellors giving them big farewell hugs. But I know they’ll be back next summer, and maybe they’ll stay for even longer!
After everyone had their brunch, it was Super Cabin Cleanup time, where our campers spent time making their cabins look perfect, and tried to win the cleanup prize: an Ice Cream Party or even the elusive Steak Dinner! Then it was off to Beach Day for our Junior Unit! It was a great day to go to the beach and have an afternoon out of camp. There was swimming, games of volleyball, cabin hangouts on the beach, and it ended as all Beach Days do: a cookout complete with hot dogs and pop! I can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon!
It’s another activity day here today, but with Friday Night Fireside this evening and Rookie Day tomorrow there will be plenty to tell you all about soon! I’m off to go practice my serve with Sydney Shore, our Head of Volleyball!
Manny the Moose
WOOT WOOT! It’s another sunny day today, and it’s sure to be an exciting one! After our big Carnival yesterday, our Units had their regular Evening Programs, and I went to go check out some of them. Our Senior Unit had Splash Bash, a fun–and messy–activity that is basically one big paint water fight…but it’s all in good fun! And at the end, I’m sure some people had some awesome colourful shirts that they’ll keep forever. After I was done Splash Bashing, I went over to the Theatre to see what the C.I.T.s were up to. Usually our C.I.T.s would be with their cabins for E.P., but last night they had a very special night instead…it was their annual Salsa Night! Every year, as far back as I can remember, the C.I.T.s have learned to Salsa Dance and then competed to see who was the best pair. It’s a great night for bonding, and since the pairs are all mixed up, it’s nice for everyone to get to know each other a little better. Some of those C.I.T.s had fantastic dance moves…I wish I could dance like that! After all the fun of Carnival and Evening Programs, it was off to bed to rest up for another Manitou day.
Today is a beautiful day for activities, and there are kids outside everywhere smiling and having fun! I’ve been walking around because there are some very special programs happening at activities today, and I wanted to see what everyone was up to. Over at Martial Arts there is a Taekwondo competition where campers (and staff) signed up to compete in “fights,” and at the end there will be an ultimate champion. It’s all for fun of course, and I just saw some of the epic battles outside, all run by our Head of Martial Arts, Ivette! I then wandered over to Radio/Newspaper for their special Radio Gaga day. They’re over at the Gaga Court today to play the music of Queen and Lady Gaga and to play actual Gaga. For those of you who don’t know, Gaga is a game where players are in an octagon shaped court, and they have to hit a ball around using only their hands. If it touches their legs or feet, they get eliminated until the next game. The Radio campers–and campers around camp–love to play, and it’s even more awesome that they have a soundtrack to accompany them today! Plus, Yoga and Creative Arts are doing a Zen and Mandala day, where they will have a relaxing meditation day, and the Creative Arts campers will be drawing Mandalas. It sounds like an exciting day for a bunch of activities!
But that’s not all for today! Tonight, we have our first play of the 2019 Manitou Theatre season: Mary Poppins! Put on by our Freshkid and Sophomore campers, and directed by Theatre Specialist Miranda Wiseman, it’s going to be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and I can’t wait to see it and tell you all about it!
And because it’s Wednesday, we have an edition of The Mosquito–the camp newspaper–to share with you all! Our campers have been hard at working writing articles, reporting, and drawing comics and puzzles, and I thought some of you readers may want to see it as well. Click here to read the latest edition: Mosquito 2 2019 !
Our Radio/Newspaper campers and staff have also released the first ever Manitou podcast! We apologize for the sound–we are up in the woods after all!–but look out for a clearer episode next time. For now, take a listen here:
Well, off to the Rec Room to get some supplies and see my good friend Matt Wilson!
Manny the Moose
HIP HIP HOORAY! It’s another gorgeous day up here at camp, and I’m excited already! Last night, continuing our Neon Day festivities, we had a big camp wide dance complete with DJs, prizes and a whole lot of fun! But it wasn’t like any camp dance I’d ever seen…it was a Neon Dance! There were colourful banners, lasers, and black lights to make everyone’s neon clothing look like it was glowing! We even had a special neon party bus, where Units could go on one at a time and dance with a DJ inside a real bus. Overall I’d say everyone had a great time dancing their hearts away and that the day will be talked about for years to come.
And as if Neon Day wasn’t enough, we have another fun day today! After another great day of activities, we’ll end the day with our annual Carnival! At Carnival, our campers will come to Main Field and have the chance to play and have fun on a whole variety of inflatables, including an obstacle course and a Super Rainbow Slide! And just like at a real Carnival, our Manitou one will be complete with popcorn, Sno-Cones, and even a photo booth! I love seeing everyone at the Carnival with their painted faces, running from one thing to the next. And as always, the Carnival will end in an outdoor dinner. I don’t know what’s for dinner, but this old moose loves Chef Will’s cooking! It’s bound to be another exciting day, and I can’t wait to go down that Super Rainbow Slide myself!
Well, I’m off to see my buddy Jacob Beallor, our Head of Baseball, and learn how to throw a curveball before all of our fun this afternoon!
Manny the Moose
WEEEEEE! Today is a very exciting day up here at camp…our first ever Neon Day! But before we get to today’s festivities, I need to tell you about all our fantastic evening last night!
Our sunny Sunday ended with our usual combo of Outdoor Dinner–delicious grilled chicken burgers!–and some fun and silly Cabin Activities. I saw cabins tubing, playing mini-golf, and making cabin bracelets! It’s a great way for cabins to bond with each other, and I know a lot of great memories were made last night. After all the activities were done, our cabins that won cleanup on Thursday had their tasty ice cream sundae parties, and they made some incredible looking treats. After seeing all those sundaes, I bet other cabins will try to win cleanup next week! After all that Sunday fun it was off to bed to rest for another exciting day.
Today everyone woke up to a decorated Dining Hall, complete with neon lights, table cloths, decorations, and murals. Starting right at breakfast, everyone was already in the spirit of Neon Day, wearing their best and brightest clothing, and waving around glowsticks! But it’s not just the Dining Hall that’s been Neonified, our activities are getting in the spirit, too! Over at Creative Arts, campers are making space outfits decked out with neon tape, and Soccer has painted their soccer balls neon! Plus, right now I can see OCS playing with neon Frisbees, and Fitness and Canoe have teamed up for an ultimate ’80s style Aerobics day, and everyone is wearing their best neon workout gear! I may even head up to Culinary Arts to try one of their special neon cookies! I can’t wait to see all of the neon spirit continue at lunch today!
And as if today wasn’t exciting enough already, we also have some Manitou campers out on Intercamp for the second day in a row! Yesterday, our Under 12 teams went to Camp Tamakwa, where we competed in everything from Basketball to Swimming to Hockey! And today we have sent Under 12 AND Under 16 teams to Camp Winnebagoe, to show that same Manitou spirit and sportsmanship. It doesn’t matter who wins or loses, because everyone always has tons of fun!
I have to go now and get some neon bracelets from my friend Jordy Haar, our Head of Crafts!
Manny the Moose
WOWEE! It’s been such a busy few days at camp that I haven’t had the chance to tell you all what’s been going on! We’ve been having beautiful sunny days to do all our fun stuff, and nice cool nights to rest after full days. Perfect Manitou weather to match perfect Manitou days!
On Friday we had our second full Friday Night Fireside of the summer, and it was another inspiring evening. As always, we started off Fireside with Rach Klein, our Head of Canoe Tripping, giving a land acknowledgment and the Unit Heads gave out camper candles to those that have gone above and beyond, and truly show the Manitou spirit. I love hearing the cheers for these candle winners, 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, “Don’t Stand By,” 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.
To speak more on the subject of “Don’t Stand By,” we had our first Fireside speaker of the summer, Anthony McLean. Anthony is a rapper and speaker who uses the power of words to communicate important messages to kids. Anthony mostly speaks at schools and camps, and he was fantastic at getting the attention of our campers with his stories and raps. Anthony spoke about his own persona life and stories he’s heard in schools over the years, all relating to bullying and how important it is to stand up and not stand by. It was inspiring to hear how he had gone from his own troubling home life to turning that around and helping others. He even spoke to our Senior 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 a great night, and I think it inspired a lot of our Manitou campers.
Saturday was another busy, busy activity day with plenty of good weather and lots of fun! But Saturday evening is when we really kicked things into gear and had a rollicking good time! We all gobbled up an incredible salmon dinner from our very own Chef Will and then we all loaded into the theatre for the First Session Camper Talent Show! There was singing, dancing, karaoke, guitar playing and drumming, and even an epic Taekwondo routine set to “Eye of the Tiger.” At the end of the show, the whole C.I.T. group sang “Country Roads,” decked out in their best country and western garb, and I even shed a moose tear watching how they’ve all bonded already! 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 Mitchell Allen! Check it out to get a glimpse of our wonderful speaker evening 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!
Manny the Moose
YEEHAW! We’ve had the most sunshine in Manitou history these past couple of days, and I can’t wait to share with all of you the fun stuff we’ve been up to!
Tuesday and Wednesday were both regular activity days, and I saw so many of our campers going around to their activities with a huge smile on their face. I saw people playing football at OCS, making bowls at Pottery, and even fishing at Eco Adventure! I’m always amazed at the big variety of activities we have here, and I love that campers are willing to mix it up and take anything! Tuesday night we had our first activity rotation of the summer, where cabins go around in a group to an activity that they may not usually go to. It’s always fun to try something new, and it’s even better doing it with your cabin and having the chance to bond.
After a big day of activities yesterday, I saw some fantastic Evening Programs running, such as Competitive Table Setting for the Juniors and a Synchronized Swimming Contest for the Seniors. It’s a blast to watch everyone so spirited and being so energetic with everything they do at camp. After those programs, it was off to bed, because today is going to be a big day!
Thursdays are a little different here at Manitou, and I can’t believe we’re already at our first one of 2019! The day starts with a chance to sleep in and eat at Will’s beautiful– and famous — Breakfast Buffet. You can catch the buffet at any time in the morning, and this old moose is definitely guilty of going back for a second helping of those warm chocolate croissants! For those who don’t sleep in and don’t want to eat all morning long, we have activities running called Hobby Hubs, where our L.I.T.s (Leaders in Training–second year Seniors) plan fun activities for kids to participate in. And this Thursday we even have a special Magician here who is going to do some balloon animal lessons, and perform a magic show as well. Abracadabra–what a treat!
After a mid-morning Flagpole with everyone, all the cabins in camp do a Super Cleanup to make their living spaces a little more tidy. And if they do a REALLY good job, they have the chance to win an ice cream party or even a steak dinner! Once those cabins are nice and clean, our Units split up to do different things. This week, our Freshkid and Sophomore Units will be going out of camp for a Beach Day. They’ll get to swim, play games on the beach, and have good old fashioned BBQ’d hot dogs! But don’t worry about our older Units, they’ll get to go to Beach Day next week, and this afternoon, they’ll be participating in Cabin Activities that their counsellors have planned for them. And at the end of the day, as if Thursday wasn’t fun enough, we have an Outdoor Dinner — yummy yummy — and Evening Programs to cap off the day. It’s all bound to be a blast!
Well, I’m off to go clean MY cabin… I hope I win an ice cream party!
Manny the Moose
WAZOO! The past couple of days have been fun fun fun! We’ve had beautiful weather up here at camp, and it’s been perfect for taking a dip in the lake or just hanging out with friends! On Sunday we had another full day of activities, and I walked around to see our campers participating in their various activities. I saw campers playing a Volleyball game, sailboats out on the perfect lake, and people building all sorts of things at Woodworking!
We ended a full Manitou day the way we always do on Sundays…with an outdoor dinner! Chef Will and the kitchen staff really outdid themselves this time with the tastiest burgers this old moose has ever eaten! The outdoor dinner was made even better by the tailgate we had…a Canadian Staff vs. International Staff Basketball Game! The Canadian team pulled out a win this time, but a rematch may be coming soon. To end off Sunday evening, we had our first Cabin Activity night of the summer. Cabin Activities are when counsellors plan fun things for their campers to do, and they have the chance to be silly and bond as a cabin. I saw cabins tubing, going out on the pontoon boat, playing capture the flag, and even doing their very own candy version of Master Chef! As always, it was the perfect end to a perfect day!
When our campers woke up today and entered the Dining Hall, they saw that it had been completely transformed into a Canadian wonderland! There were Canadian flags, red and white streamers, and some amazing Canada Day posters and banners made by our extremely talented Creative Arts campers. Ben Keast, our Head of Theatre, led ‘Oh Canada’ with a choir of campers and we had Canadian music playing all breakfast long. It’s great to see so many of our campers and staff dressed up to show their patriotism for Canada Day, and I can’t wait to see the Manitou spirit come out again for other camp-wide programs!
Happy Canada Day from this moose to all of you! I’m off to see my friend Robbie Dryer, the Head of Radio, to listen to some Canadian tunes!
Manny the Moose