A Canoe Trip to Remember

I woke up today and couldn’t believe that first session had flown by so quickly! We’ve had so many beautiful days filled with fun, that I hadn’t even noticed the days going by! I thought that since today was one of the last activity days of this month, I would go and explore what’s going on around camp.

At Crafts, everyone was making Tie-Dye shirts AND slime! It was messy up there for sure, but everyone was having a great time, and those colourful shirts are going to look amazing! After that, I went on down to Canoe and Kayak and found that they were having the annual Canoetar event. That’s when the Guitar and Canoe programs have a special day where they team up and play some tunes while paddling! Our fantastic campers were able to show off all of their talents at once, and it was great to relax on the beach and listen to some awesome music.

Then I went over to the Trip Shack, and a camper told me an inspiring story all about his canoe trip. My friend told me that he was pretty nervous to go on a canoe trip, and didn’t really think he would enjoy it, but his parents told him he must go. So after talking to some of our wonderful Trippers and staff, he decided he would take the plunge and go. And boy was it the right decision! He ended up helping out the Trippers, hiking, swimming in waterfalls, catching fish, canoeing in the sunset, AND finding a beautiful cave to explore along the Mattawa River! He not only got over his fear of going on trip and outdoor exploring, but he told me he wants to go again next summer! A big kudos to the parents who pushed him in the right direction, and it just shows that you don’t know if you’ll like something until you try!

I hope I get to go on a canoe trip this summer, but it will have to wait, because now I’m off to sit with spin some tunes with my good friend Robbie, the Head of Radio! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

All Sorts of Adventures at Manitou!

I just woke up to another fantastic day here at Manitou! The sun is shining, the lake looks cool and calm, and there’s a great breeze rolling over Main Field. It’s the perfect day for all of the many adventures we have going on today at camp!

We of course have all of our regular activities running still, but we also have some new friends coming into Manitou, and some of campers venturing out! Today, our Manitou Dance Team is off to Camp Wahanowin to compete in a Dance Intercamp, and I am cheering them on from afar! Every summer, different camps send dance teams to compete against each other in a super special Intercamp, and the Manitou team always does a fantastic job! I can’t wait to hear about all the incredible dances we did, and also all the awesome performances from our friends at other camps. Go team!

Some more of our campers are going out of Manitou today as they paddle into the wilderness for our annual Girl Power canoe trip. Each summer here at Manitou, our amazing canoe tripping team finds a group of girls who want to go exploring  together in the beautiful landscape of Northern Ontario, learning how to paddle, cook in the outdoors, and even start a fire– amazing life skills that they may never learn at camp or home. This year, our campers are off to Algonquin Park, and even though I’ll miss them, I know those seven lucky girls are going to have the time of their life, and make memories they’ll never forget!

Though we have some campers heading out of camp today, we also have some new kids coming to join us at Manitou! It’s that time of summer again where we welcome our friends from Adventure Valley Day Camp to experience the overnight summer camp life at Manitou! The campers from Adventure Valley stay at Manitou for three whole days, and they get to do all of the things our campers get to do. They will make their own schedules just like Manitou campers, they’ll go to Evening Programs with some of our units, and they’ll even get to have Chef William’s famous meals! It’s a great transition for kids to see what overnight camp is like, and I know by the end they’ll all love living in a cabin with all of their friends! I can’t wait to meet all the Adventure Valley campers later today–I’m going to give them a big moose hug!

But for now, off to Soccer to watch our World Cup tournament! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Rookie Day at Manitou!

Another day has come and gone, and yesterday was one of my favourite days of the summer so far! We woke up to another beautiful, sunny day which was perfect weather for Rookie Day 2018! For those of you who don’t know what Rookie Day is, it’s a day during camp where we welcome kids ages 5-9 up to see Manitou and experience camp for a day. They get to try different activities like Horseback Riding, Woodworking, Video, Adventure Park and more, plus they’re lucky enough to try some of Chef William’s amazing Manitou meals! Our L.I.T.s (Leaders In Training–second year seniors) guide our little Rookies around, and I know everyone was having the best day ever! They ended the day in the greatest way possible by taking home a Manitou towel, a picture to remember the day, and of course some Tuck–a Manitou favourite. It was another successful day, and I hope to see some of our Rookies as Manitou campers next summer!

Today is another exciting day at camp, with our second Intercamp of the summer, and this time we’re off to Camp Tamakwa! Once again, we’ll be competing in hockey, basketball, softball, archery, climbing, and swimming, and I know our Manitou athletes will make us proud. It doesn’t matter who wins in the end, as long as everyone has fun, and Intercamp is always a blast! Our Manitou Intercamp team is one of the most sportsmanlike and spirited groups around, and I can’t wait to hear all of the stories they tell when they return to camp.

I’ve been telling all you incredible readers about our days here at Manitou, that I haven’t told you anything about our evenings! After dinner, almost every night, we have Evening Programs–or E.P.s for short. Evening Programs are fun games, activities, or events that our amazing Unit Head team plan for their units, and they’re always creative and fun! Recently, our Freshkid Unit had a Pizza Delivery program that had Freshkid cabins attempting to deliver “pizza” to fussy Activity Head customers. It was great to see all of our Freshkids bonding as a cabin and figuring out strategies to complete their tasks. And just last night when I went over to Main Field, I saw our Sophomore Unit participating in a medical themed E.P. where cabins did activities at various stations, while also raising money for Save A Child’s Heart! It was inspiring to see our campers not only having fun, but showing that raising money and helping a good cause can be something enjoyable for everybody!

It’s time for me to get ready for the day! I’m going to get my glove and go play catch with my good pal Aaron Oelbaum, our Head of Baseball! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose


Manitou and Save A Child’s Heart!

It was another beautiful day at Manitou, and I’m still inspired from last night! We had Friday Night Fireside—one of my favourite parts of camp—and it was an extremely special edition. As the entire camp walked down to Fireside, we were greeted with the lovely sound of the Activity Heads and Specialists singing “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer. It was so nice to hear all of the Head Staff voices blending together to bring such a wonderful song to us.

Once they were done, we gave out our traditional candles to our campers and staff for going above and beyond during the week, and then we heard from some very special guests. First we had Karen Diamond, from the board of Save A Child’s Heart, tell us about how the organization was brought to Canada and all the amazing things they do for kids all around the world. Next we had the Baldwin family, made up of Melissa and Larry and two of their five children Benjamin and Madeline, who came to us from California to tell us their moving story, and how they were helped by the incredible organization Save A Child’s Heart. Melissa told our campers and staff all about how after their family was complete, they were approached to adopt Benjamin, a boy from China. Benjamin had to be operated on immediately by Save A Child’s Heart in Israel, and through fantastic fundraising efforts, not only was Benjamin’s life saved, but he was united with his new family! We were then treated to a sweet musical interlude when some of our campers performed “Blackbird” by The Beatles…it was amazing! Our Manitou family then gave a huge round of applause when Benjamin and the Baldwins read our Manitou poem, and then we all ended Fireside with our classic Manitou song, “Deep In The Heart Of The North.”

But the night was not over yet! After Fireside, our C.I.T.s and Senior Unit campers saw an amazing documentary showing the life and death decisions of the doctors working at Save A Child’s Heart, and how all of their incredible work helps people worldwide. We had a wonderful question and answer period after the movie, and I was so impressed by the questions coming from our brilliant campers!

All of the inspiring messages we heard tonight are what define the Manitou experience, and allows all of us to remember that true happiness comes from giving back to others and putting yourself second.

If you want to see more of our journey with Save A Child’s Heart, watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/280028155

Off to go say goodbye to all our Rookie Day campers…I made a bunch of new friends! But you’ll hear all about that tomorrow! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Under The Sea, On The Bus, and To The Beach!

We’re into another new week at camp, and there are so many exciting things happening already! Last night we were treated to our first theatre show of the summer, with the Freshkids and Sophomores performing The Little Mermaid. I forgot we were even sitting in the theatre because the amazing cast took us under the sea with their incredible version of the Disney classic. Our talented theatre staff and campers had us all humming the tunes long after the show was done, and I was still marveling at the fantastic costumes and sets that took us into the underwater world! I can’t wait until the next theatre show, but until then I’ll be singing ‘Part of Your World,’ and thinking about this amazing start to the theatre season.

Just this morning, after I had practically licked my plate clean from the buffet, I had to say goodbye to some friends I’ve made over the past two weeks. Our two-week campers got on the bus and left us this morning, but judging by the hugs and smiles, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them again next summer. It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by already this summer, but time flies when you’re having fun!

After the bus had rolled out of camp and out of view, our regular Thursday morning activities started. We had Hobby Hubs as usual–activities for campers who don’t sleep-in–and this week’s Hobby Hub were bracelet making and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament run by some of our great LITs. Between the tournament this morning and our 2-Ball Tournament yesterday, I’m starting to think we have some future NBA players on our hands!

Our Thursday morning fun may be coming to a close, but there’s still more to come this afternoon. Some of our younger campers will have the exciting opportunity to do horseback riding…in camp! The horses are visiting Manitou, and I bet they’ll love it here as much as we all do! And I’m off to Beach Day with the Junior Unit…I can’t wait to swim and have some grilled hot dogs with them! Time to put on my sunscreen! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

The Carnival of Camp

It’s a new day at camp and I’m still reeling with excitement from the HUGE Carnival we had yesterday! Themed as a birthday party for Mark and Jeff’s 20th summer at Manitou, it was loads of fun for staff and campers! All across our Main Field–which is huge and nice and breezy for those of you who haven’t seen it–a variety of Carnival games, attractions, and snacks were spread out to amuse everyone…including me! I could snack on some popcorn or cotton candy, play Chicken in a Pot, take a picture at the photo booth, have a birthday cupcake, and then jump around with all my friends on one of the big inflatables, like the Wrecking Ball or the 21 Foot Slide. Even when the Carnival ended, there was more to come! We all ended the night with a big camp-wide dance, where the DJs and dancers of Sole Power had us in our dancing shoes until the sun set on another Manitou day. Overall, it was an incredible day, and we’re having another amazing one today!

There are lots of fun programs happening at different activities today and I can’t wait to try them all out! First I’m going to go down to the Swim docks where Swim, Pottery, and Woodworking campers will be playing in a Squidditch Tournament. Quidditch is a game from the Harry Potter book and movie series, and when you throw on the ‘S’ from swim, you have Squidditch! I know our Manitou swimmers will have a blast playing a fun game in the water, and I can’t wait to join in! After I get a round of Squidditch in, I’m going to head over to Basketball where my good friend Teghan (the Head of Basketball) is holding a 2-Ball Tournament. Our former head of Basketball Mama D–current Facilities Director–just explained to me that a 2-Ball Tournament is basically a shooting competition and the team with the most points will win! I’m excited to see all of our fantastic Manitou B-Ball players shine, and maybe I’ll try to throw a basket, too!

All of our activities have been super busy holding tryouts for Intercamp teams, having tournaments and wacky programs, and I know our Theatre program has been gearing up for their first show of the summer. Tomorrow night all of us at Manitou will have the pleasure of watching the Freshkids and Sophomores perform in The Little Mermaid, a Disney-musical classic! After the Talent Show, I know we’re in for a treat, and sometimes I stop outside the Theatre just to hear them rehearsing ‘Part of My World.’ Even around camp, I see groups of campers singing all the show’s tunes and I can’t wait to tap my foot along with them when we see them onstage and go under the sea along with them!

Off to put on my swim trunks and play some Squidditch! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Manitou’s Bursting With Talent!

Wow wow wow! It’s another gorgeous day at camp and it’s jam-packed with all sorts of fun things! As I promised yesterday, I can’t wait to tell you all about the Camper Talent Show we had last night. There were so many incredible acts that covered singing, dancing, magic, and even Rubik’s Cubes! Plus, as a finale, we had special guest staff members Natasha Bali, Mike Plume, and director/owner extraordinaire Jeff Wilson singing Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man,’ while one of our campers accompanied like a rockstar on the piano. It was very inspiring to see all of our creative and talented campers have all the courage in the world and perform in front of the entire camp. I can’t wait for the second session talent show!

Speaking of talented campers, we had our first Intercamp of the summer today where we witnessed all our gifted Manitou athletes go for the gold against Camp Tamakwa. For those readers out there who aren’t familiar with Intercamp, it’s when camps visit Manitou or we visit them and we compete in a variety of sporting events, such as softball, hockey, basketball, climbing, archery, soccer, and swim! It’s so exciting to welcome new friends from other camps, and it’s great for us all to have a healthy, fun competition. The last event just finished and it turns out Manitou were the winners of this round of Intercamp! But it’s not about winning, because our Manitou Intercamp squad made us proud as the most sportsmanlike team around. Next Sunday will be another round of Intercamp when we go to Camp Tamakwa…stay tuned for those results!

As you can tell, the days here are always filled with fun, and we’ve had tons of cabins going out on canoe trips daily. Our incredible canoe trippers are constantly packing out trips, welcoming some back, or they’re out in the wilderness right now enjoying nature. Canoe trips are a great way for cabins to bond, and for campers to learn independence, and skills they may not learn here at camp like making a fire! I hope to go on a canoe trip soon…I love a day of canoeing that ends with roasting marshmallows under the stars!

Our wacky programmers Justin and Sarah-Rose are always cooking up something good, and yesterday we had a camp Doppelgänger day. Campers and staff dressed up like each other—and some acted like each other too—and boy was it funny! Everyone got very involved in the day, and it was fun to watch all the lookalikes have a dance off at lunch. I hear there may be some other exciting programs coming soon, too, so stay tuned for that!

Better change into my technicolour dreamcoat for Rainbow Day at Canoe/Kayak! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

A Freshkid Fireside

Once again, all of our Manitou campers and staff gathered together for Friday Night Fireside last night. I love how we can quietly reflect at Fireside, and it’s a precious time for us all when we can have everyone in camp be together in such an amazing place. With the beautiful weather we have been having this summer, it is always a pleasure seeing our Manitou family overlooking the sparkling twilight water and appreciating the land our home is on with our weekly land acknowledgement, spoken by our Head of Canoe Tripping Rach Klein. After that, we honoured, as we always do, one female and one male camper from each unit—including staff—with a candle for going beyond what is expected in terms of the value system we have in our Manitou community.

Our fearless director and owner Mark Diamond then spoke briefly about Betty, a beautiful Ethiopian child whose life was saved by the amazing organization Save A Child’s Heart. It is incredibly special to hear about doctors and hospitals giving all their time and expertise to help these children, for absolutely nothing in return. And it was a beautiful Manitou moment that after Mark had told us about Betty, our campers and staff applauded and cheered without even being asked.

It was the Freshkid Unit’s week at Fireside, and they all spoke genuinely and warmly about our theme Caring is Community. Some campers spoke about how they raised money for Ronald McDonald House, and that reaching out to others can make your community stronger. Others told us about their cabin and how they are one family that are always inclusive to everyone. To show the strong bond of the Freshkids, the entire unit then came up in front of the whole camp and sang “You’ve Got A Friend In Me.” It was so brave of them to sing in front of everyone, and they sounded great!

We had more singing to come, too, as our Manitou Choir—led by Vocal Music staff member Paige Kruger–came up to sing an incredible rendition of “Meant To Be.” They had me humming the tune for the rest of the night! Our director of 19 years Chris McKibbin was then chosen to read our Manitou Poem, and finally we ended with our traditional camp song to conclude the wonderful evening.

If you haven’t ever read our Manitou Poem, I have attached it HERE for you all to read!

Plus, for all of our readers in Toronto, we are having a very special film screening on Thursday July 12thA Heartbeat Away tells the story of a former patient of the amazing charity Save A Child’s Heart, and it’s sure to be an inspiring event that you don’t want to miss!  Please RSVP as soon possible as space is limited at info@saveachildsheart.ca.  The theatre only holds 50 people and Save A Child’s Heart is giving Manitou parents first choice to attend this event! What a deal!

Now off to watch a beautiful Manitou sunset! Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the talent show! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

Shakes, Snakes, and Jumping in the Lake!

It’s been a busy few days at Manitou! We never let the heat interrupt our busy days…we just soak up the sun and keep having a blast! Plus with an amazing lake, even when it does get hot, it’s great to jump in with some friends and cool off. But enough about the weather, here’s what we’ve been up to at camp…

On Tuesday, we had a Secret Handshake competition where multiple pairs of campers showed off their super cool handshakes to the camp. There were some incredibly creative handshakes, and it reminded me once again just how talented our campers are!

Thursday was our classic ‘Manitou Thursday,’ where we drop our activity schedules for the day and do other fun and exciting things. Thursdays always start off with a sleep-in, and while most of the older campers slept soundly, our younger campers had amazing activities to participate in. They were able to go to two Hobby Hubs –activities that run Thursday mornings– and I know that our Nail Polish table and the Mini Golf tournament were both extremely popular! After those two Hobby Hubs were over, our campers were able to enjoy the wonderfully exotic animals of Reptilia–a reptile zoo experience with a wide range of snakes, lizards, and even alligators! And of course, like every Manitou Thursday, our world-famous buffet ran all morning long. Campers and staff could enjoy a wide-range of food from fruit to smoked salmon to eggs and to Will’s world famous chocolate croissants! It’s a delicious and nutritious buffet, and one of my favourite parts of camp!

As if this week wasn’t busy enough, we kicked off our annual partnership with the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) Lake Joseph Centre. For the past few summers, we have had our L.I.T.s (Leaders in Training–second year seniors) visit the CNIB Lake Joseph Centre to learn all about accessible sites and train how to work with people who are blind or have vision impairment. This year was no different, but we had a very special addition to our Manitou-CNIB experience. After we visited the CNIB site on Wednesday and had a blast doing things like guided sight tours on a nature path, tossing people up in Inuit Blankets, and learning how to prepare a meal with no vision, the campers from CNIB came to visit us! For the first time ever, we had campers and staff from the CNIB come to Manitou and participate in some of our amazing activities. Our L.I.T.s were able to put their training to use, and our friends from the CNIB were able to do activities that they don’t have the opportunity to do at their own camp. I walked around camp and saw them working together at the Adventure Park, shooting arrows at archery, and even going up to the highest of heights on our climbing wall! It was great that after years of visiting the Lake Joseph Centre, we were able to treat them to a classic Manitou day. Our L.I.T.s learned a lot, and I hope our visits last for years to come!

A week has gone by here at Manitou, and there are more and more special things happening every day! Off to get ready for Friday Night Fireside…I can’t wait to hear what the Freshkids have to say about community. Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose


The Mosquito: Edition 1

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Today started off with a delicious breakfast of Manitou McMuffins and the first 2018 edition of The Mosquito–Manitou’s very own newspaper. Filled with comics, stories, camp news, and horoscopes, The Mosquito is always a great read for campers and staff. Our reporters worked hard all week long on this edition and I want to share it with you…click below to check it out! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did up here. And before I go…a Happy 4th of July to all our readers in the good ol’ USA!

Off to the Slip ‘N Slide with all my pals! Until next time…

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose