On Friday night we kicked off Community Week 2022, one of the most fulfilling and exciting weeks at Manitou. We began the week by welcoming Emmanuel Jal who started his life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan. Through music and motivational storytelling, he shared messages of hope and perseverance and inspired us to find the good in everything. Emmanuel is now an artist, actor, and political activist who speaks to groups around the world and, thanks to the efforts of the incredible people at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, we were incredibly fortunate to have him come to speak at Manitou.
On Monday night, we held our annual Walk of Hope. Campers and staff walked a path around camp, completing meaningful, thought-provoking activities along the way. Some of these activities include the ‘Fear Fire’ (you write down your fear and burn it in a campfire) and the ‘Wishing Well’ (campers write wishes for the world on stones and throw them in a fountain). Many campers performed poems, speeches, and songs for everyone to listen to as they completed the walk.
Prior to starting the walk, however, campers met in the theatre where they watched a video about why we walk which explained the history of famous marches and walks and what their significance has been in the world. We were also fortunate to welcome Hannah Alper, youth activist, author, public speaker, and environmentalist. Coordinated by our friends at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Hannah spoke to our campers about the power of one. Inspiring them to make a difference using whatever tools and gifts you may have; big or small. Hannah taught us how every action makes an impact and answered many questions about how our campers can start to make a difference around the world.
In camp, we have been seeing the impacts of our speaker’s words and so many campers have been busy raising money for community week! All of the proceeds that campers and staff raise will be donated to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. At Archery, campers are raising $5 for every bullseye they hit. Gameshow is hosting a charity casino. Swim is running “swim around the world” with each lap raising money, and woodworking is making appreciation signs for hardworking staff around camp. Campers from Freshkids to CIT’s are hosting handstand competitions for charity, charity trivia contests, bracelet making to give to people to brighten their day and so much more. The ideas and initiatives that have been coming from our campers have just been incredible! So far we have raised over $8,000 and we’re not done yet!
It’s been so wonderful to see kids get together with their cabins and unite for a good cause. They are so proud of themselves when they get up in front of the camp and announce what their cabin will be doing to raise money for the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and it’s amazing to watch them understand the importance of giving back. Our hope is that this is just the beginning and that this week can help spark a passion for philanthropy that remains throughout their lives.
So far, it’s been a great week and it’s not over yet! Stay tuned for even more community week info to come.