Our goal is to instill in your children core values of empathy, and the importance of giving back to the world around them. Your children will have the opportunity to embrace over 20 outreach initiatives both during the summer and all year long. Manitou campers as a result will be happier, more grounded and appreciative of what life has to offer as they mature into young adults.
The Manitou culture is one of inclusion, appreciation and respect. These values are inculcated to our campers as Freshkids through their Senior and CIT years. Whether it be at Friday Night Fireside, Community week or our “Walk of Hope” campers learn the importance of giving back to their own community as well as to the world around them.
Any camper will tell you the words they hear most all summer include “tolerance, appreciation, and respect” through subtle messages and proper adult role models. Campers are taught the true meaning of respect and learn to appreciate their fellow campers and staff for based on core values that are important and meaningful. As a result your child will learn to appreciate every day that life has to offer and not just take a day at camp, or any day for that matter, for granted. Campers at Manitou understand that going to camp is a privilege and not a right.
For example, when a Manitou camper goes on a bus he/she will know the bus drivers’ name and thank him/her, and understand that getting to know this bus driver will benefit both the camper and the bus driver and make that day more fulfilling. Teaching campers to say thank you to a bus driver not only is the right thing to do but teaches them that every person has value and should be respected. At Manitou campers will naturally, thank maintenance and kitchen staff, counselors and staff alike with cards, and words because that is the culture they grow up in.
At Manitou the counselors, activity staff and head staff inculcate to the campers a sense of family and belonging. That means every single camper is respected for who they are, that differences are celebrated and that respect, tolerance and empathy are second nature to our campers. Throughout the summer campers, for example, do Random Acts of Kindness as they learn to appreciate how fortunate they are. When children appreciate their opportunities they in turn enjoy life and engage themselves that much more!
Our community week, for example is the culmination of this culture, as campers in every activity and cabin partake in various programs to contribute to the Manitou community as well as the local community. We have a guest speaker talk to campers about the importance of helping people in our own communities as well as around the world over. Campers for example from our Rock’n Roll, Guitar, Theatre and Dance programs present a 90 minute preformance to the local seniors home in Parry Sound.
The camp picks a project each summer that the campers can support, such as building a school for a village in Ecuador or Kenya and campers participate in activities that raise money for the school. (Every minute a camper treads water is a dollar for the school or every handstand a camper does is ten cents, etc). Eventually by the end of the summer campers rejoice when together we have met our goal of say $10,000 for funding a school or other projects(not you the parents – don’t worry!).
We then use this as a teaching moment, as the charity will come to camp and meet all of the campers unit by unit, during the Walk of Hope. The presentation will center upon showing images of the children in these villages and illustrating how these kids never had the opportunity to go to a school or drink clean water, or whatever the end result. Campers thus learn how to give back but also realize that what they have here in Canada is not to be taken for granted further illustrating that it is a privilege to go to camp and to make the most out of the opportunity.
The entire camp on the last day of community week is involved in the Walk of Hope, whereby campers walk around Main field in celebration of how we can all make this world a better place and upon completion sign the Walk of Hope banner. Campers partake in music, and creative expression during this special time as campers and staff walk under the stars through a lit up field with a musical tapestry of sound from our own campers who partake in the guitar and rock’n roll programs.
We have guest speakers from many different charities and organizations each summer discussing the importance of giving to one’s community and how children can make a positive impact on helping those around us.
Manitou outreach includes over 12 programs each year including serving meals at local shelters, collecting gift boxes for women during the Holidays, making sandwiches in our homes for drop-in centres, making cookies for a youth transitional housing organization, cleaning up local parks around the world, and packing pills for developing countries.
Campers Speak Out
Here are some notes about what camp represents and what the Manitou Culture is all about.