Dear Manitou Families and Friends:
As the golden days of summer fade and the seasons shift, we find this year holding particular significance.
When we bought Camp Manitou 23 years ago, our mission was to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. We took the best of what traditional camps offered, but then challenged ourselves to improve upon it. Value-based in-camp programming, year-long programming like Manitou Cares, and an emphasis on supporting each individual camper was fundamental, but our vision went even deeper.
As every parent, camper and staff knows, we take enormous pride in ensuring that every person who becomes part of the Manitou family is valued and honoured. Manitou is a village in which to grow, a place to embrace, an empathetic and caring way of being. Friendships are founded on non-judgemental acceptance of one another and the beauty of shared experience; gratitude and giving back are a way of life at Manitou.
At the heart of all that we do is our own commitment to mentorship. From CITs and unit heads, to our ten-person summer director team, we’ve always had an eye on the future, supporting those in leadership roles just as we were once supported in our more formative years. The passion we’ve always had to make Manitou the most special place on earth for our campers and staff permeates our culture.
As you may know, not only did we (Jeff and Mark) meet at summer camp but we became best friends there and were fortunate enough to be able to take that friendship and our shared values to Manitou so we could create a camp that would be like no other.
We are proud and excited to announce that three other camp friends who met at Manitou over 20 years ago, will now join us as part of our ownership team. Twenty year Manitou veteran Chris McKibbin has been, and will continue to, work full time in the camp office, while his best camp buddies, Dan ‘Goldy’ Goldenberg and Russ Verbeeten will be supporting us behind the scenes. Chris, Dan and Russ met at Manitou in 2000, and their bond is as strong as ever. It’s been their dream to be an integral part of Manitou, and to invest in the place that helped shape them into the people they are today. That dream has now become a reality.
Chris started off as a counsellor at Manitou in 2000, moving up to a director position 15 years ago, and has been our right hand man ever since. He was a teacher in the public school system for over two decades, working with children of all ages. Chris also specialized helping students with various learning challenges. He will continue to guide us with his wisdom all year long, just as he has every summer since 2000! Chris, along with his wife Nicole and two children Jack and Charlie are so excited to be back at Manitou next summer. Chris can always be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org so feel free to drop him a note anytime.
Daniel, a lawyer in the entertainment industry, is looking forward to following a dream of his since he was a young adult. While Dan won’t be a day-to-day camp director, we look forward to welcoming him, his wife Mohr and their two kids Hazel and Molly to Manitou for Summer 2022.
Russ, a second generation Manitou camper and staff, will be in the background as well, but will provide ongoing support. Russ, along with his brother and sisters, all grew up at Manitou going back to the early 80’s!
Together, these best friends will follow their dream and their passion, joining the two of us as owners, along with Jen, Alec, and Melissa, in making sure that Manitou grows and thrives for many years to come. You couldn’t ask for a stronger team!
What does this mean for Manitou in the days and years ahead? It really means the new energy makes us even better! We, Jeff and Mark, are still an integral part of the ownership and director team, but are excited to welcome Chris, Dan and Russ, who come with an abundance of energy, ideas and commitment. It’s time for the next generation to join us in building this legacy, so that future generations will benefit from all that has come before. True success occurs when you can create a culture, a value system and a mission that can be passed on from generation to generation.
As always, we are full steam ahead as we work towards Summer 2022. We’ll continue to work as hard as ever and feel blessed that we can mentor our younger ownership team, and learn from them at the same time.
Now it’s back to camp work. The overwhelming number of campers for next summer is so exciting! No matter what part of the Manitou family you fit into, we cannot wait to welcome you to Manitou for Summer 2022 and beyond!
Mark and Jeff