Friday Night Fireside and Camp Is

WOWZA! It’s another great day at camp, and I just have to tell you about our last few days! All day long, campers were at activities having a blast. It was a little chillier than what we’re used to up at Manitou, but that didn’t stop anyone from having a great time. We even had our first Music Lunch of Second Session, and I think I saw everyone up and dancing and singing their hearts out.

After a fun day of activities on Friday, we all went down to Friday Night Fireside to relax and have a bit of a calm evening. For my new Second Session readers, every Friday we have Friday Night Fireside, where we look out over the lake, take a minute to breathe, and think about how lucky we are to be in a place like Manitou. We always have a theme for the summer at Fireside, and this year it’s “Together We Can Go Far.” So far this year we have heard campers from different units speak on this theme, and even some staff who wanted to share their stories as well.

At this Friday Night Fireside, we had a lot of special things going on. As we all headed down, the Activity Heads and Specialists were singing to welcome us in. After everyone arrived, we did our traditional candle ceremony, where two campers from each unit, and two staff, our honoured that week for going above and beyond our Manitou values. After our candles, because it was the start of a new session here at camp, we heard some “Camp Is” speeches. These speeches are a long-running tradition at Manitou, where we hear from people about what camp means to them. Last night, the speeches were from campers who had only been at Manitou for a couple of years, but it had already made a huge impact on them. They spoke of all the stories of how camp has changed their lives, and I thought all of the speeches were incredibly inspiring.

Some memorable quotes from our “Camp Is” speeches include: “Camp is a community where I can relax, be active, and have fun. Camp is a place where I can be myself.”

“Camp is a great escape from the city and electronics and I’m so happy to be back!”

“Something that I love about Manitou is how much Mark and Jeff take care of everyone. If you get sick Mark always checks on you to make sure you’re okay. They are really great guys and make you feel. like you are a part of their family.”

“This whole year I’ve been looking forward to going to cam because last year I missed a summer full of fun activities, music lunches, firesides and fun evening programs.”

“Manitou becomes your home away from home and a place to make new friends and I’m so grateful to be here.”

“Manitou is all about the people. Campers and staff give out such nice energy which makes the whole camp a great place to be.”

After our speeches, we heard from some first year staff a virtual program they did last year when camp was not able to run. It was called “Baycrest Buddies,” and each participant were matched up with a senior who was living at Baycrest, a senior citizens home in Toronto. It was a great way to connect generations and to keep people social in an isolating year. I loved hearing about all the bonds that were made, and it’s so clear that no matter the age gap, we can all still connect!

We ended Friday Night Fireside as we always do, with our camp song, “Deep in the Heart of the North.” It was a great and inspiring night, and I know next week’s Fireside will be just as incredible.

Well, today is another full day of activities and I can’t wait to tell you about it soon. But right now I’m off to Tennis, where the Activity Head Shaun is going to show me how to serve.

Yours Moosily,

Manny the Moose

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