Our First Fireside!

Last night we had our first Friday Night Fireside. Yes, we know it was Saturday but going with the theme of “pivoting” this summer we had to be a bit flexible with the dates. And besides, a Saturday night Friday Night Fireside is way better than no Fireside at all! 

While we were not able to gather around the fire in our normal location due to Covid safety procedures, we were able to hold fireside on main field and keep most of the traditions alive—just in a new location. We’re hoping to be able to get back to our usual location in the coming weeks. 

Despite the changes, we still had a beautiful and meaningful time at Fireside together as a camp. The evening began with an incredible and interactive land acknowledgement delivered by our canoe specialist, Zoe, who really got the kids thinking about the land we live on and what it means to pay respect to those who were here before us. We then proceeded to introduce to the camp this year’s summer theme; “Together We Can Go Far.” 

Throughout the summer we will be focusing on the positive changes we can make in the world when we work together, support each other, and come together as a group. We talked about how difficult it has been for us all to go through this pandemic isolated and alone for the most part, and how lucky and privileged we are to be back together again in a safe and supportive environment. We will be encouraging all campers and staff to think about our theme and figure out how it applies to their own life and experiences. We can’t wait to see what they come up with! 

Next, we invited up a few campers to make speeches about what camp means to them, with some amazing results! 

Here are some excerpts from some of the speeches:

Jonah: “After the crazy year and a half of this Covid pandemic, we are all so lucky to be here together, and there is no better place for us to spend this summer than Camp Manitou!”

Jonathan: “When you are at camp, your cabin will be your home. The kids in your cabin will be your brothers and sisters, the counsellors will be your parents, and mark and jeff will be your grandparents who are there to watch out for you and listen when you need to talk.” 

Romy: “If this is your first time at camp, no matter how old you are, you may be feeling a little bit homesick just like I did two years ago and that is totally OK. But, while you are here, your counsellors, your friends, Mark and Jeff, will be your family away from family, and Manitou will be your home away from home.”

Ezra: “I know it can be scary to try new things. My last summer here I wanted to try waterskiing, but I was afraid that I would get water up my nose and my bathing suit would fall down. However, I was encouraged to try it and I went for it. Now waterskiing is one of my favourite activities.”

Olivia: “Manitou has always been a home away from home and going a year without it was really hard. A year without Music Lunches, Firesides, and Mark’s DJ’ing was tough. That’s why this summer is going to be that much more special.”

Max: Two summers ago was my first summer at Camp Manitou. Within the first couple of days, I already felt at home! The Manitou community is so welcoming along with the fun activities and great counsellors, I have found myself waiting and hoping to come back to camp.”  

It was so nice to have the Manitou family together again, singing the camp song with their arms around their cabinmates. It just felt right. We’re so happy to be back and to get to have many more amazing Friday Night Firesides this summer. 

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