Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Camp Stories #6: Lexy's Memento.

We've challenged our Staff to tell us their favorite Summer Camp stories.  Enjoy!

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Every summer, just before camp, my dad would tell me to take advantage of every day and try as many new things as possible.

One summer when I was 11 years old my cabin was going water skiing, and we were asked if we wanted to try barefooting. With my dad’s advice in mind I thought this would be a fun way to try something new, and potentially discover a new skill that I loved. A small group was assembled to try it, and we were all extremely nervous because none of us had done it before.  

When it was finally my turn I lasted about one second before wiping out. As my feet touched the water I was jolted forwards and my chin smashed into the boom of the boat! I did not think anything was wrong as I got out of the water and began to get ready to try again, until someone pointed out to me that my chin was bleeding.

I was taken back to the dock. and to the health center to get cleaned up. Which is when it was discovered that the cut was deeper than first thought, and I would be needing stitches!

I had never had anything like this happen to me before, and I was upset about having this done without my parents around. My counsellor at the time came with me and was able to make me feel better about the situation and calmed me down while the nurse began to stitch my chin. My counsellor was so supportive the entire time, and was able to joke with me and distract me from what was going on. I was grateful to have staff who genuinely cared about my comfort and wanted me to feel better.

Later that day everyone was coming up to me asking about what happened, and wanting to know if I was okay. I had never realized until then that the environment at camp is so special and close-knit, and that everyone there really cares about you. This is the reason why I love being at camp, and continue to go back every summer.

To this day I still have a scar under my chin and it reminds me of the injury, but it also reminds me of the special community at camp, and of the strong bonds that everyone shares with each other. Trying new things can be scary, but it has not stopped me from continuing to experience everything, nor from following my dad’s advice.

Lexy Mogil, 2018

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Camp Stories #5: Kailee's Leap

We've challenged our Staff to tell us their favorite Summer Camp stories.  Enjoy!

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Going to sleepaway camp has been one of my greatest experiences. Having the opportunity to go year after year has taught me many life lessons, pushed me to try new things and forced me to step out of my comfort zone.

My First year was 2008 and I went to a small camp called camp New Moon. I have been going every summer ever since. When reminiscing on my past summers I remember the amazing memories that I have made with people that I am proud to still call my best friends.

At camp all my counsellors constantly pushed me to try new things, from helping me get over my fear of heights, teaching me how to sail, and to get up on two skis. One of my most memorable experiences was during that first year at camp.

Throughout the first week at camp every cabin gets the opportunity to visit each specialty, meet the staff and learn the rules about each specialty. When we got to the swim docks I was so excited! The first thing the swim staff did after telling us about the rules was give us a tour of the docks. They showed us all the different swim areas, and then finally they showed us the high tower.

The high tower is at the end of the swim docks. It is basically a tower that is about 10 -15 feet high. The rule about the high tower is: Once you climb up it the only way to get down again is to jump off into the water.

Once the swim staff were done showing us the swim docks we got the opportunity to have free swim for the rest of the period. Since it was my first summer at camp, I went straight for the high tower. I remember being so determined as I was climbing up to the top - thinking that it wouldn’t be so bad. Once I got up I walked over to the edge and looked at the water below me.

I froze. I couldn’t move, I was petrified.

Once the counsellors noticed that I couldn’t jump they gathered around the base of the tower and started to encourage me to jump off. Despite my counsellors efforts I was still frozen and couldn’t jump. After a couple of minutes of being stuck at the top of this tower, the rest of my cabin came. I could hear them encouraging me to jump off. Some of my friends even leapt into the water from the docks so that when I was ready to jump off they would be waiting for me.  With my counsellors and friends encouragement I knew that I could do it.

After a couple of minutes of still staring at the water, I took a deep breath and counted in my head “one, two, three” and I jumped! Once my head came out of the water all of my friends and counsellors were cheering and clapping for me. I remember feeling so happy and accomplished that I faced my fears and tried something new. I then knew from that day on, I could do anything.

This experience forced me out of my comfort zone, and has taught me to always try new things and seize the day.
Kailee Kaufman, 2018

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Camp Stories #4: Run Leora! Run!

We've challenged our Staff to tell us their favorite Summer Camp stories.  Enjoy!

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I had been begging my parents to go to sleep-away camp for years before I actually went, at the age of nine. Seeing and visiting my older sister in Halifax for three straight summers at Camp Kadimah had me itching to go, and when my parents finally thought I was old enough to board a plane and go to camp for six weeks, I was thrilled.

Fast-forward 13 years to today, and Camp Kadimah has become my favourite place in the whole world. But that first week of camp as a nine year old was tough.  I loved my cabin, was making friends, and finally learned to ski, but I was super homesick.

Luckily for me, that all changed with Maccabiah! (AKA Colour War); a four day event where campers and staff of all ages are split into four teams and compete in sports, arts, music, etc. I was super shy and hesitant to sign up for any events. On day two, Maccabiah: track & field, one of my cabin counsellors (knowing I had been homesick) thought that running my unit’s marathon - probably 2 laps at that age! - would help me feel more comfortable. She insisted I sign up. Two hours later I found myself at the track starting line with the entire camp watching.

As the whistle blew and I took off, I can distinctly remember repeating to myself over and over in my head: do not come in last. Five minutes in, I was so distracted by the thought of finishing in last place that I hadn’t even noticed that I was winning! As I rounded my last lap and crossed the finish line - First! -  our entire team jumped to their feet and erupted in cheers. I literally could not wipe the smile off my face!

From that day on, my homesickness vanished and I loved every minute of camp. In retrospect, that moment was really a turning point in my ‘camp career,’ and one of my favourite memories. Ultimately, that marathon win at the age of nine proved to be the peak of my running career, but 13 years later, I still love Camp Kadimah as much as I did in that moment.

Leora Chapman, 2018

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Camp Stories #3: Don't go in Jake's Canoe.

We've challenged our Staff to tell us their favorite Summer Camp stories.  Enjoy!

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I attended Camp New Moon for a number of years. There are so many great memories I have from

there, but one that stands out above the rest is also a great example of why I don’t like canoe trips.  

To give you all a little backstory, there is a place that was about a three hour paddle away from camp and it was called “Two Foot Falls.” It was a small set of rapids that younger kids would go to paddle down before they were allowed on trip.  My friends and I were notorious throughout the camp for disliking canoe trips, so we were sent to Two Foot Falls as older campers instead of making us go on a big canoe trip.  My cabin and the girls cabin my age (the camp was smaller so there was only one cabin per age in every unit) stayed overnight in tents.

On our way back the next day the first half of the paddle was pretty uninteresting, just your basic miserable canoeing campers who did not like to canoe. At the halfway point there was a small - probably 100 meter - portage. All of the canoes arrived at the portage at roughly the same time. The sky got a lot darker and it started to lightly rain, making the miserable even more miserable.

My canoe (my close friend, another cabin mate, the Councillor In Training and myself) finished the portage first.  We did not think a little rain was such a big issue so we started to leave before the rest of the canoes were fully done with the portage. We wanted to get the trip done and over with. Since we left early, the CIT who was steering my canoe was unable to hear the Head Tripper’s emergency whistle.

The Head Tripper was blowing the whistle to try and get us to stop and turn back. The reason was because the weather had suddenly picked up, and we had just paddled into a full-on thunderstorm in the middle of the lake.

I can still remember the kid behind me getting really nervous – he thought we were going to get tipped over from the weather. He started freaking out a little bit. I started laughing hysterically at the situation, and pretty much gave up on actually paddling. My friend followed suit, leaving one nervous camper and one inexperienced CIT to paddle all four of us back to camp through the wind, waves, lightning and thunder.

I really hate canoe trips.  But I do miss my days at camp. 

Jacob Gottlieb, 2018

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Camp Stories #2: Rachel's G-5athon

We've challenged our Staff to tell us their favorite Summer Camp stories.  Enjoy!

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 My favourite camp memory was when I was 14 years old. It was my 7th summer at camp and my final summer being a camper before I became a C.I.T (counsellor in training).

My counsellor and my cabin decided that we were going to make our own event called a G-5athon (cabin G-5 mixed with marathon). The goal was for us to stay up the entire night. Of course, you had the option to opt out. But we all committed to staying awake throughout the night. We dressed up in costumes, with coloured war paint under our eyes. The official start was set for 9pm.

Every hour there was a different activity, limbo at 1am, dancing at 2am, star gazing at 3am… By 5 in the morning, we were lying in a circle on the basketball courts and no one could stop laughing. We tried to sing to keep ourselves awake. Right at 6am we went to the swim docks and huddled together with blankets wrapped around us, staring at the mist covering the water and the trees surrounding the lake.

Together we sat bundled, cold, tired but happy as we watched a colourful sunrise. We finished our marathon off by delivering muffins from the camp kitchen to every cabin for a breakfast in bed. By morning, we went back to our cabin and fell asleep in our bunks instantly. When we woke up (in the afternoon!), we all stayed in our beds and retold all the moments from the night before that made us laugh.

This is a story that could only happen at camp and it is something that my friends and I will never forget.
Rachel Rothstein, 2018

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Camp Stories #1: Izzy's 'Thing'

We've challenged our Staff to tell us their favorite Summer Camp stories. Enjoy!

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At one point or another in their camp career, every kid finds their ‘thing’ at camp.

Their ‘thing’ is what they’re excited to brag about to friends and counsellors at bedtime after a long day, what they’re excited to write their parents about, and it is the thing that they challenge themselves with day to day, keeping them constantly stimulated. Some campers’ ‘thing’ is arts and crafts, some is sports, and some canoeing. My ‘thing’ has always been water skiing.

For my past 10 summers at Wahanowin, I ate, slept, and breathed water skiing. The musky smell of the wooden ski dock and the lake, the sound of the motorboat engine revving, and the music blaring from the ski shed are vivid in my mind, and take me back to my happiest place.

 Every morning at breakfast I would anxiously wait for my counsellor hand out our cabin’s activity schedule to see if we had ski on our schedule that day – if we did, I knew it would be a good day and my smile grew so wide it became contagious.

Through my many summers of waterskiing religiously, I slowly but surely worked my way up the ladder of tricks. From lifting a ski, to going in and out of the wake, even to dropping one ski. Finally mastering all of these smaller tricks (with the help of the ski staff) my twelve year old self had decided that the summer of 2012 would be the summer I would get up on one ski and learn how to slalom – the ultimate goal I and every other avid skier at camp was striving towards. At the beginning of the summer I eagerly informed all of the ski staff that I was simply not leaving camp until my goal had been achieved.

I will never forget the very first time I got up on one ski that summer. It was a scorching hot day at the end of July. The lake, dazzling as the sunlight hit it, was a sheet of glass. It was the picture perfect day for my goal to finally become a reality. As I laced up the slalom ski on my left foot, I told the Head of Ski that I could feel it, today was the day. He said to me, “Izzy, I believe in you. Today is your day. We are not getting out of the water until I get you up on this ski.” With the total confidence and encouragement of the Head of Ski, of my cabin mates, and of my counsellors, I mustered up all the determination I had and sank into the chilling water with the tip of my ski pointing upwards.

It took only fifteen tries and before I knew it, I was propped upright and my ski was gliding through the water. I had finally done it! No feeling of triumph had ever felt so good. As I caught my balance and slid my right foot into the back pocket of the ski, I looked out onto the horizon of the lake and took it all in, truly in awe of the moment. A moment I had created for myself. I am not usually one for clich├ęs, but I swear that time truly stood still. After a small circle around the bay of the lake, I skied back to the dock and arrived to massive applause and cheers. All of my friends had seen my success and were incredibly happy for me.

 In this moment I realized that camp is the best place to achieve a goal because you are surrounded by so many people that share your happiness and want nothing but for you to succeed.
Izzy Stern, 2018