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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

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