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