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Wahanowin is off to a sizzling start!

Dear Wahanowin Families,

We have had a terrific start to the 2018 season and camp is now in full swing.

While we embrace warm weather, we are experiencing the hottest start to camp in many years.  A number of proactive measures have been taken to navigate through the current heat wave, including the following:

1.  We’ve started the summer with two waterfront afternoons and will continue to do so as long as the weather requires it. The entire camp is participating in waterfront activities for the entire afternoon.

2.  We have added an afternoon frozen snack in addition to our morning ‘snack attack’.

3.  In addition to our seven water fountains, we have added 4 additional ice water stations in different locations around camp.

4.  Three water spray cooling stations have been set up for campers to walk or run through at any time to cool off.

5.  At the end of every evening program, campers have the opportunity to take a quick dip in the lake to cool off before bedtime. There are showers in every cabin so campers can also to take a cold shower before bed.

6.  Campers and staff are reminded at every meal to remain hydrated and to drink in between meals.

7.  As always, campers cannot leave their cabins for activities in the morning without applying sunscreen.  We are also ensuring that sunscreen is re-applied throughout the day.

8.  Rest Hour has been extended after lunch so that campers can stay in cabins, out of the sun during peak times.

The forecast is looking fantastic but the heat wave should break in a couple of days. Our hot weather protocol will remain in place as long as necessary but this unusual weather won’t have any impact on the great programs we have planned for the upcoming week.   We look forward to continuing our great start to the summer of 2018 and Living the Camp Life at Wahanowin!

All the best,

Bruce

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BRUCE’S BLOG: BIG ON THE LITTLE THINGS

We are entering the final two weeks of the 2015 season and although there is still so much going on, I’ve begun to reflect on some significant but subtle changes and improvements this summer. We are a high energy, highly programmed camp with major events happening two or three times a week all summer long. However, there have been a few lower profile things that have really made a difference.

Patti is amazing for a lot of reasons but one in particular is that she gets kids. She has great intuition for the needs of children and is proactive in meeting them. One brilliant but simple idea is the addition of the camp library. We brought several hundred books to camp this year and set up a library in the dining hall. One announcement was made and the concept took off. Every meal there are campers in the library checking out the books and taking a favourite back to their cabin. After completing a book, the camper then exchanges it for another to read. We have more campers in more units reading more books than ever before.

This summer we created a camp council for campers and staff to have the opportunity to provide feedback, express concerns and make suggestions to make the camp better. From this feedback, we made some delicious and nutritious menu changes, brought back salad bar, enhanced grove snack, modified some staff excursions, allowed LTP campers to participate in some staff snack opportunities and made some minor changes to routines like flagpole and meal times. All of these changes stemmed from feedback from both campers and staff and were appreciated tremendously because they had a say in the outcome. These were not only positive changes for Wahanowin but boosted camp morale for everyone.

We are very lucky to have the finest doctor team in camping. They are not only excellent medical people but they are fantastic people people. The attention to detail, the bedside manner and willingness to always go above and beyond sets our team apart from any camp I know. Once again I have to add Patti to this team as she is highly involved with daily Health Centre routines and protocols. We have had several very healthy summers at Wahanowin including this one with no significant outbreaks of gastro, lice or impetigo. You never know how a summer will play out health wise but with the proper protocols and precautions, we have been able to mitigate any serious typical camp ailments. Our nursing team is also top notch and have been tremendous with day to day minor injuries or illnesses and ensuring all campers on regular meds get them at the proper times each day.

We are the only camp I know of that hires a kitchen staff member for the sole purpose of providing special diets for campers that require one. This little detail is the difference between a successful and healthy camp experience and one in which several campers would probably not be able to attend camp. The attention to detail in this department is huge but our kitchen staff and in particular, our special diet guru, Anthony has been right on target preparing and providing appropriate and yummy food to all our special diet campers. I can’t discuss this important topic without mentioning Tan who is the brains behind the entire operation, ordering food, training the staff, checking every label and doing massive research from September to June ensuring we have the best possible menu for the entire camp and for each individual special diet camper.

In the category of “why didn’t we do this years ago” is night duty (O.D.) in the cabins. Once again, a minor change has made a huge difference. The relationships between campers and staff are better, the cabin dynamic is way better (significantly fewer cabin issues), the nights at camp are calmer, campers are getting more and better rest and we are all healthier for it. Other spinoff benefits include more energy during the day, better participation at activity areas, less homesickness and cabin bonding/friendships has gone to a much deeper and meaningful level. This “better late than never” idea has been a game changer.

The C.I.T. program has reached a new level of excellence. The addition of Torah High as part of our C.I.T. program has transformed the training and preparation of our future staff into a first class, hands on leadership experience that is second to none. Our C.I.T.s are receiving an education in life skills and personal development that will not only benefit them tremendously as future staff, but will be a foundation for moral and ethical behaviour and decisions throughout their lives. The Torah High team of Sam and Sara has been an amazing addition to our head staff and have impacted Wahanowin beyond the C.I.T. program. As an added bonus, the C.I.T.s are getting a grade 11 credit and have the opportunity to turn this course into a grade 12 credit with a little extra work throughout the coming school year.

There have definitely been some very high profile changes to camp this year including the new theatre, new cabins, beach volleyball, waterfront redevelopment, parasailing and Pink Day just to name a few, but the little tweaks and changes have made a significant difference and contributed to making this summer sensational. We love the hype and we love the major improvement projects, but we also know it’s the attention to detail that will set us apart when it comes to looking after your kids. That’s why we’re big on the little things.

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