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August 13, 2021

‘Farewell to Summer 2021…’

Dear Wahanowin Families,

Summer 2021 has had a tangible impact on us all. We received an email from a parent about their son and the immense effects of ‘Zoom school’ and social isolation immediately before coming to camp. “I cannot tell you how happy we are to have him back again,” she said. “Not just back at home but back in the sense that he is happy, joyful and his connected self.” We always love to hear the stories of the fruits of our labour, but this puts a huge smile on our faces as Camp Directors.

Camp was a gift for us all. Camp acted as the vehicle driving us back to a sense of normalcy and has enhanced our overall health and well-being. Summer 2021 has been like no other, filled with overwhelming joy and gratitude. We could not be more grateful for our time together.

Rooted in our values of Growth, Respect, Community and Tradition, our Wahanowin bubble created a safe environment that allowed our campers to thrive all summer long. Whether it was the electric spirit and cheering camp-wide, achieving new goals and personal bests at activities, or simply enjoying downtime with old and new friends, we were all able to laugh, play, be active and present in this moment in time. Each day, we were reminded not to take Summer 2021 for granted.

Days at camp fly by in the blink of an eye. Between Olympiad and Carnival, our amazing Theatre performances, Friday Night Services, and Survivor, there was barely time to catch our breath. Campers danced at Foam Party and Masquerade Ball, lost their voices cheering at camp wide Airbands, and were recognized for their contributions to camp as “Wahanowin Heroes.”

…and that’s only a snapshot of Summer 2021 at Wahanowin.

To our Parents: Thank you for sticking with us and for remaining so patient as we prepared for Summer 2021. Between living by our COVID Community Commitment, driving your child(ren) to testing and to camp, and for participating in our Virtual Visitor’s Day, this summer has been a success because of you! Putting your trust in us and sending your child to overnight camp was a huge step, particularly during a pandemic! You were confident in us and showed your support every step along the way. We’re lucky to have you as part of our Wahanowin family.

Looking forward, we set our sights on Summer 2022. We know that when we see you again on Opening Day, we will pick up just where we left off. “Right at Wahanowin, right? RIGHT!”

Elijah, Tia, Pete, Tan, Katie, Ruth, Bruce and Patti

Your Wahanowin Team

August 8, 2021

Happy Sunday from Camp Wahanowin!

I can’t believe as I write this, we only have a handful of days left of camp. It’s pretty crazy how quickly the summer has flown by and everything we have done and accomplished! Let me tell you what has been going on at camp since the last blog post.

Monday started out with sprinkling some more ‘personal choice’ within the camp schedule.  It has been amazing to see  how campers have been able to choose where they want to go two periods of the day and really engage and pursue their interests and goals.  Campers who want to sail or play tennis more often now have the opportunity to do so on their own, with their friends or even with their cabin! It was a gorgeous day, so campers were out keeping busy at boats, practicing their tricks at trapeze, at waterski and shooting hoops on the basketball courts! On Monday, it was also announced that Wahanowin would be looking for a new Camp Mayor! Those who were interested signed up and campaigned throughout the week posting posters in the Dining hall, giving out campaign stickers and last but but not least, making speeches in front of the entire camp. It all culminated on Election Day (Friday) where the Mayor and Wahanowin Council was announced at Shabbat Services.

On Tuesday, I was inspired to spend a period in the morning on the Waha Princess (pontoon boat) with a cabin of girls who just loved jumping off the top level into the lake. There has been an ongoing competition this summer for the most jumps off the Princess, and although the girls didn’t get that many jumps in, it was really nice to see the girls supporting one another and cheering their friends on! That night, there was as a camp-wide evening program called Stock Ticker.  Each camper received poker chips and were given the opportunity to ‘buy stock’ in the companies they wanted to invest in. The Dining Hall was decked out with ‘businesses’ run by staff such as  Sammy’s Hot Tub Time Machine, Jack’s Flagpole, Omar’s Racquets, and Marcus’s Soup Kitchen. Within each of the four rounds of the game, funny stories were told about the companies and how they were fairing in the ‘market’.  In the end, campers who held $500 or more in shares got the chance to enter into a draw to win Wahanowin clothing! The program was a blast…never mind the free investment lesson for everyone!

Right after Stock Ticker came the surprise of the Grad and PG Colour War break. The campers were divided into two teams- Netflix (Red Team) and Disney Plus (Blue Team). They had to compete to be the ultimate streaming service! Over the next two days (Wednesday and Thursday), campers competed with total spirit in a variety of challenges including a water regatta, biathlon, afternoon marathon, game of Family Feud, treasure hunt, photo scavenger hunt, and last but not least the plaque, song and dance competition! The campers all showed so much enthusiasm and worked so hard to advance their team, but in the end there could only be one winner…. Netflix prevailed! Congrats to all the campers and staff for an amazing 2-day Colour War!

We got so lucky last week with the beautiful weather which resulted in an amazing open waterfront on Thursday afternoon!  That means campers were able to free flow to all waterfront activities – swim, sail, boats (canoe, Kayak, SUP), fish, Princess, waterski and wake. It was awesome seeing everyone out on the water having  fun! It was the perfect way to cool off on a hot summers day.

Friday was the last Shabbat of summer 2021. It’s always a beautiful and reflective evening and got me thinking about being at camp now with my kids, which was very suitable as the theme was “Generation to Generation”. The service was led by the CIT’s and our staff who have been at camp with us for 10yrs! Each one shared their memories of camp and the impact Wahanowin has had on their lives. One of the stories that stood out for me was told by a 10 year staff who was a counsellor to a BB camper, that funny enough, refused to swim or shower and is now currently a Unit Head at camp!  It was a full circle moment for the two of them and was a very cute moment. After services, our last campers of the week were acknowledged and the Wahanowin Mayor was announced! The Mayor received a key to the tuck shop, a sash and a top hat. After the Mayor was announced, 4 campers who were in the running were also announced as the Mayor’s Camp Council.

It’s always fascinating to me how many talented staff  there are at camp and who comes out of the woodwork given the opportunity to shine! Saturday night, was the staff performance of High School Musical and it was very well done! Afterwards, Alumni and LTP campers were asked to stay behind…their Colour War was about to break! The tuck key was stolen from the Mayor, and Captain America (Blue Team), Hulk (Green Team), and Iron Man (Red Team) were needed to find the key so that everyone can resume having tuck at camp. Over the next 3 days, the campers are going to be tested physically, creatively and intellectually to see which hero may prevail. Stay tuned to find out who wins in my next post!

This morning, we had a camp wide sleep-in and our last brunch of the summer. I’m going to miss this meal so so much!! Today’s brunch included an amazing waffle bar with a variety of delicious toppings! While the Alumni and LTP’s are doing their Colour War, the rest of camp has Sunday Funday where campers circulate to whatever activity they want to in the morning.

Be sure to check out our videos where you can watch the latest Week 5 in Review. I’m going to head down now to the waterfront to watch the water regatta for Colour War. I can’t believe this is my second-last blog post of the summer. I hope you have been enjoying them!

Until next time……….

Peace, Love and Camp Waha

August 2, 2021

Happy Monday!!!

The cool and rainy weather has finally ended and today it’s warm and the sun is shining! It is the perfect way to start a new week. The campers are all at their morning activities. Right now, I’m watching PG girls canoeing and the Main Camp boys water skiing!

Last time I wrote, I ended with a cliff-hanger…I mentioned Waha-noween and the Masquerade Ball, but now I’ll share the details of that amazing night. Main Camp campers were told that Waha-noween would take place last Tuesday for Evening Program. Campers had an opportunity to go to A&C to either create a costume or help accessorize an already existing costume. On Tuesday evening, Main Camp met at Flagpole in their costumes. The costumes were so creative! There were superhero’s, animals, an Amazon package, campers dressed as staff and more. Everyone was given a bag and went trick-or-treating to the Grove cabins! The Grove campers were also dressed up and decorated their cabins as well. It was so much fun for everyone! Afterwards, all campers and staff went to the basketball courts for an amazing Masquerade Ball! We had enthusiastic counsellors lead the camp in dances to some of our favourite songs.

Wednesday was a gorgeous day and our July camper’s last full day of camp. All activities were open, giving them an opportunity to do a favourite activity before they left camp.

Wednesday night’s camp-wide evening program was the perfect way to end our July session. All campers dressed in their Unit colours for an evening of fun! Each unit created a song and dance (Airbands!) to be performed in front of everyone. In between the unit performances, we had mini-competitions where campers from each unit had to compete against one another in challenges such as popping balloons tied to other camps legs, eating a donut on a string and a mime-off. The energy and cheering in the theatre was electric! Congrats to the Senior Unit who were our winners! Afterwards, we celebrated campers and staff who have been at Camp Wahanowin for 5 and 10 years with a fabulous slideshow and a gift for each of them.

Thursday after lunch, our July campers left. There were lots of hugs and tears as we said “goodbye.” Campers and staff lined the road waving our friends off as they departed camp. We know the memories made, new and old friendships created, activities tried and conquered, will stay with these campers as highlights of Summer 2021! We can’t wait to have you back here for Summer 2022!

Camp has shrunk since the July session campers departed! It now means that the entire camp can fit into the Dining Hall and eat in one place again! Yay!

On Friday, the weather was cool and we had our first-ever cozy casual Shabbat! Instead of dressing nicely in our whites, everyone at camp came to Shabbat in cozy sweats. Friday night, the PG and Alumni units presented a wonderfully thought-provoking Shabbat Service called “We Were Here And This Is Our Legacy.” Campers shared what it means to leave a legacy behind at camp and how they want their fellow campers and staff to remember them. Some campers shared that their legacy at camp is family as they have siblings, cousins and parents who attend(ed) Wahanowin. Others shared that a legacy at camp means continuing camp traditions. The entire camp was encouraged to think about what their individual legacy is at camp and how they want others to remember them.

Saturday night was another camp-wide Evening Program and it was epic! We played camp-wide BINGO! Campers came in costumes and the cabin with the best costume won the latest sleep-in on Sunday morning! Other prizes given out were extra tuck for a cabin, Wahanowin clothing, a cabin Sushi dinner, a cabin Pizza Party and a cabin McDonald’s dinner!

Sunday morning after our sleep-in and my favourite meal, brunch (I think by now you all know how much I love brunch), campers went to activities. The zipline and bungee were busy, as well as A&C and boats. Sunday afternoon, we had our first ever Glee matinee. Campers and staff who wanted to perform put together acts to share with the entire camp. There were solos, duets, and group performances! We have a very talented group of campers and staff who can sing and dance!

Wow, that’s quite the recap, isn’t it? I’m off to enjoy the gorgeous day! I think I’ll go for a dip in the lake to cool off!

Until next time………

Peace, Love and Camp Waha

July 28, 2021

Happy Wednesday from Camp Wahanowin!

We had an excellent weekend and start to our week and can’t believe how quickly this month has flown! Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to over the last few days.

On Friday night, the Eagle Unit led a meaningful last Shabbat Services of the July session with the theme of “Grow as we Go”. Each camper had a chance to share what Growth (one of our 4 values) means to them and what that looked like for them this summer at camp. The responses were insightful and heart felt such as overcoming fears, trying new activities, stepping outside of their comfort zones and making new friends. The theme continued as each Unit Head recognized their ‘Camper of the Week’ where they each shared a few words on why that camper was chosen. A few examples include: showing respect, being enthusiastic and energetic, taking on leadership roles, helping with cabin cohesion and always listening and helping out. Congrats to all! All campers and staff then ended the service being asked to reflect on how they have personally grown over the past 4 weeks at camp.

Saturday, was our Visitor’s Day party, just without the visitors! Meals were brought to a whole other level! It all started out with a lovely brunch with bagels, cream cheese, lox, avocado and fruit, followed by a Weber’s BBQ lunch. Our Tuck Shop was transformed to an in-camp Orillia shopping experience where each camper got to choose a toy/game, a sweet treat and one contraband item (Ramen cup-of-soup or KD cup). The campers were excited and thrilled with the items available to them. As rain came pouring down in the afternoon, campers got an extra special movie afternoon where Main Camp campers watched Despicable Me and the Grove campers watched Space Jam 2! To finish off the amazing day, dinner was a takeout experience from some of camper’s favourite restaurants in Orillia. Campers were given the choice to order dinner from McDonald’s, Pizza Pizza or Pita Pit! The food frenzy in the Dining Hall was in full affect and the the kids faces were priceless!

With the sun shining on Sunday morning, campers were back out and about in their cabin groups going to all the amazing activities around camp! The day culminated in a ‘Wahanowin first’ camp-wide evening program as the PG, Alumni and LTP units presented the play, Mamma Mia on Bunny Beach! There is nothing like watching a performance with the lake and shockingly orange sunset as the backdrop! The campers worked so hard on the play and did a fabulous job!

Monday was another spectacular day at camp. Campers were enjoying cooling off at so many of the water activities on stand up paddle boards, skis, wakeboards, sailboats, canoes, and of course the waterpark. The activities off the water were busy too with campers completing their tennis levels, campers on ropes, at A&C and at bikes!  Last week, I shared that Survivor: Game Changers started. On Friday, the remaining castaways rejoined camp and all included were sworn to secrecy until the final jury Monday night. That’s when, Jack (our Program Coordinator) sat down with all 12 Castaways, to share their experience with everyone during a full-camp evening program. Each challenge was shared through Waha TV videos with the Castaways adding in their commentary afterwards in an interview format. In the end, 2 campers were the last two castaways. Who would be the Sole Survivor? Each camper then had a few minutes to try to sway the jury on why each Castaway should vote for them. They did a great job with their speeches and the suspense and anticipation was immense! The jury voted and the winner of Survivor 2021: Game Changers was announced. The camp went nuts! I have to say, it was an amazing program and congrats to all of the castaways and staff who were involved on making it a massive success!

Tuesday morning we had a sleep-in and brunch with a special twist that featured a Make-Your-Own Waffle Bar along with all the usual delicious Wahanowin brunch food.  Brunch has to be one of my favourite meals at camp! It’s so good! Campers then got a chance to rotate to activities in a ‘Tuesday Funday’ format where they got to choose what activities they wanted to go to in the morning. Its a nice way for the campers to do activities they really enjoy or feel they have missed. The afternoon was back to the usual scheduled periods and the day ended with  another epic campwide evening program: Wahanoween leading into our Masquerade Ball dance….but I think I will leave that one to my next blog.  Its just too much fun!

Until next time………

Peace, Love and Camp Waha

July 23, 2021

Happy Friday and Shabbat Shalom from the shores of beautiful Lake Couchiching!

This week has been another full week of camp, jam packed with activities, special programs and lots of FUN! The sun has been shining and everywhere I look there are smiles on camper’s faces.

On Monday, after lunch, our Two Weeks Plus session campers headed home. There were lots of hugs, and some tears, as our friends boarded the bus. Campers and staff lined the road with waves and ‘blown kisses’ as the bus departed to remind everyone that this wasn’t goodbye, it was simply “see you next summer!”

Tuesday morning was back to a full day of regular camp programming, giving some of our Main Camp campers the time to adjust to new cabinmates and  counsellors and settle back into our known routine. It was a gorgeous day so campers were in the water tubing, at swim, in canoes and kayaks, at dance, at tennis, and high ropes to name just a few.  As we all know, a day in the life of a camper is like a week in the city. So after a full day of routine and after the dinner announcements, the famous Survivor theme song came on! That only means one thing when the Survivor theme song is played at Camp Wahanowin- the infamous Survivor special program has begun! The Dining Hall and Tent City erupted with cheers and excitement. The entire camp was ushered to the Flagpole where 4 Alumni campers, 4 LTP campers and 4 CITs were named as our 2021 Survivor ‘Game Changers’ Castaways! Immediately, the Castaways were whisked off to their cabins to get their belongings and head to the ‘island’. This year, due to COVID-19, the castaways did not leave camp, but instead deep in woods of The Grove in a designated area. The Castaways have continued over the past few days to compete in a variety of challenges resulting in some being ‘voted off the island’ and some being able to re-enter the game based on ‘Game Changer’ decisions! Stay tuned for the update on which Castaway becomes the 2021 Sole Survivor!

All while Survivor has been in full tilt, on Thursday, Main Camp campers had a one-day Colour War! The theme was very fitting as it incorporated their favourite Tuck item- slushies! The campers were split into the Red, Green and Blue Team and their goal for the day was to compete to find out what was the ultimate slushie colour/flavour! Campers competed in a variety of activities such as synchronized swimming, sink a canoe, capture the flag, and culminated in songs, dances and cheers being shared. And the winner of the Colour War was………..The Green Team! Congrats Green on an awesome win!

As most of you know, our Virtual Visitor’s Week also started this past Wednesday. Campers received their Visitor’s Day packages after lunch. There was so much excitement as each camper was called to come and receive their package. Our Visitor’s Day phone calls started on Wednesday as well and went very smoothly.  Campers were so excited to speak with their parents and we can’t thank you enough for being patient as we worked our way through all the campers and respecting the call time limit. Today, campers were given the opportunity to choose their Orillia “in Camp” Dinner for our Visitor’s Day dinner. Campers got to choose between veggie or cheese pizza from Pizza Pizza, Chicken Pita or Falafel Pita from Pita Pit and Chicken Nugget Happy Meal or Hamburger Happy Meal from McDonald’s. We also have a special brunch, and lunch planned for tomorrow and tuck shop! Lets just say campers can’t wait and are saying they may never want to go back to the normal Visitors Day next summer!

Tonight, is our last Shabbat of our July session. The Eagle Unit will presenting the service tonight, “Grow As We Go”. Can’t wait to share more about it in the next blog post!

Until next time………

Peace, Love and Camp Waha

July 19, 2021

Happy Monday Waha Families!

As usual, the campers have been super active over the past few days with lots of fun and exciting programs and activities. Here’ s a quick glimpse into the life of camp this week.

At the start of the week the weather forecast wasn’t looking very promising. Thankfully, the rain held off on Tuesday and Wednesday and we were able to run our amazing daily routine where campers attend at least 6 different activity periods!  On these gorgeous sunny days, it’s so nice to see the campers taking advantage of being on the lake at activities such as boating, waterskiing/wakeboarding, swimming and sailing. The nice weather also provides a great opportunity for campers to swing on the trapeze, climb to new heights at ropes, swing their racquets at tennis, mountain bike around camp and shoot some hoops.

Wednesday night, the Eagle unit had their on-site overnight. As we don’t have any campers or staff leaving camp this summer, we set up an overnight camping site in ‘The Grove’ near The Field of Dreams (baseball diamond). To begin their ‘Camping Trip’ the campers were ecstatic to hop on our school bus to drive to the site. When they arrived, they set up their sleeping bags in our new tents, sang songs by the campfire while roasting smores under the stars. The next morning, the campers were welcomed back to camp at the Dining Hall for breakfast the next morning!

As many of you already know, the weather forecast on Thursday was a little ominous as we received a notification of a tornado warning for our area. Thankfully, the tornado didn’t come this far north and we only had about 10 minutes of rain at camp. To keep the campers safe until the tornado warning was over, the campers got extra time to clean their cabins for laundry day and spend some time cabin bonding and chilling out with their cabin mates.

Late afternoon on Thursday and into the evening for evening program, all of the units had an opportunity to go to the Swim Pavilion for a raging foam party! The bubbles were flowing, the music was playing and all of the campers were having a blast! Adi, our Head of Sail, was DJing dances and keeping the energy high as lots of campers won prizes such as hats, headbands and sunglasses. Who needs to travel to the Caribbean for a foam party, when Camp Wahanowin puts on an epic one!!!!

Friday night, the Senior and Grad units led Shabbat Services. This week’s theme, ‘Humble and Kind’, fit perfectly into this summer’s theme of being a Wahanowin hero. The campers spoke about what each camper can do at camp to show kindness to others such as thanking our support staff or helping fellow campers when they need help. The campers also read the story ‘Have You Filled A Bucket Today’ and related it back to camp and how important it is for all of us to be ‘bucket fillers’ by sharing words of encouragement and boosting each other’s confidence. It was a really great service with a very important message.

After the meaningful service, each Unit Head announced their Camper of the Week and its was the BB and Bear Unit’s turn to have their overnight experience and camping trip up at the Field of Dreams. Campers were so excited to make s’mores by the fire and sleep in tents. The overnight was a success and campers were back for breakfast in the Dining Hall Saturday morning.

Saturday evening, the BB’s, Bears and Eagles (aka The Beagles) performed their play, Disney Hits, at our sunset outdoor theatre. The play took us through some of the most beloved Disney tunes like ‘Hakuna Matata’ from The Lion King, ‘Tale As Old As Time’ from Beauty and The Beast and ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. Each cabin performed one song and it was really well done! Way to go, Beagles!

Sunday morning we had a camp-wide sleep-in followed by a delicious brunch and of course our traditional Sunday Funday morning programming! Let me tell you about the brunch menu: scrambled eggs, hash browns, a variety of pastries and mini donuts, fresh fruit and berries, yogurt, pineapple and mango smoothies, strawberry and banana smoothies and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Delish!

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous and the campers had a full day of activities. The beautiful day culminated in a special surprise for our Main Camp campers with our infamous Midnight Madness program. The theme for the program was ‘Inside Out’ and staff brought all the characters/emotions to life! Each camper received an ‘Emotions Passport’ and went through a variety of games to win prizes and treats. It was an elaborate event up at Big Barney and fun was had by all!

If you haven’t watched our three Waha TV videos that we released this week, you should definitely check them out when you get the chance!

Until next time………..

Peace, Love and Camp Waha

July 13, 2021

Happy Tuesday! I hope you are all enjoying the blog posts thus far and a sneak peek into what is happening at Waha this summer. The past few days have been jam packed with FUN!

On Thursday, it was Carnival at camp! Main Camp campers participated in the afternoon while Grove campers attended for their Evening Program. There were snow-cones, cotton candy, popcorn, inflatables, a dunk tank and lots of carnival games such as ring toss etc.  Watching the excitement on each camper’s face as they entered a new Carnival Station was priceless!

Friday after lunch we said goodbye to our Wahanoweek campers. They were recognized with a participation award and sent off with cheers and waves from their friends and staff that were remaining at camp. We miss them and can’t wait to see them back next summer!

Shabbat Services on Friday night was a joint service between the LTP’s and their BB/Bear buddies. The service theme was “Count on Me”, and outlined the amazing relationships the buddies have developed and their feelings that they can count on each other throughout camp. They sang four songs, read the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and elaborated on what ‘counting on each other’ means to them.

Our theme of the summer, ‘Be a Wahanowin Hero’, continues to be woven into many aspects of camp. To ‘Be a Wahanowin Hero’, campers and staff have been asked to live our 4 values everyday! At dinnertime, campers are being recognized by counsellors, specialists, and peers for representing our values that day. Some campers have been recognized for encouraging their fellow cabin mates at activities, trying something new or conquering a fear. It has been exceptional to see how campers and staff are walking the walk and not just talking the talk! At the conclusion of the Shabbat Service, and revised for this year, each Unit Head acknowledged one camper within their Unit as ‘Camper of the Week’ in front of the entire camp and shared a few words about how that camper is displaying our Wahanowin values. When called up, each ‘Camper of the Week’ received a medallion to symbolize their awesome achievement.

Saturday night was the first play of the summer. We weren’t sure exactly how plays would be received this summer with cohorting and COVID-19 protocols, but we found a solution! Instead of doing our plays inside the Theatre, we created a new outdoor sunset theatre at Flagpole. The audience sat on benches facing the flagpole, and the flagpole was set up as a stage. Saturday night’s play was an original show put on by our Senior and Grad Units. The production was about campers listening to WAHA radio and each “band” was a cabin who performed a song. It was a total hit!

Late Saturday night, campers were woken up to make their way down to the beach for a magical Olympiad break. Lanterns lit the path and fireworks brightened the skies. It was an epic start! For Olympiad, each camper is put on one of two teams- Waha or Nowin. Coming to breakfast on Sunday morning was like watching a sea of red and white which only continued throughout the day as they competed in a variety of events for points. Due to COVID-19 protocols, campers participated in challenges against the peers in their unit on the opposite team. Both teams displayed great sportsmanship throughout the day, cheering for their fellow teammates and supporting each other. The Marathon, which took place in the afternoon, was camp wide and so much fun to watch! Campers ran station to station partaking in activities such as carrying a canoe (for the older units), wrapping a team member up in toilet paper, potato sack race, leap frog and more! After the plaque presentations by each team, song and/or dance presentations, the winners of the 2021 Olympiad was announced! Congrats to Team Waha!!!!

Until next time………

Peace, Love and Camp Waha


July 11th, 2021
 

“It’s hard to know where to begin, so much goes on at Wahanowin…”

It took 687 days, but we are finally here, gathered again at camp in our happy place. The energy throughout the past week has been electric and a breath of fresh air! The staff have stepped into their roles as true leaders and the smiles on the campers’ faces are contagious. For many, it just feels good to be here; for some, it’s an adjustment.

In our camp “bubble,” it’s easy to forget the pandemic. So far, we have had Carnival, two Friday Night Services, seven days of activities and a chance to establish a great sense of structure and routine. Last night, the Seniors and Grads entertained the camp at our new outdoor sunset theatre with their outstanding production of ‘Waha Radio.’ The summer is in full swing, and we could not be more grateful.

But through all the excitement, for some campers, the effects of the last 15 months remain and the healing has only just begun. Our staff are providing more TLC and one-on-one time for campers in need. Returning campers and new campers alike are adjusting to being away after being home with their families 24/7. Some letters home may highlight these challenges (and that is normal!), but camper spirits continue to rise on a daily basis.

Staff are also supporting campers more than ever in re-learning how to interact with one another face-to-face, the intricacies of living in a cabin with friends, and within our larger camp community.  It’s easy to hide feelings behind a Zoom screen. Not at camp.

We are taking it day-by-day and each day is brighter than the last.

Our staff are our strength! They have been patient and have met every camper where they are, not where they SHOULD be. They have adapted and been available at all hours of the day and night, putting campers before themselves, all while having their own ups and downs just like the rest of us. They have stepped up in so many ways and are embracing the opportunity to shine a positive light into the hearts and minds of our campers.

Everyone knew this summer would be different – and it is. For parents, it may be hard to hear that your child is struggling, but it makes sense that campers would have a more difficult time adjusting to camp after being disconnected for so long. We also knew that our value of ‘growth’ would be put to the test and that we would all need to step outside of our comfort zones to achieve our goals this summer.

The old saying rings true now more than ever: patience is a virtue. Together, we have all been re-learning the things that previously came so naturally, and that takes time.  What used to be normal may now feel different, but it’s just so nice to be together.

Elijah, Tia, Pete, Tan, Katie, Ruth, Bruce and Patti

Your Wahanowin Team

 

July 8th, 2021

Happy Rainy Thursday from Camp Wahanowin! It might be wet and cool today, but this weather can’t dampen our spirits!

This past Tuesday was Day 5 of camp (crazy how time flies!) and the final camp-wide COVID-19 test for the campers. Woohoo! Everyone was tested and brave as can be! Many of the campers got a kick out of watching their rapid test results show up and were cheering when they found out they were negative. The energy in camp was electric as it was announced after dinner that Camp Wahanowin continues to be COVID free!

So what does this mean? It means that cabin cohorts have now expanded to units. Units are now together, unmasked and in unit cohorts for programs. This is huge! Now we just have to wait until the 14 day mark where the health of the camp will once again be assessed to see if we can expand cohorts even further. In the meantime, campers were ecstatic to hear that no further camp-wide testing will occur unless otherwise directed by the Health Care Centre and Public Health.

The rain these past few days has reminded me of all the great creative ways camp can run! On Tuesday evening, the BB, Bear and Eagle units were scheduled for Tuck after dinner. All of the kids were worried that Tuck may be cancelled due to the weather, but instead when there’s a will, there’s a way! In that moment, the ‘Tuck Truck’ was created and Tuck was delivered to cabins and all the campers! At Tuck, the campers typically have a choice between chips and chocolate and a drink (pop or slushie). Main Camp (the little kids) all seem to love slushies but we limited the deliveries to chocolate or chips. So when it was time for their Evening Program, a special surprise appeared in the dining hall, where slushies were slurped for late evening snack. The kids were ecstatic and it made their night! The most requested slushie flavour this summer is a combo of all three colours- red, green and blue!

I’m going to be talking a lot about food on my blogs as I’m sure you’ll catch on quickly that I like good food. Yesterday at camp we took a culinary trip to Italy for all three meals! Each cabin had a cute card on their table letting them know the menu of the day and totally on theme! Breakfast consisted of assorted pastries and fruit. Lunch was calzones, minestrone soup, caprese salad and orange sorbet for dessert. Dinner was linguini in Alfredo sauce, pasta with tomato sauce, garlic bread and tiramisu for dessert. It was delicious!

In addition to being a foodie, I really enjoy music. There are definitely certain musicians or bands that always remind me of camp. Indigo Girls is one of those groups that whenever I listen to them, it brings me back to “my good old camp days” hanging in my cabin and singing the song; Power of Two. The artist who I have heard the most requests thus far around camp is Olivia Rodrigo. I’ll be putting together a playlist of all the top songs of summer 2021 and she will most definitely be on that list, at least once!

A program that wasn’t here when I was a camper, that I’ve really enjoyed watching this week, is the LTP and BB/Bear Buddies Program. LTP (oldest unit) campers are paired with one or two BB or Bear campers (youngest unit) and its an amazing opportunity for the younger campers to get to know the older campers. Its also a wonderful opportunity for LTP’s to get a ‘sneak peek’ of what a CIT/Counsellor role entails. Their first meeting was a get-to-know each other program where they  played games and did activities. The chatter and the laughter between them was so awesome. The next day, both units had a special Buddy Picnic together on the beach. Together, this coming Shabbat, they will be doing the traditional Wahanowin Friday Night Service together. One of the songs they are signing is so perfect……You Can Count on Me by Bruno Mars. I can’t wait to see it!

Until next time……….

Peace, Love and Camp Waha

 

July 4th, 2021

Welcome to our first blog post of 2021!!! Our theme for Shabbat services was “All Roads Lead Home”, and here we are. Home for Summer 2021!

My name is Renee, and I will be blogging and running the social media for camp this summer. I am a Wahanowin alumni, and a parent of two Wahanowin campers. Being here is a full-circle moment for me. When I was a camper, my dad ran the Big League Baseball Program for 5 summers. Now I’m here with my husband and kids. It’s a very special time and I’m excited to share my perspective with you as an alumni, parent and staff member.

Throughout the summer this blog will be giving you the inside scoop on what’s going on at camp, sharing special activities and programs, as well as hearing from campers and staff.

Camp has started off amazingly. Friday was quite emotional watching all the campers arrive to meet their cabin mates, counsellors and other camp staff. Seeing kids together, hearing all the laughter and watching them just be kids has been something very special to experience. Whether this is your campers first summer here, or if they have been here before, the energy and enthusiasm from all staff and campers has been great!

After being apart for so long, there is nothing better then bringing us together for what is going to be an absolutely memorable and phenomenal summer!

So what exactly does camp look like with COVID-19 protocols?

In terms of meal times, main camp campers- BB’s, Bears, Eagles, Seniors, Grads and the Directors Team eat inside the Dining Hall. Tableware is disposable. Each cabin also has their own bucket that includes cleaning products, garbage bags and extra tableware. Every table has hand sanitizer as well. When entering the Dining Hall all campers and staff are masked until at their table with their cabin, which is their cohort. Everyone is asked to sanitize their hands. The famous salad bar is up and running this summer! It is staff serviced so campers are served instead of serving themselves.

We also have the rule of 2 out of 3 which means six feet away, outside and/or masked. As long as you can do 2 out of 3 you are good! Each camper’s cabin is considered their cohort and when together, they don’t need to be masked.

Touchless water stations that are powered by a foot pedal have been installed around camp for campers to fill their water bottles.

Saturday night’s camp-wide evening program set the theme for the summer. The cheering and unit spirit was electric!

The theme this summer is:

Be a Wahanowin Hero

Being a Wahanowin Hero means that every camper and staff embrace and live by our 4 values at camp.

The values are:

Growth

  • We create safe and supportive environments where everyone is given opportunities to learn, become independent, resilient and build confidence
  • We expand our comfort zones by embracing failure and imperfection and learning from our mistakes. We are not afraid to ask for help
  • We are committed to leadership development and continuous learning

Respect

  • We accept each person for who they are without judgement
  • We listen to each other
  • We act honestly and with integrity

Community

  • We look out for each other and put others before ourselves
  • We take responsibility for caring and supporting each other and our environment
  • We are dedicated to teaching ourselves about the importance of giving back

Tradition

  • We honour the past while embracing the future
  • We create a sense of comfort and belonging through the celebration of memories
  • We develop and inspire the next generation

Throughout the summer campers will be recognized for displaying and living our 4 values.

Until next time……..
Peace, Love and Camp Waha

 

 

 

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