Cross Canada Roadie – Summit Day 1

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All of our Summit campers arrived safe & sound this afternoon, along with being right on time! Things rolled quickly as soon as both buses arrived, with campers unpacking in their rooms and then heading to the dining hall for supper. Once again our amazing Crew team stepped up and helped unload everyone’s bags off the bus, not only with efficiency but with style as well! Tonight, for dinner, we had a delicious meal of spaghetti and fresh bread, with jello for dessert. Our programming leaders, Luke & Noah, introduced themselves to the campers, and explained a little bit of what the theme is going to look like this week. With full stomachs after a long journey up to camp, campers changed into their swimsuits for a refreshing swim in the lake for swim tests. It was pleasing to see everyone so excited to experience a little bit of camp-life and what’s to come this week – there will be plenty of time for fun in the water.

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Our Underground preacher for this week is Pastor Nolan, but we had the honor of having a special guest speaker to start off the first session. Curtis Carmichael is from Toronto, and has committed to a “Ride for Promise” this summer. On July 10 he began cycling from Vancouver to Halifax – which is about 3,300 km in 30 legs over 5 weeks – to tell his story. Along the way, he’s stopping to talk with Canadians about the reality and impacts of growing up in government housing, and the importance of long-term relational investment in the lives of children and youth. He’s planning on raising around $150,000 so other children growing up in Toronto Community Housing can benefit in the same way. All the proceeds will be used to provide relational programs that address the needs of children growing up in some of Toronto’s most under-resourced communities so they can develop their full potential, beginning with after school programs and seasonal day camps (http://www.urbanpromise.com/ride/).

After Underground was finished, campers put on some bug spray for their first campfire of the week. With a good introduction to the next 5 days, the campers then went back to their cabins for a little snack and then light’s out! We’re excited to see what’s in store for this week!

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The Name’s Bond…James Bond – Blaze Day 6

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Today was a beautiful last day to wrap up our time here at Blaze! With another sunny and hot day for outdoor activities, campers woke up to breakfast burritos to get their day started. After an Underground session, campers headed to their last majors for the day. With confidence in their new abilities and skills, the campers demonstrated their talents, while their leaders looked on proudly.

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For Underground today, Pastor Aaron got the campers to ask him something either Bible-wise, life-wise or Jesus-wise that were burning question in their hearts they wanted answered. He was going to answer them in the next session! These were some of the questions, some a little funny, some genuinely good questions:

– How many brothers did Jesus have?
– How did Adam and Eve start talking a real language?
– How do you know when you’ll make it into Heaven for sure?
– Did Jesus have sisters?
– Does Jesus still walk the Earth?
– How big was Jesus’ family?
– What about the “Big Bang”?
– What would happen if Jesus never came?
– Where did God come from?
– What is purgatory?
– What came first, Adam and Eve or the dinosaurs?

Then Aaron talked about how the Bible and prayer are two vital things to understand, and that in theory they seem relatively simple, but in reality we still have a hard time with them. Aaron explained how he didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so praying and reading Bible wasn’t huge priority in his family. Then he went to Bible College to help understand how to read the Bible, instead of reading it like a regular book. Aaron read from Hebrews 4:12, which says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Aaron learned what it meant for the Bible to be a “Holy Book”; it is, ultimately, an older book, but it is alive. He advised that the best way to read your bible is to put yourself into the story and become one of the characters. This way you can see where you stand in the lesson Jesus is teaching. Prayer is also something that is vitally important in our relationship with Jesus, but it makes us uncomfortable for some reason. Aaron determined that this is because we are part of a generation that’s easily distracted, especially with everything around us (Netflix, Instagram, Facebook, Video Games), so it’s harder than ever to connect with God. This is the reality for our generation – so how do we recover from this? Prayer isn’t something we should just check off on our list for the day, it should be part of our active relationship with God, like an ongoing conversation. God may not be with us physically, but He is with us, and prayer should come out of that joy that we know God.

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After a busy morning, campers headed to lunch in their best banquet get-ups, as it was a James Bond theme for lunch dress-up! We had only the finest looking young people show up to our dining hall for a very distinguished meal of taco salad. Once lunch was finished, campers headed out for the rest of their activities/majors and free swim. It was a great day to be tubing and to be out on the beach! Camper Hannah Thomas had this to say about activities:

“I like how there’s a lot of activities you can try. I really love tubing because it’s so fun!”

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Once campers were tuckered out from all the fun in the sun, they headed to dinner for some chicken, pasta, caesar salad, and veggies to re-energize for the camp-wide game. Tonight’s game was “Minute to Win it”, with a bunch of small tasks for each team to complete. Our amazing Crew kids have been helping this week with everything from kitchen, to tuck, to camp-wide games, and we are so thankful to have them here. Today marks the halfway point of their time here with us! With a lot of teamwork and laughter, the game passed by quickly. With one last Underground session and campfire, we couldn’t have asked for a better final day. We wish the best for all the campers as they head home tomorrow morning and into the rest of their summer!

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Blog & Pictures By: Karley Sider

 

 

Nerding Out At Blaze – Day 5

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Blaze was on fire today as campers got up for another fine morning at Camp Kahquah. With yogurt parfait for breakfast after morning activities, everyone headed down to Underground for another message with Pastor Aaron. With activities already chosen, campers then trekked to their first activity of the day. The good weather has continued this week, with a hot sun and clear skies overlooking the campers as they went about their day!

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Today in Underground, Pastor Aaron talked about the “good news” and what it means. The Bible doesn’t really give a definition of what the good news is, and Aaron told a story about how he used to think that it was Jesus’ death, which is part of the answer but not fully. He explained how the gospel literally means “the good news”. Therefore, the good news cannot be limited to one thing that Jesus did, because Jesus is the good news! We have to include everything about Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection. Jesus dying isn’t the only thing about the good news, the reason and results of why he died is. We can’t forget that Jesus died on the cross, but we can’t stay in the mindset that he is dead; we don’t follow a dead God. So if we sing that Jesus is alive, we have to believe that!

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The theme for today was “Behind the Scenes” in spy work. So, for lunch dress-up, campers dressed as all the stereotypes of what nerds look like! It was quite a hilarious sight. Lunch consisted of chicken noodle soup and veggies, which was followed by some rest time in tuck & buck. The rest of the afternoon was filled with more activities, and a very full free swim on the beach before supper!
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Supper tonight was meatballs & rice, with ice-cream for dessert! Afterwards, the campers participated in tonight’s camp-wide game, “Pac-Man”, where campers competed to solve riddles created by Aunt Jordanne and Aunt Abbey, and add to their team’s points! Camper Maia Drysdale had this to say about the camp-wide games and Underground this week:

“The camp-wide games have been my favourite part of camp so far. Just because I’ve had the most fun doing it and you get to see everybody having fun. I was also worried Underground would be super long and I wouldn’t enjoy it, but it’s actually been really awesome!”

After one more Underground session, campers headed to the campfire to finally relax! Once songs were sung and skits were acted out, campers tiredly headed back to their cabins to get enough rest for their last full day of Blaze tomorrow!

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Blog & Pictures By: Karley Sider

A Stellar Stealthy Wednesday – Blaze Day 4

Our campers were in super stealth mode this morning for our fourth day of Blaze! To gear up for the day, campers had some breakfast of bacon, sausage, and pancakes – shout out to our amazing cook, Jenn, who has made some amazing meals the past couple weeks! Campers filed into line afterwards to choose their activities for the day, and were off to cabin clean-up with their counselors. Underground and Activity 1 were next on the to do list! I interviewed a couple campers to see how their experiences have been going so far this week. This is what Camper Kayla Akam had to say:

“I love the stories and singing [from Underground], especially the stories about Aaron’s life. His life is funny! I like the whole camp idea, especially the theme and that no one’s on their electronics. And I like that there’s so many new people you can meet and make new friends with. I like how you have your own schedule and you get to pick the activities you want to do. I sometimes get bored at home because there’s nothing to do, but at camp there’s always something to do!”

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In Underground today, Pastor Aaron talked about fear, and how we build up fear about talking to our friends and family about Jesus.Fear can be so paralyzing that it can prevent us from doing something awesome or worth doing, but we get so afraid that we don’t do it. Aaron asked the campers: “Why do we have such a hard time talking about Jesus in the outside world?” He said that we can’t be afraid that we don’t know the right words to say, that we’d get laughed at, that the person we’re sharing with will reject or hurt us, or that we wouldn’t know how to answer their questions. Everyone in the Bible struggled with fear; the Apostle Paul, Moses, and Peter are some of the most influential people in the Bible, and have been faced with fears many times. Fortunately, they were able to overcome it! Fear, ultimately, is a liar. We fear things that don’t exist or hasn’t happened yet, and yet God places the best things of life on the other side of fear. When we’re dealing with fears, God is there in the middle and He is not scared. We have to take that awkward first step towards Jesus like Peter did when he walked on water, knowing that when we take that step, Jesus is on the other side. Aaron gave the campers some tips about talking to friends or others about Jesus. One of those tips included asking our friends what they believe – we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so we should do twice as much listening as we do talking. We also need to not only talk about Jesus, but live it out in our lives by loving others as ourselves. And at some point we need to stop worrying about how people will react because we need to trust that God will take care of it!

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For lunch dress-up, campers had the challenge of sneaking into the dining hall without getting caught by any of the programming leaders or Crew kids! There were some very interesting methods used, such as using a recycling bin to smuggle in campers or blinding Uncle Noah with flashlights in order to gain passage by him. Lunch was hot dogs, macaroni & cheese, and veggies – a classic combination! After lunch was second and third activity, followed by free swim! It’s continued to be gorgeous this week, allowing for some awesome experiences for our swimmers, watersports majors, canoers, and kayakers!

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Supper consisted of a Canadian favourite, poutine! With side choices of pulled pork and bacon bits, campers eagerly ate this appetizing meal. Once the last meal was over for the day, campers headed to Underground to have the rules to the camp-wide game explained to them. Today’s game was “Diamond Smugglers”. It was one of the quietest camp-wide games I’ve ever seen! There were 3 groups of campers – the cops, the sellers, and the buyers. The sellers and the buyers had to try and sell/buy diamonds with each other without interacting with undercover cops, who would steal their treasures. Suspicions were high and voices were low as the game went on! With Underground and campfire afterwards, campers were worn out and ready for bed!
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Blog & Pictures By: Karley Sider

An In-spy-ring Day of Mission Impossible – Blaze Day 3

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“Mission Impossible” was the theme for the third day of Blaze! With the morning bell as a wake-up call, campers headed to morning activities to get their blood pumping and minds going for the rest of the day. Once flag raising and a small devotional was finished, campers gathered in the dining hall for some oatmeal “cake” (a delicious combination of oatmeal and different flavors of berries) and then back to their cabins for cabin clean-up! Once that was finished, Underground and first activity were next on the agenda. We had another hot day here at Camp Kahquah, allowing for another exemplary day outside!
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Lunch dress-up today coincided with the theme, and there was a lot of Mission Impossible theme music being played throughout the meal! The costumes and all-black attire made for another fun dress-up. Lunch was chicken wraps with watermelon for dessert!

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Today in Underground, once again led by Pastor Aaron, we learned about how we’re all on a mission for God and what that mission involves. One mistake that we need to steer clear from is ignoring our purpose in what God is calling us to do. Aaron said that the Bible and God’s purpose for us can be summed up in one sentence: “Love the Lord with all your heart and love people”. Loving people has to come out of our love for God. If we are able to keep God close, then that joy overflows from us and into those around us. This is the best way to show others that we follow Jesus, by loving one another. Aaron read from John 15: 9-12, which says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you”. Aaron asked the campers what it looks like to love someone the way Jesus loves someone. He talked about how Jesus calls us to a different way of loving, and how it’s not easy to love people you don’t like or who have done something wrong. Jesus gravitated to certain kind of people, such as criminals, sick people, outcasts, or any people who didn’t know God.  Jesus hung around his followers in order to teach and show them the way to love, and then he sent them out and told them to do the same – we are Jesus’ followers, so we have this mission of being like Jesus and going out and treating others the way He has treated us. We’re not perfect, we will make mistakes, but we need to understand that God didn’t bring us here to do nothing; we were called to do something, and our gifts & abilities should be used to go out and connect with people.

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Once afternoon activities were done for the day, campers marched to the dining hall for supper. With some scalped potatoes, ham, beans, and brownies for dessert, campers were re-energized for the camp-wide game! Today was a camp favourite, “Douse the Crew Kid”. Essentially, our lovely Crew kids volunteered to be hidden in shelters made by two separate teams, and had to avoid being hit by water balloons or wet sponges from the other team. Whoever’s Crew kids were most dry by the end of the game were the winners! Once the game was completed and the last Underground session was done, campers headed down to the campfire pit. Although they were still invigorated by the day’s events, they were able to settle down to watch tonight’s performances and participate in campfire songs! After such a long day, campers and their counselors looked forward to collapsing into their beds; we’ve been blessed with such an amazing week so far!

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Blog & Pictures By: Karley Sider

The LIT Canoe Trip 2017

20158196_10154642075387401_1126325639_nAfter a bit more than a week of our LIT’s being back from their canoe trip, the blog outlining their experiences is finally being posted! I’m happy to announce that everyone made it through with nothing but good stories and memories to tell. Our fearless leaders, Maggie Sider, Conor Klassen, Amanda & Matt Reist, and Jared Long, were amazing in guiding the whole trip, and our LIT’s were impressive in their constantly positive attitudes.

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The LIT’s and their leaders left fairly early on Tuesday morning, getting on the water by 10, and getting to their campsite around 3 in the afternoon. There was only excitement as everyone piled into their canoes with their partners, and all feelings of tiredness were swept away as they paddled to their campsite. This year, the group continued a system that was tested last year, where all the tents were kept on one island while everyone went on day trips. This was instead of constantly moving around and re-locating all their stuff. Maggie really liked this system, especially during the portaging elements of the trip, where she was thankful that she didn’t have to be carrying extra baggage on her back. Everyone agreed that it was nice to come back to the campsite from their visits to beaches and waterfalls and not have to worry about setting everything up, and just having to worry about food.

Speaking of food, meals were kept fairly simple but were very familiar to young students who lack in the culinary arts. Peanut butter & nutella wraps, oatmeal, pasta, and tuna wraps were some of the dishes on the menu, and were consumed with great enthusiasm as the constant exercise added to hungry stomachs. Bags were filled with the classic canoe trip snack, GORP (“good old raisins & peanuts”, basically trail mix), but I was told that everyone was pretty sick of it by the end. Some people ended up accidentally leaving their bags outside, and were very surprised to wake up the next morning to the sound of chipmunks fighting over their snack. From what I can tell, nobody was too upset about it!

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The theme for this year’s canoe trip was “Survivor”! The LIT’s were split into 3 groups, and had to compete in different challenges against each other throughout the trip. One of these challenges, I was told, was a game that involved seeing how long everyone could stand on one leg with a bowl of water on their heads. People started dropping out one-by-one, but Matt Ruegg and Caleb Brenneman faced off for about 40 minutes before succumbing to their tiredness. There was also a lot of “Mafia” that was played, a true classic canoe trip game! A funny challenge that the LIT’s also played occurred when 3 water bottles were hidden around the island, and whoever found them gained the rights to go straight to a shower as soon as they returned home, without having to help unpack the canoes and tents. Caleb Larsen, Adriana Mabbott, and Matt Reugg found these hidden bottles and won this privilege!

Another event that occurred every night was an election to gain points, where the three teams would award one person in their group the “Best Leader” title for the day – these points would be important for the end of the trip!

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As any time when you’re with all your friends, there’s going to be some funny moments, especially when you’re tired and in the middle of nowhere. This canoe trip was filled with Judd’s impressions (from Peter Swanson to Shaggy & Scooby Doo), Taylor Swift Karaoke (with Adriana, Kayla, Marissa, and Juliet all joining in – I can’t imagine the guys were too impressed), and Jared’s amazing paddle story. Jared, along with all the other group members, were paddling through Manitou Lake with strong winds blowing against them. He was getting pretty tired and annoyed, and was praying in his head, “Please God, give me a break”. The next stroke he took, his paddle completely snapped in half! That definitely wasn’t the break he was looking for!

Overall, the weather was great for this trip. Tanned faces greeted us when everyone walked back into the lodge Friday afternoon, proving that the sun was a definite constant throughout the days they were gone. To ultimately end the trip, the LIT’s and their leaders gathered in the Pine Room to complete one more task. In true Survivor fashion, everyone voted between the top 3 LIT’s that had the most votes from previous “Best Leader” wins, for the title of “Ultimate Leader”. Kayla Foster ended up winning this prestigious award! We’re all super proud of this year’s group of LIT’s for their courage and for overall being amazing additions to the Camp family!

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I sat down with Matt and Amanda after the trip was done and asked the important questions: “Why is it so important to go on these canoe trips? What is the purpose of them?” They talked about how it’s an amazing opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, as well as the multiple benefits of leadership development by taking on tasks that wouldn’t otherwise be available. There’s always times for team-bonding, and although there’s trying moments, (headwind on the lake, for example), there is a sense of community to get through it. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, you get to practice getting out of an individualistic mindset, and it’s also extremely fun!

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Blog By: Karley Sider

I Spy With My Little Eye….Blaze Day 2!

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A beautiful sunny morning greeted the campers as they woke up for their first full day here at Blaze! The campers were introduced to the morning schedule, consisting of morning activities (polar dip, running, hiking, etc.), flag raising, and breakfast! Muffins and cereal were the meal choice for this morning, and any swim tests that weren’t completed last night were finished right after breakfast. From there, campers were able to complete their first major/activity. After an hour of being introduced to their leaders and to the basics of their chosen activity, everyone headed back to their cabins to get ready for their first lunch dress-up, with the theme being “Undercover”! We had all sorts of imaginative costumes show up to the dining hall; one cabin dressed undercover as other Kahquah staff, another cabin went undercover as the cast from “High School Musical”, and there were lots of fan(tache)stic moustaches! Once cabins were graded on their dress-up performance, they headed inside for some pizza, veggies, and watermelon for lunch. Yum!
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After some downtime in tuck-and-bunk, campers headed to their second and third activity. It was a hot day with no clouds in sight, resulting in an excellent day on the beach and on the water! Campers were spread far and wide learning new skills – high & low ropes, archery, tubing, watersports, cookie baking, wilderness, and beach volleyball were in full effect! It’s remarkable seeing kids jump head first into new experiences, being able to conquer fears, and loving every minute of it! Free swim was right after activities, so anyone who hadn’t been in the water yet had the chance to spend some time swimming and hanging out with their new friends

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Supper was welcomed after such a day of hard work and activity, especially a supper consisting of chicken, potato wedges, beans, and fudgesicles for dessert. From there, campers participated in the camp-wide game, “Checkpoint”. Basically, campers had to try to smuggle certain items across a border of security guards in order to gain points for their team. They had to come up with creative hiding places somewhere on themselves and make up crazy stories in order to make it pass security. Some people stuffed items in their hair, sweaters, and shoes – it was certainly chaotic!

After the camp-wide game, campers headed down to Underground to hear from Pastor Aaron. Today he talked about imperfections and faults in the Bible; he mentioned that everyone that was mentioned or that was used by God had flaws or weaknesses. The main story he used was about Moses, who had a problem stuttering every time he talked. Even with this imperfection in his life, God used Moses in amazing ways to further His work. Everyone in the Bible had weaknesses, everyone except Jesus! Once campers listened attentively to Aaron’s message, they headed down to campfire for some entertainment before bed. We’re hoping for some more great weather and fun times tomorrow!

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Blog & Pictures By: Karley Sider