Second Verse, Same as the First

We thank you for your prayers… we were able to get our swim tests done…. They were done in the pouring rain, but… they’re done.  All the kids were super accommodating to our need to be flexible and rearrange the schedule a couple times as we dealt with yet another day of completely out of nowhere soaker systems, and then random thunder claps in the midst of beautiful sunny skies.

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Today’s lunch theme was “Tacky Tourist” and some of the cabins pulled it off really nicely!  I didn’t see them, unfortunately, but my dear Mommy was gracious and thoughtful enough to grab my camera while I dealt with the change of plan in the tuck shop.

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Like I mentioned above, we had another complete deluge of rain this afternoon… that lasted for a solid 8 minutes… then the sun came back out.  It poured, but once again, no one seemed to really be all that bothered by it.  I even heard a few kids mention that playing in the rain meant they didn’t need showers!  Don’t worry though, we disagree.  Aunt Laura and baby Landon got a good dance in the rain in as well, and Landon didn’t seem phased!

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Because it stopped raining so quickly, the water evaporated rather quickly and left us with a beautiful afternoon.  Kids were even able to play outside!

steam off the roofs as it went right back to hot and sticky after the rain.

steam off the roofs as it went right back to hot and sticky after the rain.

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I had to make a trip into Parry Sound this afternoon, but when I got back the kids were just assembling for Underground!  It’s been so nice to hear energetic worship bounding through the floors, and I had a chance to pop in this evening and see it in action.  This morning, through the walls of the tuck shop, I heard a rousing competition of that old “hallelu hallelu hallelu hallelujah!” song brought back to life.  I hadn’t heard it in years, and it’s lovely to hear the kids praising Jesus so excitedly.  The pictures you’re going to see are blurry, but that’s because there’s an action for almost every word of My Redeemer Lives.  The kids and the leaders were dancing…. and Noah and Chloe were photo bombing!

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While I was in my parents’ backyard watching yet another glorious sunset (doesn’t it just remind you that God works all things together for good after a stormy day like this?), I could hear the kids screaming at the Campfire.  Did they ever sound like they were having fun!  I know sound travels well over water, but I bet that was loud at Camp, because we’re off site and down the road a little bit.  That’s alright, though.  Campfire is supposed to be loud!

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It’s time to think about Camp!

Are you tired of all of this cold weather?  I sure am.  Are you tired of the snow?  I definitely am.  To free yourself of the winter blahs (if you indeed have them), it’s time to think about Camp!!  Registration for kids’ Camp opens in a mere 19 days!!  The brochure with the information about all the programs we offer is available now on our website.

I’m here to start pumping you up.  Are you excited?  I’m excited!!

Before I start our first highlight for kids’ camp though, I’d like to announce that staff applications are now available online, and are now being accepted.  Come on, you know you want to come work with us this summer!  Join us.  Please note that the process is different this year.  I don’t believe you were able to apply to be staff online last year, so for most of you that will be the easiest option.  Sure beats having to go fill out an application when you get to Camp (like I had to…), doesn’t it?  Please make sure you fill out both the staff app and the medical form.  They’re equally important.

Today I’d like to highlight Nova and Kubbies.  Both run concurrently from June 29 – July 5.  Kubbies is a parent and child camp that runs alongside Nova for children aged 6-7.  Younger campers are introduced to all the fun of a week of summer camp while maintaining the sense of security from having a parent stay them at night.  Each cabin has a leader assigned to help guide the campers through their first experience at Camp.  Last year, we had two young boys with very different levels of Camp experience.  One of the boys has been around Camp since he was a baby, and he probably doesn’t remember a time when Camp wasn’t a part of his life.  His brother comes to Camp, all his cousins come to Camp, and his entire family sets up shop for three weeks during Family Camp.  He came with his Mom and loved every minute of it.  The other had never been to camp, neither had his Mom.  By the end of the week, he’d made friends, so had his Mom, and they’re looking forward to finding a way that they can come back again!  What a fantastic story!  Here are the boys with their counselor, Brittany.  She stayed with the boys and their mothers and led them through all their activities for the week.

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Nova is a camp for younger or first time campers that accommodates for your child’s unique needs for supervision, rest, and patient instruction while also meeting their desire for new experiences and adventure.  It’s for kids aged 8-11, and runs alongside the Kubbies program.

Well — I’m stoked.  I can’t wait to see all of you throughout the summer.  Get excited, because there are going to be amazing things happening at Kahquah this summer.

Paddleboards, Kneeboards, Water Skis, Canoes, and Kayaks… oh my!

Today was a bit of a mixed up day.  It started out gloomy looking and overcast.  We talked at breakfast about how all y’all in the South have gotten a bunch of rain and thunderstorms, and how we’ve been quite fortunate not to have had any yet.  Not that we want a repeat of last summer, where we saw not a single drop of water between mid-June and mid-August, resulting in not a single fire until the second week of Family Camp.  It was cray cray.  Our director, Frank, actually had to ask at lunch what kinds of things we do during a rainy day at Camp, because we didn’t have a single one last summer, his first summer with us.

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Well, we spoke too soon.  Just before lunch, it started driving down rain.  The sky had gotten very dark and we wondered if we’d hold out, and we didn’t.  But the great news was that as much as it made the Crew have to work even harder to keep floors clean (dirt and sand plus water plus flip flops equal very muddy floors at every entrance… to every building), the rain didn’t even last through tuck and bunk time.  By the time the kids were ready to go for 2nd Activity, it was clearing up, the sun was coming back, and the only sad face moment was that it didn’t rain long enough to take a hit at the humidity.  But we won’t whine about humidity here in the Near North.  That’d be silly.  Thanks to all of you who’ve been praying for good weather.  Short of raining through the night, we couldn’t ask for much more convenient timing than during lunch and tuck and bunk.  You can see that it rained pretty hard, though, by the grooves carved in the soft ground around where our new cistern was just finished being installed.

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Before lunch, though, I got some shots of our excellent Housekeeping Team.  They’ve all purchased our hot-selling orange kids’ Camp tshirts, and some of your own children may come home in shirts that look like these.  They’ve written “Housekeepin'” on the back of their matching shirts, and have decided that these are their uniforms.  These girls (Brenna, Lindsay, Sam, and Chantelle) have been working hard to make sure our chairs are disinfected, our doors are wiped free of fingerprints, and our windows are streak free, along with MANY other jobs.  Here, you can see them stuffing envelopes for a mailing to go out from the office, which, as a one-person job would be daunting and discouraging, but done cheerily by four people is no trouble at all.

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Later, I popped into the upstairs washroom to… use it…. and found Chantelle (Housekeeping Supervisor) sitting on the floor with her laptop cranking some music, her Bible, a notebook, and a thoughtful look on her face while she prepared some devotionals for her Housekeepin’ Girls.  This is a strange place to prep this, I know that’s what you’re thinking.  But Brenna was showering and giving input on Chantelle’s ideas.  Since this week started, I’ve been loving these girls’ attitudes toward a job that’s probably not the most recognized around Camp, so I was quite happy for a funny moment to be able to highlight them with today.

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Yesterday I didn’t make it to the beach, but others did.  I’m hoping to get there tomorrow to get pictures of my own, but for now, please enjoy a snapshot from the game from yesterday taken by Uncle Matt.  My favourite is the still pulled out of the video he shot of the kids running full tilt into the lake from the beach.  Or the one of Jared buried to his neck in sand…. I’m not sure.

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Uncle Tim paddle boarding

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The LITS on our sit on top kayaks and using the paddle boards as kayaks

Speaking of canoeing and kayaking, while I was out in the boat, I got some shots of the kayaking skills major.  I also got some pictures of some canoers from the office window while I was doing some tuck paperwork.

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You can’t tell in this picture, but there had just been an epic paddle splashing battle.

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I went out in the boat again today because I wanted to get a shot of the kneeboarding and skiing instead of just the tubing that I got yesterday.  Don’t get me wrong, yesterday’s tubing was awesome!  Those kids were having an absolute blast!  I’d heard chatter though about this kid in the water sports major who’d never waterskied or knee boarded before, but who got up first try at everything, and was proving to be quite the natural at everything.  I wanted to see him in action, so I headed for the boat again.  There were only two kids at water sports today, so they both had a rather generous amount of time in the water.  Both Sarah and Aiden did very well, and both tried to do a 180 on the kneeboard.  Neither were quite able to execute it, but even Heather, our boat driver, mentioned that this is bravery and skill she rarely sees during first week.

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Tubing, Crafts, and hearing the campfire from inside the building.

I’m laying on my bed buried in blankets because trust me, the air conditioning works.  From this post on my bed, I can hear the kids screaming at campfire.  I heard a solid rendition of “there ain’t no flies on us,” word for word.  I heard “and SHOVE IT IN THE LAKE!!!!” a bunch of times, too.  I haven’t been out to a campfire yet for pictures, but trust me, if your kid comes home with no voice, you’ll know why.

Today I got out in the boat with our boat driver, Heather.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to get out to much else because I was finishing up getting the tuck shop set up, but it’s done now, so I will be able to get out more in the coming days.  But never fear, others took pictures FOR me, and let me know what was going on all over the place, so I am still able to give you some solid news.

I chose the best picture of the shots I got tubing from each set of kids.  Below, you’ll also find more crafts in progress, taken by Graeme.  They made fridge magnets using birch wood and googly eyes to go along with Zoo Mystery week.  Lastly, you’ll find our new Wilderness activity in action.  This is new this year, and led by Jared, who’s been training, researching, and preparing for this since last year when he was asked what he thought of the idea.  Today, I’m told, the wilderness group (which has been full during every activity period) built their own shelter, and learned the safe way to eat a grasshopper………….. no thank you.  BUT I suppose that’s why I don’t live in the wilderness!  The kids are having an absolute blast out there!

Also, today’s lunch theme was “The Outback.”  I was sent to the porch to take a picture of Uncle Ivan’s full costume, but what I saw was not just Uncle Ivan, but every camper and cabin dressed to the theme VERY well.  So I’ve included some pictures of the lunch theme processional as well.

Lastly, before I put in the pictures, I want to say thanks to all of you who’ve been reading and commenting and sharing this blog.  I think it’s a really really cool thing that we can get these moments back to you who’ve entrusted your fantastic kids to us for a week.  It’s like you’re part of us, even when you’re not here 🙂

 

Crafts!

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painting bags during craft time

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The finished product on the googly eyed faces

Wilderness Adventures

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Jared and Jacob teaching the safe way to eat a grasshopper.

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If I had to be stuck in the wilderness, I’d want it to be with these kids. Look at that shelter!

Lunch Theme:  The Outback

"The Natives," they told me they were at lunch.  Plus a combination of Finding Nemo with one of the girls' cabins (hence, the ducks)

“The Natives,” they told me they were at lunch. Plus a combination of Finding Nemo with one of the girls’ cabins (hence, the ducks)

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These girls were also hopping.

These girls were also hopping.

kangaroos

kangaroos

kangaroos... from our boys' cabin with a 1:1 ratio!

kangaroos… from our boys’ cabin with a 1:1 ratio!

I didn't catch the interpretation from this cabin, but the girls looked GREAT

This is the other half of the Finding Nemo crew — I believe this is the sea turtle and the dentist’s daughter

The crocodile...

The crocodile…

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You can’t see Teagan’s sign, but it says “The Outback Steakhouse.” They had a waitress and everything. Very creative, ladies!

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What better place for some quiet alone time than on top of the Jesus Saves rock. I should follow suit! (Sorry to whoever I creeped on, but this was a fantastic photo op.)

Tubing!  This was my favourite part of the day, because who doesn’t love sitting in a boat for an hour?

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Jesus, healer of hearts and lives.

Today was my day off, so sorry, no pictures, but I had a chat with Aunt Liz who gave me some spectacular updates about how the day went.  Before I start though, because the story at the end deserves to be the note to end on, trust me, I have some Quest updates for those of you arriving NEXT week :D.

If you’re taking the bus or driving here, please take a look in your emails for the bus schedules.

Tonight during the Camp-wide game, our Kubbies boys participated with one of the Nova boys cabins, and the wonderful news is that they kept up the whole time!  They’re well on their way to being super ready for Nova once they’re old enough, and we’re so thrilled about that.

Liz also shared a couple of incredible moments from the Underground session this morning.

First, this morning, the kids were given an opportunity to share what they’re thankful for right now.  Two in particular stuck out to Liz, and these are what was heard:

“I’m thankful for Uncle Noah, because I fell down and he helped me up.”   What a great memory for a kid, knowing that even when they were hurt, our Camp staff cared and was there for him.

“I’m thankful for Camp Kahquah, because I can come here.”  Do I need to say anything else about this?

Second, during the teaching part of the Underground this morning, Ashley, one of our Kubbies moms, shared an incredible story with the kids.  The topic of Pastor Natalie’s message was “Jesus, healer of hearts and lives.”  Ashley got up after Natalie’s talk and shared the story about her car accident, which happened one year ago tomorrow.  Some of you know the story behind this accident, many of you probably don’t.  Ashley had spinal and brain injuries as a result that doctors weren’t sure she’d ever recover from.  She’s been on a one year long road to recovery.  She was able to sing a song for the kids that she wrote, after doctors saying a year ago that she’d never sing again.  A bunch of the kids, these precious young kids, laid hands on Ashley and prayed, thanking Jesus, the healer of hearts and lives.  What an unbelievable testimony to the power of God.  Someone who shouldn’t be able to sing, shouldn’t be able to walk, is here at Camp with her son, and can give glory back to God through the journey she’s been on for the last year.  As I sat and chatted with Ashley for a moment to ask her if it was OK if I shared this story with all of you, her son Xavier came running to her cheerfully and quipped “thumb war?”  What an incredible God we serve.  Healer of hearts and lives.

They’re Heeeeeere!

This morning, I woke up at Camp to quiet.  It was quiet here, and it was pretty much quiet all day.  Call it the calm before the storm, I guess.  The kids weren’t here yet.  It was just the staff.  We woke up to a serve-yourself breakfast — and Trish had the waffle maker out!!  WAFFLES!  Remember Shrek?  “And in the mornin?!  I’m makin’ WAFFLES!!”

Anyway, I did not fight the slow Camp interwebs to talk to you about waffles.

After breakfast we had Chapel, with worship led by Liz and Tim, and a message given to us by God through Frank.  He talked about the three really important principles found in Matthew 18:  a real, personal faith with Jesus, loving care over God’s dear children (that’s the business we’re in right now, is it not?), and loving care within our own communities — showing the love of Christ to each other.  Frank challenged us to come up with three promises — a covenant, if you will — that we are making to our Camp community, that we agree to keep each other accountable to, and that we ask you to keep us accountable to as well.  So here, without further delay, is the Covenant that we’ve hung on the bulletin board in the dining hall…

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But I didn’t really fight the slow Camp interwebs to talk to you about Chapel this morning, either.  I fought the slow Camp interwebs to talk to you about the first day of Kids’ Camp.  Nova and Kubbies have begun.  The bus has arrived.  The kids are here!  Praise the Lord, the bus trips were both completely uneventful!  All we heard from our contacts on the buses were reports that “we’re early!” or “we’re running right on schedule!”  It was unheard of.  We are blessed.

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It’s not quiet here, anymore!  As I’m sitting writing to all of you, the kids are at campfire, screaming at the top of their lungs.  I can hear them through the open windows.  I don’t know what they’re screaming, I can’t make it out.  But if your child comes home with a scratchy voice or with none at all, you know why:  campfires.

This week’s theme is The Kahquah Zoo.  I’m not totally sure what that means, but I know with Amber and Alli behind the wheel as directors, fun is sure to ensue.  Take a look at Amber and Alli here, all dressed up in their Safari gear.

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As we spent our afternoon of down-time just relaxing, but also mentally gearing up for the arrival of these kids, I wandered around and took some pictures.  I got some shots of “the calm before the storm,” as well as of the beautiful new break wall that Reaman built us to repair the damage from spring flooding.  We had our staff photo taken from out a window, marveled at the fact that Uncle Ivan is here for his 39th or 40th year cabin leading, and this year is able to co-lead with one of his Grandsons, Jacob.  Josiah is also here cabin leading, but they’re not in the same cabin (see the awesome multi-generational picture below), and ate wild strawberries and wintergreen without even leaving the Muskoka chairs behind the lodge.  It was a great day……

for most of us.

Unfortunately, Randy went to put the second ski boat in the water and drive it back to camp.  It started just nicely, so he was left to drive back, but he ended up breaking down in the River and had to call for help from someone’s house along the shore.  All is well, he is safe, but maybe not a great end to his night :p

Until tomorrow!

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Natalie is VERY excitedly waiting for the bus to arrive!

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Grandpa Ivan, Jacob, and Josiah before the kids arrive.

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The beautiful break wall built by Reaman. Posts at the docks, ropes between them, and solar lights atop them to follow.

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The beach, taken from the dock, with a view that we won’t see for the rest of July — it’s childless.

And finally, check out our Staff Pic.

Summer Camp 2013

Photo Credit, Tyler Kwan.