Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye

As the buses pull out every week, we stand on the shuffle board courts and we sing a song as they drive up the driveway.

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye….

We repeat it until they’ve left.  Then the dust settles, and we realize what’s ahead as we prepare for our next week.

Well, that’s happened again today, except that today is the busiest day of the season, as we prepare for Family Camp Week 1, which starts in just a few hours.  Our staff are moving out of wherever they were staying, cleaning their accommodation, and moving into their new one.  The kitchen is being mopped, scrubbed, and cleaned, while the dining hall chairs are switched out for new ones.

Kids camp is over.

Summit was great!  I heard lots of kids telling each other to add them on Facebook, and sharing numbers and email addresses so they can stay in touch with the friends they’ve made here.  There were many hugs as everyone prepared to say goodbye to those they wouldn’t see again for a while.

Now as we scramble to get ready for our first of four weeks of family camp, I’m sitting in the tuck shop writing to you, ready to share yesterday’s pictures and the last memories from kids camp for this season.  We’ll be back to kids camp at the end of August for Bravo, Aspire, and Zenith of course!

But here are yesterday’s highlights!  Apparently I should have gone in the boat for water sports as Emma was able to drop a ski and slalom for quite some time, but since I spent most of the day Thursday in the boat (and have a tan line from my glasses to show for it 😛 ) I decided to stay firmly planted on land.

Here are your cabin photos for Summit 2015!

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On the last day of the canoeing major, the participants played a game where they have to try to splash water into the other canoe, and each is trying to finish the game with less water in their canoe than the other.

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At the beach, I saw people relaxing, kids having fun building castles, and many splashing around in the water throwing a ball around.

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At Crafts, Shelley brought up a bunch of old pictures of camp and let the kids look through them and choose some to make scrapbook pages out of.

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At Beauty Inside and Out, I caught up with the girls as they were doing their nails, getting ready for banquet night, where those who want to get dressed up for dinner.

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At the kayaking major, the participants had gotten to a point where they were ready to practice tipping their own kayaks so that they knew what it felt like and what to do should it ever happen accidentally.  Here they are, tipping over!

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Throughout this week, Hope, Noah, and Jordan led a Triathlon boot camp activity, where 6 kids practiced swimming, bike riding, and running leading up to a triathlon yesterday.  We have extensive coverage of it since I sent Hope across the road with my phone while I stayed on the main campus here.  It’s my understanding that this was a big week for Chris, who learned not only how to water ski, but also how to ride a bike!  Way to champ it!  Donny ended up winning the triathlon, but all six of them did an incredible job persevering.  I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it for sure!

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Here are the Outdoor Pursuits kids heading out on paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks.  I’m not sure if they were just heading out for a paddle, or working on skills.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to them.  From where I was perched watching the Triathlon, it looked like they were working on water skills because I looked at one moment, and when I looked up the next, a canoe was tipped and there was no one in it!

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Check out our awesome kitchen staff!  Heather’s back as our cook, Shanon’s back as our assistant cook, and Emma is spending another year as kitchen assistant this summer.  A special thanks to Annette, who came up for the week as a volunteer to help out in the kitchen as well.

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Here is a Crew group photo!

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And here is an LIT Group photo!

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And lastly, to finish off our last week’s blog, here are a couple great sunset shots from the other night.

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Receiving God’s Skittley Goodness

As I sat yesterday listening to the Worship the kids were doing at the beginning of Underground, they started singing a song that brought me right back to my childhood.  Have any of you ever belted “Walking on the Heavenly Road” around the Campfire at the old campfire pit half-way down the driveway?  It felt like I was 9 years old again.  It was great.  It’s also great to hear those kids sing so loudly, proclaiming God’s truth in song.

Yesterday in Underground, Laura started the message off by telling kids that she knows they’re tired.  It’s almost the end of the week, and of course we’re tired!  We’ve had a great week with lots and lots of things to do!  God brought each kid here though to meet us here, and to have us learn about the relationship He wants with us, and Laura did a great job at reminding us of that.

So what happens if we get lost?  The LIT Skit team demonstrated this for us.  They were looking at a map and one of the team pointed out a route that would shave 2 km off their trip, that several pointed out was on one of the routes that had dangers and places they shouldn’t go…. “But it’ll save us so much time!”  It looked like it was going to save them time, but one of them slipped and fell, and it didn’t end up saving time in the end at all!

The verse they were drawing on was Psalm 119:2-3:

Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.

We learned about Repentance.  To repent is to turn around, away from your sin, and turn toward God.  As an illustration, Tim put a cup upside down on a tray, and had some LITs help him demonstrate what it looks like when our lives are closed off to receiving God’s goodness.  He’ll try to give it to us, but if we’re not open, we can’t receive it.  The LITs tried to pour Skittles into an upside down cup, and naturally the cup wasn’t able to receive any of the Skittles.  Laura coined this “receiving God’s skittley goodness.”  But when the cup is turned toward God, with the open side facing up, the cup could be filled with Skittles and even overflowed!  God wants to fill our lives with goodness, but if we’re not open to it we won’t be able to receive it.

Laura told the story of Saul and his conversion to Paul in Acts 9.  He went from persecuting Christians, to encountering God on the road.  He went blind, and then was healed by Ananaias.  After being healed, he became a force to be reckoned with in sharing the Gospel, and ended up being able to reach people who couldn’t be reached by anyone else.  What a great testimony!

Yesterday was a beautiful day!  Absolutely beautiful!  I went out in the boat TWICE!  And my face is only a little bit pink…. Enjoy a smattering of yesterday’s pictures!

The first thing that happened yesterday morning was a Crew canoeing/kayaking outing.  The water was SO calm through the morning.  The wind did pick up a little later and the water got choppy by third activity for tubing, but what a great shot captured by Teresa of the Crew heading out toward the island yesterday morning.

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At Crafts, it looks like yesterday there were some bookmarks designed and some pots of gold made!  Will looked pretty pleased with his pot of gold.

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I snapped some pictures of kayaking and kids playing in the water at the beach.  It was a warm, sunny day yesterday, and today promises to be more of the same!

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I went out in the boat and snapped some shots of the first Water Sports major group, which I hadn’t seen yet this week.  Check out how calm the water was!  And Jack got a great view of some geese off to his side while he was skiing.  They were farther away than they look — I have a great zoom lens 😉

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I stopped by Beauty from the Inside Out to find kids making and putting on facial masks!

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At Sports Major I found a rousing game of soccer going on.

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I went for a wee hike up half the Hiawatha Trail to find the Photography Major participants taking pictures of the second activity water sports majors!

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At tubing, the water had gotten a bit rougher as the wind picked up in the afternoon, so I had a hard time getting clear pictures, but the kids had a great time, and when I did get clear pictures, you can see great big smiles!

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The evening game was called Douse the Flames.  The idea here is that the three teams each have a fire, and opposing teams try to douse the fires with water balloons.  Some stay behind to defend their fire pit, while other runners go back and forth to the water balloon supply and try to get the other fires out!  We had a bit of trouble getting the fires going strong at first, but luckily we have people like Nat and Jared around who were on point to make safe, good fires that would last a few water balloon attacks.  I don’t know who won, but it looked like a lot of fun!  Winning isn’t important, anyway 🙂

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Rainy Day Adjustment

Yesterday was my day off.  It was a rainy day off!  I had asked Hannah to take my camera around through the day yesterday and take pictures of various events through the day.  I had especially asked her to take pictures across the road of rock climbing, low ropes, and archery…. but it poured.

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Luckily, we have creative staff, and our program directors for the week, Brooklyn and Cameron, were able to move things around and make adjustments to their schedule so that kids could still have fun, just inside fun instead!

To combat the rain, we had kids in Crafts, playing board games, and playing musical chairs.  We even had an impromptu talent show!  I’m thankful for our staff and their ability to roll with the punches.  I know last summer we had quite a few rainy days, so we hope this isn’t foreshadowing of what’s to come.  Our 7-day forecast looks pretty good right now though!  There’s some rain showing for next Tuesday again, but we can’t complain.  We’ve had some lovely days, and there are more to come this week!  And we do need some rain, or we’ll lose our campfires!  So a little bit is totally fine with us!

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Yesterday in Underground, kids talked about compasses and how just like a compass would be an excellent tool to guide us on our base camp journey, we need the Holy Spirit to guide us in our spiritual walks.  I’ve been loving listening to the combination of Graeme, Cait, Tim, and Laura with the LITs.  Many voices all teaching the same ideas reinforces truth to these kids!  Check out pictures I took this morning of visuals they’ve hung on the walls ~ Bible Verses that guide us and a giant compass.

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Oh, and I need to show you this…. Monday evening, the Camp-Wide game was Giant Clue.  Someone stole the treasure map, and kids had to run from location to location asking for clues.  Once they had solved the mystery, obviously the map thief had to be punished.  It turned out that it was Noah… Noah stole the map because he needed toilet paper, and he was hiding in the old outhouse.  His punishment was to be covered in chocolate pudding.  Gross, but… tasty… at the same time?

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Our Guide Book

Monday was a great day!  I’m writing this to you Monday evening (even though you won’t read it until Tuesday morning…. crafty technology, eh?  Lets me schedule things for later!  haha.)

During Underground, the LITs have been loving helping out.  There’s a skit ongoing and running through all of the sessions that will wrap up at the end of the week.  This morning’s were awesome!  They started off with a skit about a Guide Book, drawing back on their Canoe trip from last week.  They talked about how the Guide Book (in this case, a trail map) is important for them to get to their destination without getting lost, and how it shows dangers that they should avoid — just like the Bible does in their lives.  The Guide Book shows us where to go.  Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and and teach you in the way you should go.”

We talked about Parables being stories that Jesus made up to illustrate a point, and about how He told one about planting seeds.  In one instance the seeds were swooped away by birds — that’s like when we share about our faith after we get back from Camp and no one listens to us.  The seeds can be planted in the gravel, and we can have a good faith for a while, but then our emotions wear off and we forget about it because our roots aren’t deep enough.  The seeds can be over-run by the weeds — that happens when we get stressed out and our faith gets choked by the World.  OR the seeds can take root in good soil, producing good crops that we can then share with everyone around us.  That happens in our lives when we let the Word sink in and set deep roots.

Tuesday they’ll be learning about the Compass and how that relates to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Check out the pictures from Monday!  I made it to a lot of places.  I plan to get across the road on Wednesday and out in the boat Thursday and Friday.

Here are several from the LIT skits this morning.  The pictures don’t do them justice.  The skits were very well done, and I didn’t hear kids chatting through them, which in my experience teaching generally means they’re engaged.  They were great!

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At Crafts, kids were being creative with all kinds of ideas!  They were able to use sticks and maple keys to make snake or dragonfly magnets, or plants in a planter!  They were very cute, and I loved some of the ideas the kids came up with!

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At kayaking and canoeing, today was spent mostly learning strokes and proper techniques in order to keep our kids safe on the water.  Even Landon Droppert really wanted to get in on the kayaking action!

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The beach looked like a TON of fun today!  There were kids there building sand creations as well as playing in the water every time I walked past.

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At the Ropes major, kids today also spent time learning proper techniques for how to tie their knots and how to make sure they stay safe at the rock wall!  I love watching our leaders work with the kids, because they know precisely how important safety is out there and they want to keep everyone safe while they have fun.

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The Crew girls (Crew-tons!) got into a rousing game of 9 Square In The Air!  Well, most of them… a few of them preferred to sit and cheer on their crew-mates.

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The kids in the Water Sports majors also had to learn their skills on land today.  It’s just easier to teach some of those skills when you’re not in the water, so they spent the first day on the docks, working closely with some of our staff who are very good at what they do!  I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to explain how to water ski or knee board!

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The Gaga Ball pit has been a great success!  Kids seem to love it!  I think it looks like a lot of fun, too.  I haven’t been in it yet, though.  It feels like it’d be dangerous with a camera hanging around my neck 😉

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At Beauty from the Inside Out, participants are having fun not only playing with makeup and nail polish (and trying out their skills on their leaders!), but they’re talking about what makes them beautiful on the inside as well.

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Finally, cookie baking was a huge hit.  I got there just in time to watch kids eat their delicious creations!  They even shared one with Uncle Frank, who loved every bite.  Well done, bakers!

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A New Quest

Welcome back to Kahquah Base Camp ~ Our theme for the whole summer.  This week’s programming theme is “The Andes,” and I’ve got to say that Brooklyn and Cameron have done a spectacular job decorating the dining hall.  It looks great!  Brook and Cameron are our program directors for the week, and I’m excited to see what they have planned for our kids.

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The beginning of a new week always brings introductions.  Conor introduced the waterfront team (minus Lynn as it was her day off).  I’m always proud of our lifeguards and waterfront staff and the hard work they do.  They’re always doing their best to keep your kids safe.

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The bus arrived EARLY yesterday, which was fantastic!  We were able to take care of tuck money and medications before dinner, which meant that we were able to take cabin photos on a beautiful day yesterday.

Retreat Lodge

Retreat Lodge

Wyldewood

Wyldewood

Retreat Up

Retreat Up

Porcupine Ridge

Porcupine Ridge

Cedar Rest

Cedar Rest

Retreat Woods

Retreat Woods

Check out some of our CREW girls (they’re ALL girls this session!  I think they’ve started calling themselves Crew-tons, haha).  They’re working hard wiping down tables and cleaning up the dishes after dinner.

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Swim tests went off without a hitch yesterday.  We operate on a coloured band system so that all staff can tell who should be able to participate in which activities.  You can see a picture here of Uncle Conor explaining the beach procedures to a cabin before he lets them onto the beach, making sure they’re all listening and understanding before he lets them go.

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I’m sitting right now in my office listening to worship led by Laura Osburne, our worship leader for the week.  One of our co-speakers for the week, Laura Droppert, is about to start her message for the morning.  She’s teaching in the mornings while our executive director, Frank Littel, is speaking in the evening Underground sessions.  Laura is one of our LIT leaders, along with her husband Tim, and Graeme and Caitlin Hogg.  The LITs are very excited to be a part of the teaching this week, and I hear there are great skits coming to reinforce the messages.  LITs are shadowing in cabins this week, helping lead Undergrounds and small groups, and learning how to be leaders from our more experienced cabin leaders.  Look forward to some pictures and a deeper explanation of today’s Underground in tomorrow’s blog post 🙂

When time moves too quickly

I can not believe this week is over already.  I just can’t.  It’s Saturday afternoon.  The first group of kids is GONE!  How did this happen!?  Alas, it’s true… but they had fun!  And we had fun!

Dave finished up his lessons on what we need in our backpacks for life by talking yesterday morning about an axe/hatchet.  This hatchet would help us feel safe, hammer nails in, and cut down fire wood so we could cook and stay warm on our journey.  If you’ve never seen a hatchet before, it’s iron on a wooden handle, sharpened at one end.  Dave talked about the importance of friendship, and more importantly — the importance of having friends who will push us toward deeper trust and faith in God through our relationships with them.  Deep friendships are like iron, which sharpens our iron.  Dave used the story of David and Jonathan to illustrate this point.  Jonathan could have given David up in a quest to be King, but because of their deep friendship — stronger than the bond of brothers — Jonathan did what he knew was God’s will and saved David’s life, which let him eventually become King.  The verse surrounding this was Proverbs 27:17, and yet another bookmark was given to be stuck into that verse as well.  The idea here is that if we can surround ourselves with great friends, we’ll always be pushing each other into deeper, more God-honouring relationships.

The final item in Dave’s backpack was a flag.  Jesus sent His disciples out to go and make disciples of all nations.  The idea here is that Jesus has this “crazy and inefficient idea” of letting us spread the Gospel, so we need to GO!  This message was based around Matthew 28:19 a.

If you would like a visual reminder to spark conversation with your kids after they’ve now returned home, Dave shared his outline with me and I’ve attached it here.  It’s got the symbol, the verse, the story, and the Big Idea that went along with each teaching.

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Do you have a YouTube account?  Are you the kind of person who subscribes to YouTube Channels?  If you are, you should totally follow us!  I took a couple videos on my phone this week, and the only way to get them onto the internet with Camp’s limited bandwidth supply was to upload them from my phone to YouTube while I ate dinner at Wendy’s in Huntsville last night… haha thanks for free Wi-Fi Wendy’s!  So here they are, embedded into the post.  Feel free to click on subscribe while you’re there so YouTube lets you know when we upload a new one (hopefully once or twice a week, but I’ll have to wait til I’m off site to put them up).  I think you can even set it to email you if we add a new video!

The first video is of worship during Underground one morning.  Wednesday morning I believe.  I really like the sound of so many voices, especially so many young voices, blending together in worship to God.  That’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?  (Apologies on the skinny video — apparently I forgot how to take video from my phone 😉 )

The second is of Julia helping and encouraging a Camper at the Low Ropes course.  From what I saw while I was there, this was the climate set for the whole course with campers encouraging each other and being built up by their leaders and friends.  The low ropes course is all about team work and building trust, so that is great to see.

Finally, check out some pictures from the day!

We had tubing….

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Water sports…..

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The LITs arrived safely back from their Algonquin Park canoe trip!  I’m told Cait and Graeme have great stories, pictures, and videos for me, so look forward to those soon!

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I told these kids to look ‘fierce’ while they waited for the targets to be fetched so they could head up to archery.

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Yesterday’s lunch theme was ‘Rest.’  As usual, the Kubbies were in fine form, with some of them even cuddling on the family member who came with them!

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The beach was lovely yesterday, and the water was even much calmer than Thursday (which let us get water sports and tubing pictures).

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Here are all the Cabin Photos from Nova/Kubbies 2015!  It was quite the task to get everyone together in one place, let me tell you!  But they always turn out so nicely and they’re great mementos for the kids, so feel free to download them from the blog here and save them if you see your child in one of the pictures.

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Birchmere Woods

Maplecroft

Birchmere Lodge

Birchmere Lodge

Cedar Rest (Kubbies)

Cedar Rest (Kubbies)

Wyldewood

Wyldewood

Porcupine Ridge

Deer Run

And, because I love the sharing nature of our Kahquah family, I was given memory cards and jump drives through the week with some GREAT pictures on them, so I thought I’d share.  I know I already gave you my pictures of Capture the Flag, but David got some awesome ones too, as well as some great shots of Campfire.

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The Blog takes a break tomorrow as we prepare for our Quest campers, but keep an eye on our Twitter/Facebook/Instagram accounts for pictures of the bus arriving!

Until Monday!

Laura

99 Camp Kahquah Campers in Cabins….

As many of you have heard, due to an illness and a recommendation from a doctor, our fearless canoe trip leader Graeme has been decommissioned this week, and was unable to run our Algonquin Adventure.  As a result, kids who would normally have been gone most of the week and not on-site are now fully integrated into our Summit program, which started today.  We are literally busting at the seams, with 99 campers spread out over 12 cabins.  You’ll be happy to know that we have maintained our ratio of staff to Campers, but it’s going to be NOISY at lunch!

Today, my blog is going to go backwards, because there were some fun shenanigans yesterday that I want to mention so it only makes sense.  Starting with most recent, here is the news for tonight.

Ryan and Laura are back as the dynamic duo of program directors.  Their theme this week is Call of Duty.  Our dining hall is set up in camo and the kids have adorned bandanas while General Ryan and General Laura wear camo pants and salute for attention.  I am certain that this theme has great ties into the Word of God, and that the one and only Pastor Paul and Rick will deliver those ties well to your kids.

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We started the night off right with a trip to Headquarters (the Chapel), where our teams were divided out and the cabins had to create charges and team names.  Some of the charges were very well done, and I got pictures of everyone presenting them.

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Birchmere Woods and Retreat Up -- The Cool Runnings

Birchmere Woods and Retreat Up — The Cool Runnings

Porcupine Ridge and Birchmere Lodge -- The Boogs

Porcupine Ridge and Birchmere Lodge — The Boogs

Cedar Rest and Retreat Lodge again -- The Eyes of the Tiger.

Cedar Rest and Retreat Lodge again — The Eyes of the Tiger.

Cedar Rest and Retreat Lodge

Cedar Rest and Retreat Lodge

Maplecroft and Wyldewood -- KCCO

Maplecroft and Wyldewood — KCCO

Retreat Woods and Deer Run -- The Blue Team, even though their bandanas were brown.

Retreat Woods and Deer Run — The Blue Team, even though their bandanas were brown.

Beechwood and Bunker Down -- G.U.E.S.S. (I can't remember what it stands for, but it was clever!)

Beechwood and Bunker Down — G.U.E.S.S. (I can’t remember what it stands for, but it was clever!)

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After the kids arrived and ate dinner, it was time for medication drop off, head checks, tuck deposits, and swim tests.  As I’m sure you can imagine, with 12 quite full cabins, this took a while.  In the mean time, while cabins waited for their turns at various stations, I have some pictures of some goofing around, some football throwing, and some playing of Kahquah’s official sport — tetherball.

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IMG_5321 IMG_5329 IMG_5328 IMG_5327 IMG_5326 IMG_5317Private Isaac with Deputy Minister of Defense Sherri.  I named myself Minister of Defense this afternoon, so I thought it only fitting that I get a Deputy and a super cute Private.

When the buses arrived, in expert fashion, we got those buses unloaded and got the multitude of children in to eat their dinners.  Our bus drivers always enjoy coming in, grabbing some dinner, and dining on the Muskoka Chairs facing the lake.  Who wouldn’t?  We appreciate our service from Niagara Air Bus very much, and we’re glad they feel comfortable grabbing a meal before they head back out.

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Yesterday, it was staff day off after the kids left.  It was our last Saturday to be all off at once, all together until the end of Bravo, so we enjoyed every second.  There was swimming (although the water was quite choppy, and you may have heard that the humidity has broken) but not many went in the lake, and unfortunately we weren’t able to offer tubing and water sports until this afternoon due to how choppy the water was from yesterday’s winds.  But the staff got their fun in nonetheless.

Saturday evenings, starting last Saturday and continuing through the next three Saturdays, there is square dancing offered at the community centre in town.  Some of the staff, LIT, and all of the Crew went in to partake, and Brooklyn was kind enough to throw 95 of her best shots onto my jump drive so that I can share them with you.  Don’t worry, I won’t put 95 pictures on here, I’ll have to pick and choose, but I do like having the option ;).  So here they are!  Apparently this was super fun, and I’m told that I won’t forgive myself if I don’t go next week.  According to Natalie, it’s her new passion, so… I may have to check it out.  But for now, please enjoy Brooklyn’s pictures.

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Oh, and one last mention before I go get some sleep — I know down South there have been some completely crazy weather patterns this weekend.  I just want to assure you all that while you may have heard about damage around us, we were not affected by more than a tornado warning and then an impromptu talent show in the basement on Friday afternoon.  I don’t mean to diminish a tornado warning, we did take it seriously, but the threat passed and has not returned.  We had a windy and considerably chillier day on Saturday, but it was beautiful, and today was gorgeous.  We are aware that we are blessed by God in His provision for us in keeping us untouched by Friday’s (and the rest of the weekend’s) crazy weather, and I know I speak for at least myself, if not more of us, when I personally wish everyone who WAS affected a speedy recovery from whatever they were left with.