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.


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.


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.

The God of Angel Armies is Always By My Side

I know Who goes before me

I know Who stands behind

The God of angel armies

Is always by my side

The One who reigns forever

He is a Friend of mine

The God of angel armies Is always by my side

While I was catching up in the tuck shop tonight after getting back from two days away, I was listening to the beginning of Underground.  I listened to the kids BELTING this song out.  They weren’t just singing.  They were shouting.  Proclaiming.  They were owning that truth.  It’s really neat to hear the Worship Leaders drop out and just let the kids sing.  Their voices together are very powerful, giving Praise to The God of Angel Armies….
That same God of Angel Armies that they sang about in Underground tonight was out in full force today, protecting your kids and our staff (many of whom are likely also your kids) from some absolutely insane weather.  My day started out in Welland this morning.  It was hot, sticky, and windy.  We’d heard rumours of some good thunderstorm action that could show up throughout our drive today… there was even mention of squall lines, and the weather geek in me got quite excited.
Before I unfold today for you, I have to tell you some great news.  Earlier, I posted that Camp was looking for a new pickup truck.  Well, we have been hooked up.  Thanks to Rudy Wiebe Motors in Wainfleet, we now have a lovely gently used Chevy Silverado, and the Camp Truck is now black.  Check out some pics of Frank, our director, ironing out details with Rudy, and then of Nancy and Frank accepting the keys from Rudy, ready to drive it up here.  We’re very pleased with it!

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We headed for Barrie to stock up the tuck shop…. and it probably still won’t be enough candy :p

…. and after leaving to do so, the sky started to get dark, and eerie looking.
It was a very stark contrast to yesterday’s wandering around Niagara Falls, which looked like this (and it was 37 degrees…).
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Mom (Nancy) and I drove through some pretty intense rain and wind, all the while I was snapping pictures.  We were hoping everyone at Camp was inside, dry, and safe, because as I’m sure many of you saw, there were severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings all over the Southern and Eastern part of the Province.  It was an active day.
When we got back to Camp around dinner time, we found that thanks to smart phones, our staff was aware of the tornado warning situation, and to keep everyone as safe as possible, we discovered that a good portion of the afternoon was spent in the basement, enjoying an impromptu talent show, thrown together and hosted by our awesome lifeguards.  Of course, once the threat had passed and there was no more thunder and lightning, the kids were allowed to head back to the beach.  The evening finished off here nice and sunny.  Nothing came of the warnings here, though we know that it did elsewhere, and so we are very thankful tonight for the God of Angel Armies who was watching over our facilities and most importantly, our kids and staff.  As I’ve seen pictures rolling in over Facebook from all over today of damage left by these storms, I’m reminded that stuff is replaceable, people are not… but I’m also very thankful that we had zero damage.
Even though I was in the car, bracing against driving rain and raging winds, pictures were still taken!  Thanks to Shelly who happily handed over her memory card when I walked back into the building.
Talent Show
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Between acts, MCs Conor and Dave had people doing all kinds of things!  Here, it appears that the male counsellors are doing pushups.IMG_5662

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This may have been the “how to climb the rock wall” demonstration that I heard about at dinner.

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The infamous cup song….
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Again, thanks to Aunt Shelly for the pictures!  Here is the short but sweet free swim time the kids were able to have once the weather cleared up a bit.  Some of them are of her son’s cabin, but those pictures turned out awesome, so please enjoy!
IMG_5693 IMG_5694 IMG_5698 IMG_5696 IMG_5703 IMG_5700This is our tag in and out board.  This is where, when you’re at the beach, you have to place your tag on the side that says you’re there.  This way, if you forget to tag out, the lifeguards know they need to look for you.  It’s best to remember to tag out though, so that there’s never the fear that you’re lost in the water somewhere.IMG_5704

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Tetherball — The official sport of Camp Kahquah
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Mr. Legge and Randy observe from a distance


Dinner tonight was “Banquet Night” so check out some of the pics Shelly got of everyone all snazzied up.

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Ringing the Dinner Bell

And, don’t think I’ve forgotten… I know I promised that I’d show the hilarious pictures from Medieval Times night on Tuesday, and I remembered!  From my Grandmother’s house yesterday in Welland, I sure did try, but apparently they’ve decided they no longer need to be connected to the Internet, and so I couldn’t post last night.Check out the pictures from Tuesday’s Campfire!  This is a rare treat, as I don’t usually make it to Campfire.  I find that that’s actually the best time to write the blog, because no one else is using the internet…. that, or 12:30 am…. which it is quickly approaching here.Somewhere, not being used, someone (and I’m legitimately not sure who) found a set of Gallows…. why do we have gallows you ask?  I really have no idea.  But they were used with pleasure at the Campfire.  Here, we find Joe, one of our trusted maintenance guys, chilling.

Here are Uncle Waffles and Aunt Karley doing the “Smartest Man Alive” skit.  I’m not sure how he does it, but every time Waffles left, he was able to guess which person was chosen in the line.

The Time Warp Dance


The crowd yelling “PUNISHMENT!! PUNISHMENT!!!” in true Medieval fashion, when some of the male counsellors cheated at their game.


The outcome of the game resulted in a dance-off between Noah and Luke.

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Noah was declared the winner.

And I’m not sure what made the decision to therefore put Josiah in the gallows, but his brother Jacob looks pretty content standing beside his baby brother, in the gallows, with tomatoes and tomato juice on his face.  Josiah’s a great sport, and hey, I’ve heard some of the stuff that goes on at Campfire.  I’d take tomatoes in the face over many, many other things 🙂

And finally, to wrap up this, the last blog of Blaze, these pictures were also from Tuesday.

Also in Medieval fashion, our counsellors and LITs were gathered together on the Dusty Knoll, and they had to fight each other to remove each others’ socks.  I believe they named it Sock Wars…. Thanks to Sherri for these pictures, and I’m glad I wasn’t out there.  I would not have wanted to have gotten roped into that one!  For good reason, we let the guys and girls go separately on this one, and didn’t involve the kids.

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They’re Blazing!

Blaze has begun!  They’re here!  They arrived and ate some tacos.

I have succumbed to the Kahquah Cold that usually attacks our staff in some way or another, one or two at a time, throughout the summer.  SO before the Nyquil kicks in and my writing becomes completely incomprehensible, here’s your Blaze 2013 Update!

Every weekend, the staff is off from Saturday when the kids leave until Sunday when the new set of kids shows up.  I have some pictures of staff tubing and knee/wakeboarding.

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At lunch yesterday, even though the kids were gone, we still sang a bunch of our “run around the table” songs during dessert.  Uncle Frank was caught with his elbows on the table, Uncle Jay gave us a gun show, Uncle Chris and Aunt Sherri ran around the tables hand in hand, and there was talk of trying to make Aunt Lynn give Uncle Randy a beach save…. but it never came to be.

In typical Sunday fashion, I have no pictures of the kids themselves.  I do, however, have some that I snagged from Matt after the LIT (Leaders in Training) Canoe trip, so I’ll share those.  The kids that were on this trip last week are now cabin leaders with an experienced leader, but are in the last half of their LIT Training.  They are excited to be cabin leaders, for sure!

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Also awesome, our very own TK took some more lifeguard staff pics, and this time Bradley made it into the shots!  So please enjoy those as well.

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I look forward to showing you highlights of the kids throughout the week!


Kahquah’s Got Talent!

Before I was awake and out of bed this morning, much of Camp was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to go for their last day together.  The Crew went for an island swim in the fog this morning before I was even out of bed!  Kim took pictures and graciously offered to let me take them.  I gladly accepted, because while I may be a good photographer, I’m not quite good enough to take pictures while I sleep….. yet.  The kids were taken to the island on the pontoon boat, dropped off, and, accompanied by lifeguards on kayaks and canoes, they swam back to the dock.

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Before lunch, the wilderness kids must have been REALLY hungry!  I promise, the kitchen feeds them well!  They don’t HAVE to resort to eating grasshoppers!  But while I sat in the office, this is the conversation I overheard (and creeped on with my camera… I may not be able to get pictures in my sleep, but I can get them through the office window super stealthily).

Jared:  Who wants another grasshopper?
Several kids:  Me!  I do!  I do!!!

They take a grasshopper to Kristen, one of our crew leaders, and the whole group of them stands in front of her, Jared’s palm outstretched with a grasshopper on it, and they chant “EAT IT!  EAT IT!!  EAT IT!!!”  Of course, Kristen shrieks, says no emphatically, and refuses with everything in her.  My kind of girl.

They see me spying and snapping pictures from the office window, and decide I should eat it.  I of course reply, “Absolutely not!!!”

A camper proceeds to give in to the peer pressure himself, and says “FINE!  I’ll eat it!”  He takes it from Jared’s hand, and in his mouth it went.  Folks, I watched him chew it and swallow it.

Kristen:  I can’t believe I just experienced this!!

Group of boys:  Why?
– What’s wrong?!
– We roasted them last night!
– Yeah!  They taste like chicken!!

…… I don’t have words.  I’m really glad I took notes during this conversation, because I can’t believe I experienced it, either.

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The LITs have been gone since Tuesday on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park.  They returned just before lunch, dirty and bug bitten.  Brooklyn refused to have her face shown in the picture as they devoured some mac and cheese and pizza.  Rumour has it, Brooklyn showered three times this afternoon.  I’d say it was deserved though, as they were troopers to go on a trip like that!  It’s not for me, that’s for sure.  My camera would probably get wet, and then what would I do with myself!?

The theme during lunch today was to come dressed as your favourite video game character.  I managed to get a few shots of some kids (I think they’re all girls, sorry boys) before the birthday festivities distracted me.

Check out a character from a Cars game….


a whole group of Venelope impersonators….


Pac Man (side note… this young lady is the granddaughter of my Grade 8 teacher!  Boy, do I feel weird!)


Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach….


Just Dance characters….


and even more characters from Wreck It Ralph…

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Next, there were two brothers celebrating a birthday today (not Wednesday!  We had a false alarm earlier in the week where cupcakes with candles were brought out at breakfast and the boys informed us that their birthday was actually Friday).  Here’s Aunt Liz delivering cupcakes with sparklers while we all sang.

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And then during the sing-song part of lunch, Benjamin was asked for a gun show, and boy did he deliver!!!

I managed to get one shot of water skiing from the dock… and sorry, I don’t know who this was…


Here’s the Crew doing a 5-legged race, which required some great teamwork!  There was a lot of “LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT!” yelling going on from each group.  They had to proceed back to the Crew campfire area and stick their faces in a disgusting concoction of foods that shouldn’t go together (all fit for eating, don’t worry), and find the Smarties.  Gross!!  Glad it was them and not me!
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The game today looked super involved.  I didn’t get to see any of it, because I was in the tuck shop at the time.  They moved camp-wide game to accommodate the talent show (which there are pics of further down), so thanks to Lindsay for snagging pictures for me!  I’ll do my best to explain them without having been there.

It looks like one of the stations involved eating mini donuts suspended from the clothesline….

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One involved talking to Aunt Liz about something (sorry, that’s a lame explanation, haha)….

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One involved moving from hula hoop to hula hoop on the shuffle board courts….

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One involved moving stealthily through mini inner tubes.  This looks like a relay of sorts…

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When finished, beach balls needed to be maneuvered stealthily in and out of pylons… using a pool noodle!  Yikes!


This activity had one partner blindfolded while the other verbally guided him or her through a minefield of water balloons!  Tricky!

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Also tricky, try making a paper airplane under pressure and then getting it to fly through a hula hoop!!

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We had to talk to Aunt Hope along the Hiawatha Trail… and it looks like they may have had to do the “ee ee, oo oo” monkey dance for her!

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Lastly, there was a talent show before their last Underground tonight where we saw some VERY talented Kahquah kiddos!

Porcupine (Porky) Ridge did a skit… I don’t remember the words.  It was pretty gross, though.


There was some gymnastics….


Owen and Aunt Sarah did a kayaking skit about the importance of wearing life jackets while kayaking…

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Savannah sang beautifully!!


So did Bethany, accompanied by Aunt Liz


Annika played the piano…


These young ladies did a skit about going to the movies…


Some more gymnastics… and on a concrete floor, even!


Rebekah played us a lovely song on her violin.  Mom is proudly filming in the background.


Owen sang for us


There was some dancing…

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Some tumbling…

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Lilith sang a song accompanied by Aunt Natalie… and she had the whole room clapping along with her.

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Jocelyn danced without music.  She’s got some stellar moves!  I wonder what song was playing in her head.


Lilah sang We are never getting back together, accompanied by Aunt Natalie as well… and it’s been in my head all night.  Thanks, Lilah!  I guess it’s a good thing I like Taylor Swift!!


Well, tomorrow morning we send these kids off.  Back to you they’ll bound, hopefully full of stories about how great a time they had and how much fun it was!  They’ll have made new friends, and maybe tried things they never knew they were capable of.  Hopefully they learned a lot more about Jesus, how much He loves them, and how they can be saved by Him if they aren’t already saved.  If they ARE saved, YAY!  We’re so happy, and hopefully they were able to strengthen a relationship with Jesus that was already there, and maybe even be an example to their cabin mates!  After all, this IS the point of Camp!  We love that they have fun, but we strive to tell them how loved, precious, and perfect they are in the eyes of Christ.

Have a good weekend!


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.




Uncle Tim paddle boarding


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.


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


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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