Give Thanks

This is kind of a bizarre feeling for me… to sit and write a Camp blog post from the comfort of my own rec room.

But I digress.  This weekend, approximately 90 people converged on Camp to help prepare for winter, as they do faithfully every year.  We’re so thankful for everyone who came up, as well as for everyone who graciously released your loved ones with understanding that Camp is an important ministry to them and they felt they needed to be here.  That being said, it’s so nice to see so many people who come up as a big family group to not only help out around Camp, but to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.

Lost and Found was separated…..

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Windows were cleaned….

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Cleaning products were taken all over and cleaned with…

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Jobs were checked off of the duty list….

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Stairs were repaired on the Chalets…

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Wyldewood, Porcupine Ridge, and Deer Run were cleaned and stained…

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The tent platforms were taken down…

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Check out the piles of gravel/earth/dirt given to us by Ryerson Township as they were repairing the road!  They would have had to pay to get rid of it, so they asked us — do we want it??  Of course we do!  Check it!

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The fall colours were BEAUTIFUL!!

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Trees were chopped down before most of our volunteers arrived, and they were then chopped and stacked into firewood for the summer to keep the Camp nice and toasty.  Lifeguards Sarah and Trinda look like they were working hard!!

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The docks were taken out of the water and hauled up onto the beach.  The boats were pulled out of the water and stored.  The water looks weird to me with no docks and no buoy lines.

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A highlight for my family was my little brother Mike asking his girlfriend Belle to marry him on the Hiawatha Trail.  She said yes, and they’re very happy to begin planning for a Camp wedding next fall 😀  He let me creep behind a giant rock and take some pictures, so here you have it!

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Sunday morning, we had a church service in the lounge area of the lodge.  Frank and Nancy led worship, then Frank preached a sermon on an analogy between the HGTV show Income Property and the way Jesus works in our lives.  If you replace “Scott” with “Jesus,”  “Home-owners” with “we,” and “house/space” with “spirit/soul” in the slide I have here, it’s easy to see the ties.  Frank is a great preacher, and it’s always nice to have him teach us!

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And… I learned something this weekend, though had I given it much thought prior, I could have figured it out… the sun sets in a different spot in October than it does in August!!  In the summer, the sun sets behind the island.  On Sunday evening, the sun set behind the trees across from where the swimming dock is.  You stand at the top of the stairs going down to the water front for pictures instead of on top of the hill in front of the walkout rooms… It was a glorious weekend with lovely temperatures on Saturday and on Monday.  Sunday was chilly and it rained for part of the day, but the sun made way just in time.

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Sunday evening, just before dinner, we had three young people baptized in the lake.  It’s so lovely to know that Camp means so much to some of our attendees that they feel connected enough to solidify a commitment of that size at Camp.  It was wonderful to be able to have the people there with them who were close to them to witness this wonderful moment as well!

On a more business-related note, before I sign this off, I have created a tuck interest survey that I’d love if you’d give five minutes of your attention to.  It’s hard to know what to buy when we don’t have feedback from our customers 🙂  Please note that filling out this survey doesn’t mean that the answers you choose will wind up in the tuck shop, but we are certainly looking for your input to inform our overall decision making process.  Thanks for your time in advance!!

Click below to share your thoughts!!

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/F8YQD9H

 

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Tuesday!

Hey there readers!  I have no idea what to call this post, I’m starting to run out of clever ideas.  Tuesday!  it is….

Moving on.

So today was my day off as I mentioned yesterday, and I fled the Camp property for the solace of shopping and lunch in Huntsville with my Mommy.

Here are some pictures that I saved from yesterday because I took roughly 250 pictures yesterday, so there were plenty to spare.

Here is yesterday’s “beach” activity time.  These pictures wouldn’t have turned out quite so great today anyway, as it tried to rain off and on all day and was overcast.  I’m sure the kids still had a lot of fun today though, and I heard zero complaints when I got back on site.  In fact, I heard cheers, because as the candy lady (tuck shop manager), when I come back at dinner with an announcement that says we now have gummi mice and rain forest frogs, kids love me.  Let me tell you, if you want to be loved by everyone, come be the candy lady for a summer.
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Bracelet Making was fun as always… I was really tempted to sit down and make myself one, but I already have three that were gifts from students at the end of the year that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to part with, so I think I’ll have to refrain.

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Fitness with Uncle Evan — The kids were running for the lake and back.  Evan made sure he taught some proper stretching techniques before they set out, so that no one injured themselves unnecessarily.

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During our Jr. Lifeguard major, our candidates swam from the dock to the shallow swimming area and back, accompanied by Lifeguard Dave the whole time.  They all champed it!
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Remember back a couple weeks ago when I told you that Reaman Cober was here helping take down the old Pole Barn so that it could be relocated to the other side of the road, out of the way of the campground and the Family Camp area?  Well, it’s gone, and a new, smaller shed has been built in its place to cover the fridge/freezers and the wood for fires.  It looks lovely down there, and I’m not sure what we’re going to do with all of the extra space, but it sure LOOKS nicer from across the path.  The view from the campsites across the path has improved greatly.  Thanks for all your hard work, maintenance staff and volunteers!

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At Sports, there was some volleyball going on.  It looked AND sounded like everyone was having a great time.  Thankfully, this week hasn’t been nearly as hot as last week was, and so these activities are much more enjoyable.  Check out Josh’s expertly delivered overhand serve while the other kids look on and wait for it to arrive to them.

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Well, I’ll be back out tomorrow to take proper pictures of what actually happens on the same day, but thanks for humouring my day-old pictures from yesterday so that I could enjoy my day off today 🙂

 

Oh, as a side note:  I made a mistake in yesterday’s blog.  Aunt Brittany is not teaching an Art Major.  The kids who were doing Rule of Thirds in their notebooks were learning that as it applies to Photography.  This makes sense to me, given that Brittany is a talented photographer, so I don’t know why it didn’t click yesterday, but everyone makes mistakes 🙂

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

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…. and after leaving to do so, the sky started to get dark, and eerie looking.
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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.
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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!
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Tetherball — The official sport of Camp Kahquah
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Mr. Legge and Randy observe from a distance

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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

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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.
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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.

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The Time Warp Dance

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

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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 🙂

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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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Three Chords and the Truth

This morning I finally made it to an Underground where I got to stay to hear the message being preached.  Our Camp Pastor this week is none other than the amazing Aunt Liz.  I love to hear Liz teach, because you can hear her passion for showing these young kids who Jesus really is in every word she speaks.  Your kids are in good hands.

This week’s theme, as you’ve seen in earlier blogs, is Wreck It Ralph.  This morning during Underground, using clips from the Disney movie (which is pretty cute, if you haven’t already seen it), Liz talked about Satan being the father of lies, and how we have a reason not to believe those lies.  We know the truth, and Satan can’t get to us because of that.  She talked about how the antagonist in the movie is a deceiver and tries to steal Venelope’s identity by telling her a bunch of lies.  Liz and Laura talked about the lies we tell ourselves, the lies others tell us, and the lies we let ourselves believe which just let Satan win that round.  Then Liz taught about the Armour of God that we can dress ourselves with to protect ourselves from the lies all around us — whether it be that we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not liked, not worthy of God’s love — anything.  We can fight them all with God on our side.  The kids wrote lies they’ve been told or have believed about themselves on a piece of paper, and then on the other side they wrote down truths that they can cling to — things they’re good at, things they know about themselves — anything.  They covered lies with truth and glued the papers, truth side up, onto posters that are now hanging on walls in the Underground (the basement of the lodge).

Here’s a few pictures from Underground this morning, and I’ll add captions as I can remember what the pictures were about.  I am not an auditory learner, folks.  It may not surprise you that I learn by writing things down……. and I didn’t take any notes.  So here goes nothing!

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Comparing the antagonist to Satan who can look pretty great when we believe his lies, but looks sure can be deceiving.

Comparing the antagonist to Satan who can look pretty great when we believe his lies, but looks sure can be deceiving.

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I think here we were pushing the lies away from our view so we can see past them.

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We’re CHOOSING to believe the TRUTH that God has given to us!

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During activity times, I roamed around a bit.  I hoped to get up to the rock wall today while it was SO windy (you’ll see when you see pictures of the lake) that I figured there’d be no bugs…. and if you could see my legs right now, you’d know why I’d jump at that chance.  Bugs like me.  Sadly, I got distracted by something shiny I’m sure (my violin I think) and I didn’t make it up before dinner.

First, I stopped by the dock where the knee boarders were learning some necessary skills before they could hit the water.  Our boat was down again, so it worked out well that these kids needed more skills time before they could get behind the boat anyway.  Plus, I don’t know if you can tell or not, but the water’s pretty choppy.  It’d be tricky for beginning kneeboarders, that’s for sure.

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In Wilderness, Jared and Nat had the kids down in the Underground area watching a video clip of Man vs. Wild.  I managed to get a screen shot of kids watching attentively while the man in the video ate a grub of some sort.  YUCK!!

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At lunch, I took pictures of all of the cabins at their tables, because I figured that would be THE BEST way to make sure I got each and every child in a picture at least once throughout the week.  I do my best to catch them all at some activity or another, but it’s not always possible, so this way they all make it at least once for sure.  I forget which cabin is which, so your kids will have to tell you when they get home, but today’s lunch theme was something to do with being super colourful, and a lot of the kids (and counsellors!) did an excellent job with it!

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After lunch, during the songs, Beechwood asked Retreat….. Woods I think?  to sing them a love song.  It was VERY cute.

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At beach time, we had some super choppy water.  As a result, a lot of the water sports activities were replaced with swimming time because it is our first priority to keep kids safe.  I’m sure glad I wasn’t out there on a paddle board today!  I don’t think I’d have gotten far…. and I probably wouldn’t have stayed up, since I fell off yesterday and it wasn’t nearly so choppy.

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Jocelyn having a great time!  She'd just come out of the water and looked like she really enjoyed her swim.

Jocelyn having a great time! She’d just come out of the water and looked like she really enjoyed her swim.

Here’s Blain and Reaman trying to fix the Glastron so that we have A ski boat tomorrow.  We’re currently down two boats, so hopefully they had some success after I left!

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Lastly, I never make it into the blog (by my own choice, since I write it…), but I learned to play four chords on a guitar today, and Jillian, my lovely teacher, snapped some pictures while I went back and forth from an E Minor to an A Minor to a chord I knew sounded good, but don’t know what it is… to a C, and back again.

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Hopefully tomorrow is less choppy so I can get some pictures of water sports activities!  And I hope and plan to make it to the rock wall, the low ropes, and the archery tomorrow as well.

I’ll leave you with Jillian and the lovely Madelyn, Chris and Sherri’s daughter.  Chris and Sherri will be taking over for Liz and Graeme next year and have been blessed with an entire summer away from their jobs at home to be able to come and shadow Liz and Graeme and familiarize themselves with Camp life!  They’re fitting in quite nicely 🙂

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Until tomorrow evening!

I love to watch them learn

Today, I wandered around, and I watched a bunch of learning.  These kids get out of school, and if they’re anything like my students, they vow that they’re done with learning until September 3rd…. I bet today they didn’t even realize how much they soaked in, learned, and absorbed.  Being Monday, anyone who chose to major in any activity throughout the week had to learn how to do it.  As I’m sure you can imagine, it would be incredibly dangerous for us to send kids up the rock wall, out in kayaks, out on knee boards, etc…. without some training first.  So our fearless leaders taught.  And I snapped.

Check out the day’s highlights…..

Oh, and MY highlight!  Camp just bought me some photo editing software to use for the blog, specifically so that I can batch edit multiple images at a time, shrink em all up nice and small, and be able to upload without crashing Camp’s internet.  I am one happy blogger right now.

Ahem, and I digress… here are today’s highlights.

In crafts today with Kim, the girls made picture frames and bookmarks by painting, decorating, and hot gluing decorations and decals.  They looked like they were having lots of fun at this activity, and the finished products are sure to be delightful!

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The LIT (Leaders in Training) have taken over the Chapel floor to learn how to pack appropriately for an Algonquin Park canoe trip.  They had to pack their own food bags, and bring appropriate amounts of clothing and gear for a 4 day trip…. and get it all into their tiny packs.  I think if it were me, I’d be abandoning the creature comforts that I enjoy so much and swapping them with bug spray…. not that it’d help, the bugs eat me alive and I’m just the blogger!  But that hasn’t stopped kids from taking 5 bags of candy with them (Nate!) … ok, to be fair, they’re ziploc bags with twenty 5 cent candies in them, but still…. I suspect Nate’s canoe will go in circles because the energy he’ll have after all 5 bags of pure sugar will make him paddle twice as quickly as anyone else.  I did see Cait earlier run into the office to grab a stash of compact Bibles, because the LITs were trying to pack their big Bibles into their packs and it was taking up valuable space for other things.  We’re glad they’re taking their Bibles though, for sure!

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At the swimming dock, Junior Lifeguard skills training began.  And guess who’s back!?  Owen had SO MUCH FUN at Nova, that when he got home on Saturday night, he was registered for Quest, and he’s back in Junior Lifeguarding!  This week, because he just did it last week, he gets to play the part of the victim so that Ally has someone to save, while also building on the skills he learned last week.  Aunt Sarah is teaching Junior Lifeguarding this week.

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At the beach, Uncle Kenny and Uncle Jared were teaching the kayaking majors how to paddle, the different sides of the boats (starboard, port, bow, stern), and what’s included in safety kits, along with why it’s all in there.  Uncle Daniel explained why there’s a whistle in the safety bucket while he kept an eye on the beach from the guard tower.  As I left the beach, Kenny and Jared were helping the kids get the boats into the water, and they were going to set out into the lake.
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Also at the beach, Aunt Christine played some games in the water with the kids who’d signed up for beach as an activity rather than try a major.  This was always my preference when signing up for activities as a camper.  I am a big fan of just playing in the water.  I guess that doesn’t explain why I did canoeing, kayaking, and archery my three years of camp though…. (don’t ask me to use a bow and arrow 20 years later though, someone WILL get hurt…)

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Not quite at the rock wall yet, the rock climbing major participants learned how to properly and safely do up harnesses with Aunt Jillian.  The other half of them learned how to tie ropes with Uncle Josh and Aunt Chloe, and they switched half-way through so that all of the participants learned the proper way to secure their harnesses and tie themselves off.  These are very important skills that were important to be learned before they get to the wall tomorrow so that they can climb safely.

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At Cookie Baking, Aunt Jordanne helped her group of kids through her delicious cookie recipe.  I didn’t get any today, I must have left the room too soon or not come back in soon enough, but check out the future master bakers sitting at the table, waiting for the cookies to finish baking.

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I went out in the boat again (seriously, this is my favourite part of this job.  I get to go ride around in a boat and take pictures).  Some of these kids were hard to get my camera to focus on.  At 10x zoom, in order to get these great face shots, every little bounce in the boat ride makes my camera lose focus.  That’s why some of them are way farther away than others… because the faster and crazier the ride your kids wanted, the harder it was to get a camera to focus on them.  I suspect this will become an even bigger issue by Summit when the kids are way bigger.  Heather, our boat driver, thinks I should get behind the boat on a tube and let someone else take pictures.  I disagree though.  I think if I’m going to get on a tube, there should be no evidence 🙂

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A couple of these are out of focus because the camera kept focusing on the spray of water flying off of the J-Craft, but I found it very funny how Emma was just dragging her hand in the water as she tubed.

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These kids kept giving us a thumbs’ up, yelling faster, and yet here they are, hanging on for dear life….

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It has just occurred to me that Owen is not our only repeat this week.  Faith is back as well, but that may have been planned… I’m not sure of the details.  Either way, we’re thrilled to have every single child who’s here this week!

Here are some of the Kahquah Arcade theme decorations I mentioned in yesterday’s blog.  Clever, no?

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In Other News….

Jay, Blain, and Reaman are taking down the pole barn in the lower camp ground piece by piece, in hopes that they can rebuild it across the road somewhere, opening up more space in the lower camp ground.  This will be especially nice with all the kids running around, both now and during Family Camp in August, because it takes away a big spot of curiosity that wasn’t necessarily kid-friendly before, and moves it farther away from those it was never intended for.

Please note Blain and Jay swinging their axes and sledge hammers AT Reaman.  I’m not sure I’d pick on him while he was wielding a chain saw, though!

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