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!?

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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….

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a whole group of Venelope impersonators….

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

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Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach….

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Just Dance characters….

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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!!!

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

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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!

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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.

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There was some gymnastics….

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

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Savannah sang beautifully!!

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So did Bethany, accompanied by Aunt Liz

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Annika played the piano…

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

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

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

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Owen sang for us

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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The Kahquah Quadathletes

I had a kid ask me today what a blog is…. I took his picture at the low ropes course and he asked, head tilted to the side trying HARD to understand, “is that going in your…. your….”

“Blog?”  I asked.

“Yeah, that….. what’s that?”

“Well, basically, I follow you guys around and take pictures, then in my room every night I write about what I saw you doing, and I post it on the internet so your parents can see it!”

“When you’re not selling us candy….”

“Right.”

“What’s it called?”

“Camp Kahquah blog.”

He just nodded, as if it now made all the sense in the world.  Another kid, from atop a tire suspended from a tree, paused and looked at me and quipped sarcastically….  “creative!” and then she went back to trying to cross the obstacle course.  Kids slay me.

Anyway, on to the adventures of the day.

Thankfully, the winds were much calmer and cooler today than yesterday.  The humidity is gone and the wind has chilled out.  We were able to do our water activities that were missed yesterday, complete with a fabulous relay (quadathlon, if you will) at game time tonight.  This is the game that had to be postponed from last night because it was so windy that it was super choppy in the water.  This game would not have been super fun last night.  I hiked…. ok drove… to the rock wall, low ropes course, and archery to get some shots up there, and once again, I sampled the culinary skills of our cookie bakers.

At archery, here we are again shooting bows and arrows into the targets.  I don’t remember having a nice screen to catch the arrows when I was a camper…. if memory serves correctly, I had to traipse off into the bush to find my arrows when I missed the target.  To be fair, this was 18-20 years ago, and I never enjoyed archery, so I may be making it worse in my brain than it truly was…… there’s a small chance.

I had a bit of a “moment” at Archery today when I told Zach that his Dad was a counsellor my first year as a camper…. it was bizarre.  Does anyone else remember the actions to “I said let me see your Uncle Jeremy?”  Zach says he imagines they were something crazy.

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At the rock wall, Kylie climbed the wall wearing a backpack full of rocks to add a challenge.  Josh belayed her from the ground.  Sydney sat watching, but I heard when I arrived that Sydney climbed all the way to the top BLINDFOLDED!!  There are only two rock climbers in major activity period 2, so the lucky girls got to focus on challenging themselves to do their very best, with very little wait time in between runs to the top.

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At low ropes, kids were starting from opposite sides of a line of swinging tires, and had to pass each other in the middle of the course.  This required teamwork from both sides of the course, as well as in the middle.  Those waiting at either side were pushing (gently and safely of course) the tires to give their teammates a boost toward the middle or to help get them going.  They then had to pass each other in the middle, switching sides from where they started.  This required great finesse, lots of teamwork, solid problem solving skills, and made for some phenomenal action shots.  There are quite a few shots of this, mostly because I felt the work they were putting into getting across this obstacle warranted a showcase of the process of it.

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Cookie baking….. delicious.  I love this recipe.  Apparently there’s NO oil in it!  The butter used completely makes up for it, but there’s no oil 🙂

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Tonight, I showed up at the beach to ask Lynn and Liz a question, and I found that the camp wide game was a relay of epic proportions.  It reminded me of a relay we did back in my days as a Camper…. when I was a Camper, we had to line up as a cabin at the swimming area at the beach, run into the water in our bathing suits with a tshirt on one at a time, come out of the water, take off the wet tshirt, ring as much water as we could into a bucket, and then the next person in line would go.  We’d repeat until the bucket was full.  Yes, this meant we had to put soaking wet tshirts BACK ON, and run back into the lake and repeat.  A lot of the pictures in the water are quite shadowy, as the sun was very much in the way, but it was a glorious day, humidity free, and not super windy, so I am NOT complaining!  But I digress….

This relay though, was much more complex.  The first challenge was to send three kids per team out in a canoe.  They had to canoe out to one of the lifeguards, then turn around and come back to the beach.  Once their canoe was back up on shore, they had to go tag a swimmer from their team so that the swimmer could swim from the beach to the swimming dock.

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The swimmers swam with all their might, as fast as they could, headed for the dock.  When they got there, they tagged in another team member who jumped off of the dock and swam back to the beach.

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Upon return to the beach, the return swimmers had to tag a runner who ran from the beach, up the stairs going to the swimming dock, and to out in front of the lodge to another runner who stood ready and waiting to be tagged.  They tagged the hand of the waiting runner # 2, and….

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Tagging off at the top of the hill, and Mina is OFF!  (I sure hope that's Mina!  I've been trying hard all week to make sure I have their names right....)

Tagging off at the top of the hill, and Mina is OFF! (I sure hope that’s Mina! I’ve been trying hard all week to make sure I have their names right….)

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…. off they ran, down the lower driveway, back to the beach, where they tagged a kayaker!  Side note:  I think Dr. Craig picked an excellent spot to stand guard during this game.  If there were going to be injuries (and there weren’t!), they’d likely be while running up hills!

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The kayakers had to kayak out to a different lifeguard, turn around, and come back to the beach.  Once the kayak was back up on the beach, the winner of each heat was declared.  It was excellent quadathlon sportsmanship at its Kahquah finest.  Well done, Campers!  Well done!  Check out Aunt Teagan and Uncle Josiah (accompanied by Ethan, I think, but I can’t tell for sure just from the back of his head…) as they cheer on their campers!

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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.