"What Wenonah Means To Me"
Erica Zucker - Age 14
When I think “camp,” I think of the same words each time; friends, family, home, love. I think of the cabins, the lake, and the campgrounds. Put together, all these things create my summer home, my Camp Wenonah.
Over the years, I have grown to love camp more and more. Some may ask “why do you love camp so much?” and for that there is no simple answer. To me, camp is a home, with a family that loves you unconditionally. It is a home in which you are never left alone or without anything to do. A home where you don’t want to sleep or even blink, because when you do, you miss so much, so you try your hardest to live every moment.
I love camp and I am counting down the days until I arrive there, returning home but at the same time feeling like I never left.
Nathan Flegel - Age 8
Camp Wenonah means having fun everyday. I really like their choices of activities and food. My favourite activities are rock climbing, art and archery. They taught me how to shoot an arrow and I even hit the bulls-eye two times. I was really happy that I hit the bulls eye. Art is really fun, we made our own chia pet that grew grass hair from his head. His name was “grassy”. I also liked rock climbing a lot, it was really fun. I liked the
obstacle course one the best. I liked the morning dip, it really wakes you
up. My favourite meal was the hamburgers that the chefs made. It had green peppers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and red peppers. They were so good.
I can’t wait to go back this summer.
Sage Cryderman - Age 13
Have you ever had one of those moments, where you don’t care about what happens next, or why it happens? Where you don’t have any worries in the back of your mind about school, or conflicts? Where you don’t want to be anywhere but where you are, you don’t want to be anyone but who you are, and you don’t want to feel anything but what you feel in that exact moment. Where so many things make sense, yet you are fine with not knowing about the things that don’t. Where you are completely engulfed in that particular moment and surrounded your own bliss which is magnified by the bliss of those around you. Imagine being in this state, but being able to feel it for a month. THIS, is what Camp Wenonah is to me.
End of Month Closing
The last full day of at the end of each month is a special one at camp. A banquet dinner is served in our dining hall, and then campers and staff gather together at our main campfire for one final night of song and reflection prior to their departure the next day. The much awaited slide show after our final campfire is composed of images from the past month of camp.
Wenonah Games are a highlight of the end of the month at Camp. Campers are placed into one of three houses Zibbins, Aki, or Dawaa.
Once you are a member of a house, you belong to that house for life. Campers will belong to the same house as any family members who have attended camp in the past.
For three days at the end of each month, campers have the opportunity to choose from a selection of literally hundreds of different activities to participate in for their house team. There is something for everyone, and all activities take place in the spirit of healthy competition.
At the end of the Summer all house points are tallied up and the Wenonah Games Challenge cup is awarded to the winning house.
Our acclaimed Camp Wenonah leadership programs (POLARIS
Wenonah campers have the choice of participating in programs that meet their individual interests and needs. Each camper selects activities that present a challenge or that provide a new experience. Campers may preselect three instructional badge level programs (swimming, kayaking, sailing, canoeing, archery), or recreational programs (tennis, environmental programming, climbing, land or water-based sports) in advance of Camp.
The Meaning of Camp
While I was at camp this year, Jeff asked me to talk about the meaning of camp at the closing campfire with Melissa, the girl's section director.
Jeff asked me right after dinner, when I was leaving the lodge with an apple I had stolen for a camper who had missed dinner on account of an ambiguous stomach ailment. He was standing just by the Boy's Section path, concealed behind a hedge.
"Mr. Babiak," he called, "Would you come here a moment?"
When he called me over, I was petrified. There was a distinct possibility that Jeff had seen me pilfer the fruit, but I couldn't imagine it meriting a lecture from the camp director. Was there an ulterior motive behind his beckoning, And why was he hiding in the foliage, I noticed Melissa standing next to him. If I was petrified before, I was transmogrified into a mobile stone statue. I immediately began browsing any interaction I'd had with a female camper in the past forty-eight hours, for any clue as to the reason for this sudden interview.
"I'd like you and Melissa to talk at the closing campfire about what camp means to you."
For a moment, I really didn't know what to say. I was relieved that I hadn't violated one of the many subtle rules of polite company and conduct that exist for leadership campers at Wenonah, so his question really didn't sink in until Melissa invited me for tea in the lodge to talk it over.
"Talk what over?" was my question. Melissa paused. My eyes stared back blankly.
"The meaning....of camp?"
As a human being living at camp, I belong to a complex hierarchy of individuals from varying walks of life, all bringing to camp their own unique experiences. For me, this is a facet of the camp experience. Going to camp really is like traveling to a very exclusive, very foreign destination. At camp, you are basically sequestered from the bombardment of audio/visual/textual media that we consume on a day-to-day basis in our own society. Camp is life beyond prejudice. You exist as individual who is judged first and foremost by their actions and their words, not their gender or their race.
Camp life shocks me more than city life now, because the older I get, the more conscious I become of the differences and inequalities that exist in the world around me. To see, in an instant, those inequalities leveled in a place I've been taking for granted seven years of my life is the truly astounding part.
To ask the meaning of camp is to ask who I am. Melissa and I both voiced this opinion at our teatime discussions: we don't know where the individual ends and camp begins. I can't imagine my life without camp. Well, actually, I can. I'd be lazier and apathetic and antisocial and anecdote-less.
Camp is my life. It's as simple as that.
The Place I Belong
There's no doubt in my mind when I say the place I most belong is Wenonah. Wenonah is the most amazing summer camp in the world which I have been blessed to attend for the past eight years of my life.
For the last half of my life I have had an amazing opportunity that not many experience. Camp Wenonah is situated in beautiful Muskoka just twenty minutes from Bracebridge. My camp is fantastic because it is located between two picturesque lakes, Saw and Clear. Clear Lake is the larger of the two where the swimming, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and water
The lessons learned at camp are priceless! The principals of respect, determination and ambition are taught to us through group activities and living in loving and nurturing environment. The counselors are remarkable people who have the same passion, love and drive for camp as I do. They do their best to make each camper feel respected and important. They are able to do this by creating a real relationship not only in a leadership role but in a friendship role as well. These counselors are caring, dedicated people who instill values and push us to excel and try new things we wouldn't have necessarily attempted. My counselors have been outstanding role models and friends and have definitely made my camp experience enjoyable and unforgettable.
The friendships that I have made at Camp Wenonah are the strongest most genuine bonds I could ever ask for. I have grown up with people who I consider my best friends. I love them all and I am so grateful that I was able to meet these extraordinary people at my camp. It just wouldn't be the same without all of them. I have made a memory with every single person, and when it comes down to it, all I have are the memories and anticipation for next summer.
I know that as I awake each day in my small but oh so cozy bunk I don't know exactly what to expect but I know I should appreciate each moment because it has to come to an end sometime. The last night of camp is the worst. You have a bittersweet sense of life. You are ecstatic because you know you just had the most remarkable month of your life, but feel the worst sense of pain because you are being ripped away from all that you know. Camp is almost unexplainable, and each August as I return back to the city, I try and put to words what I have just experienced and each year not being able to express the love I posses for camp. It's not until I'm home in my own bed that I sincerely know what I have just undergone.
Camp is who I am and Wenonah is the place I belong.