August 16, 2019

My heart is full of joy – the kind only camp can give

As the dark lifted this morning just before 6, a huge shout went out. And then another. It was the Senior Boys and Senior Girls shouting to wish their friends farewell and winds at their backs, as our hardy marathon canoe trippers set off, at first light, to paddle the marathon trips Brent and Whitney. Brent is 170 km of gruelling paddling and portaging. They’ll paddle till dusk tonight, and get back on the water at first light tomorrow. These kids and staff have been training for Brent and Whitney trips since the day after they arrived at camp. Every morning they paddle and portage at speed. If their luck holds, we (the whole camp) will be welcoming them back tomorrow late afternoon. We’ll keep you posted on this blog.

While mist still veiled the lake this morning, I left my cabin at 6:45, to see staff coaching campers through their last stages of getting ready to be tested for Arowhon A, our highest swimming award. I headed to the canoe dock to do a First Class canoeing award… and ran into a kayak class on the water.

I had the great privilege of passing the boy on his First Class Canoeist award. As usual there was a great crowd of his crowd of his friends there to celebrate him. With them I felt great joy – for the great canoeing lineage that came before him, and inspired his dedication and hard work. His Arowhon alum mom and grandmother were both great canoeists here.

The high awards, with the years of hard work behind them, the crowds of friends there to cheer on the kids getting tested – this is a core aspect of our camp – for children to make a decision to take on a big challenge, to find in themselves the grit to persevere when the going gets tough, to be cheered on, supported and celebrated by their community – That puts a big smile on my face.

yours from Teepee Lake,
Joanne Kates

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