July 20, 2013

Whitney trip is back!

Half an hour ago the entire camp turned out to welcome back our Senior Boys who paddled across Algonquin to Whitney and back – a trip they’d been training for every morning at 6 for weeks. We’re proud of the boys’ accomplishment, but even prouder of the dedication and teamwork they showed in their training. Camp at 6:3o in the morning is always a hive of activity, and one of my most favourite times to witness children at their best. Here’s what it’s like every morning here: Kids in the Arowhon A style swimming class are practicing style swimming at the girls dock, with their four staff teachers… Whitney and Brent marathon trip kids are paddling and portaging circuits around camp – paddle from the Point to the Curve, jump out of the boats, put them on their backs and portage back to the Point. And again…. and again. At the canoe dock, also in the morning, there are a dozen kids working on style canoeing – They’re currently choreographing and practicing a torch paddle (canoe ballet at night, with torches on the bow and stern of each boat) for the last night of this session… And there are kids getting coached in tennis… that’s all before breakfast.

The Juniors all came back from their canoe trips this afternoon. A great time was had by all…. The girls Brent trip (170 km marathon canoe trip to the extreme north of Algonquin Park and back) was supposed to leave when the Whitney trip left – at daybreak yesterday, but we cancelled it. As risk managers, our job is to assess the risk of every activity and decide – in advance – whether it’s safe, and what precautions to put in place to reduce risk. the Brent girls had been training every morning, as had the Whitney boys, but the two trips are profoundly different – The Whitney route is within a half hour’s hike of Highway 60 at every point, and the halfway mark is the town of Whitney, an easy one-hour drive from camp. Whitney has reliable phone service as well. The Brent route goes deep in the interior of Algonquin, through territory that’s nowhere near the highway, making an evacuation – if needed – very challenging. On Wednesday, when we made this decision, the weather forecast for Friday was 30’C with very high humidity (making it feel like 37’C) and possible severe thunderstorms. We assessed the risk and decided that possible heatstroke from over-exertion, and having to pull off the water in case of thunderstorms, made the Brent trip a bad risk. Whitney was okay because 1) it’s a much easier trip and 2) because of the route’s proximity to Highway 60 etc.

Other camp news: We hosted a cabin reunion at lunch the other day. This was a cabin of girls (now grandmothers, some with grandkids as camp!) who started at camp as Inkies in 1945; most of them grew up to be Section Heads here, and they’re still best friends! They came to camp the other day wearing cabin t-shirts: Geta Aaron Richman, Marilyn Arnold Aarons, Frances Silver Kushner, Wendy Herman Eisen, Diane Finkel Hubert and Sharon Bez Ruzumna. They got up in front of the whole camp to sing We Are The Girls of Arowhon… and were surprised when we joined in – because we still sing that song…  Then they walked over to the Senior Girls section and joined them in a rousing rendition of Sure There’s Taxes – another song we’ve been singing at camp since before I was an Inkie in 1953.

And: the kids who carved cherrywood paddles last week have been oiling their paddles, and they look gorgeous….AND: tonight is the Cotillion banquet and Senior Girls show, Rustic Lounge.

Whitney trip is back!

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