Non Nobis Solum is the slogan for Kamp Kanawana meaning "Not For Ourselves Alone".
A big part of who I am comes from 10 years at working at YMCA summer camps. I began as a camp counselor at Kamp Kanawana in St. Sauveur and it opened up my whole world. The most important thing we were taught during our staff training was MMFI, which meant "Make Me Feel Important". That was how we were meant to treat each and every camper. Not only did we encourage campers to gain self-confidence through outdoor skills such as canoeing, sailing, archery, etc., but what we gave by teaching and caring and laughing with them, we gained back tenfold. The campers and staff helped me to grow out of my shell and become who I am today. Camp was also where I learned how to live in the moment thanks to Bruce Netherwood's "Chiefs Talk". I'll never forget when he said that we often miss out on the now by looking around the corner at what's next in our lives, and thinking "that's what I do!". I also remember him saying that any one of us could be camp director and I thought that was way out of my reach, how cool that he said that, and I did it! I went from a shy new staff member to growing into Junior Girl, and then Senior Girl Section Director. I remember my last summer at University, thinking that I needed to get a "real job", which felt really depressing (ugh, society!), thank goodness I changed my mind, I just couldn't give up what I loved and though I almost lost my chance by waiting too long, Bruce hired me back. The next summer, Bruce moved to Cape Cod to become Executive Director of the South Shore YMCA Camps Hayward & Burgess. I had just graduated from University and had no idea what I was going to do with my Art History degree! I gave Bruce a call to see how the move went, and lo and behold he offered me a job to become Landsports Director. With my good friend Karl I then became CIT director (counselor-in-training) and we had so much fun bonding with a group of crazy 16 year-olds! After a winter in Banff and a winter in Bristol, England, I was then hired full-time as Assistant Director and finally Camp Hayward Director.
To receive "The Giving Tree" Award is such an honour and I am thrilled.
If you are interested, I have posted pictures from my time at both camps on the gallery page.
Special shout out to all of my amazing friends who were camp staff with me at such a joyous time in my life. I wish I could tell you in person how much you mean to me, still after so many years, you helped me live to the fullest.
Awesome Things About Camp:
- All-Camps (especially Grease Day)
- Lumberman & Voyageurs (I was Bossman in 1991)
- Opening & Closing Campfires
- Canoe Trips (I went on a 6 day exploratory, where I learned the J-Stroke)
- Section Meetings
- Capture the Flag
- Douse the Fire
- Around the Lake Relay
- Green Triangle
- Section Meetings & Section Nights Out
- Sailing, Canoeing, Archery, Rockclimbing, Frisbee Golf, Drama
- Post Camp
- Sneak Outs to Chiefs Cabin & Making Rice Krispie Squares
- Camp Songs
- Nature Walks
- Candlelight Canoeing
- Star Gazing
- Polar Bear Dip
- Paint the Counselor
- High Ropes, including Zip Line where I got to spend the day throwing kids out of a tree!
- Pre-Camp Training
- Outdoor Education & Teambuilding
- Canoeing to Work
- Mission Impossible
- Mariners & Pioneers (I helped to found the games at Burgess/Hayward)
- Announcements, Announcements, Announcements
- Coffee House
- Horseback Riding
- Beach Day
- International Staff
- Specialty Camp (I taught Rollerblading!)
- Camp Dances
- The anticipation of the first day of the session with the campers arriving
- It was cool to be different and be yourself
- The bond between campers & staff