Sunday Reflection Series: Growh

Spring has sprung which means it is time for the Earth to regrow. Although in Canada we can never be certain exactly when the last snow of the season is we know it is coming and with it the blossoming of trees, new baby birds in nests, and the hum of bumblebees around the flowers. The Earth is growing and so are we. Some of the growth we can see, by marking our height on the wall, the need for a larger pair of shoes, or learning we no longer need to sit in a car seat.

The more important and more meaningful growth cannot always be seen. It is growing as a person, learning life skills, growing in faith, growing friendships, growing resilience. New experiences give us the chance to grow, learn, and have new experiences. Growth does not come without risk and trust. If we stay in the world we know, without stepping outside to try something new we may not ever be able to discover some of the best parts of who we are. Camp is not only where we play, it’s where we learn, take risks, and grow.

“[Camp] had an immeasurable impact on my family and me. For my father, my brothers and I, being campers and counsellors … taught us much about nature; about responsibility; and most importantly, about ourselves.” - Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Sunday Reflection Series: Ways our Campers Say "I Love You"

We know some children have a hard time saying those three words. With Valentines Day just past we thought we would share some of the ways our campers share their love.

In What They Say...

"Can I braid your hair?"

"Can I sit beside you?"

"Look at what I did in Arts & Crafts today!"

"How are you feeling today?"

 

In What They Do...

Pour their friends a glass of water or juice.

Hold the door open.

A high five!

Sit with a friend who was sitting alone.

 

 

Sunday Reflections Series: New Years and Change

We are so close to 2018 and we at Sparrow Lake Camp are all looking forward to the changes that 2018 will bring. Change can be a very nerve-wracking topic filled with uncertainty and dread. Although change can be difficult to face, the impact that adversity has on an individual is inspiring. A camper’s first time at camp, for example, puts them in a new environment. It is, perhaps, their first time from home or first night away from their family. They are mingling with life-long campers, staff, and other new campers. There is measurably less structure than in school. All of this is a massive change. Maybe it’s their first time staying in a bunk bed and they may learn that they do not like sleeping at a height. All of these changes may seem miniscule but this is a big step for many children. Being able to grow through this experience can create more resilient and adaptable children. With a New Year comes New Year’s Resolutions, or positive change. It is this commitment and resilience that we try to instill in every camper that we hope contribute to their ability to enact positive change.

Our New Years Resolution at Sparrow Lake Camp is to Spend More…

Spend more time with friends

Spend more energy out in nature

Spend more days exploring and learning

Spend more thoughts reflecting and being thankful

Spend more conversations complimenting and improving each other

Spend more evenings around a campfire

Spend more laughs with new friends

Sunday Reflections Series: Take a Breather, Take a Break

One of the best parts about Sparrow Lake Camp is the ability it has to disconnect us from the ‘real world’ and gives us the opportunity to sit in nature and just reflect. Life gets busy, and with school in full swing for campers and many of our staff, it can be hard to take a break. For parents, holidays are right around the corner and sometimes there may just not be time between shuttling your child from swimming to hockey to dance. We all lead busy lives and that’s why this Sunday Reflection is focused around the idea of taking a breath and taking a break.

It is increasingly easy to get swept up in daily life and not take a minute to just sit and reflect. Focusing on breathing, meditating, or journaling allow us to pause and reflect on life and our purpose. It gives us the opportunity to think of things bigger than ourselves and reminds us how precious life truly is. I woul like to challenge the Sparrow Lake Community in the next month to take a minute and reflect on what is truly important.

With some of our younger Sparrow Lakers this may seem daunting but here are a few ways we can reflect as a family. End each day with a ritual. Some of my personal favourites include naming something you’re grateful for that day, or saying your ‘Rose, Bud, Thorn’ (Something great from today, something that didn’t go as planned, and something you are looking forward to). By practicing methods of reflection it is easier to put things into perspective and evaluate the bigger picture instead of dwelling on the negatives.

Where I am the weather is cooling and the air is getting crisp. Take a purposeful breath outside, although the chill may hit I find it’s a great way to remind myself of what I may take for granted most days. It’s a breath you can feel go in which is a beautiful reminder as to how special life is.

 

Breathe out doubt; breathe in assurance

Breathe out worry; breathe in peace of mind

Breathe out hatred; breathe in love

Breathe out war; breathe in peace

Breathe out turmoil; breathe in harmony

Breathe out insecurity; breathe in God’s presence

Breathe out emptiness; breathe in fulfillment

Breathe out selfishness; breathe in generosity

Breathe out darkness; breathe in God’s everlasting light

 

Alumni Spotlight: Anne, Stephen and the Forsey Family

Anne and Stephen Forsey have a long association with Sparrow Lake Camp (SLC).

They first encountered SLC as children attending the camp in the early 1970s. Little did they know as nine and ten year olds that the camp would become such an important part of their lives. While they do not know if they ever crossed paths at camp as campers, they would later meet as staff, marry and send their three children to camp.

In 1973 Anne first attended SLC with a neighbourhood friend. While the friend did not return the following summer, Anne was ‘hooked’ and would come back for many more summers. The summer of 1975 was Stephen’s first time at SLC as a camper. He loved the experience and would continue to attend camp for multiple years in the future.

While at camp, Anne and Stephen loved being outdoors for the majority of the day; canoeing, sailing, overnight trips, games, crafts, swimming and making friends. As teens, Anne and Stephen both returned to participate in the CIT programs; which enabled them to become counsellors the following years. Their desire to be counsellors was multi- purposed, they loved being at camp, and wanted to provide other children with the same camping experiences they had as children. It was also in these years that their relationships with other CIT and staff were solidified for life. While they met as staff, it was years later through their ongoing connection with SLC friends, that they began dating.

As their careers and adult lives took them in varying directions, the connection to camp friends remained strong. In their travels they have has chance encounters with some of these old camp friends in far away places, such as Turkey and Trinidad. They have also organized family ski trips with camp friends and their families. They both feel that the skills learned during their formative teen years as staff at SLC have served them well as parents and also in their professional lives. After getting married, and staring their family, it was natural for them to send their children to SLC. Each of their daughters began attending Pee Wee camp at age 5 and could not wait to return each summer. The children have gone every year since 1998 and are still attending with one having progressed to a senior counsellor position.

It has given them great joy to see their daughters formulate friendships in the same manner as they did many years before. Their daughters have hosted camp friends at the family home in the winter months, as the kids eagerly anticipate summer to be together again at camp!

Both of the older children have encountered SLC alumni on their university campuses. There is an instant bond and connection as they catch up on what has transpired since they were last at camp together. SLC has become one of the Forsey family’s “Happy Places” where they are always eager to make time for annual camp work weekends and open houses.

Anne and Stephen are now on the SLC Board of Directors, which provides them withan opportunity to make a contribution back to the camping community. As previous campers, staff, alumni, and now parents of campers, they are uniquely positioned to recommend SLC as a wonderful experience for children!