Barb Weeden was recently featured on the Podcast "Rec Heads and Camp Nerds" where she talks about the experiences starting at a new camp in a management role. Lots of laughs and a little bit of insight into the experience for Barb. Give it a listen here.
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
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!
Summer 2017 has come to a close and last night we held our final Final Campfire. Below are the lyrics to a song performed by Cabin 3 (Tune of We Will Rock You by Queen)
Yo you're a camper make some new friends
Playing in the field gonna win the game
You got pudding on your face
You won face race
Playing in the hose down all day long singing
We will we will miss you
We will we will miss you!
Now we're in the rec hall on thunder watch
Shouting on the stage playing Gaga Ball
You got bites on your face
You big disgrace
Waving your wet clothes all over the place
Singing We will we will miss you
We will we will miss you
Buddy you're a hopper go hop!
Take your veggies gonna keep you healthy all day!
You got juice on your face
You big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place!
We will we will miss you
We will we will miss you!
Our final Chapel this summer focused on the life skills that we learn at Sparrow Lake. Our Counsellor in Training (CIT) Program walked the camp through our daily schedule and discussed the values that are developed with each one, ranging from perseverance of going to Polar Bear every morning to the cooperation it takes to belay someone on the climbing wall.
Our camp then went to reflect on Vesper rocks to reflect with this quote in mind: "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" - Winnie the Pooh
It is our final Special Day for the Summer of 2017 and the gods have shown up to celebrate. Today we are helping Zeus and an assortment of Greek Gods (including Athena and Hercules) to defeat Hades and retrieve Zeus' lightening Bolt.
We have captured flags to prove that Sparrow Lake Camp is worthy to help the gods, played games to learn about the culture of Olympus, and have journeyed to where Hades is hiding to capture him. Once we defeat Hades and all of his monsters we should learn where the lightening bolt has been hidden so we can see the gods off back to Olympus.
Will Sparrow Lake be up to the challenge? As is said by Zeus in Disney's Hercules: "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the size of his heart."
One of the programs we offer as a choice at Sparrow is Sports and Games. The campers get a chance to play basketball, soccer, baseball, Frisbee and other team sports. On top of that they get the chance to experience other land activities including archery! This program is run by our amazing counsellor staff. It's a great chance to get outside and get active!
We have a new batch of PeeWees this session and they are having an enchanted time. This session they are spending the week with Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. So far they have met Snow White and went on a bog walk to search for Snow White’s animal friends. They caught 9 fish! This afternoon they are undergoing Dwarf training and looking for different jewels in our Enchanted Forest. And don’t worry: every day they are going for a swim!
"Out Trip is an amazing opportunity for kids to have a trip experience while not overwhelming them. It is time for the campers to be together in a different setting and form stronger bonds. It is a fun and challenging experience that pushes campers out of their comfort zone and time to grow."
- Nick Christie
Out Tripper 2017
Respect is a virtue like no other.
At camp, we learn to respect ourselves, others and the environment around us.
We can respect ourselves by making sure we take all the steps to be healthy, both mentally and physically.
We can respect others by treating them like equals and acting with empathy.
As for the environment, we must make a conscious effort to treat it with respect so that it can be preserved and enjoyed in the future.
Without respect it is impossible to forge strong relationships with others.
With respect we can forge a community stronger than any other.
“Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.” –Laurence Sterne