Ak-O-Mak Volunteer Weekend 2017
It seems like April showers brought NO May flowers this year as things have been a bit dampish in Ontario. That did not, however, prevent 17 illustrious volunteers from having a great time at Ak-O-Mak this long weekend!
Among the first to arrive were Liisa Tikala and Beth "Beef" Steel, rolling into camp towing a flowered, multi-coloured trailer, circus music blasting everywhere…truly the "Happy Campers". Liisa and Beef are alumni spanning the 70's, 80's and 90's…but they can still rock a paint brush, shop vac or windex bottle!
Aaron Biggs' pick up truck lumbered under the gate so packed with tools, chain saws, and welding "stuff" that the rear axle was almost dragging. Aaron can fix or cut anything and he proved it yet again, putting up an entire season's worth of firewood under the Main House.
Previous campers/counsellors, Lily Ebbot-Burg and Krista Sipprell loaned their multiple talents cleaning and organizing the camp store, schlepping canoes and painting. Lily gets the "Mileage Award" having travelled from Chicago to help her camping alma mater. She also provided the usual 'Lily-laughs' and lead an impromtu "improv" after dinner.
The Puckering Clan was well represented again this year and THANK GOODNESS 'cause they make chores really, really FUN! Thank you to Sheryl and Michael (Mom and Dad), to Emma (our Program Director!) and her beau, Matthew. We were also glad to catch up with Megan (Program Director Emeritus) and her beau, Nathan! This 'plant-powered' crew brought much needed muscle to the work and spirit to the 'apres diner' games!
The Directors' Cabin is now sparkling clean thanks to Sheryl. Someone, however, needs to break the news to Coach Jocelyn that "Gregory the Gopher" is officially a "gonner" given the smell emanating from under that floor. I guess some things are just harder to tidy up than others…
…and usually that includes the shower house…
Somehow it became hilarity with Rosie, Joyce, Sam, Dianne and Catherine laughing and wize-cracking each other whilst slapping paint on those previously-grungy walls. Even Dory (Catherine's Schauzer puppy) helped…and added new white 'highlights' down her left side!
We were bloomin' delighted to see Sandi Wilder (aka 'Counsellor Wilder'). Her car was bursting with flowers with hardly a spot for her lab, Donzie. I am sure 'Sandi' means 'strong' in Gaelic or Swaheli or something because only Sandi could manage the kind of hard labour it took to transplant all of those plants into the earth. Brother and sister team, Samson and Joyce, gave Sandi a hand when not creating pure magic in the kitchen!
Ok, let's talk FOOD!..
As you may know, Samson (of "Cooking With Sam" fame) is camp's professional Chef. There is no "camp grub" here at Ak-O-Mak! We're talking smoked salmon rosettes, amazing salads with vegies galore, Sam's secret Nachos with home made guacamole, filet mignon (you heard me), grilled salmon, asparagus and roasted potatoes. There was even fancy 'vegan feed' for the Vegans, (not quite sure what they eat)..Now you get the picture. That's just a hint of what was on the menu this weekend and was it great!
All work and no play just isn't healthy, so we always make time for fun. The best part of the volunteer weekends is the time we gather to eat, drink and be merry. There is nothing quite as entertaining as a group of friends with gladdened hearts and quick humour sharing great food and laughs at the end of the day.
There is also the annual "First One in the Lake" contest! This prestigious, highly coveted award goes to our beloved martial arts instructor, "Rosie", Rosemarie Thomas! Rosie also managed to stay in the longest with nary a squeal…(which, I believe, was very much unlike Michael Puckering?). Honourable mention goes to the other dippers: Lily, Krista, Emma, Megan and Nathan! The "Alternative Facts News" reports that Mattew swam to Orange Rock.
We, (Dianne and Catherine) are so grateful to all of you who participated the Ak-O-Mak Work Weekend. Life is very busy and we realize that your time is precious. Please know that we appreciate your friendship, time and talents to ready Camp Ak-O-Mak for her 89th season.