If you spent any time anywhere in Ontario this weekend, then you know we were gifted four beautiful spring days for this year's Victoria long weekend. There was no better place to see how "spring had sprung" than at Camp Ak-O-Mak on the shores of Ahmic Lake.
The weather was perfect to begin the enormous task of opening camp...an annual undertaking largely accomplished with the help of our wonderful volunteers!
Spring was in full splendour at Camp Ak-O-Mak and a delight to the senses of everyone who worked. The forest floor was a resplendent, polka-dotted landscape of delicate, white trilliums while the canopy above echoed with the music of birds chirping and singing their messages to each other. The perfume from the lilac bushes and the scent from the cedar trees was Mother Nature’s “Febreeze”, wafting through the windows and on the air as we cleaned, raked, mowed and cleared fallen brush.
The only thing more inspiring than the beauty of the nature around us was the spirit of generosity demonstrated by our volunteers. Just consider that each individual drives 4-5 hours north on a holiday weekend, to give their time, skills and energy to a camp that they themselves may never have attended!
The Biggs Family, for example,(Aaron, Myles, Joanne and Glen) make the five hour trek all the way from Tweed, Ontario. They have been great friends to Camp Ak-O-Mak over the years, showing up faithfully for the work weekends with tools, chain saws, winches and goodness- knows- what packed into their pick-up trucks, ready to “git’er done!” Being a farm family, these guys and gal are handy at everything!...and Dianne and Catherine couldn’t be more grateful or appreciative for what they do. Anything from repairing the lawn mowers, taking down suspect trees, and (thanks to Joanne) even the preliminary set up of our water treatment plant.
We are also grateful to Sandy Tod (Sunfield Renovations, Dundas, ON for donating his time from a very busy contracting business and horse farm each year to tackle a major project for Ak-O-Mak. Sandy Tod and helper, Herb Denny (Rocky Reef) spent their weekend putting a new roof on the "lean-to" part of the boat house where our trusty sunfish sailboats live during the winter.
And did we mention the Puckering Clan? Program Director, Megan and her parents Cheryl and Michael plus friend Nathan muscled out dead trees from the cabin line, cleaned HOPS and then shop-vac'd the Main House until it sparkled! (Counsellors, you have a hard act to follow in keeping up that counsellor room now!!)
If anyone wants to see the living definition of “work ethic” then you need to see the Ak-O-Mak Volunteer group in action!
Of course ‘all work and no play’ is not 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 adults with “gladdened” hearts and quick humour sharing great food and laughs at the end of the day! Ok and maybe an impromptu dance party...and just a little karaoke...(wooden spoons make GREAT microphones!)...
This year the prestigious and coveted award for “First One in the Lake” goes to a brave GROUP of swimmers: Megan, Nathan, Cheryl and Michael, Rosie and of course, Sandy Tod, who never misses the opportunity for a May plunge.
From Dianne and Catherine: A heartfelt “THANK YOU” to each and every one of you for playing such an important part in getting this grand old dame, Camp Ak-O-Mak, ready for her 85th debut!
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