Dear Ak O Mak Campers and Parents,
We hope that all our Canadian campers had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration, safe at home with family and friends, enjoying the cosy fall weather!
The last days of our main session in August flew by quickly, filled with fun, laughter and great memories! On September 1st, the final goodbyes were said and with a tinge of sadness we watched the last of our campers and parents drive away.
However there was no time to relax, as camp had to be cleaned and the staff get ready to receive two more camping groups in the days that followed. Around the lake cooler temperatures were setting in, and we were able to witness the gradual colour change of the leaves from the vivid green of summer to the riotous red, yellow and orange that herald the approach of autumn.
The very next day we welcomed a group of 32 second-year Kinesiology students from the University of Western Ontario. They arrived promptly at 2pm on Sunday afternoon and stayed for five days. Every morning as steam rose from the lake we could hear the laughter and splashes of the students as they headed out for their early bird paddle or swim.
Before leaving, the entire UWO group spent an entire afternoon helping us to complete some of the necessary ‘closing down’ jobs around camp – dismantling the docks, hauling in the sailboats and storing the kayaks in the shed. Many hands definitely make work ‘light’ and we got it all done in record time! The students and their team leader thanked the Ak O Mak staff for their hospitality and warm welcome, and especially Chef in the kitchen for preparing such delicious meals!
Following the departure of the UWO group, our AK O Mak staff welcomed another group of 42 parents and kids from WRMS from Brantford for a 3-day swim camp.
Despite the chillier temperatures, every morning the kids (some of them not older than 7 years) got up to do their early bird run or swim without a whimper! Then, with a lovely fire roaring away at the fireplace in the main house, the whole group tucked into a delicious breakfast before heading out into the crisp autumn air to start their paddling practice.
The Brantford Swim club also cheerfully pitched in to help us do more of the cleanup around camp before they left. They moved all the canoes into the main house, put the paddles away and helped us haul down and store the nets from the football field and volleyball courts.
In the meantime, the remaining Ak O Mak staff were busy every day with all the other countless ‘closing down’ chores around camp that need to be done: packing up the office and store, closing down the pump house, making sure all the cabins and hops were cleaned, and tidying up the laundry house. The amount of work that goes into setting up and closing down camp is truly staggering!
Before camp closed, we had a stroke of good fortune in being able to retrieve one of our sunken kayaks from the lake, with the help of John, a skilled diver from Parry Sound. After spending one entire cold and rainy Saturday morning on the lake searching for the kayak without success, John willingly returned the following weekend to continue his search – this time with success! We were able to hoist the sunken kayak onto our boat and tow it into shore, and it’s now safely locked away with the rest of kayaks in the bicycle shed.
Despite the long hours and hectic schedule of camp life, it has been a wonderful summer season and we are truly grateful for the support of our loyal parents and campers, without whom there would be no camp!
Ak O Mak is now closed for the winter, but the work behind the scenes continues to ensure that our campers and parents have a truly wonderful and unforgettable experience for the 2013 season!
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