13 June, 2014

Matthew Mann

Matt Mann, a native of Ann Arbor, MI, and the son of the late Matt and Lea Mann, was born on October 3, 1927. He passed away peacefully at his home in Lansing, MI, surrounded by his family, on June 11, 2014.

Matt earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. While at school, Matt served as captain of the swim team, and was a four-time All American. The highlight of his swimming career at Michigan was not only as a member of the 1948 National Championship Swimming Team, but also his continued friendship and association with its team members. From 1946-1947, Matt served in the United States Army in Hawaii.

After graduating from U of M, Matt came to Lansing to teach at West Junior High School, and to coach the Sexton High School Swim Team. In later years, he taught social studies, and coached diving. He loved teaching in the classroom as much as coaching in the pool.

Matt spent the first forty-six summers of his life at Camp Chikopi in Magnetawan, Ontario. There, he touched many lives as an administrator, a coach, and an example to hundreds of young athletes. It was, “up at camp” – a staple phrase in the Mann household and for many years to come – where he met the love of his life, Buffy (Evelyn Mary Stone Mann). Matt and Buffy were married on June 11, 1955 in Ann Arbor, MI. She will miss him very much.

In 1971, his fellow Michigan coaches awarded him the Bruce Harlan Award for coaching diving. For ten years in a row, a Sexton diver had qualified for the State Championships. In 1981, he was also awarded theMatt Mann Award, which was named for his father, for his outstanding contribution to high school swimming in Michigan.

Matt retired from Sexton High School in 1986; however, he remained quite active in the Lansing community as a cross country and track coach for the Sexton Girls’ team, and as a supporter of Habitat for Humanity. Matt assisted in the construction of over eighty homes in both Michigan and Florida.

He very much enjoyed winters in Florida with his friends. At 84, Matt still sailboarded on the inland waterway and played competitive tennis – both at Court One in Lansing, and in Florida.

Matt will be missed by his sisters-in-law: Liz Hathway (Nick, deceased), Margaret Austin (Allen, deceased), Lois Stone (Bob, deceased), and Lola Stone (George, deceased). He was predeceased by his sisters: Connie Green and RoseMary Dawson (Buck, deceased).

He will be lovingly missed, with knowing smiles, by his five daughters and their families: MaryLea and Edward Benson; Katie and Bob Korroch; Maureen Nauss and Charlie Swieringa, Michael Nauss and Bob Hoffman; Polly and David Middleton; Peggy and Dennis Fennema.

Matt’s grandchildren: Michelle Benson, Kate Korroch, Chad Jewsbury, (Christopher, deceased), and Molly Korroch; Matthew Nauss; Abby, Matt and Carly Middleton; Allie, Silas and Samantha Fennema, will miss his stories, bear hugs, big sneezes, and sly smile.

Matt shared many good times and laughs with his cousins, nieces, and nephews on both sides of the family including Chick, Bob, and Kurt Muller, Connie Corson, and Marilyn Whitney.

Matt was a longtime member of St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lansing, and very much enjoyed supporting the community there.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 21, 2014, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 218 W. Ottawa Street, in Lansing, MI. The family will receive friends from 3-5 and 6-8 p.m. on Friday at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s Music Program, The Michigan Cancer Society or Hospice of Lansing, Inc. whose staff cared for him with such grace.

08 June, 2014

Best Wishes to Denise

Ak-O-Makkers, please join us as we send our prayers and best wishes to Denise "Dickless" Israels. (nee Denise Dickie).
Denise is a dear friend and faithful support to Dianne and Catherine, a long-time Ak-O-Makker, fantastic athlete  and the best water-polo coach ever!  Denise:  How Tough?  Tough Enough!  You can do it, Denise!

27 May, 2014

2014 Work Weekend At Camp Ak-O-Mak


2014 Work Weekend At Camp Ak-O-Mak

"The May Long Weekend"..."The May 2-4 Weekend"..."The Victoria Day Weekend"...Whatever you call it, it's the time of year when Ontarians traditionally head north for their first trip to open cottages and hook up water systems that have been dormant all winter.


...For us, it's the "Annual Ak-O-Mak Volunteer Work Weekend!"  Hooray!


It was road trip #3 for Dianne and Catherineand we were thrilled to be joined this time by a hearty group of volunteers and good friends who all share a fondness for Camp Ak-O-Mak.


Aaron Biggs hauled his tools and ATV all the way from Tweed (a 5 hour drive) and promptly got to work readying the lawn mowers for a summer of mucho grass cutting.


Sandy Tod and Herb Denny beat the highway from Ancaster and put their backs into helping Jim Fraser with the launching ofthe floating docks andsetting up the 25 m pool. 


Rosemarie "Rosie" Thomas inspected the pump house in preparation for "shocking"the water system and then tackled the cleaning of all seven cabins.  Dusty business!


"Team Puckering" was again well represented this year.  Our programme director, Megan, andher beau, Nathan, tag-teamedthe "parental units", Cheryl and Michael,on a variety of jobs.This uber-athletic clan started their day with a 1 hour run and then transitioned to a non-traditional"boot camp training" on the beach:  heaving piles of old cribs and logs into the trailer for disposal.   It was weight-lifting for sure...But wait!...There is always more!..


Everyone joined forces for the yearly "manual extraction of the canoe fleet" from the Main House.  I swear those canoesget heavier with each passing year, forcing this middle-aged work crew towork smarter.  Aaron hitched up his ATV to thebig trailer which we loaded with 4 canoesat a time fora smooth delivery to the water's edge.  (MUCH easier on old joints I might add!)  Before we knew it, it was "presto finito" for one of the heaviest jobs around camp.


We aregrateful that we had Sandy Wilder (aka "Counsellor Wilder") and daughter, Elle, at our Work Weekend. They pitched in with the schlepping of canoes and then jumped right into hauling the adirondack chairs onto the porch....surprise!...more heavy lifting!  Then, to maintain that "burn" of the muscles, we hauled the tables and benches down from the library to set up the dining room in time for the arrival of our first guests!


Speaking of Guests...


Although the first session of camp is only a month away, Ak-O-Mak is proud to be hosting the Ontario Paddling Association next weekend for their annual Spring Training Camp.  The boys and girls who will be attending this intensive 3 day camp are the paddlers that you see when we compete in regattas at North Bay and Welland. What a sight to see such talented paddlers hone their skills right here on Ahmic Lake! 


We (Dianne and Catherine) are so grateful to each of the individuals who participated in the Ak-O-Mak Work Weekend. Life is very busy andwe realize thatyour time is precious.  Please know that we appreciate your friendship and your gifts of time and energy to help us get Camp Ak-O-Mak ready for her annual debut!


Thank you!



05 May, 2014

First Trip to Camp 2014

First Trip to Camp 2014


This weekend Dianne and Catherine (and Winnie the Schnauzer) made their first trip to Camp Ak-O-Mak for 2014.


Spring is about a month late in Ontario, thanks to an unusually long winter that had temperatures in the deep freeze for the better part of the new year.  In fact, can you believe that a week ago Ahmic Lake was still frozen to the shore?  It just goes to show you how quickly things heat up at camp, because in a few short daysthe ice has disappeared liketime-lapsed photography.


With Winnie in the lead, her nose to the ground, we took our annual "walk-a-bout" camp to see how things have wintered.  It's the first time in a long while that we'veseen so many remnant chunks of snow, paying homageto the large loads that wereshucked from the roofs.  The frost is thawing from deep within the groundand as it does it heaves the earth upward like a big stretch after a long,winter'snap.  For this reason, the baseball shed looks like it has struck a pose, perched unnaturally on one corner.  All will be well, however, whenthe earth finally "sighs" and the ground levels once again.


Although it is May 4th, the forests remain barren....a monochrome of browns and greys, a landscape more typical of November.   As we hiked the Rocky Reef trail on a carpet of dead leaves, the only colour to emerge weretinges of emerald greenfrom themosses and hearty shoots eruptingas the first indications of new life.  The forest is silent save for thevigourous babbling of the seasonalbrooks carrying the winter run off to the lake. 


As we walked, our footfalls and voices stirred the rabbits close by.  Their coats are now a mangey patch work of white as they lose their snowy locks and don the brownish coats so familliar to us in summer.  The deer have left the soccer field and cabin line and retreated deep into the forests to give birth to their young.  I wonder how many fawns we will see in the upcoming weeks?


I LOVEcamp in

 spring and being reminded of what it is all about:   A fresh start...renewal...a preparation for new experiences.  Spring alsoencourages and invigorates us into action to preparethis 86 year old 'grande dame' ready foryourarrival!

Even though our first visit to camp is damp and rainy, we are once again awed by the singular beauty of this place and how privileged we are to experience the changing of the seasons here.  The smell of the fresh, pine-scented air and wet, loamy earth.  The birds filling the bare forests with a symphony of morning song, a call, a "revellie", for us and all of nature to wake up, bloom and celebrate life!


So, please, turn YOUR minds to camp.  Start planing your escape from the concrete and noise of urban life. Pack your trunk and all of your expectations for a great summer in a beautiful place and we'll be waiting for you here at Camp Ak-O-Mak!

11 April, 2014

New Canoe

Ak-O-Mak's New Canoe


Ak-O-Mak’s new canoe will soon be on Ahmic Lake with our campers and counsellors, thank you to Peter our master boat builder.

25 March, 2014

Save the Date

Save the Date

On Saturday July 26th, 2014 Camp Ak-O-Mak will be hosting a Celebration of Life for our beloved friend and coach, Jan Moldenhauer.  Jan loved,  loved Camp Ak-O-Mak and was a perennial favourite with the girls for more than 4 decades!  Jan chose to spend her last days at Ak-O-Mak surrounded by her camp friends before peacefully passing away last year.


Ak-O-Mak alumni, friends and families are invited to join us at camp to celebrate Jan's life followed by lunch.  Further details will follow as we get closer to July, but please "save the date" in your calendars and RSVP if you know you'll be attending.RSVP to dianne@campakomak.com

24 March, 2014

Ak-O-Mak March Visit

Spring Break Visit

Good Ak-O-Mak and Chikopi visit. Dianne, Catherine, Jocelyn, Herb and Marion were all down in Florida visiting Bob, Colette and Tegan.

14 February, 2014

Valentines Day

Wishing all Ak-O-Makkers a Happy Valentine's Day

02 February, 2014

2014 OCA Conference

Camp Ak-O-Mak represented at the 2014 OCA Conference

 Rosie, Catherine, Dianne and Megan spent the last 3 days of January at the annual Ontario Camps Association Conference in Toronto.

This annual event draws hundreds of camp directors, owners and their affiliates from  Canada and the eastern USAto learn about the current trends and new developments relevant to the world of camping, be it residential, day camp, special needs, or a "niche" camp such as Ak-O-Mak.

 It is a wonderful opportunity to hear expertsfroma variety of professional fields such asfamily and child psychology, mental health,government regulators, informationtechnology and communication (the good and the bad), the Arts, Law,and facility maintenance!  This is the myriad of "stuff" that we need to be informed about BEHINDthe scenes in order to deliver a terrific camp experience "out front" to our camp clients.

Our  'camp clients", by the way,are not limited tothe campers who paddleour canoes. Behind every camper is a family unit of varying description, a family who makes it possible for that girl to attend Camp Ak-O-Mak.  Although we endeavour to give girls a wonderful camp experience, we remain mindful of the many concerns that you parents, grand-parents, step-parents and guardians share as you send your little Happy Camper away, often for the first time.

The OCA conference always get us fired up and excited for the upcoming summer!  More importantly, however, it reminds us of the critical role summer camp plays in the lives of children and how privileged we are to  be a part of "growing up" great kids at Ak-O-Mak!


12 January, 2014

Early Bird Special

Hello from Camp Ak-O-Mak,

Wishing all our Ak-O-Mak families a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Remind all of our Preferred Clients there is approximately two weeks left on our Early Bird Special. Our Early Bird Special is, if you sign up for camp and pay in full by January 31, 2014 you will receive 10% off the base tuition price. Please find the Registration Form and the Early Bird Special pricing on our website under the Register tab.

Hope to see you on Ahmic Lake this summer!

Happy Camping, Dianne Young


Let The Games Begin!

Camp AkOMak
Camp AkOMak


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