29 June, 2017

June 29th, 2017

June 29th

Today was our first full day of 7 week and what a wonderful day it was! The rain today didn't stop anyone from having an amazing first day at Camp Ak-O-Mak. We had a sleep in today which gave all of the campers some time to rest up for activities. Chef Sam prepared a delicious breakfast of blueberry pancakes and bacon. After breakfast everyone headed down to their cabins to tidy up for inspection. After inspection we had 2 periods and campers had the choice to swim or stay indoors with some strength training. Our other classes consisted of yoga and self defence with Rosie! After lunch the campers had a chance to check out the new camp swag in the store. We started Team Comp in the afternoon and this sessions theme is outer space! The campers got very creative with their songs and skits. We also had some time in the afternoon for a choice period of pickle ball, running, paddle boarding or kayaking. Everyone is very excited to be back this summer and we cannot wait for the adventures the rest of the summer will hold! 

 

Emma 

24 May, 2017

Volunteer Weekend 2017

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.

 

Thank you!

 

07 February, 2017

New Adult Training Camp

Welcome to Camp Ak-O-Mak's Premiere Adult Training Camp!

Grown ups have been telling us for YEARS that they, too, want to come to camp!  So, by popular demand, we are proud to introduce our Ak-O-Mak Adult Training Camp!

Gather with like-minded women and men who love great food, sport and the outdoors for an unforgettable 5 days in beautiful northern Ontario.

We have something for everyone....

  • World Class coaching in all aspects of triathlon training whether novice or experienced.
  • Video analysis.
  • Life-guarded open water swimming in beautiful Ahmic Lake.
  • Hone bike skills on roads with little traffic.
  • Mountain bike or Run on forested camp trails.
  • Free time to: read in a hammock, hike, play, sunbathe or run on a woodland trail.
  • Other sports/activities such as Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, War Canoe, Yoga, Stretching, Beach    volleyball, Tennis, Badminton, Basketball, Archery, Self defence, Ping Pong, Championship Croquet.
  • Camp fires, laughs, camaraderie
  • Guest speakers:  Nutrition, training, motivation, mindfulness.
  • *Massage therapy available*

The camp may be "rustic" but the food is 5 Star!

Enjoy nourishing, freshly prepared meals by Chef Samson.

Wine included with dinner.  (B.Y.O.B for other libations.)

Snacks / fruit / hot beverages available all day.

Lots to do...or little...the choice is yours.

So come and "jump start" your summer season and return home refreshed and motivated.

  • Massage therapy by appointment with added cost.
  • Adults only 19 years and older.

 

For more information or to REGISTER: contact Dianne Young, Executive Director,

Camp Ak-O-Mak, dianne@campakomak.com, P: 416-427-3171

Camp Dates: Wednesday June 14th to Monday June 19th, 2017

02 January, 2017

Ak-O-Mak Remembers Myles Biggs

Ak-O-Mak Remembers Myles Biggs

It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the sudden, accidental passing of Myles Biggs.

Many of you will remember Myles as camp's beloved "maintenance man" for 3 summers, 2010 to 2014.

With his golden retriever, Bailey, forever at his side, Myles kept our dear old facility running day to day.  He loved working outside, tirelessly moving from job to job.  When not fixing or building something, Myles could usually be found regaling someone with his litany of "groaner" jokes and redneck-one-liners.  He LOVED to get that raised brow or roll of the eyes from us before responding,

..."What?!...I'm justa guy!"

Myles...Another colourful, Ak-O-Mak character who will not be forgotten.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Biggs family at this time.

 

04 December, 2016

Counsellor Molly Sipprell

Lakers Experience Filled with Memorable Moments for Molly Sipprell

Having skated with the Nipissing Lakers since their inaugural season, Molly Sipprell’s career has run parallel to an exciting era of growth for women’s ice hockey in the North Bay region. With each season, the Lakers have improved on their win-loss record, while Sipprell’s development as a leader is one of the programs cornerstones.

Among the first recruits in Lakers history, the journey towards donning Lakers green involved a unique transition. With North Bay becoming Sipprell’s second home, Having starred with the PWHLs London Devilettes, she was part of a recruiting class that also included teammates Mariah Fell and Stacie Vink. The chance to continue their careers together certainly serves as a Lakers career highlight for Sipprell,

“Of course it’s always nice to play with girls who have had the same experience with previous programs as me. We always talk about our past memories and girls we’ve played with and where they are now.”

Recognized as the Lakers Female Athlete of the Week on November 23, 2015, it was a milestone that added to another proud achievement; OUA All-Rookie Team recognition in 2014. With over 75 career appearances, the Lakers have enjoyed a .714 win percentage whenever she logs at least one point.

Of note, the 2015-16 season saw Sipprell achieve career high in points, including the milestone of her first career game-winning goal. Said goal took place on October 17, 2015 vs. the Brock Badgers. In the 2-0 final, Henshaw scored on the power play past Stephanie Loukes.

Sipprell’s ascension to one of the team’s key leaders and cornerstone represents one of the great feel good stories in OUA women’s ice hockey. Since their opening face off, the Lakers have added to their win totals in every successive season. The fact that Sipprell has been part of every season in program history is a strong point of pride, having contributed to such a magical time,

“Obviously everyone wants to win and be the top team in Canada, but it’s a great experience that we’ve come so far in such little time. Our program only started four years ago and within the last two years we’ve managed to clinch a spot in playoffs; last year we almost made it to the OUA finals, that being only our third year with this program.

It is definitely a sense of pride to be part of such a skilled and well developed program that our coaches have created for all our Women Hockey varsity athletes in the past four years, and I hope we keep on improving and getting better every time we step on the ice.”

While Sipprell has contributed towards several Lakers milestones, there was a proud yet personal milestone that definitely helped set the tone for her fourth fantastic season. Considering that the OUA published an E-magazine (OUA Uncovered) chronicling the achievements of its athletes, the women’s hockey preview issue saw Siprrell land on the coveted cover with the text Northern Uprising, testament to the Lakers growth and its continued ascension towards elite status.

“Honestly it was totally unexpected; I knew that a picture of me was probably going to show up somewhere in the near future because I attended a photo shoot with many other athletes from Nipissing this past summer. Usually, the athletics at Nipissing doesn’t get a lot of attention compared to the other universities such as Western, Queens, and Guelph etc., because we are a smaller school, so I thought it was great that the OUA was able to recognize and promote our school in such a big way.”

Adding to the jubilation of such recognition was a moment that only helped strengthen the bonds of friendship and teamwork among the ladies that don the Lakers colors. As Sipprell and her Lakers teammates look to this fourth season with the hopes of new milestones and more glorious outcomes, the potency of such an emotional moment served to enhance the teams culture. With a Pink at the Rink event, which is a staple among so many teams, Sipprells part in the ceremonial faceoff was given more significance by the beloved presence of her mother.

Adding another aspect of sincerity to the ceremony was the fact that teammate Kaley Tienhara also joined Sipprell at centre ice, both adorned in their special edition pink ribbon jerseys. With both players’ mothers participating in the ceremonial faceoff, centre ice became a circle of friendship and admiration on this cherished day.

The experience simultaneously served as an uplifting source of pride for Sipprell, who was honored by the Lakers empathic compassion that resulted in a moment of silence honoring the passing of her brave father. Representing a proud sense of unity, it was a day that shall always hold a special place in Sipprell’s heart,

“It was such a special moment to be a part of. My family has had their ups and downs with cancer; my mom battled Leukemia for three and a half years and is now close to being 6 years cancer free, my dad fought Colon cancer for four years but sadly lost his battle four months ago. It was such an emotional experience especially with my mom dropping the puck at center ice, and having Kaley Tienhaara and her mom there with us as well.”    

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credit: Brian Doherty

Faceoff image obtained from Facebook

08 October, 2016

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

One of the greatest things about living on the 45th parallel is watching the changing of the seasons and Camp Ak-O-Mak has to be one of the most beautiful places to witness this spectacle of nature! 

Typically by October, Ontario is under the raw chill of fall with blustering winds and sideways rains, the kind that cruelly strip the colour from the trees and the "magic" from the forests.  This year, however, we have been basking in the warmth of a true "Indian summer".  Warm, sunny days have allowed us to defer the inevitable donning of hats and coats for a while longer.  Vibrant blue skies have provided a striking contrast to the explosion of yellows, oranges and crimson which have made the views everywhere at this time of year breathtaking!...the perfect backdrop as Canadians prepare to celebrate THANKSGIVING this long weekend.

Although we (Dianne and Catherine) will be missing Camp Ak-O-Mak this weekend, we are grateful for the memories of "Thanksgivings Past"...Thanksgiving dinners hosted by Buck and Rosemary in the Main House.  (Rosemary cooked the turkey in the big oven and we did the dishes!)...Hikes through camp trails, forests aglow with colour, painted by the Master's autumnal brush!  Olfactory memories of dried leaves, spruce trees, loamy earth and hardwood fires.

Once again, most of us will be irresistibly drawn to the outdoors to walk, play or work this weekend, wherever we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.   There is something about mindfully experiencing nature, even for a moment, that can prompt gratitude in one's heart.  Isn't that precisely how we feel when we instinctively raise our faces heavenward to bask in the sun's warmth and deeply inhale the fresh scent of flora?

Over the years, Thanksgiving has become one of our favourite holidays.  It is not so commercialized and there are no presents to distract us from that which we are most grateful...the unwavering support of our families in the daily travails of running camp, truly wonderful friends, good health, a full pantry...in other words "life abundant".

We also remain thankful for Camp Ak-O-Mak and, like the other things in life, have learned not to take her for granted.

It is a place that continues to inspire and challenge throughout the stages of one's life.  We are grateful for Ak-O-Mak's friends, new and old, who are drawn back to her like a touchstone and graciously give back with their energies and resources to help keep this grand dame alive!

To quote George Elliot, "We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it".

 

The same can be said for Camp Ak-O-Mak.

We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Dianne and Catherine

31 August, 2016

August 31, 2016

August 31, 2016

This morning for Early Bird nearly half of camp went out to hit the trails on mountain bikes. The campers have been working on their cycling all session and even though it has only been two weeks, many campers have made tremendous progress in cycling. Instead of our usual three classes in the morning we had our camp pictures. Then we had the final events for the Olympics, basketball, soccer, and various gymnastics events. It was a bright sunny morning, perfect for the field sports competition. After the Olympic events concluded everyone had SWIMMING YAY! 
After an afternoon of treasure hunting it was time for a delicious dinner and Evening Activity. 
Cabin 1 had the opportunity today to organize and run evening activity. They chose the ever loved game of BARBARIANS! To make teams fair the campers played on their team comp teams. The objective of the game is to pull as many people over to your quadrant of the beach volleyball court and pull their sock from the back of their pants.

After everyone was covered in sand from head to toe they went down to the waterfront to bathe and then to bed. 

30 August, 2016

August 30, 2016

August 30, 2016

The girls awoke to the ringing of the bell and quickly started their Early Bird runs or swims or BOTH! 
Today the Olympics came to Ak-O-Mak! Campers were divided into teams and then chose a country to represent that isn't represented by campers. Uzbekistan, The Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Swaziland competed most of the day for Olympic Gold! The morning events were archery, tennis, and a full track and field meet.
Mother Nature seemed to have other plans, and rudely interrupted us with her rumbling. Campers spent the rest of the morning creating cabin lip syncs for the Olympic Closing Ceremonies. 
After rest hour it was time to continue on with the Olympic events! It was down to the pool for a swim meet, diving (both spring board and 3 metre platform), war canoe races, and synchronized swimming competition.  
Tonight was the cabin vs cabin lip synch closing ceremonies. Cabins scored points for creativity, costume, and routine. The winners would be awarded a second serving of the crazy delicious s'more square dessert. After routines of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift x2, and other fun pop songs cabin 4 was named the winner! Everyone had a dance party together and then went to bed. 

29 August, 2016

August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016

This morning our oldest cabin took our youngest cabin out sailing for a double period! Other cabins had war canoe, solftball, Zumba and tried their hand at net ball - a new sport introduced by our British counsellors! And as a twist, all of the cabins had swim practice together. 
After Rest Hour today the whole camp had colour run! Chikopi came over for the colour run! It was a 5km run where coloured powder was thrown on you as you ran. Everyone came out looking very colourful and we had a dance party at the end. We all jumped into the water to clean off before dinner. It was a such a blast!
Tonight we had the finals in our tennis tournament and then off to the cabins for some cabin time before bed. 

28 August, 2016

August 28, 2016

August 28, 2016

It was still dark at Camp Ak-O-Mak when the bell rang at 5:30 this morning to wake us for an early breakfast.  It was Parry Sound Triathlon Day!  Before we knew it we were boarding the 2 school buses and following the big U-Hauls carrying camp’s bikes bound for Parry Sound.


Once at the tri, no time was lost donning timing chips and body markings and then all were off to cheer for our counselors and cabin 1 friends competing in the Sprint, Try-a-Tri or duathlon events.  Seeing their counsellors race (some for the first time) not only excited the campers but helped calm some of their nerves as well.

The ‘Kids of Steel’ events unfolded by age group and made for an exciting day!
Ak-O-Mak spirit was high and our team’s energy was infectious. Many people commented on how much they enjoyed the camp’s presence at this triathlon with everyone cheering for each other and singing songs.  Imagine 60 girls on the beach bursting into song with “Eye of the Tiger”… "dun, dun dun dun, dun dun duuuuuuuuun". After that I think we all felt like we could do anything!  The Ak-O-Mak girls were fantastic today and they should all be very proud.

With races finished the bikes were systematically stowed in the U-Hauls and the busses loaded for the return to camp. It wouldn’t be an Ak-O-Mak road trip without ice cream so a “pit stop” at Duck Rock satisfied a lot of tummies!


Tonight was campfire and barbecue cookout, a weekly favourite with campers and staff alike. It’s where the roasting of marshmallows is elevated to an art form. It was a special treat when the culinary staff surprised Rosie with a beautiful chocolate cake decorated as the flag of Trinidad and Tobago in honour of their Independence Day.

The sun was dipping below the trees as the campers shared their individual triathlon stories around the camp fire… stories about overcoming fear, friends helping friends and the pride felt in their accomplishments.

We then sang songs so loud they could probably hear us at across the lake! As the darkness of evening and the fatigue of the day crept in everyone was ready to head back to their cabins and crawl into bed for a well deserved sleep.

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