It's a rare cool day up here, McGovern Family!
As I mentioned, Session 6 was buckets of fun, with the August set of LEADs and Squares arriving. The size difference between the two groups is pretty funny, with 3 Squares and 10 LEADs filling up the Hallman. We had to change the seating arrangement because they didn't all fit at one table, whereas the Squares were quite cozy sharing their meals with the Roots. Throughout the week the leadership campers of course got to help run some programs and shadow staff either during the whole day or at activity areas.
The cabin challenge this week was a themed fashion show where the campers had to dress, accessorize, and paint their counselors to align with the two themes: Safari and Under the Sea. Stamp was terrifying, that's all I have to say, and Everdeen's favourites were Burly and Scoops.
They had music playing in the Hallman while each "contestant" of the fashion show paraded around the stage for the judges. Considering the costume closet has had the same crop of clothing and accessories in it for years, it's always amazing what the campers can put together differently every time. I do miss the "banana suit" though, which was just a bright yellow suit jacket with matching pants that Sherwood used to wear for Talent Show.
Einstein always manages to make an appearance when there's judging to be done, as he's usually on the sidelines of our Lip Sync Battles, Minute to Win It, or Talent Shows. Last I saw, he was looking out the tuck room window having alone time to think. Maybe he's sad that the summer is nearing it's end and he's trying to soak up the view before having to stay inside all winter. He looks after camp for us when we're away.
.Wednesday Cookout got a bit wild down at Opening Campfire, where the boys built a...structure? out of tall sticks, using it to pose and play around with. I think there was some intense dedication put into it because of how many boys were stationed around it in all the photos. I don't think whatever silliness the Villa Cookout got up to could compare to the those down at Opening.
Greyjoy thankfully got to avoid another hot marshmallow on their leg, I do love when no one has to visit my hut for injuries, but just stopping by to say hello is always welcome! If I'm not in the Med Hut I'm in the office typing away, or walking through the Hallman telling people to come take their meds. I have the worst short term memory but I still manage to remember more than they do!
On the field there was probably the first outdoor Lip Sync Battle of the last decade, where many male counselors decked themselves in dresses and sang power ballads to each other. The LEADs were the largest lip sync band I've ever seen at McGovern, with more than 10 people.
Burly came to grab an ice pack from me beforehand and as he exited, wistfully sighed: "Another day, another dress." He looked absolutely beautiful in his sparkly blue halter dress overtop of a crewneck shirt and shorts. We're all about fashion at McGovern.
This is a PSA, if you see Stamp's water bottle lying around camp, feel free to throw it in the river. I swear I see it at least once a day in some random spot, so I pick it up and return it to Stamp, who always says: "oh, that's where it went!" It's usually about twenty feet away from her and I told her last week that if I find it one more time it's becoming part of the Saugeen. My two theories are that it's following me or she's just really bad at remembering her water bottle when I'm around. Who knows.
Moonlight and Parfait had a very fun week because they finally got to be co-counselors in Chimney, as we had a very full week of boys cabins. Last year Chimney rotated as a boys cabin all the time, but Stamp and Sequins have held down the fort thus far this summer. I had to keep reminding myself that it was part of Boy's Camp this week because I kept wondering when Stamp and Sequins were going to show up for meds, then I'd hit myself in the head when I realized it was Parfait and Moonlight.
With only two girls cabins, their tie-dye was a very quiet event! Sprocket had his hands full handing out bottles of dye to the boys, I'm sure. The results were amazing, though, with every week of campers producing more and more beautiful swirls, stripes, bullseyes, random patterns, and sometimes fully pink shirts. We all like to express our #McGovernMagic in our own way.
The staff also prepared some of their own shirts to dye over the week and now there is a handful of colourful Americamp Canada shirts walking around.
On Tuesday one of our favourite visitors, Alicia from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Georgian Triangle, came for a walk around camp and sat down to lunch with Twist and some other friends. Whenever someone is on the phone with her, it's so easy to tell because of how much laughter is part of the conversation. Sometimes Twist will be chatting with her and I'll go: "Is that Alicia? Say hi for me!" She's probably had enough tours of camp now to start doing her own! See you again next year, Alicia!
We spent the end of the week doing some pre-tidying for the Poker Run on Saturday, our biggest fundraiser of the summer. Every donor that attended the Run got a handmade card from a camper, a nice hot meal, and got to watch a beautiful and inspiring video about camp made by Spinach, Anakin, Pingu, and a handful of others. It featured campers at their activities, some of the best photos from the blog, and quotes from campers about their experiences at McGovern. Gratitude Time isn't just a part of the Amazing Race, it's something we practice every day here at camp.
Award for my favourite photo of the week goes to what I like to call the "Yu-Gi-Oh! Squad" with Moonlight, Parfait, and Bumper challenging their campers to a d-d-d-d-d-duel! The only knowledge I have of Yu-Gi-Oh! is my brother's deep love of the TV show, so you'll have to ask the boys who won.
The week ended with a triple-pie event! Snorlax, Greyjoy, and Tink met their sticky, smelly foes on the stage. I think Greyjoy holds the record for most pies recieved out of anyone at camp, I honestly feel bad for them sometimes. But, they do manage to make mayonnaise look like the perfect hair gel.
A big special thank you to our LEAD friend Prometheus who took tons of photos for me this week, as well as all the others who shrugged and said: "sure!" whenever I chucked my camera their way. It let's me discover the hidden perspectives around camp that I never get to see.
Have a lovely day, McGovern Family, and I'll see you (hopefully) tomorrow with the Session 7 post.
Hello Camp McGovern! Sorry for the delay on the Session 5 post, Session 6 was just so much fun that I got caught up in it all.
I hope everyone has been beating the heat this past week and half! The Kitchener bus drop off on Saturday morning was particularly sweltering. The nighttime cold balances it out, though, and you can find me after curfew snuggled up in my bed listening to folklore podcasts. #PepsiPastTimes! Every morning Snorlax comes into the hut with his campers that take meds and shivers until he leaves. Did I tell you about how Scoops thought it only snowed up north? I showed her a picture of my home in April, with two inches of snow!
The best word to describe Session 5 was adorable, with the majority of our campers being 4-9 years old. Chimney was the youngest cabin and the campers barely reached Stamp's elbows. I kept calling them the "Two Scottish Moms and Their Seven Dwarves" because there was always a line of seven little girls following after Stamp and Sequins. Madeline meets Snow White, ha!
Popcorn's daughter got to have a special week up at camp hanging out in the Everybody Cabin with Everdeen, Portions, her mom, and one of our volunteer campers. We like to invite our Squares and LEADs back to camp for volunteer opportunities (usually to help them with their high school hours), and Twist said we needed to figure out a name for them, as they aren't fully staff yet. After some debating, they are now the Square Roots or Roots for short.
Miss Karley With A K, past Squares Maddy and CJ, past LEAD Prometheus (he named himself #lol), and another friend are helping out in the kitchen as well as with some of our campers that need support. Karley spent last week supporting a camper in Pond and she's shining in Lookout this week when she isn't playing basketball or in Girls Camp visiting Buttercup.
Session 5 was only a four day week so we jam-packed all the fun that we could into that short time. We had our usual round of Capture the Flag and Dodgeball on the soccer field.
The second set of July LEADs went on their canoe trip down the Saugeen, spending the night at Saugeen Cedars roasting s'mores and probably teaching the entire campsite Moose Alpaca. I think they had about 2 canoes tip, but other than that they did a great job on the river. I asked Pingu if he had anything notable to say about his week and this was his direct quote: "Pingu was nooting awesome , like 24/7."
Spinach learned how to solve a Rubix cube and also spent some time walking to the bathroom in slow motion like a turtle. I thought the wildlife here was good enough with just Pingu but I guess we're hiring turtles now, too; next Mossy the Snapping Turtle will be running Archery with Everdeen.
Portions spent the week making Super Mario and dog themed colouring books for campers who liked to take breaks on the porch to themselves. She learned quite a lot about the Super Mario universe thanks to them and now has an eye for the perfect line art to colour in. She also got a nice run up the hill with a camper who needed to let off some steam. I'm sure Portions would have taken him for her usual jaunt down Concession 6 if she could and show him the sweet Elmwood sights.
Also, Happy (so very belated) Birthday, Portions! We've had a handful of staff birthdays this summer: Twist, Lino, Everdeen, Snaps, and Portions. She kindly shared her cake with the staff table.
Activities went on as planned this week, although Biking and Archery had some restrictions on them because of our smaller campers who wouldn't be able to safely participate. We do have smaller harnesses for High Ropes, though, so they still got to experience that fun! I still bristle at the idea of going up there so I'm always super proud of the campers who do it no problem. Teach me your ways!
Grimm finally learned how to do tie-dye and got to head down to the Pavilion to cover shirts and probably herself in fun colours instead of just hanging out in the laundry room.
Portions and Twist began planning the Stock Exchange game, where each staff member has a "company" and there's a Camp stock market that the cabins get to play. Portions and I spent time beautifying each of the envelopes for the different stocks. She originally only had six marker colours to work with, but then I pulled out my full set and we were flying. I'm in my element when I get to doodle. If you visit camp, make sure to look at the mailbox labels for the staff!
My favourite photo moment from the week had to be at Games when they were playing with the giant rainbow tarp, titled "Nap Time With Scoops" where half the campers are just lying against her asleep. I laughed pretty hard when I first when through those photos, as more and more campers would creep into the frame and fall asleep as the activity period went on. They also played the Cat & Mouse game, where one camper crawls around under the wavering tarp (the mouse) and another is on top trying to catch them (the cat).
An exciting event at McGovern this week was that one of our campers lost a tooth! I had Miss Frizzle grab me a toonie from the Swear Jar, wrote him up a card, and packaged up the tooth for when he went home. I hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste all the time so I guess it makes sense that I can play the Tooth Fairy, too.
Besides that, Session 5 was full of glittery plasticine thanks to Arts & Crafts, Amazing Race, and a pizza night. Honestly I didn't know New Orlean's Pizza made pizzas the size of a table. Honestly gigantic, and there were leftovers so I definitely had a post-curfew pizza party in my hut later that day. Parfait said about the week that he really enjoyed supporting his camper Jax, and that the two of them grew really close in such a short amount of time.
I hope that everyone has a lovely Monday and I look forward to seeing you with the Session 6 post. Apparently there are a ton of photos!
Hello McGovern Family! Session 4 was something else, I tell you. The Squares went on the first canoe trip to launch this summer and had a wild time, I think one of the canoes tipped, but Greyjoy will tell you that it only "took on water." It happens all the time and all the Squares came back safely after a night of camping. I wonder if they taught the other people camping any camp songs or McGovern traditions!
When they came back they helped out with programs and did some more shadowing, as well as hanging out in the Villa with the new crop of LEADs that Anakin, Spike, and Parfait are with. Anakin went on the canoe trip with them, so Parfait stepped in to support the LEAD program, and I think after a few days of hearing the two of them talking over the walkie I can hear wedding bells in the distant. An English guy saying all of his walkie commands in a Alabaman accent is something...special.
Those two are also the only people at camp who say "over" when they talk to eac hother on the walkie. We all have our own special way of communicating though, so I shouldn't be surprised. I'd bet a pie in the face that Grimmauld will say "I am Grimm" anytime someone calls for her.
Session 4 was very, very rainy for the first few days so we spent some time in the Hallman watching The Lorax, playing card games, making so many bracelets, and busting out their pipes at Karoake night. It was like Lip Sync Battle on a sugar rush, I tell you, there was cheering, dancing, singing, yelling, costumes, dramatics, and so much more. Eventually when the rain stopped everyone poured out of the Hallman for fresh air before bed time.
I can't even joke about how many bracelets were made last week, it was like a fairy came along and blew bracelet-making glitter over everyone. Specifically, Kumihimo bracelets, which is a form of braiding and weaving string on a wheel type loom. All those white, flower looking, foam circles you see people holding are what they use to make all sorts of designs and colourful patterns. Scoops said she's already bought two 100 piece packs of string this summer because of how many she's made.
We had our usual Flag Making Cabin Challenge, where Pond tried to recreate Shortz's English flag that hangs above the door and Lookout drew what I can only describe as a Mount Rushmore type facade of Burly and Snorlax.
Thursday was a super exciting day because we got to welcome home an old friend! Pollen rolled in and we got the whole camp to wave and cheer to her. A few people held the Welcome Home sign, whooped, and all the old friends went in for a hug. Pollen works in England but is from Canada, so she's kind of like a reverse-international. She immediately got back into the swing of camp helping cabins and catching up with staff and campers. I wonder how long it took before she had tie-dye hands.
Our shipment of tie-dye meant that we now have a few more colours so instead of just fuschia-handed campers coming into the med hut, we not have smurfs running around because of the blue dye. For the first time this summer we had to do tie-dye in the evening due to scheduling changes and I kept calling it "Tie-Dye After Dark," McGovern's latest event.
Sprocket Jr the Giraffe made an appearance at Low Ropes, providing all the long-haired campers with hair ties when they were caught in a bind. Honestly, if you're ever at camp and you need a hair tie, it doesn't matter if you don't know Sprocket, he'll always have an extra hair tie to give you. Sprocket Jr is always decked out in a rainbow of hair ties, ready to give out at Ropes and other activities when he isn't fixing stuff up with his volunteer buddy, Austin.
Our farmer neighbour Mr Miller and his grandchildren came down one day with the dogs and the little Millers got to roast hot dogs at cookout with Lookout (ha!). Sometimes they come for a full week at camp but oftentimes the Millers just come down the road and hang out with us. Mr Miller is super handy when we're in a bind and need someone with a tractor. It happens often, I tell you.
In the office, our super star Matthew from Pines kept us company with his silent, amused presence. He read his book, helped Sandra shred things, and added commentary to all our ridiculous antics. He also hung out on the porch with some campers that had designated Porch Parties, playing cards, drawing pictures, and chatting all day. He even sat in on some Drama sessions with Stamp and laughed at Portions whenever she would start singing Disney songs.
With all the rain, our internet went out again so many times during the week. When I was on the phone with our internet company a few weeks ago I told him that our internet usually only goes out on rainy days and not when it's sunny, so I must have jinxed the rain. Sorry, McGovern Family.
Besides having to convince a couple of campers that the Intergalactic Space Chickens were in fact real and not just made up by Twist, the week went smoothly. There was uproar over the walkies as we had to keep telling the campers about how Spinach was captured by them in Staff Training. We got her back safe and sound but we are not letting that girl out of our sight when the Chickens land ever again.
Even though Crispy and Spicy visited the office to help convince the campers, they wouldn't believe us. Guess we'll just have to invite the Intergalactic team to McGovern in the next few weeks to make them believe.
Please thank Tinkerbell for all of his photo talents, he's been the man behind the camera recently and I love his eye for all things McGovern. I hope you all have a lovely rest of your week and I'll see you again when it's time to tell you all about Session 5. Spoiler alert: the campers are all very small and very cute. Wait until you see Chimney.
Leave seeds out for the Space Chickens and have a great Tuesday,
Hello Camp McGovern! Session 4 has just begun and I'm sure there's already been oodles of fun had since the campers arrived yesterday afternoon, but I'm here to tell you all about Session 3! Between all of the songs sung in the Hallman and LEADs taking over camp it was one heck of a week. This post's title is dedicated to our Squares counselor Pingu, named after the television program penguin, because when he is called upon during the Telephone song, always responds with the character's iconic sound: the noot-noot.
"Hey Pingu!" "No-noot noot noot!" "Hey Pingu!" "No-noot no-noot no-noot noot!" "You're wanted on the telephone!" "Noot noot noot Greyjoy, noot noot noot!"
If you're an old friend, please try and sing that to yourself, new friends you'll have to visit camp in order to get the full effect! Besides Telephone, the sheer amount of Show Us How You Get Down that went on was honestly ridiculous. We usually cap it at 3 dancing staff a meal but due to the overhaul of dancing Spinach made the executive decision that we could only get down 5 times per day. Today 3 out of 5 get downs were used at breakfast so I'm going to assume dinner will be a quiet event!
Bumper and Tinkerbell spent all of Friday capturing the Amazing Race, following a few cabins around their areas. During the Amazing Race, most of our programs run like High Ropes, Low Ropes, Archery, Canoeing, and Sports, but we also have Gratitude Time where our campers write thank you cards to our sponsors. If you're unaware, Camp McGovern could not be possible without the help of our sponsors and donors, so the campers show their gratitude by telling them about their time at camp and sharing memories, favourite things about camp, or beautiful drawings.
Both the LEADs and Squares spent Session 3 shadowing cabin staff, our Inclusion Facilitators, kitchen staff, and a few Leadership members. One of the Squares, Louisa, went around calling all her shadow staff "M'Lady" while tipping her hat to them. Her Villa-mate Savion is our superstar photographer and when he wasn't helping out in the kitchen he had my camera in hand. He loves helping out in the kitchen, though, so he spent a lot of time getting to know Mariposa and Uptown.
Karley-with-a-K (it's her official title, by the way) from LEAD is here for an extra week to volunteer and make even more #McGovernMagic with her jokes and dance moves. She looks stunning in a hairnet, I promise! Buttercup and Karley even wore matching outfits last week, which were quite fetching until they got doused in a water fountain fight. I don't even know how it started, all I know is that Scoops broke a pitcher and there were many damp staff walking around during Free Time.
Speaking of the kitchen, we had a mid-afternoon cookout at Opening and the Villa firepit, where many hot dogs and s'mores were consumed. Instead of doing a full sing-song campfire afterward though, our campers did Activity 3, went swimming, and then had dinner before a night of games. They did break out some Scat before the games, how could they not?
The LEADs ran what I can only describe as a mix between Capture the Flag, Dodgeball, and something to do with crawling across the soccer field on hands and knees. I think there was also wiffle balls involved? I honestly don't know what to call it! Our LEADership campers have been superb so far this summer with their initiative, they've already led several games throughout the weeks and got our campers energized with fun.
Bumper helped to tire them out afterwards with a game of Tag where everybody is "it" and then Screaming Banshees, a fan favourite. The Leadership team was having a meeting and Twist turned her head to say something just as all the campers started their run and scream, it was so funny I think our meeting was put on hold for ten minutes.
I visited Sequins in Crafts this week to root through her supplies to make a few things for my Secret Friend (shhhhh, let's keep it between us, McGovern Family) where many bracelets were being made. The bracelet of choice at camp is the staircase but some even went for the diagonal or chevron. Once you master the chevron, you can pretty much do anything. Sprocket made me a bracelet that says my name which is super cool.
Every time I found something cool at Crafts, a camper would ask: "Can I have that?" Although I used to run A&C in 2014, Sequins and Scoops hold the reigns now and it's up to them what the campers can use.
As usual Everdeen, Grimm, and Spin ran the cabin challenges: Humpty Dumpty/egg drop (it's a work in progress), and the cabin flag challenge. There weren't any flags that made me laugh quite as hard as Pond's Shortz flag, but they were still pretty good!
Linoleum, who has been working from home this summer, came up for another visit on Thursday after going to the dentist. He and Portions answered a bunch of phone calls, filled out paperwork, and all that other great stuff. If you've recieved a phone call or email at all this summer it's likely come from Portions, Twist, Linoleum, or Gobbles. They are email machines.
Speaking of visitors, we had Chris and Kat from Americamp Canada up on Thursday to take photos and video of all our lovely international staff. Shortz led some canoeing with them, then they built a fire with campers and sang songs. The McGovern Special, one could say. There was a sea of staff wearing their Americamp t-shirts, one might think it's the McGovern uniform now!
Today we got a delivery of new tie-dye mix and I'm sure the Session 4 campers are excited to do their own, with the Squares sporting their shirts they made in Session 2. Something to note: if you ever see staff or campers in photos covered in pink or red spots or hand prints, they were really silly at tie-dye and got it all over them. It washes off soon enough and isn't harmful, so nothing to worry there! I actually face-palmed when Bo-Peep came into the med hut with what looked like pink war paint all over her.
Bo-Peep also was the bearer of quite a beautiful rash on half her face last week after the Stick It to the Pie results came through. After she took an antihistamine and I cleaned off her face, her Phantom of the Opera rash was gone, but it was quite hilarious. Spike and Pingu had to hold each other for support when receiving their pies from Mariposa and Anakin; the Villa bond is strong with them. There was a lot of ranch dressing involved in those pies, it was pretty gross.
We ended the week with the traditional Final Campfire, where we sang songs, thanked campers and staff for an amazing week, and talked about what we were taking home from camp this year. Lots of campers said that they were taking home the knowledge that no matter who you are, you will always be able to find love and support. Also, being a little weird is always okay; here at McGovern we favour the strange and out of the box characters.
Speaking of weird, the office staff has got a bit funky lately naming our supplies. The printer was dubbed Ole Smokey last year, Portions decided our paper shredder was Sandra, and today Tinkerbell named the air conditioning unit Francesca. The office is definitely a funny place to be lately.
Thank you to everyone who has emailed in or said over the phone how much you love the blog, it really is lovely to hear, especially now this year that I'm not working in the office full time and don't have as many pockets in my schedule to sit down and write. The staff has helped me out tremendously by taking photos and giving me stories, and your support really fuels me to write my posts.
I hope you all have a lovely week and here's to an amazing Session 4!
Hi McGovern Family!
Apologies for not having a blog post up yet, we lost our internet this afternoon while I was working on it and didn't get it back until now. I will hopefully have this week's post up by lunch tomorrow or by Sunday evening. Bumper, Parfait, and one of LEAD campers have been running around taking some amazing photos this session and I am eternally grateful, even if I do have to sift through hundreds of photos every day!
Here's a little sneak peak of our week, I hope you enjoy.
Remember to stay hydrated and take care of the people you love,
Note: this post was for last week, and I'd written a good portion of it already, so if the wording is written as if it was still Session 2. There also might be a few repeat photos, but plenty of new ones, too! Session 3's post is expected to be up Thursday or Friday. Have a lovely day, McGovern Family!
Good evening McGovern Family!
Session 2 has been in swing since Sunday and it feels like these campers have been here for three weeks, that's how much fun is being had! Our July bunch of LEADs and LEAD2s arrived this week, and they are learning lots of leadership skills with Anakin, Spike, Greyjoy, and Pingu. Anakin and Spike took the LEADs to the pond for their first canoeing session and Anakin said it was great to be back at canoeing, she definitely misses being the activity head. Shortz is holding the fort, I mean pond, down for her though.
If I had to count how many stickers I've given out this week I couldn't even begin to guess. At camp you can get stickers for any number of things but I specifically give campers 3-6 stickers if they come for their medication on time or early. Chimney is usually the first one to show up at my door at 7:40 and then the rest trickle in before breakfast. I lost my favourie earring last week and this morning during Sparkle Time, Boulder found it so all the girls got stickers as well.
We're having our campers help out with dishes this summer so that they can learn more responsibility and also help out our kitchen team, and today when I told Knobhill that they were on dishes duty at lunch, the groans could be heard all the way to Mulock Rd. Nonetheless they rolled their sleeves up and washed the dishes before heading to activities.
The activity periods have been booming this week. We took a break from High Ropes for a couple of days but everything is up and running as usual. Everdeen and Snaps are our Archery duo this summer and this week they ran what they called the "Holiday Challenge," where they had different destinations, travel options, and how long they'd be staying in certain places. For example, you could travel to the Activity Shed with Parfait for six weeks on a boat, or fly to Disneyland for an hour with Einstein.
There was lots of excitement throughout the week, especially at Canoeing when they were able to catch a turtle in one of the nets! We always let our pond friends go, but we love to study them first and get to know the nature of McGovern. We have lots of little turtles in the pond as well as our big friend Mossy, the snapping turtle. She’s shy and stays in one corner of the pond, so we don’t see her too often. There’s also a few different types of fish, water snakes, and frogs. At nighttime if you walk past the pond it sounds like there is a choir burping, but it’s just the frogs singing.
The LEADs and LEAD2s this week played around 400 games of cards in their off time, roping in any staff member they could, when they weren’t doing their scavenger hunt or helping to take photos. We have one really talented LEAD2 who has his own photography portfolio, so he usually takes my camera out for a spin and contributes to the blog.
On Wednesday was our weekly cookout, where the campers get to roast hot dogs on the fire and s’mores for dessert. Bumper went and checked out the Villa campfire, where the LEADs and a few boys cabins were eating. The hot dogs sure looked yummy and even I can’t help but drool at all the s’mores they must have eaten. After dinner came to an end, everyone gathered at our fire pit down by the skate park where Everdeen led them in a proper singsong campfire.
She wrote me down a list of songs that they sang and for those of you who’ve never been to camp or heard camp songs, they are pretty silly. There’s one that all the counselor’s beg Everdeen not to teach until the last day of camp because it’s all the campers want to sing. “Moose, alpaca, moose, moose, alpaca, unicorn!” over and over and over! I never thought another song about a moose would come to McGovern, but times change and I’m sure every bus ride home is going to be filled with an older camper leading “Moose, Alpaca.”
Besides “Moose, Alpaca,” they sang “Coca Cola” (which I think is pretty rude, personally), “Little Jeep,” “Around the World,” “Scat,” “Great Big Moose,” “Little Piece of Tin,” “Boa Constrictor,” “The Penguin Song” or as it is now known “The Pingu Song,” and “Al-away-a.” After the songs were all done, the campers sat down to listen to Everdeen tell “The Story of Timmy the Inflatable Boy.” She’s pretty amazing at story-telling, too, so it was a great end to a great campfire.
In this week’s cabin challenge, Grimm and Everdeen tasked the cabins to build a shelter for an egg, so that when it was dropped from a height (the skate ramp) it wouldn’t break. The cabins went about naming their eggs, making them little homes, and wrapping them in bubble wrap. The eggs that survived the height challenge moved onto the next phase, which was to watch after the egg for the rest of the day.
The bubble wrapped egg found it’s way to the office to hang out with Portions and I, and when Everdeen caught a camper coming back for it she said: “Egg sitting was not in the rules!” We all had a good laugh about that one. Chimney’s egg fell off a shelf and splatted all over Stamp’s luggage, so I guess they didn’t do a very good job taking care of it. Pines’ egg did not make it past the skate ramp, but most cabins were able to keep their egg safe until the end of the challenge. Throughout the day there was constantly counselors reminding their campers to bring their eggs to and from places, and each egg had its own spot at the table.
Tie-dye was a hit as always and our campers created beautiful t-shirts this week. Our shirts this year feature the night sky with the Big Dipper, a cabin, a river, and a forest. We like to print the camper’s shirts with white ink so that when they dye them, the design shows up. It’s part of the #McGovernMagic! There are a few campers who come back several times a summer so they are pretty skilled tie-dyeing now and help us teach others.
Other highlights from this week include a rousing game of Capture the Flag and Dodgeball on the large soccer field. I think the campers played for like three whole hours, they had so much energy. It’s always hard to tell from the office who wins those games because it’s usually an all out battle between evenly matched teams, and the campers have fun regardless of winning.
Stick It to the Pie was absolute MADNESS this week with over 400 stickers on both Parfait and Greyjoy. Greyjoy technically had more but we couldn’t resist giving our campers a double act. Moonlight and Stamp were Spinach’s lovely assistants while everyone sat in front of the stage to watch Greyjoy and Parfait get pied. I don’t know how but literally every time Greyjoy gets pied it all goes in their hair and not on their face. Parfait didn’t escape that fate, however, and was very much covered in whatever beautiful concoction Spinach made up. I think I heard her say leftover oatmeal at some point, but honestly, who knows what that lady’s up to!
We finished off the week with a touching Final Campfire, another activity, and a talent show in the morning. Our campers left Friday afternoon so we were able to squeeze in some more fun before the bus rolled away. There was lots of singing, instruments being played, dance parties, and of course, Miss Frizzle with his shoelace tying expertise. I can’t tell if it was more or less tame than our staff talent show.
Session 2 was a hoot and we are so excited to see those friends again, either this summer or the next. Lookout for all the hilarity of Session 3 and have an amazing evening, McGovern Family.
Hello McGovern Family!
Our Session 1 campers are here for their last night, ice cream sandwiches being cleaned off their fingers and free time winding down. We're having pizza for dinner and afterwards the campers are going to pack and head off to Final Campfire. O-Wimbaway and Stamp had to get down at dinner, with Stamp flossing and O-Wimbaway doing some kind of windshield wiper motion. I wasn't quite sure about that one.
It's been a super hot week and most of my days have been filled with asking campers: "Did you put on sunscreen? Did you put on bug spray? Where's your hat? Is your water bottle full? How many times have you filled it up?"
Thankfully we have a refreshing river; Sunday evening instead of a sweltering campfire we had a big river party. Today the boys went in first while the girls finished up their tie-dye, and then rotated before activity 3 began. Our campers have tons of energy so I'm sure we'll have at least a few minutes of Screaming Banshees after campfire. If you've never heard of Screaming Banshees, it's great, basically you breathe in the biggest breath you can, start running while you scream, and then when you're breath is all gone you go again.
Our good friend Mothman went around yesterday during activities taking photos. Archery, Low Ropes, Swimming, Sports, Arts, Canoeing, Guitar, and High Ropes!
In Arts this week our campers painted rocks and now they all have colourful rock friends to carry around. In Low Ropes, the campers had to tug Stamp and Mrs Frizzle across the elements, there was a ton of hoop shooting at the basketball court, and Snorlax had a circle game going in the field, too.
There were also a few games of octopus being played, as well as many elements on High Ropes explored. Improv, Grimm, and Sprocket have been putting our campers in the air, and I heard one did push-ups on the catwalk. Spinach also hangs out at Ropes sometimes, but she, Greyjoy, Anakin, Spike, and Pingu are on an overnight canoe trip to prepare for their LEADs arriving next week.
They pushed off this morning and will be back tomorrow, but I'm sure they are already sitting around a fire roasting marshmallows. The campers are packing up their bags right now and putting on their long sleeves and pants for Final Campfire, as the mosquitoes can be quite challenging at sunset in the woods. I'll be up there soon to sing Land of the Silver Birch, but for now I have to make sure all the photos get uploaded.
There has been many a soccer game at camp this year due to all of our UK staff members, and the Sports campers tore up on the big field earlier this afternoon. Meanwhile, in the blue Arts cabin, Sequins and Scoops helped a group of girls paint pictures. Portions has a lovely portrait of her drawn by a camper above her desk in the office.
The campers got to watch in delight this evening as Session 1's Stick It to the Pie results came in. For our new friends reading at home, Stick It to the Pie is where we post a photo of each staff member, and the campers get to put stickers on their photos all week long. They get stickers by completing tasks and achieving goals in activities, being on time for medication, and when they do something extra awesome.
Let's just say we give out a ton of stickers every week because our campers are always doing awesome things.
Sprocket and Moonlight got pied tonight, even though it was Moonlight's birthday we couldn't give him a break from a McGovern tradition! We sang him Happy Birthday earlier anyway, so at least we celebrated before covering him in his pie. They jumped in the river afterwards to wash off the pie (leftover ketchup, mustard, sour cream, and salad dressing) before going off to campfire.
The campers have sang their hearts out at Final Campfire, thanked their counselors and other staff, and talked about their week at camp. I jogged up there to sing Land of the Silver Birch, and then we closed out with the Camp McGovern song as the cabins walked back to bed.
We had so much fun this week and we can't wait to get our Session 2 campers and LEADs, but we will miss Session 1 so much, as they made our first week of camp incredible. Tomorrow morning they ship off and the staff do a big Sparkle Time before some more training.
Have a lovely evening and see you next week!
Hello friends and family of Camp McGovern!
It’s been a long year of preparations for this summer and it’s all finally here. Our staff team is all together and Session 1 is in full swing. I’ll write about our Session 1 campers tomorrow, but for now I want to talk about the amazing staff.
Improv and Sprocket spent a couple of weeks up at camp fixing up things, building wood racks for campfires, and making sure the campsite was ready to receive everybody. A few of our old friends (returning staff) and some new friends arrived on the week of the 18th to work on registrations, set up cabins, and do some training together.
Two new friends earned their name by cooking us dinner, where they made ten pounds of spaghetti for 8 people, with maybe a pound of it burnt at the bottom of the pot. Let’s just say Portions and Scoops are better off out of the kitchen. We ended up eating our mountain of spaghetti with kitchen utensils, as pasta would never be the same without a Wacky Utensil Meal spin.
I spent my time rearranging the med hut and settling in to my new room, as well as running around making sure Mozza had all the bandages she needed. She’s honestly beating Improv for person with the most boo-boos. Meanwhile Spinach and Grimm had their heads bent together working out programming and what our LEAD campers are going to do this summer. The July LEADs and LEAD2s come next week and their counselors are currently planning a canoe trip between the five of them to prepare for when the campers come.
After a day off to gallivant around Hanover, we gathered together to paint signs, clean up the week’s mess, and greet all our new friends. So many of them are from the United Kingdom and both Spinach and Sprocket had to drive to the airport to pick them up. They rolled into McGovern and were welcomed to their home away from home.
We had to name 24 people this year and we did it in record time: under an hour and a half! In 2016 we named maybe 10 people and it took 3 hours! We’re getting better, but there were still lots of debates over the best names to give people (looking at you, Spike). I’ll put a list of all our friends at the end of the post. We also have some friends from Grey Sauble Conservation who got their own names too: Mint Cake, Wilder, and Mrs Whiskers!
Nightwing and Urban Legend stayed with us for the week to help out the kitchen team, as well as Dragon who has been popping in and out to help weed-whack and make sure the med hut gets air conditioning. In 45 minutes the unit was installed and I looked at him like: “I can never repay you for this amazing deed.”
Linoleum also managed to spend a weekend with us which was amazing. He and one of our admin staff, Gobbles, can’t spend the whole summer with us due to responsibilities outside of camp. We think of them everyday, though, and can’t wait for their visits!
Throughout the week there was tons of training; we had Greyjoy lead Anakin, Pingu, and Spike in our Terms and Conditions (“Safety!”); team building exercises; LOTS of program planning from the activity heads; and some nightly events. Thursday night saw the staff in a Battle of the Bands. The acts were as follows: Uptown Funk by Julio and the Jackets, Halo by 4Days, Don’t Stop Believin’ by the Funkateers, and I Want You Back by Not the Jackson 7. Julio and the Jackets won by a landslide, Grimm gave them bonus points and they got 87 out of 84 points.
There was also a “cabin” challenge, with the male staff representing Pines and Lookout, and the female staff carrying Boulder and Knobhill’s banners. The office and kitchen also got involved, and they all had to build the fastest raft to float down the river. There were some rafts that were a big production, with giant air mattresses, pool noodles, and buckets, but then there was Team Office, who made the lovely “Princess Clarice.” It was a stick with a balloon head and inflated rubber glove hands. Princess Clarice won, with Spinach, Grimm, and Portions doubled over laughing the whole way.
I spent two days with some lovely people at St John’s Ambulance in Hanover getting some more First Aid training while the staff stayed back at camp training and spending every free moment either on the volleyball court or the basketball court. We have so many lifeguards, they also went on a few tubing trips!
We finished off the week with our favourite visitors from outer-space: the Space Chickens! That’s right, Crispy and Spicy are back! They spent all winter cozied up in their spaceships and are back to spend the summer at McGovern, bringing along some friends that looked suspiciously like Greyjoy, Sprocket, Urb, Nightwing, Anakin, Grimm, and Improv. They captured Spinach and the rest of the staff had to go and save her! Eventually, as always, we all became friends again and brought the new friends into the Space Chickens’ culture.
After jumping in the river and heading off to the showers, we gathered together for Final Campfire. Improv started off the fire and I built it up while one by one all our friends came to the heart of McGovern. Parfait and Moonlight were mesmerized in the corner whenever Improv would toss a magic fire packet into the flames. If anyone remembers the TV show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” it very much felt like we were part of the Midnight Society.
We sang When I Was One, Scat, Princess Pat, Tarzan, My Mama Don’t Wear No Socks, Green Green, and of course Land of the Silver Birch. I practiced it all year and our staff picked up the lyrics and tune within five minutes, it was absolutely amazing. We closed out the campfire with the Camp McGovern song and went off to bed, thoughts of our campers arriving in all our heads.
After a weekend off, we got right into Session 1. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow! Mothman is walking around taking photos today and I’ll find some good snaps to put up. Maybe even some snaps of Snaps!
Happy belated Canada Day, McGovern Family, and have a lovely Monday evening!
Leadership Staff - Twist, Spinach, Pepsi, Grimm, Sprocket
Male Cabin Counselors - Ms. Frizzle, Shortz, Snaps, Burly, O-Wimbaway, and Snorlax
Female Counselors - Stamp, Sequins, Everdeen, Improv, and Scoops
Kitchen Team - Mozzarella, Mariposa, and Uptown
Students on Rotation and Inclusion Facilitators - Tinkerbell, Bo-Peep, Razmatazz, Moonlight, Parfait, Bumper, Buttercup, and Popcorn
LEAD/2 Team - Anakin, Spike, Greyjoy, and Pingu
Photos and Admin - Mothman, Gobbles, Linoleum, and Portions
Apologies for how late this post is, McGovern Family, there's been some technical difficulties on my end. As well, I've had a camper acting as our photographer this week and he has taken so many photos that I just keep adding them on to what we already have. To wrap up the end of Session 6, I'll just let you know about our epic Lip Sync Battle that we had on Thursday night. There were many campers in costume - some matching, mostly not - and everybody was sparkling after they exited the costume closet.
Lookout Cabin was especially beautiful in their dresses, rain coats, and wacky hats. One Lookout boy was making sure everyone was safe with his gigantic STOP sign. I love doing cabin photos before an event like that because it really catches the ridiculous side of #McGovernMagic versus our heartwarming side.
The camper that made All Star by Smash Mouth the 2017 Song of the Summer (past years have been Call Me Maybe, Never Say Never, the Cup Song) wasn't here for the Lip Sync Battle, but he's here now and definitely causing a ruckous. Every day in I've walked past Drama in the Hallman and no matter what they are doing, he busts out that song. Well, the years start coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming, am I right?
That camper, who calls himself Prometheus, said to me the first week he was here: "I saw a Pepsi truck that said 'Bepis' instead of Pepsi. Can I call you Bepis?" I immediately said yes because it's one of the best nicknames to come off my camp name and it's going to be the name stitched onto my staff swag this year.
Sunday night of Session 7 saw our last Opening Campfire of the summer, made by Wombo. Spinach dirtied her onesie to sing An Old Austrian Man, but I'm sure all of our onesies have been through worse here than kneeling on the forest floor. Wombo built up an amazing fire and for his last, it was a good one. He's off to do another leadership program so he had to leave us early, but he's been amazing this summer and enjoyed his time building gigantic fires in the forest. That and getting "fire mixtapes" from his secret friend. I'm sure Nightwing, Urb, and Stark will miss your wacky dance moves in the kitchen.
On Monday there was Soccer Baseball up at the Field of Dreams or Dodgeball on the soccer field, run by the LEADs. Dodgeball has been a fan favourite this summer as well as Survival. Last night the soccer field was covered in pinnies from whoever was victorious, while Bambi and Swampy chased each other around desperately trying to get the other out. Sprocket had a little bit of a spill after a camper tried to tag him, and I think he tried to leap around them. He did not succeed.
On Monday, we had a double feature in the Hallman due to the solar eclipse.
We wanted to protect everyone's eyes, so during the afternoon the Hallman was made into a movie theatre and everybody piled in. I was able to get a few photos of the sun by looking at my phone instead of the sun itself, and Spinach made a little pin hole in a piece of paper to catch the shape of the moon over the sun; DIY contraptions are the best at Camp. In the photos, if you look underneath the sun there's a little green moon shape in the lens flare. It was a pretty neat event and everyone experienced it in a safe way, but the Hallman did smell very sweaty afterward, it was a hot day.
We had another movie event this week because of yesterday's rain. Cabin Line almost had its own little river with how much water there was. We did as much of the activities as we could, and those who had Low/High Ropes, Archery, or Biking got to go up to the Arts and Crafts cabins for impromptu art parties.
We had a camper who sang Reflection from Mulan, which earned him a standing ovation, Hoola and Ohana dueting with Lost Boy by Ruth B, a camper played and sang Once Upon a December from Anastasia, Greyjoy and a camper lip-synced, and of course, our good friend Prometheus got up and started All Star. Boost put on his eyeliner and erupted from the costume closet in the best outfit you'll ever see at McGovern to sing some early Brittany Spears.
Afterward, Groot shouted "one more, one more!" before everyone left the Hallman and played Shooting Stars by Bag Raiders. Marvel, Groot, and Hoover led the entire camp in their choreographed dance on the stage. It was wild. Swamp spent the entire dance waving the green ukulele in the air.
Today is our final Amazing Race of 2017 and currently Rapids is in the Hallman writing thank-you cards for our donors. Last time he was here, Prometheus wrote on his card "IT'CHA BOI, PROMETHEUS" and it made everyone in the office erupt with laughter at his amazing spirit and humour.
Well, this is the end of the longest blog post in history of McGovern. I couldn't get onto our website for two days due to connection issues, so I apologize for being late, but I hope that you all enjoy the photos and silliness from the week.
I want to extend a thank you to our camper friend from Rapids who's been taking all these photos and giving me tips on photography and website stuff. Today he walked in and was like "here's how to change your bookmark icon" and I didn't even know what that meant or that it existed. I'll just be in the corner with my knitting.
I hope that everyone is having a warm and happy Friday, and that the last week of your summer has been as magical as ours. Love you to bits, McGovern Family.