Happy (belated) Canada Day, Camp McGovern!
A gaggle of old friends arrived yesterday and the LEAD2 graduates come today, followed by all of our new friends tomorrow. Greyjoy (who came from the Land of Greyjoy, known as Holland to most), Boost, Hoola, Anakin, Ohana, S'Mores, and Improv all came down the hill as we rushed forward whooping and shouting their names. Tigger also stayed for a visit after delivering Anakin.
We woke up to a lovely pancake breakfast, where a debate over Aunt Jemima's and real maple syrup ensued. Linoleum was heartbroken when he learned the syrup he was using was in fact not Aunt Jemima's, but Sysco brand, so Twist came out the victor this morning.
Twist and linoleum giving some exuberant answers during the game "Anomia"
Last week we had our first One Utensil Meal of the summer, with one of our Camp Medical Officers receiving the fabled whisk. Don't tell Greyjoy, but she may meet her foe at some point this week - also, get ready for the whisk puns I'm going to pull out this summer. Linoleum had to eat beans and rice with a giant potato masher. He was a little bit salty (as the kids say), but he eventually got his dinner down. I had to scoop up my meal with a large ladle and tip my head back as I tapped the bottom of the ladle.
On Thursday night I attempted to build a fire for the friends that stayed on site for the weekend, but the wood was too wet so it mostly ended up being a paper fire as we fed recycled paper into the fire. Thankfully last night's fire got going pretty quickly and we were able to roast s'mores (S'Mores didn't have any though, weird) and hang out in the Villa. Greyjoy was pretty jetlagged so we had to keep our campfire silliness to a low volume.
Einstein welcomed everybody home!
Before the fire last night, we all gathered on the skate park to have a game of dodgeball, but not just any kind of dodgeball. We used marshmallows, and there's nothing like watching a dozen marshmallows being thrown back and forth as the staff dodge and run around to get other people out.
I got some pretty amazing photos and my favourite part was when the teams had to pick one person to "protect" from the marshmallows; literally everybody pointed to Boost. Don't worry, Mama Boost, we're taking care of him and we shall vanquish each mallow fiend that comes near him.
Unexpected things always happen at camp and today while Linoleum was delivering life jackets to the canoe shed, White Lightning got stuck in the mud. Impromptu team building, anybody? We all piled into the costume closet, where our store of rubber boots lives, slipped some on (some friends had mismatched feet) and made our way down to the Pond.
When we got there, I made everybody pose in their rubber boots like we were at prom, and Linoleum found his new Facebook profile photo.
That's all for today, but I'll be back tomorrow with more hilarity and staff training shenanigans, bonding, and old/new faces. Enjoy your Sunday, McGovern Family!
The members of our team are slowly trickling in and we have opened the gates of McGovern for the summer. This week our Leadership team, Kitchen team, and LEAD program counselors are arriving and spending the evenings snuggled deep in blankets to keep out the chill. Despite the rain, we're still getting our work done and spending time playing games, talking about Camp culture, and eating some really good food.
This morning the Leadership team had a meeting to talk about the values we need to cultivate at camp, how we plan to grow, and what we want to see happen this summer. No meeting is ever complete without a hilarious quote and Nightwing pulled from history for this one: B.C. is "Before Camp" and A.C. is "After Camp." It's not the only line that's been jotted down to remember and laugh about, our calendar is already filling up. Thankfully, Spinach found a lovely notebook that I'm going to decorate and make our official Camp McGovern Quote Book.
Moving to camp meant dismantling our office back in Waterloo, and Sunday morning I got an amazing Snapchat from Linoleum as he panned over the empty office, with Good Morning Baltimore playing in the background. He doesn't know how to pause music before he snaps, but I thought it added some pizzazz to the video. It's odd to see a room that was once filled with chart paper and post-it-notes empty, but our office at Camp has quickly adopted our Waterloo vibe.
Nightwing, Urban Legend, and a new friend in the kitchen have been working hard to make everything sparkle for summer meals. Our walk-in freezer was a little tricky to open due to the door freezing, but thankfully someone who came to do maintenance on the stove was able to get it to budge. So far on our menu we've had French toast with an amazing apple cinnamon sauce, teriyaki chicken with rice and chickpea salad, grilled cheese and tomato soup, as well as simple but delicious cereal. I just came back from lunch and we had pasta with chicken. Thank goodness for leftovers, I'm sure we'll still be fine dining on our weekend off.
Last night after dinner we all got together and played some games in the Hallman. Our new friend in the kitchen who has one of the best laughs I've ever heard came up against Linoleum in the final round of the game "Pterodactyl" (the reason our old friend Pterodactyl got her name) . She laughs so easily that we thought she'd be out in the first round, but as Nightwing said: "Everybody loves an underdog story."
We also played "Zip, Zap, Zop," "Bologna," and "Charades." Linoleum really knows how use up as much space as possible while acting out a prompt; he was up and down the Hallman floor waving his arms about and making all those classic Lino facial expressions.
A beautiful view of concession six, shot by Twist.
Today we've had a reprieve from the rain and the sun is shining as Mr. Ray Kipfer (our beloved Jack of all trades here at Camp) mows the lawns and does other handiwork for us. When you drive into Camp, you'll see a post that reads Ray Kipfer Creek; whenever Strum leads biking he likes to stop there and tell the campers about it.
As always, our life sized version of Einstein is with us this week and though I have known him for a year, he still spooks me whenever I walk by. At the moment he's sitting down at the Hallman reading a good book. His goals for the summer are to learn yoga, lead an activity, and hide in as many places as possible. He tends to fall over but we make sure he's upright when we can.
A month ago we got a giant donation from Value Village for our costume closet and Urb went sifting through it last night. He found a hat that reads "Greatest Dad" and donned it immediately; it's going to be his hat for the kitchen all summer.
We're currently building our Staff Training Week so I have to sign off, but just remember: 12 days until campers arrive! Have you packed yet? Do you know what to pack? If not, here's the packing list.
Enjoy the sunshine while it's out!
Goooooooood Morning Camp McGovern!
As of Monday, we hit 350 registrations for the summer! The weeks are filling up and every day as we pull together the count, Lino, Twist, Spinach, and I get chills at the amazing amount of campers that we will have this summer. We can't wait to see returning campers again and meet those new campers who will bring their own smiles and brilliance to the #McGovernMagic.
We've been trying to beat the June heat as we work, but Linoleum still wears his onesie every evening despite Spinach and I searching out air conditioning to cool ourselves down. Spinach has been planning the summer programs and yesterday we were brainstorming different names for areas at camp to go along with the themes (see if you can guess what she's cooking up for your week at camp!).
The staff team has also had some exciting news as we hired our second nursing student this week. The team is pretty much complete now, but we'll also have some volunteers and friendly faces coming later this summer as well. We're going to have to name 21 new friends this year. That is. A. Lot. What a task!
Staff week is usually a giant sleepover with everybody in the camper cabins and no doubt we're going to fill up a few. Does anybody have a favourite cabin or bunk? Mine is in the front of Knobhill, from the many weeks I've spent in that cabin with an array of co-counsellors. I'm sure Mosaic feels the same way! :)
If don't know what to pack, don't worry! There will be an email sent to all the families who registered soon. The staff get a packing list, too, and I'm trying to figure out how many tie-dyed t-shirts can fit in one cabin. I also said I'd write my friends back home some letters, so I better get myself some stamps and fill up my letter box with supplies! Thankfully Nightwing, who is my snail-mail buddy, will be living two steps from me all summer. Are you going to send letters about your camp adventures this summer? Maybe we can write together during chill time.
There are 26 days until campers arrive. Lino and Twist pick up the camp phone all day in the office so that we can get all the registrations finished, details polished, and camp ready. Try to guess how many registrations we'll have next week!
See you so, so soon, McGovern Family!
Nice to write for you again, McGovern Family! It's been a long year of counting down to camp (we still are, 40 more days until campers arrive) and the staff team has been working hard to get everything ready. A BIG thanks to all that came up to camp on the weekend to organize program areas and beautify McGovern. Hoola, Linoleum, Spinach, Twist, Marvel, Strum, me, and some new friends that have yet to be named all spent two nights cleaning, playing Settlers of Catan, and singing camp songs.
The Masons dedicated their time to building picnic tables, fixing up the canoe trailers, repainting buildings, and they made us an AMAZING new stage. This group of hard working individuals come to camp each year and we are so grateful for everything they've done.
We got a ton of work done this weekend! One of the LEAD2s from last summer that's on our staff team organized the tuck room while I made sure the Utility room was full of supplies for Sparkle Time. Strum was reunited with Veronica the compound bow when taking stock of the Archery shed and a group even spent some time testing out their skills as Merry Men on the Archery range.
Several people sorted the laundry room and made sure we had enough towels for the summer, but we need to seriously restock on Tide Pods. No stinky socks at McGovern, no matter how many times we sing Black Socks! Thankfully Boost doesn't have that problem, as he runs around in flip flops all the time. If you ever hear the sound of flip flops at high speeds, just know Boost is on a mission. Gotta go fast!
Twist, two new friends, and I drove to Owen Sound on Saturday to meet three new campers who were full of energy and questions about McGovern. Their faces were full of wonder when I told them about Attack of the Intergalactic Space Chickens and Stick It To The Pie. One of them spent the entire time chatting about Harry Potter with a new friend, and she showed us some amazing HP themed artwork she'd painted.
It's always very exciting to tell people about all the ways that McGovern is special, but most of all I love telling campers the silly things we do. I put on one of my camp bracelets from 2016 last week and promised them that there is always bracelet making going on in the Activity Forest, cabins, and Crafts.
Saturday night we had a spaghetti dinner - using regular utensils, sorry Greyjoy but you and the whisk will meet your fate soon - and without Nightwing in the kitchen to oversee everything, some pasta ended up sticking to the bottom of the pot. Lino still enjoyed it, though!
We had some keys lying around in a bucket waiting to find homes and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday morning sorting them, putting new key fobs on them (Spinach and I love colourful keys), setting up key rings for staff that need them, and trying out different locks. "D for Door," as the previous Director Summit used to say. Whenever I found the right lock, I shouted "Yahtzee!"
When all the work was done on Saturday, Strum took some friends to the Hanover drive-in movie theatre to see a couple movies while the rest of the group stayed at camp to have a campfire. Our new friend, who I have affectionately called Sogknees over the weekend (he misheard me when I said "Saugeen bees," but the naming ceremony isn't for a while yet), made an incredible fire. We roasted s'mores in the same spot where S'Mores got her name and sang camp songs like The Banana Song, The Penguin Song, Land of the Silver Birch, An Old Austrian Man, Gather, and The Camp McGovern Song. Hopefully Ohana and her ukulele can make an appearance at campfire this summer.
The s'mores we roasted had maple marshmallows in them and it was delicious; like a maple sugar candy but gooey, coated in melted chocolate and graham. They looked like fluffy little hockey pucks and you can't really get any more Canadian than that, can you? We like to give our International staff members an authentic experience!
Speaking of International, we had a Skype call with one of our friends from Australia, with the whole group crowded around Twist's laptop to get in the camera. The game of Catan from the night before was still sitting on the table and I was chastised heavily for any interference with the board. We all got a turn to say hello to our new friend and get to know another addition to the Australian roster at Camp McGovern. Here's some you might remember from past summers: Dingo, Lollies, Tusker, and Spiderpig!
On Friday I went in the river with a friend and it was maybe colder than early morning Polar Dip. Despite the chill, we swam around and marvelled at the beauty the Saugeen gives Camp McGovern.
It was an amazing weekend of bonding, fun, and hard work, but camp is never the same without campers running around. I have to buy sunscreen still, I got a little pink while I was there. Week 1 is so close and everyone is buzzing with anticipation for the McGovern Family to come home.
Get your packing list ready and roll up your sleeping bags, I'll see you all soon!
Your favourite soda pop,
Hey Camp McGovern!
Session 6 was another round of All Ages campers, from 9-16, and it was a pretty lively week. A ton of McGovern specials were served this week, not limited to the landing of Space Chickens, a Talent Show, a One Utensil Meal (spaghetti this time, though), and the Elmwood Fire Department.
Our LEAD Squares spent Sunday up in Cape Croker at the Chippewas of Nawash First Nations Annual Pow Wow that one of the LEAD girls invited them to. They all gathered into White Lightning for a fun road trip to watch the Pow Wow, dance along, look at the gorgeous landscape of Georgian Bay, and get some ice cream. When they all came home they had beautiful matching bracelets made by First Nations People.
At the Talent Show there were only a handful of acts but the ones that did perform made a lasting impression. Boost belted out the Pokémon theme song while one of his campers accompanied him on the piano. A couple of Squares got messy while acting out a popular skit here at McGovern; two people sit, one behind the other, and the one in the back can't see, but has to be the person in the front's hands as they go through a scene or daily routine. I'm pretty sure there was food thrown everywhere.
Urb, Linoleum, Zookeeper, Greyjoy, Polaris, Pterodactyl, Switzerland, Spinach, and Anakin chased our campers across the entire camp during Space Chickens. The jello fight was pretty impressive, I think it was the thickest and bounciest it has been all summer. Urb, Lino, and Spinach all got decked out in Space Chickens garb in the office and it was quite a sight. I'll post a few photos down below of their beautiful faces.
Exciting news, Crispy's wife, Spicy, finally visited from her home among the stars and they are now lounging peacefully about my desk.
The Elmwood Fire Department came and blasted our back field with the hose, creating mud and a good amount of chaos for campers to run around in. You really don't know dirty until you get tackled into a mud pit by another staff member (thanks, Zuko, circa 2014).
An old friend of ours, Merlin, visited camp on Friday and when he left I knew a lot more about random things than I thought I would. Thanks for the trivia, Merl. He donned a cape and walked with his sceptre up to Final Campfire. Friday was also the results of Stick It to the Pie, where I think around five people got pies. Polaris volunteered herself for the first full-body pie and it was...not cute.
Also, very exciting, last week was the first week that we made s'mores over the fire! I think it was a very sticky process, but everyone enjoyed it once their cheeks were stuffed with marshmallows. Fun fact: did you know that Urb can stick 17 marshmallows in his mouth?
I hope you've had some time to relax and munch on some campfire goodies. Until next time, McGovern Family!
Let the rain fall down, McGovern Family!
It was only for about twenty minutes, but we were all waiting for the heat to break a little and for some rain pitter patter on the roof of the cabins. While we wait for it to get drier, the campers and staff are huddling together in the Hallman watching a movie and eating their tuck. I, myself, had a peach popsicle and it was delicious.
Today the LEAD Squares have been running camp, while Shimmy and Lino run around acting like campers. Lino sat next to my desk this morning colouring and taking a break, wearing a housecoat belt as a scarf. I think I'm going to have to teach him how to use a bracelet wheel, too, but I don't know when. He's been a real handful, and last night while Nightwing, Urb, and I were hanging out in the Villa we got to see all his shenanigans. You can't sleep on picnic benches here, Linoleum.
Dawson shadowed Twist and sat in her office doing paperwork all day. We set him free just now to go hang out with the campers and his fellow Squares.
Shimmy declared that everyone should call her Meghan Trainor and spent breakfast sprinting around the Hallman while a bunch of teenagers chased her. I'm still giggling about a Square coming up to me, breathless, shouting: "Have you seen Meghan Trainor?!" She went inside eventually to eat an entire bowl of apples.
A whole bunch of staff members have had Squares following them around today, learning and demonstrating how camp runs. I'm sure it was quite an eye opener and we're all very excited for them to take some stands and really show their leadership here at McGovern.
Stay dry and enjoy a popsicle while I'm gone, McGovern Family.
Hey friends, it's Siblings Week here at Camp McGovern and the session is completely full of brothers and sisters. As usual, we started the week off with ridiculous campfires and tie dye parties. Our picnic benches are starting to look a little too colourful, wouldn't you say? Probably not Twist; I'm sure she talks about tie dying in her sleep.
Both Urb and I are in Pines this week (my second week in that cabin) with two fun campers and our table is getting a little squished with four staff members and nine campers sitting at it. I usually get the lucky chair at the end, though, sorry Urb. Last night we had roasted chicken, potatoes, broccoli and corn, which was of course very delicious. Today I made Coach a bracelet as gratitude for the chicken stir fry.
It's been a very warm week so far, but thankfully the river has been refreshing. Tech's lucky he hasn't been in yet, he'd probably be swarmed by all the campers. We haven't had a full week since Session 1, so it's nice to see the Saugeen full of smiling faces paddling against the current.
The LEAD2s have arrived and have already been doing sessions on how to be a great staff member, as well as running around with the campers. They were chasing them up and down the soccer field in a game of Capture the Flag yesterday. My first year on staff, I painted Superman and Green Lantern flags and I'm very suprised that they've lasted the dozens of games they've been used in. Camp McGovern magic, I tell you.
Tonight is the Talent Show and there is a long list of campers waiting to play the ukulele, guitar, and piano; sing, dance, or tell jokes. The camper I supported in week one could tell a mean knock knock joke; maybe Linoleum will do his stand up routine in that dashing Angry Birds onesie. No Direction is coming again and I think Greyjoy is going to bust out some moves to a Dutch song called Be Brave.
Someone told me that the Concession Six Boys were seen in Hanover yesterday, maybe they’ll make an appearance, too! The lineup is pretty impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised if the roof of the Hallman blew off from all the anticipation.
I'm going to go and watch our talented group but I promise to be back another day. Stay hydrated, McGovern Family!
Hello Week 3!
Tonight may be the last and Final Campfire has been put out, but it was a joyous three days here at McGovern. We got a super special delivery of professional dye for our colourful campers to use, and we're all excited to see the outcome tomorrow morning when everyone gets to unfurl their shirts. For some reason, somebody's keeping their tie-dye wrapped up in the fridge and I almost mistook it for rainbow ice cream!
Thursday's dinner was a beautiful lasagna with caesar salad (my favourite, oh my) and garlic bread. The camper I'm supporting had about four pieces of garlic bread and I had a mountain of salad. I don't know what it is about Italian food that brings out the silly side of McGovern, but we had another One Utensil Meal.
This time we got the campers in on it by only letting them use butter knives as the kitchen staff handed out all kinds of cooking utensils to the staff. Our friend Heddy from Bruce Grey Child and Family Services got to see just how ridiculous our meals can get. She took her elbows off the table real quick though, so she's getting a hang of the McGovern spirit.
I got lucky -- again -- with a pair of tongs but Greyjoy met her fate a second time with the almighty whisk. Maybe it's meant to be, but she certainly doesn't think so. Minnow had a can opener about the size of an eraser, but I think he did alright. Urb got straight to business and shoved his face into his plate. Who needs facial hair when you have spaghetti sauce, I mean really?
One of our campers showed up on Wednesday desperate to go back home and now he has made Twist pinky promise to call his mom and confirm that he is staying until October. I don't know who his counsellors are going to be, but I guess we'll find out! The squirrels and chipmunks won't be that great at supervision, but I'm sure they'll learn eventually. There's always room in the McGovern Family!
I hope that you all have a relaxing weekend and that your campers come home with some really good stories.
It’s been boiling up at McGovern the past couple of days and our campers and staff are doing their best to beat this heat. Four glasses of water before leaving the dining hall, McGovern Family!
Last night the LEAD campers led a fantastic game of Capture the Flag, with their own personal twist. The rules were: if you’re on the opposing side and somebody gets you with a super soaker, a wet sponge, or taps you, you’re out. Obviously this led to a gigantic water war on the soccer field, with pool noodles and water flying every which way.
Each team had to deck themselves in crazy face and body paint, creatively donning their side’s colours and wacky hairstyles. Aslan and Linoleum were particularly beautiful yesterday evening. The night ended with a cool breeze and after snack, everyone went to bed. I was up late doing some belated spring cleaning, but I got a good snooze anyway.
While cleaning the office, I grabbed a box of old photos and a handful of us spent some time looking through them. Urb, Nightwing, and Marvel found some vintage gems that had us laughing. Even though it’s been a long time since the photos were taken, the magic and spirit of Camp McGovern was the same, filled with years of games, memories, and connections.
Also, we found one of Marvel’s old cabin photos and it was spectacular. Rock on, Marv.
Tonight Spinach has planned an American Idol-esque lip sync battle for the campers and staff. There will be four guest judges and the different cabins will face off with an array of pop songs, ballads, and Disney classics to see who will win the title.
It’s currently Activity 3 right now, but before that there was a nail polish party in the Activity Forest, where glitter, stripes, and loads of colours were painted on. All of McGovern is sparkling!
I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week and that you remember to stay hydrated, McGovern Family!
Goodbye, Session 1! It was a full week of campers at McGovern and the entire staff is still buzzing with energy from all the fun we had. Pterodactyl had a line of flower crown donned campers following her everywhere and I’m sure Acyrlic still has paint all over her (I know I do!). After a year, our ropes team finally got to run the amazing challenges that everyone always talks about.
Our good friends Nightwing and Strum showed up, and there was an uproar in the Hallman with both their arrivals. How do you stop a talent show? Unveil a Strum. Nightwing will be with us for the summer, settling back into her kitchen domain and cooking up a storm. Get ready to lick your plates clean, McGovern Family, if you haven’t been already with Coach and Graphic’s delicious entrees. Saturday’s danishes and croissants left us all drooling.
The Space Chickens landed once again, surfing down in their canoes — I mean spaceships — and causing a ruckus. You think paint in your hair is bad, try special Space Chicken fuel. Who knew jello, flour, and water could carry you away to the stars? I’m sure Crispy and Spicy are back at home in the Big Dipper, safe and sound. Polaris can probably point them out if you can’t see them twinkling up there.
There were many a campfire this week and Acoustic finally got to put herself to work, singing and playing her guitar. My one-on-one camper was in Guitar this week and all of us in her class had a great time learning a handful of chords, strumming patterns, and clapping a thunderstorm with different rhythms. I’ve been playing piano for ten years but I still found myself stumbling on those sixteenth notes, so have no fear if you’re a beginner, Acoustic’s got you. If guitar isn’t your thing, join Ohana and pluck away with her on the ukulele. She taught me how to make a chord progression and I even wrote a song! Creativity flows in the back room of the Hallman, McGovern Family.
Urb worked hard all week to craft the legend of the Goat Man, and while the fire was burning low he became McGovern’s own bard and weaved the tale through the campfire smoke.
This week’s Stick It to the Pie results ended in a tie with Spinach and Linoleum both facing off in the hopes of receiving a whipped cream delight to the face and not a mouthful of mayonnaise. It got a little out of hand as they gave each other new hairstyles with their pies, but both campers and staff were on the floor laughing at Linoleum’s reactions. I’m sure that will end up in his next comedy routine.
We wrapped up the week with a One Utensil Meal, a scrumptious spaghetti dinner attempted to be consumed by the staff, who wielded different strange cooking utensils. I got lucky with a pair of tongs, but Boost and Greyjoy were struggling with mammoth sized whisks. The Greyjoys do not sow, but they absolutely do whisk!
After a long night of sleep, the McGovern staff is ready for our Session 2 campers to come. They’re a couple of hours away but it’s like we can already hear them sailing down the hill in the bus. I’m going to go dig into some leftover pasta salad, but I’ll see you all again soon.