Wow! This summer’s NYQUEST summer camp visits were a serious whirlwind. With Jonathan’s new baby and Maike returning to her US summer camp, the visits were left to myself (Camilla) and JC – and we were up for some serious adventuring!
The first visit of the summer was a 1 day loop around Lake Simcoe. Jonathan showed up for the first two camp visits – Camp Katonim, and Salvation Army Jackson’s Point -and then hightailed it back to the city. JC and I continued on to Camp Kirk, Camp Couchiching and The Hollows Camp. Camp Katonim was the camp that Jonathan attended for the first few years of his life as a camper, so it was fun to share in his memories of the place. We received a very warm welcome at Jackson’s Point Camp, and Camp Couchiching was in full summer swing – great to see so early on in the summer. Camp Kirk gave us our first taste of camp food for the summer, and it was excellent.
Even more fun, JC realized that the chef at Camp Kirk used to be at his old camp, Canadian Adventure Camp. The summer camp world is so small! Our final stop for the day was The Hollows Camp, where we were whisked around on a golf cart and even got to shoot some arrows with the resident Archery specialist, who just so happened to be a NYQUESTer. Great day!
Our second trip of the summer was a three day jaunt to our camps in Eastern Ontario and Quebec. The driving got really serious on this trip – over 1300kms! Our first stop was at Camp Merrywood, an Easter Seals (special needs) camp in Perth, ON. There were two returners at this camp and three new staff, and we enjoyed a heated game of wheelchair basketball with them in their new open-air gym facility. From there, we travelled into Quebec and arrived at Pripstein’s Camp Mishmar just in time for dinner. The NYQUEST t-shirts were out in full force for this trip, and we had a lot of fun taking pictures on the waterfront and in the indoor skate park. A short drive later, we found ourselves at CBB – a B’Nai Brith of Montreal camp with the most NYQUEST staff, over 50 individuals were placed there! This made for a pretty challenging visit of trying to check in with as many people as possible, but we did our best and succeeded in getting a group shot with at least half of the international crew! The following day, we made our way to Camp Ouareau, with a pitstop at a roadside stand for real Quebecois poutine – stellar!
At Camp Ouareau we toured the beautiful facility, which has been built by the owner’s husband. We caught up with our two staff who were placed there in the camp rec hall, which is one of the oldest camp buildings in existence. After Camp Ouareau, we drove deeper into the Laurentian Mountain range towards Mont Tremblant, which I have only ever seen in the height of winter. It is such a different place, and Camp Kinneret-Biluim is in such a beautiful location. We enjoyed a great dinner there, and enjoyed meeting the directors and catching up with the Hungarian kitchen staff. We then made our way back into Ontario, to Camp B’Nai Brith of Ottawa. We caught up with a few of the staff that evening and the following morning, and it was great to see so many familiar faces – a few staff are into their second summers, and one is up to her fourth consecutive summer at camp! The following morning, we were back on the road to Camp Walden for lunch. We’ve been working with the amazing crew at Walden for 8 seasons now, and there is always a great crew of new and returning staff to catch up with. We enjoyed a loud, bumpin’ lunch with dancing on the tables. From Walden, we made the long trek back to the city and promptly slept for a day. Another round of successful NYQUEST summer camp visits!