At the end of my summer, after 2 weeks of holidays over Alberta and BC on a lovely road trip tagging along after my parents, I somewhat hastily offered to help out at a youth summer camp that was as unfamiliar to me as beets are to bears….ask me some other time about that comparison.
I heard they were in need of a few more female cabin leaders (counsellors) and that they also needed some help with the fun and often hilarious videos that the leaders make to tie together the night games to some sort of plot in order to get the youths all riled up and raring to play.
So Sophie moped and sulked while she watched me (over) pack up my suitcase and all my computer gadgets and cables. Off I went to Camp Imadene, ready for a week of adventuresome fun and relaxation.
At this point I should pause to inform you of all my previous camp experiences. I have been a long-time, almost life-long, attendee and volunteer of Nanoose Bay Camp. I have done all sorts of various job at Nanoose; nursery worker, kid’s camp counsellor, teen camp counsellor, worship team back-up singer, team head coach…..but most recently, I have helped Nanoose Teen Camp by way of the video/tech team. We ran all the media and filmed, edited and created daily videos of sports and other activities, including at least one funny video creation, and produced Camp videos for the end of the week.
The only other camp I have ever attended was Lakelse Lake Camp in Terrace, BC, one year at the age of 9 for a week of Kid’s Camp. Though I have fond snippets of memories from that time, I do not remember much about what the camp was like, nor even the type of programs that were run for the week.
Let me pull you back to the present as I drove my brim-filled small red car up island towards the mystical and well-liked fable camp that is Imadene. I have heard nothing but good comments regarding the facility and the events that go on at Imadene, so I expected to have at least an enjoyable experience on the grounds no matter what my cabin full of youthful teen aged girls held in store for me.
Well….let me tell you…..camp Imadene is B-E-Autiful!!!!!
They are situated on the small Mesachie Lake, south of Lake Cowichan, with pristine green lawns and fields sloping towards both the swimming area and dock, complete with slide and diving board, and to the ski dock, where two shiny boats awaited it’s passengers to indulge in tubing, wake boarding or surfing or water skiing.
The buildings are small, but cozy and very well-kept. The chapel and dinning hall fit the entire compliment of campers and counsellors with the remaining staff to eat on sheltered picnic tables outside. To get to the circles of camper cabins, you must wander through a forested area that has been liberated of any choking underbrush, bushes or grasses, so walking through there late a night in the dark is not problem as long as you have the general direction in mind. The cabins, though a bit rustic with gaps between walls and roof are well-built and very large to accommodate 12 youth and 2 leaders. There are also other areas of the camp I didn’t venture too much into, such as the Dryshed, an indoor gymnasium or sorts, the canoe dock and probably other places I didn’t even find while on my first visit there.
I arrived Saturday afternoon with the other cabin leaders. We had a great time getting to know one another with games and chatter and a run through of rules and expectations for the week. I was one of only 2 leaders who had never been to Imadene before so I did feel a little out of the loop, but luckily my fellow cabin leader for the week was Amy who I had met from a few getogethers out of my church in Victoria. We decorated our cabin with blinking Christmas lights and hid our stashes of sugary treats to dole out over the week to come.
Sunday morning we, the leaders and staff, had our own chapel time where Andy, the speaker for the week and our own Student Ministries Pastor/Director, spoke to us about trying to reach into the lives of these youth to encourage great potential.
After lunch we all get decked out into our superhero costumes to welcome the campers to our Superhero Academy-themed Camp.
Soon we had a cabin full of talkative teens all getting their bunks settled with a few parents lingering and saying their goodbyes.
My cabin consisted of: myself and Amy with our campers – Jaimie, Marley, Julia, Hilary, Olivia, Kaitlyn, Marie, Claire, Emily, Dorothea and Meghan.
I simply cannot recall all that went on day-today over the entire week but I will say that the games were fun and crazy and full of running and glow sticks and water, with a few bumps and bruises along the way. The chapels were encouraging, well-thought out, touching, meaningful, deep, honest and reached my girls on all different levels. The meals were excellent, delicious, scrumptious and great!!! The activities and free time were full of fun with canoeing, skidock, swimming, soccer, dodge ball, Bead Tent (crafts, jewelry and book binding), rock climbing and many more I can’t remember.
My cabin, as did all other cabins, went through the Challenge Course but in exceptional time with such wonderful teamwork and encouragement!!
We had the Spiderweb Challenge and I wish I had more photos, but here’s one example. We had to lift, carry, push and cradle everyone up, over and through a wall of rope webbing, through all different sized holes, without touching the wall, the ropes or coming back through once over. Sound simple? I assure you, it was not! However, I am so very proud of the group my girls for what they accomplished!!
Friday morning we packed up our gear, hugged, exchanged contact info and began to head out our own separate ways back to our homes.
I had an exceptional week and loved every minute of it! Although I was extremely tired and store from a few too many crazy night games and um….the late night dance parties in our cabin!!
I love you all, my fellow Imadene–ers and I can’t wait to help out in some way next summer…..maybe…..if I can….I’ll try!!!!
some are self-explanatory…
some are a little on the crazy sized and I don’t want to explain!!!