A friend recommended I volunteer with camp. She said what happens at camp as magical, and I witnessed that magic every day, in ways large and small. But there was one incredible moment that I will never forget.
Going on a canoe trip is a big part of the camp experience. One of my Campers’ medical needs included refrigerated medication in the morning. So, as you can imagine, going on a three-day canoe trip doesn’t exactly accommodate refrigeration.
Of course, in the cabin there was already a mix of emotions about the trip—“Do we actually have to leave camp for three days?” “Can I at least bring my phone?” But one Camper was visibly excited for the opportunity. She was the one who needed the refrigerated meds.
I remember thinking to myself, “I hope the medical team can find a way to make this work.” And, just like my friend had promised, the magic of camp made itself very, very present.
This time, it took the form of a red canoe cutting across the still, misty lake at eight in the morning. That canoe was powered by three volunteers with refrigerated meds on board in a cooler. They travelled into the park every day of our trip to bring those meds in—they made the trip possible.
Standing on our campsite looking out at that red canoe getting closer and closer is something I will never forget. The efforts of the medical team, the paddlers, and everyone involved in our special delivery allowed our Camper to be involved in something she never dreamed possible.
That night, the four Campers were having dinner on a rock by the water, watching the sun go down, chatting and giggling away.
Counsellors were standing back a bit, and admiring what was taking place. One Camper—our girl who required the medical delivery—looked over at her three friends and said, “This is so much FUN, isn’t it guys?” In that moment, I really began to appreciate what makes camp so special.
In a world of “no”, of hospitals and adults, camp says “yes”. Camp says “yes” over and over and over. Camp says “yes” on a lake somewhere in Georgian Bay, surrounded by friends.
I watched this group of girls laugh and smile more in three days than most people do in months. They build friendships most of us only dream of, and created happy memories that will last a lifetime. Inspiring doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what camp means to kids like them.
*Camper and family names and images have been changed to protect privacy