(Sorry to all you students out there who have to go back to school instead of camp. We feel for you, we really do!)
Fall is always a special time of year. No matter how many years I'm done with school, September feels like a fresh start, and chance to try things again. Our Beacon blog is no different! We take a break over the summer because things are just a little bit too hairy at camp (what with the 593 campers we had stay with us in July and August), but we're back and ready to shine!
We're moving our "blog post" day to Thursday this year (because I know you all carefully track these things), and we'll try to keep you updated on some of the fun things happening around camp. First up this year is something that's already happened this summer, and that we're looking forward to already next year: ORCKA canoe training!
After a few years off, we're bringing back a popular skill that is a core component of what we want to do here at Beacon: teach skills that you can't get in the city, and provide a way for campers to build their self-confidence and teamwork as they learn. Basic ORCKA programming is offered in four levels, and we had a ton of success this year, with over 120 campers getting their Level 1 badges, and two intrepid Family Camp parents who earned their Level 2 badges!
Canoeing teaches more than just getting around in the water: it's hard to get anywhere unless you're able to work well with your partner, and it takes grit to try the same move over and over until you get it just right. Campers worked on specific skills like sideways displacement, canoe over canoe rescues and (my personal favourite) dock landings, all having to communicate with their partner to time everything just right. It's not easy, but it's totally worth it. We're so proud of all our campers, and can't wait to see what they do next year!
We owe a big thanks to Danny "Chester" Ibrahim, Joel "Badger" Martin and Chris "Abu" Henein, who led the courses for our participants this year. They focused a lot of time on great paddle technique, boat and water safety, and working together as a tandem team to get the job done. Running a canoe program is hard work: each budding canoeist has a different experience level, and pairing them in boats for success takes planning and effort. Our instructors worked hard to see that happen, and we're proud of their efforts.
Didn't get your badge this year? That's okay! We keep track of all the progress you've made as a camper at Beacon, so that when you arrive next year, we know exactly where to pick up. From Junior Boys through to Senior Boys, Basecamp and Wilderness, and perhaps even Alpha sometimes, we've got you covered for learning some great canoe technique and tricks.
Perhaps you might even be one of our instructors soon! ;)