Staff Recognition and Stories
Rookie of the Year Award
This award recognises a Counsellor-In-Training (CIT) who has demonstrated extraordinary abilities in leadership, comradery, care, and tireless energy towards campers and staff, and one who has enhanced the Camp Muskoka experience for everyone. This unique individual goes above and beyond their regular duties for the betterment of everyone and everything that camp has to offer.
2022 - Buddy 2021 - Orbee 2019 - Biggie 2018 - Allegro 2017 - Dipper
Most Valuable Person
This award recognises a Staff Member who has demonstrated extraordinary abilities in leadership, comradery, care, and tireless energy towards campers and staff, and one who has enhanced the Camp Muskoka experience for everyone. This unique individual goes above and beyond their regular duties for the betterment of everyone and everything that camp has to offer.
2022 - Koda (Cabin Head) 2021 - Wallow (Cabin Head) 2019 - Hezra (Counsellor) 2018 - Oppo (Counsellor) 2017 - Nimbus (Cabin Head)
I loved summer camp. Correction - I love summer camp.
I have spent every summer in Muskoka for almost as long as I can remember in some shape or form; portaging with my family through provincial parks, spending nights in tents with some of my best friends in the middle of nowhere and sleeping in a cabin with twenty new friends every summer. I truly cannot remember what life was like before summer camps came into my family's life and more specifically, what our lives were like before Camp Muskoka came into our lives.
Between my two sisters, seven cousins and myself, we have attended multiple camps and outdoor education centres but somehow have all been able to call Camp Muskoka our second home and returned there even into young adulthood. It's the place we reminisce about playing in mud pits, going on ziplines and riding in canoes on the lake. It's the place that we found who we were and were able to create strong interpersonal relationships as well as lasting memories that I'm sure we will continue to talk about even into old age.
I have a very distinct memory of my mother asking me nearly ten years ago "How did you become so confident?". Of course she had posed this as a rhetorical question but this was a question that made me truly think about what had attributed to this aspect of myself even at eleven years old. It is a question that still makes me truly think about myself and who I have become as a young adult. It wasn't until recently, while attending the 2018 Ontario Camps Association Conference, that I realized camp had fostered this essential component of who I am and how I came to be this way. Camp has become embossed in my DNA.
Camp was able to create a safe space for me. I was able to discover who I was, what I liked to do, what I liked to wear in an environment that was designed for me to do so without making me feel like I was learning. I was able to learn more about responsibility and accountability in a space that wasn't school and that I didn't feel required to do so. I was able to show my weird sense of humour and develop it with others who shared my quirky thoughts and actions. I was able to do all this in an environment that encouraged me to be who I was and to enhance the skills I was already learning in school but in a fun, experiential way I could never have gained in any way except for summer camp. It was an environment for self-discovery I could always come back to without fear. It was a place that I would say yes to things I wouldn't normally say yes to. It was a place that allowed me to just be a kid having fun without the influences of my peers from home.
As I approach my fourteenth summer at camp, I've realized the true importance and value that summer camps can provide for children and young adults. I wouldn't be able to tell you how many times I showered in a week - that is if I even showered at all - or every single activity I ever did. What I can tell you is almost every counsellor's nickname was, every talent show I was involved in, the names of all my friends and who I am still friends with to this day nearly a decade later and every story that had me laughing with tears coming out of my eyes. I can tell you about jumping in massive puddles on rainy days, spending countless hours making intricate friendship bracelets and staying up too late looking at the most beautiful stars I had ever seen. I can tell you the skills I learned about team work, responsibilities associated with living in a community and confidence in trying new things. I can tell you about all the times I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I can tell you about the pride, joy and happiness that all these things gave me as a child. Many of these things are experiences that were only available to me and others at summer camp.