Actually... it was AWESOME, but "AWESOME" is so over-used...
August long weekend saw the RACCC Boathouse emptied of flatwater boats because it was FAMILY CAMP weekend with 42 people involved (+ LOTS of private boats & equipment!) What a FUN weekend with LOTS of youngsters having fun & learning to paddle their own canoes! All was coordinated by Karen Hurd - she is a HERO. Other than "Karen, aka CHIEF HERO", other Volunteers who helped pull this incredible long weekend together were:
Karen's family - husband James, who slaved away in the background (our wake-up call each morning was the sound of firewood felling & chopping) and ran errands for us all weekend, and daughter Janet who helped set up, organize & lead. Karen & James' connections at Gracefield Christian Camp make RACCC Family Camp possible. And Karen's personal donation (to the Camp and for the RACCC) of the cleanest and most beautiful cedar outhouse I have ever seen, also made this event safe, sanitary, comfortable and possible.
Karen (of course) + she was our official NLS qualified lifeguard & HERO.
Mark Scott, our President/Chairperson who donated his Instructor skills and a carload + a trailerload of personal gear.
Jen Macdowell, who Instructed all weekend, and loaded her car down with gear too.
All I (Lynette Chubb) did was show up on Saturday morning with 6 more food barrels, coffee for the masses, and ready to help teach ...and help Mark pack up afterwards. And 'win' a (beginner's luck) "Bull's eye Award" when Karen (my HERO) found a little extra time to teach me basic archery skills (I felt like a little kid again - how fun is that?!) It was a privilege to be involved for the first time this year (Laco and I are usually away on our long annual canoe expedition https://sites.google.com/site/landltrips/Trips/ungava2014 )
Catherine Johns and Suzanne Chalifour spent their Friday and Saturday driving gear up and helping to get our 'tent city' set up and organized. Henry Nur donated food barrels. Andrew McPhee from the camp kept us supplied with safe, clean water, led the excursions and generally helped out.
Amongst other volunteers, contributors of gear & supporters were Erynne & Matthew McPhee, Dan Hains, Emil Laurin, Jaclin Dufresne, Tami Kamou, Cory Dignard, Edith Fraser and Margaret McKay.
This Family Camp weekend is a shining example of how the RACCC runs on VOLUNTEER POWER. If we had to pay staff to run this operation, it would be prohibitively expensive.
THANK YOU to EVERYBODY who helped!!!
A Family Camp Report by Samantha (age 11)
We were all very excited to get to the RACCC family camp at Second Beach on Saturday August 1st. We set up our tents and other shelters and went to archery. There was an orienteering scavenger hunt to let us get familiar with Gracefield camp. It was fun to explore the wilderness. We ate sandwiches for lunch. We got our paddles and PFDs and split into two groups for canoeing. Those who had completed the beginner tandem course previously went with Lynette & Andrew. The others went with Jen, Mark, Karen, Janet, Catherine and Suzanne. We canoed for several hours and then met back at second beach for canoe over canoe rescues and a swim test. We changed into dry clothes and James made a fire. When everyone was dry, we made colourful t-shirts. Matthew and Erynne led the "mini-Olympic" games. All of the children did relay races and games until supper was ready. We sat around the campfire and ate spaghetti. After supper, Dan came and led lots of campfire songs. He told us a story about a giant purple gorilla. You should ask him to tell you it sometime. We roasted colourful marshmallows that one of the mothers brought, brushed our teeth, said "goodnight" and went into our tents to sleep.
On Sunday we woke to the bright and cheerful sound of birds singing loudly. We did our morning routine and changed out of our pyjamas. It was very chilly so Chrystal made a fire. We ate delicious bacon. When we were done breakfast we split into two groups. The first group went to canoe transportation and knots. The second went to archery. I got a Bull's eye award (a button with a pin!) for hitting the middle of the target. At ten o'clock we had free time or you could go to the outdoor chapel. We went to chapel. Some of the others went canoeing. We ate lunch and divided into our two canoeing groups again for the afternoon. We did lots of turns, dockings, circles, and cross bow draws. My arms hurt! Those who had completed the course before paddled to turtle rock. We saw loons, nymphs, minks, otters, ducks, turtles, a beaver swamp, a Canadian goose and a great blue heron. The other group practiced the draw, pry, stop, sweep, and reverse. They played Tug-of-War at the bay! We had a quick swim at second beach and then ate steak! I love steak. I really liked that everyone ate together around the fire. It was fun making new friends and cooking on an outdoor propane stove. The stove cooked our food much faster than at home. We played a game called Pat and Mike. Two people wear blindfolds and carry a newspaper. One person says "Where are you Pat?". The other person answers "I'm over here". They try to find each other by swatting each other with a newspaper. After the game, Lynette taught us how to pack for a canoe trip around the campfire and told us a story about her punching a skunk! It was a good one. Karen told us the story of Sarah Whitcher getting lost in the New Hampshire woods and being looked after by a bear. Was it a bear? Read the story to find out. It rained so hard we had to delay our marshmallows. We did our night routine, went to bed and slept.
On Monday morning I woke up hearing a loud outhouse door. I got changed, did my morning routine and was out the tent door. Everybody woke up about the same time as me. They probably heard the outhouse door too. I had bacon again with my breakfast and brushed my teeth. We went canoeing all morning. We were going to have hot dogs at turtle rock but the weather was uncertain so we had them at second beach instead. We went in the green shelter and watched a video called "Hug a tree". We learned what to pack to go on a hike. We packed our things and hiked to turtle rock. Andrew checked his phone to see the weather. They predicted severe thunderstorms but we went anyway. I liked hiking through the wilderenss because it was so beautiful. We got to turtle rock and saw a giant black cloud coming our way. We had a very short stay, took a group photo and started hiking back. While we were hiking it started raining. "Oh no! The storm is here." We got our rain jackets on but it rained so hard that even they couldn't help us. We were so wet it felt like we just took a bath in our clothes! We ran to the picnic shelter and then headed to second beach to find dry clothes. In dry clothes we felt like civilized people! I said goodbye to my mother who was headed home. She took my wet clothes. I was staying a few extra days. We helped to pack up. When everybody had left except the volunteers it stopped raining. I said "I feel hungry" so James made mac and cheese with ham. I had it with Coke. That was my weekend!
Parts of a canoe
Canoe over canoe rescues at second beach
Some of us on the Turtle Rock hike
New t-shirts designed by Megan O’Brien & coloured by the kids
Getting ready to canoe on Saturday
A few of the canoes in the beginner tandem course