Camp Wahanowin

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Survivor 2018 Day 3

August 19, 2018 at 12:41 am

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Friendships & Memories to Last a Lifetime

We are very proud of our accomplishments at camp each summer and feel confident that we provide the finest camp experience to every camper that attends Wahanowin. It’s nice to know that the people that send their kids to camp and the campers and staff feel the same way. Please read what people are saying and feeling about their experience at Camp Wahanowin.

If you are a camper or staff, or parent that sends their child(ren) to Wahanowin and would like to contribute to our Testimonial Page, please submit your own thoughts and stories. We look forward to hearing from you.

Parents Thoughts

Kathy Fleming

It is difficult to truly describe what Camp Wahanowin means to our family.  Camp is a topic of conversation in our home for 12 months of the year - the first 2 months (August and September) are spent wishing they were back at camp.  The next 4 months are spent reminiscing, retelling all the funny stories and spontaneously breaking into one of the many summer dances.  The second half of the year is THE COUNTDOWN!  As the snow melts, camp moves to the forefront of their minds as they slowly shift from school mode to camp mode - often way before school is even done.  

Though we miss our girls tremendously during the summer and become obsessed with checking for pictures, bunk replies and now videos, it is such a relief to know that they are happy and in good hands.  This will be my eldest daughter's 7th year at Wahanowin and my younger daughter's 5th year and camp.  Wahanowin is their home.  Wahanowin has changed their lives by giving them confidence, independence and chance to redefine themselves or just to be themselves.    They have both developed amazing friendships - their camp friends are truly some of their best friends.  Their camp experiences are some of their most memorable.  What else could you ask for from a summer camp?

Shoshana Anapolle

I'm driving through the dark, freezing air from Boston to Vermont for another weekend of ski racing.   The three kids are in the back... no TV, no service for texting, no ipads, no ipods, just a 3-hour drive.  And what do I hear?  Singing.  Lots and lots of singing:  the Squirrel song, the Waha song, the Glee songs, songs from the Wiz, songs from Grease.....   YOU NAME IT;   I’M LISTENING TO IT!  And not only do my 10 and 13 year old Wahanowin campers belt out the tunes, but the little 6 year old knows every song- he's obviously getting ready for his camper days soon.  The music slows down and now comes the talk..... Talk about the boys, the girls, the counselors, the plays, the sports...  it never ends.   They are laughing, giggling and whispering.... secretly... so I don't hear.  Every weekend is another snowy 3-hour drive filled with summer memories, memories to last a lifetime.  But most importantly I am cherishing the connection my children have made with each other.  Wahanowin has given them a sacred communication bringing them closer and closer as sister and brothers.  And I, of course wish I had larger ears, so I could hear all that they are giggling and whispering about.  Next week, maybe Dad will drive and I'll slip into the third row, pretend I’m reading, and try to listen.....I need some giggles in my life too!

The Benzaquens

All three of our kids have been going to Camp Wahanowin since they were just BB's. They have loved every minute of their camp experience. Every year I would get the "phone call" stating that all of them wanted to extend their stay at camp for the whole summer! I always thought, 7-8 weeks away from home was just not right! But every year they would explain that camp for them was just "home-away from home" with their camp family.

At least I know that at Camp Wahonowin their tummy's are filled with food , their hearts are filled with laughter and their souls are filled with friendship.

Elana Fleischmann & Dov Altman

Camp Wahanowin has been the greatest experience for our two kids! They¹ve grown up in the Camp, making lifelong friends, tackling new challenges, developing different skills, and assuming leadership roles ­ all the while having a marvelous time!  As parents, we¹re thrilled with all of these things that the Camp has offered to our children!

Tova Rich

Wahanowin has been a fantastic experience for my entire family.  My 12 year old started at another sleepover camp when she was 9 years old and did not have a good experience at all.  The camp she went to was not a warm environment.  The staff were not very attentive and she was very homesick. The next year we decided to try Wahanowin.  We were very nervous sending her away again but after meeting all of the directors we felt like she was in much better hands.  We could not have been more right!  Her first summer at Wahanowin was a completely different experience from her previous summer at the other camp.  She had the absolute best time.  In fact the day after she returned home she started a countdown... on paper cards counting down the days until she could go back and every day she let us know exactly how many days it was until camp started again.  That same year our 9 year old, who had just turned 7 a couple weeks before camp started went as well.  We had her signed up for the 2+2.  She was going for 2 weeks and could make the decision if she wanted to stay an additional 2 weeks.  She stayed for 4 weeks and asked if she could stay the entire summer!  She begrudgingly came home after the first month.  Ever since that first summer at Wahanowin all my kids look forward to all year is going "back home".  That is truly how they feel about Wahanowin and their Wahanowin family.  As parents we are really impressed on how involved all of the head staff is with both the campers on a regular basis and the parents.  When ever I call with a question I either get one of the directors on the phone immediately or they call me back at their first opportunity.  It certainly gives us parent’s peace of mind knowing how on top of things they are.  The counsellors are the most energetic, warm and loving people and my kids have adored every counsellor they have had so far.  The programming, as far as I can see is second to none.  There are so many special theme days and the creativity in all the programs makes every day special for the kids.  There is never a dull moment.  Thanks Wahanowin for giving my daughters and therefore me and my husband amazing summer after amazing summer!

Deborah Winer

My daughter, Laura had an awesome summer at Camp Wahanowin. It was truly a fun, educational and social experience like no other. The activities and programming were outstanding. Laura will be back. Two thumbs up.

Stuart Baltman

Camp is all about providing an environment that brings out the best in our children and we are thrilled with our experience at Camp Wahanowin.

While great staff, facilities and programs keep our daughter smiling all summer long, we can clearly see how Wahanowin's core values are helping her to build character,  leadership skills and self confidence.  Harold, Bruce, Patty, Pete, Tan, April and the entire Wahanowin team create an environment where compassion, enthusiasm, team work, equality, creativity, safety, sense of community, charity, achievement and family values are demonstrated, taught and reinforced each and every day.  It is comforting as a parent to know that while your child is having the time of their life, they are safe, well cared for and are being taught important life skills by people you trust.

Kellie and Rob Campol

What camp Wahanowin means to parents.  We too love that our children have a place that they call theirs second home. Growing up each summer at camp allows them to experience new things that they could never have experience staying at home. My girls have built friendships that will last a life time both with staff and campers. They have learned independence and have grown as individuals each summer. It doesn't make me sad that they cry holding their staff and fellow campers as they get off the bus to come home, but happy that Camp Wahanowin mean that much to them. The count down to the next summer starts the day they get home from camp ( and it does a little for the parents too). My husband was staff at Wahanowin and we look forward to one day visiting our girls as staff there too and then their children as camper and the Wahanowin tradition in our family will go on

Thank you for being Carlie and Corrie's home away from home

Jordan and Deborah Kerbel

Every summer we send our children to Wahanowin we know they are getting the experience of a lifetime. They get to go to a truly unique camp filled with joy and passion and spirit. Our children get to enjoy activities like water skiing, zip lining and sailing that they might not otherwise ever experience. As parents, we know that our children are being cared for with kindness and love. Wahanowin is their home away from home during the summertime. When they're not with us, there’s nowhere else we’d rather they be.

Camper Insights

Matt Blankenstein

What does camp mean to me? To me camp means to be in a cabin full of your closest buddies. To go out and spend the day with them having fun in the summer sun, and no matter what you’ll always have a smile on your face. Not one moment at Camp Wahanowin is dull moment because of all the constant programs the camp does. Olympiad, Survivor, and even Saturday Night Live are some of the camp programs that make the camp full of energy and excitement. Camp Wahanowin is like a giant family I find – there are just too many great memories to list.

I don’t think there is one place in camp that I don’t have a great memory of. The bonds and relationships that are made at Wahanowin are impossible to break. At camp you always know everyone and everyone knows you. Everyone is friends and that’s what makes this camp amazing. The staff have such strong bonds with their campers that even through their highs and lows, their staff will always be there for them. The camp’s leadership training program (LTP) and counsellor in training (CIT) units give young adults a new vision of camp and push them to act as leaders and role models to younger campers. Being given an opportunity to be a CIT was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. The excursions and opportunities that they give you during this year are incredible and are definite must-dos.

Camp has come to make me realize that its not just a summer experience, it’s the friendships and memories that last you throughout your lifetime.

Sydney Turk

My name is Sydney Turk and I have been attending Camp Wahanowin for five summers.  My five years at camp have been filled with nothing other than unforgettable experiences, memories, and friendships to last a lifetime.   Every year, from the day I leave camp I begin counting down the days until the next summer.  This is because camp is IMPOSSBLE to leave.  I can not imagine ever having to leave camp permanently.

One reason it is impossible for me to depart from Camp Wahanowin is because it is my home.  I could not possibly imagine leaving my home where my camp family, friendships, bonds, and memories will remain forever.  In my words, the definition of home is camp.

My past two summers, which were my Grad and PeeGee summers, I have had the same staff members along with cabin mates.  One thing that makes camp as special as it is, is the strong bond us campers share with our counselors.  Over the past two summers our counselors have not only guided us, rather they have created an unbreakable bond with us, which is why we as a cabin could not imagine having new staff.  Our staff members acted far beyond their roles as staff by actually creating ever-lasting friendships with us.  This has shown me that age is truly nothing but a number and a friendship cannot be interfered by the concept of “age”.

Over the course of my Wahanowin lifetime, I have grown up with the same girls in my cabin.  We consider each other as sisters.  From the day we get to camp, no matter how long we were separated for; we cherish the moments we have together.  A few girls in my cabin are from other areas around the world, such as Israel and Holland.  I find it incredible how such a close bond can be kept between girls who are not in the same country all year round.

Whether it is an ordinary camp day filled with outstanding activities, a crazy evening program, or a special event such as Olympiad or colour war, I am always having the time of my life.  The activities offered at camp are sometimes new to me, and sometimes ones I love that I could never get bored of, but no matter the activity I always try and take every opportunity presented upon me.  The activities Camp Wahanowin offers, have taught me to always take risks and take every possible opportunity.

Camp Wahanowin has positively changed who I am today.  Every single day at camp I learn something new whether it’s from someone who does not live in Canada, or from actually trying a new sport.  In my everyday life in the city I apply my Camp Wahanowin knowledge.

So what does camp really mean to me?  Overall, to me camp Wahanowin means a place filled with unbreakable bonds, ever lasting friendships, an explosion of excitement, and most importantly, a place I call my home.  There is not one place on this earth I would rather be, than Wahanowin.

Aly Silverberg

Hi, I’m Aly. In 2012 I’ll be an LTP, and an 8th year camper. As you can tell, it’s almost impossible to leave Wahanowin after the first few years! My best experiences ever have been at Wahanowin and it’s my home! (I call my city home my second home, and when I’m homesick, I want to be in Orillia!) I can’t stress enough how much I love camp for so many reasons! I’ve made tons of new friends over the years. It’s a great outlet for kids to get to know other kids from their area, and around the world! (Like Mexico, France, and even Israel.)

The activities are engaging and the people and staff are amazing! I don’t have any other choice but to go back year after year and count down the days until camp. (Starting right when I get home, usually in the 200′s.) This being my last year as a camper, I’m going to make it my best summer yet, and trust me; the earlier you start at Wahanowin, the more you’ll get out of it! Before you know it, you’ll be an LTP and you’ll want to savour every moment!

Hope to see you in July!

Staff Thoughts

Sammy Waxman

Many people call Wahanowin their second home. For me, not only is it my home, but it is a lifestyle. The Wahanowin lifestyle has made me who I am today and has allowed me to make a majority of the life decisions I have made thus far.

The thing about this place is that as I grow older, and I see people, activities and programs changing, the camp spirit is always the same. People always count down the days until they arrive, and they always dread the day they step on the buses crying. No matter what age you are or who you are in the city, when you are on the Wahanowin fields, everyone is one in the same. Everyone lives and breathes this place, and when the sun is shining, the smiles are large and the spirit is high, all you need to do is take a second to pause and look around, and you will understand how camp impacts you. Where else do you get the opportunity to spend two full months living with your best friends, doing any activity imaginable and sharing moments you will have for the rest of your lives? Where else can you turn to someone ten years older for advice?  Where else can you turn and cry on a shoulder of someone you really have nothing in common with except for that you both attend Wahanowin?

Every staff member I had was different and every one of them impacted me.  When the time arrived for me to be a staff member, I knew it was only right for me to return the favor and impact my campers in a similar way. Over the years I have had the opportunity to watch a group of kids grow up and mature from being my campers to being my friends. 

Camp is a very special place that allows you to be you with the people who respect you for who you are and not have to worry about what lies outside the Wahanowin gates. Despite the fact that we live in a fantasy world here, it is the most amazing fantasy world I could ever ask for and one that I will continue to fantasize about all year long until I am back again.

Wahanowin is more than a summer camp, it is more than a lifestyle, Camp Wahanowin is my life and I would never want to live any other way.

Mitch Freed

I was privileged enough to spend 15 incredible summers at Wahanowin in a row. Today, I work in an office, working with ‘Grown Ups’ all the time, including the summers. Although I am enjoying the work that I do and continue to learn from my peers each day, it’s not quite the same…

A lot of people who don’t go to camp don’t really understand the importance of the camping experience. When I spent my summers as a staff member and Unit Head at Wahanowin, many of my peers who didn’t go to camp thought it was more beneficial to spend their summers working at a bank, or in a research lab or traveling. While I’m sure all of those experiences were important too, in my eyes, none would have been as beneficial or more special in my eyes, than working and growing up at Camp Wahanowin. It is at Wahanowin that I learned time management skills, responsibly, leadership, social skills and how to problem solve. All of these skills are crucial in attaining a rewarding and successful life. And on top of all of these skills that I developed at camp, I had a ton of fun. I made life long friends and I have memories that will last me the rest of my life.

For those of you returning to Wahanowin in 2012, take advantage of it! Enjoy the summer sun, waterskiing, family and friends lunch, Saturday nights in the Phyllis Weisfeld Theatre, waterskiing, and whatever else it is that you love to do at camp. Before you know it, you’ll be back on this website, counting down the days to until summer 2013.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you all this summer (for a visit)!

Miriam Balsam

It's 1993.  I'm in grade 2.  My mom says, "Miriam, would you like to go to Wahanowin with your friend Jackie this summer?"  I say, "Sure." And that's how it happened.  

So I'm riding the bus up to camp with Jackie, wearing a purple Waha baseball cap.  There are a lot of other kids and they are loud.  What will happen when we get to camp?  Are we all going to have a massive sleepover party in one big room?  With no parents?  OMG. Kinda scary.   Who's going to do my laundry?  Do we have to wake up by ourselves? What if I pee in my bed?  That will be so embarrassing!  What if people don’t like me?  What if I want to come home?  I start talking to some other kids on the bus who have been to camp before.  They say it’s the best in the world.

So we get to camp and we are all welcomed by camp staff shouting and being really excited that we are there.  Do they know who I am?  I say my name is Miriam.  They say, “Balsam right?!"  Woah, they know who I am!  I don't feel too nervous anymore, but still a bit.  So this cool guy on a microphone reads out all our names and tells us what unit we are in.  “Miriam in... the...BB UNIT!!”  The BB staff start cheering as I walk over.  Two counselors grab my hands and take me and a few other girls on a walk down the field.  I'm not sure how old they are but maybe 30 or 40.  They ask me questions about myself.   They tell me Jackie is in my cabin, and my friend Michele!  That makes me feel better.  We enter cabin 4B.  My bed is already made for me, with my stuffed animals on it and pictures of my dog on the wall.  I get to share a bunk with Jackie. My clothes are folded on the shelves. My toothbrush is already at the sink.  I meet the rest of my cabin mates.  They are nice.  One girl wouldn't let me use her Aladdin pens, though.  We play games in the field and meet the rest of the kids in the unit.  We go for a swim test. I pass my test and get a bracelet.  Yay!  We go back and change into dry clothes.  The bell rings for lunch.  Still thinking about how I want to use those Aladdin pens. We go into the dining hall where I sit with my cabin.  We say a short blessing.  Our counselor gets the food. Make your own sandwiches!   I tell my counselor that I want to go visit my brother at his table so she takes me.  He and all his friends are in the oldest unit, LTP.  They are so cool.  They start playing music in the dining hall.  My counselors and everyone start dancing.  THIS IS SO MUCH FUN.   I smile.  I write a letter home.  Did you know you get candy if you write a letter? I wrote a lot of letters.  Fast forward through the month.  I do all sorts of activities and get my levels in kayak, canoe, archery and tennis.  I water ski and play a lot of soccer.  I climb the climbing wall in record time! I audition for the play, Aladdin.  I'm narrator #3. Finally the girl lets me use her Aladdin pens.  I have a lot of new friends who write their addresses in my notebook.  At night my counselors sing us songs and we talk about the day.  Four weeks fly by.  It's time to go home now and I cry.  I really don't want to leave.   I go back to the city, back to school, where my teacher asks us to write a journal entry every day.  I write about camp.  I write about the amazing sundae bar party we had and about the when we danced in the pouring rain and slid in mud puddles.  My teacher told me to try writing about things other than camp but I didn't.

So that is how it all started, my relationship with Wahanowin.  The years go by.  I become a Bear camper.  I check to see if my name is still written in this secret spot that I can't tell you about yet.  It is! I get a solo in the play.  I stay for 2 months this time. I'm 8 years old, and camp is home.  The next year I'm an Eagle.  I now have 9 best friends that become my sisters.   I become a senior camper. I have braces.  The boys are cute.  I join the baseball team as shortstop and compete at other camps.  I come home that August and cry for a week straight.  I cry even more when a song plays that reminds me of camp.  Michele and I fall asleep on the phone and pretend like we are still in our cabin.  We have a cabin reunion.  We have another cabin reunion.  I become a Grad camper, up in the grove!  Some of us have Sony disc man players.  My cabin gets in fights sometimes, but we’re pretty good at solving them.  I become a PG camper. We have a counselor and a unit head who would stay with us for the next 3 years.  We do the play Grease and I have a big part.  I become an Alumni camper.  We are 14 now and some of us have boyfriends.  I get to be color war captain for the blue team, and we won!  One of the best days at camp, ever.  Karen and I decide we are going to handcuff ourselves to the bed on the last day. I become an LTP camper.   We go on a hiking trip and an overnight trip to Niagara Falls where we sleep together as a unit under the stars.  We are a family now. The last 2 weeks come around.  Color war and play.  We all cry for hours on the last night, trying to stay up all night, taking in our last few hours as campers at Wahanowin and trying to understand what that means.   Anyone who's been an LTP knows that feeling.  

I am 26 now, and it’s been 19 years since my first summer.  There is something so special about being at Wahanowin, that every year, when other summer options presented themselves, there was nothing else I wanted to do more than be back there and experience the joys and challenges of another summer.  I returned to Wahanowin as a counselor for 4 years, and a unit head for 3.  Working on the head staff team gave me a whole new perspective of Wahanowin in terms of what goes on behind the scenes and how extremely passionate and dedicated the directors are about what they do.  People know Wahanowin is special, but it's difficult to pinpoint what the x-factor is that makes it the best.  I believe it is the feeling of family that comes from what we do with our time there and who we do it with.   You'll hear people at camp talking about "camp time."  For example, 2 days at camp equal 2 weeks in the city in camp time.  We accomplish so much in one day, that it feels like a week.  The pace of camp is addicting.  And the best part is, everything you do there, you get to do with people you love and grow up with, building life long relationships, stories and memories. 

Going to camp was so worth it in a million different ways.  I am very happy my mom asked me if I wanted to go and that I said yes.