Captain’s Blog 11122012

A Sense of Belonging I’m writing on calm seas while I cross from Victoria to Vancouver on the ferry. I have enjoyed a terrific day of travel with my sister (Pammer) as we ventured from snowy Whistler to beautiful Victoria where Pam will visit to welcome a new baby to our family. It’s a wee boy and his name is Joseph. Congratulations Starr, Dani and big brother James! The purpose of my western trek was to have a pre-Christmas visit with my two siblings and some extended family members. Our children will not be joining us at home in Perth this Christmas. Our eldest son (Elwood) will be in Costa Rica, and our youngest son will be in the Vancouver
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Captain’s Blog 29052012

Feels Like Home Last week the Work Crew staff and I hit the road for a couple of days. Skills Weekend was just over and the dishes from Monday’s lunch were drying in the dish rack when we turned on to Frayn Road and headed out. We were all excited about getting away for a few days. The team had been working very hard since early May and needed a change of pace and scenery. You might wonder if they were sick of listening to me for the past three weeks?…….It’s remotely possible but I don’t really think so! Our destination was Big Hawk Lake in Haliburton. Our objective was to rendezvous with an old friend and mentor, Skip Harris,
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Captain’s Blog 24052012

Ask and They will Tell You! Our Skills Weekend and Open House is almost a week behind us now……time is fleeting and camp is rapidly approaching us! Throughout the Skills Weekend our staff “dug-in” with incredible effort in all three activity streams. The canoeists all successfully completed their Instructor course and the swimmers all completed the first half of the NLS course. The support staff worked many hours on a “fix-it” and chores list as well as taking care of all the (great) meal preparations. I thought the weekend was in every way a great success. Thank you Otterdale Staff! One thing I really enjoyed was the hour or so working with all the support staff as we picked up
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Captain’s Blog 16052012

I recall very clearly, about 25 years ago, the call from my Camp Director, mentor and friend Bruce “Skip” Harris to come to camp for a Work Weekend. It was a new idea at the time for his camp (Camp Kawabi). There was a lot of interest within my generation of staff to help out and of course get together. Any excuse for a road trip and rendezvous was a great one back then and actually continues to be with many of that gang! I recall a lot of reconnecting and a surprisingly large amount of work being crossed off Skip’s well thought out list. The values of pitching in and helping out has always been strong within the camp
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Captain’s Blog 15052012

The OCA I didn’t forget about collecting the thoughts from the male staff and Medley today (refer to Captain’s Blog 14052012). It’s just that when I did remember I had one foot in my truck and was leaving camp for the night. It will be with great anticipation that we read their musings in the near future! The OCA (Ontario Camps Association) is the accrediting organization for camping in Ontario. There are more than 300 member camps and as many commercial members. Camp Otterdale has been a member camp since the mid 1950’s. The Standards for Accreditation developed and revised by the OCA over many years provide the high water mark for Camp Directors to ensure the best practices in
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Captains Blog 14052012

Pitching In With very little encouragement the Work Crew Staff were all willing to pitch-in with the blog today. I asked if they wouldn’t mind offering up a description of what they have been working on and how they are generally feeling about camp. (I’m pretty sure they were all willing!) With the female staff taking the lead, the following are a few of their thoughts……enjoy: Rossi: Throughout the past two weeks I have been working on constructing the new Bantams trough as well as stairs, this has been a fantastic experience since I have been learning a lot of new stuff that’s pretty neat. One of the more interesting things I have learned is how to solder copper pipes
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Captains Blog 10052012

Hobbes Arrives The Work Crew team is getting a bit larger. There is enough staff for three euchre matches, a great B-ball game or 12 games of solitaire! That also means we can divide, organize and conquer a lot of work at one time. The productivity of this group is truly amazing. They are highly motivated and seem to know what has to be accomplished by the end of each day. Yesterday morning the team consisted of Topo, Gunnar, Enzo, Ludwig, Bleeker, Rossi, Medley, Clover and Scotia. There is also that somewhat more worldly and mature component of Pops, Aunt Sue and myself. As we started the second full week of Work Crew on Monday everyone was “finding their groove”
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Captains Blog 06052012

First Performances I’m hoping it’s a camper group of mostly new kids performing a skit or song. It should be a chance for them to really work together for the first time with the added motivation to perform in front of the entire camp. I’ve coached my staff to view that first performance as a rite of passage. It’s a chance to truly welcome everyone and spread that feeling that we are all in this together and we support each other. It can reinforce the idea that it’s ok to be yourself, and more than ok to be a bit crazy in this camp community! The first hint of the concept might have come during a rainy night when we
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Captains Blog 05052012

Probably just a bit Rusty The days have been full around camp and home. There is that camp job list, the home job list, and the office job list. Aunt Sue has been away this week so I have had to magically create a bit more time to pick up a few of those items on the home and office lists. Late last year we added a specialized computer program to the arsenal of tools to make camper registration and subsequent data management better than the previous crayon and paper approach, that was perfectly ok in the nineties. This program can do a lot. It has on-line registration capabilities, invoicing, a staff application module, and the ability to make hundreds
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