Summer 2012 Final Review

Dear Tamarack Families,

What an incredible final stretch of camp! Awesome programs, skill development, and bonding were only some of the positive themes apparent throughout the last week and a half of camp.

Two Mondays ago, our Kool-Aid program occurred and was a highlight of the summer for many. The annual lip-synching event involved several campers and staff performing fun-filled skits. A summary of video clips from the show can be seen at:

The next few days involved some incredible unit-wide programs. The ‘Hawthorn Half Day’ was centered on the unit theme of ‘Pirates’. Water and land competitions kept the cabins engaged and they all had a blast. The Junipers and Sequoias went into town to enjoy unit trips at the movies! The Elders continued to develop as leaders during their last placements of the summer.

Friday evening was a special night as the Elders performed their unit play, “Beauty and the Beast”. The cast did an exceptional job preparing and the fantastic product was a direct result of all of their hard work. “Be Our Guest”, “Tale as Old as Time”, and “Bonjour!” were belted in unison and with pride. The choreography was amazing and the crowd loved the show. Highlights can be seen at:

Saturday was the ‘Hawthorn Prom’, which was a big dress up party modeled after a classic high school prom. Everyone put on ‘formal wear’, there was food, punch, dancing, awards & more! Saturday was also an important day for our ‘Super Choice’ campers. Our canoe trip campers returned from their awesome 3-day, 2-night experience. They came back with meaningful stories of perseverance, responsibility, and teamwork. Our horseback riding crew went for a long trot through a river, which was a cool twist for them!

On Sunday, campers enjoyed a classic sleep-in and Super Sunday buffet breakfast. Open activities enabled them to enjoy their favourite spots around camp. In the evening, Superfly Entertainment returned to camp for a final camp social dance party. The theme was ‘Halloween’. Before the social, campers walked around dressed in costumes, ‘trick or treating’. They received goodies galore and were thrilled with what they pulled in! At the party, they enjoyed a mix of modern songs and old classics from artists like ‘Backstreet Boys’, ‘Spice Girls’ and ‘’N Sync’. The social led right into an incredible break for Tamarack’s 2nd month all day program!

Following the social, a mythical underground society known as ‘Pillow Fight Club’ appeared on stage. This group was particularly humorous as they were dressed in pajamas and were seen playing with teddy bears. After being discovered by an innocent Tamarack staff member, the club members were worried about the word getting out about their group. They hatched a plan to shut down media across the world. Meanwhile, media sources teamed up together to publish messages and stories in an effort to try to track down and uncover the whereabouts of ‘Pillow Fight Club’. Team ‘Online Media’ (the blue team) included Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and more. ‘Offline Media’ (the red team) included television, radio, and print sources.

On Monday morning, the dining hall was completely transformed according to the program theme. Spectacular murals, centre pieces and other decorations were aplenty. Team Online even had a projector playing Youtube clips in the centre of one of its murals, which was a large Mac computer screen. During the morning, the teams battled it out. Hawthorns and Junipers competed in gaga, canoe fill races, obstacle courses & more. The morning for Sequoias and Elders was capped off with an exhilarating game of ‘Dogs of War’ played up at golf.

In the afternoon, the teams participated in a camp-wide game of ‘Scrabble’. Campers were split into squads and each time a squad set the fastest time at an activity, they earned tokens which could be traded in for Scrabble letters. The letters were then played to form words and garner points. In the end, Team Online accumulated the most points and won the Scrabble portion of the day. In the evening, the camp gathered at the theatre for the final presentations of team songs, dances, and plaques. Although Team Offline won certain categories, in the end, Team Online came out on top! The 2012 edition of the 2nd Month All Day  was one for the books as it was filled with lots of sportsmanship, spirit, and fun!

Tuesday was the last regular day of camp activities. Several Elders completed their Red Cross Assistant Water Safety Instructor’s certification and many Sequoias completed their Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross. Before dinner, the camp gathered at the theatre for the staff play. This year’s show was a 3-parter including numbers from ‘Hairspray’, ‘Joseph’, and ‘Rent’. After dinner, the camp returned to the theatre for the 2nd Annual Tamarock Concert: ‘Tamarockier’. The show involved campers and staff singing popular tunes with band accompaniment. The crowd was on their feet, hands were clapping, and fists were pumping!

Wednesday morning was emotional as it involved packing and the cleaning of cabins. Wednesday evening was our special final banquet. The food was delicious and the kitchen staff really outdid themselves preparing a multi-course meal of appetizers, main courses, desserts and more. The entertainment was top notch too. The banquet was hosted by the Elders and the theme was ‘The Office’. Cute skits led into presentations by activity staff whereby final camper awards were announced.

At the banquet, Tamarack’s two most prestigious awards were given out. The Jonathan Miller Award for the overall top CIT was given to Mollie Manley. The Luke Mavity Award for the top new or first year staff member was won by Max Toulch. All those who enjoyed their 10th year at Tamarack during Summer 2012 received engraved model canoes as a token of gratitude for their dedication to camp.  Since the canoe gift was a new addition this year, the canoes were also given to those who have been at camp for 11+ years.

After the banquet, the camp travelled to the flag pole for the ceremonial lowering of the Tamarack and Canadian flags. From there, everyone headed to the theatre for the closing slide show and video show. The slide show included amazing pictures from throughout the summer. The video show was comprised of awesome skits along with montages of camp-wide programs from second session.  The final portion of the evening involved the traditional burning of the ‘Tamarack’ sign and singing of the camp song. It was an emotional night to say the least. Following the camp song, all campers travelled back to their units for some cabin/unit last night bonding.

Thursday morning came before we knew it and with it came the last breakfast of the summer. We sang the camp song one more time and the unit plaques were presented. These plaques will be put up permanently in the dining hall to commemorate Summer 2012. Shortly after, there was lots of hugging and exchanging of contact info before campers began loading the buses. As the buses pulled away, everyone waved good-bye one last time.

Later Thursday morning, it was so nice seeing many of you as the buses. We are grateful for your confidence in sharing your child(ren) with us for all or part of Summer 2012. It was a wonderful summer of growth and friendship. We saw positive transformations in the confidence, maturity and independence of so many of our campers who learned about responsibility, perseverance, and respect. Cabin groups bonded, engaged in teamwork, and formed long-lasting identities and life-time memories.

We’ve already begun the countdown to next summer although we hope we won’t have to wait that long to see your camper(s) again. Our annual ‘Bring a Friend Day’ will be happening on Sunday, September 9th. The associated flyer with more details and registration form have been attached. The 9th will also be an Open House so feel free to spread the word and pass on the attached Open House flyer!

We look forward to being in touch with you throughout the year. For Tamarack updates, we encourage you to check out the website and/or ‘like’ us on Facebook at

We wish you an incredible rest of the summer.

Until Next Time,

Rick, Ellen, Marc, Josh, Wendy & The Tamarack Team

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