What comes to mind when I mention boardwalk, beach and Vikings?
How about vinatarta and Tergesen’s?
Many folks will know straightaway that I’m talking about the picturesque town of Gimli. I recently enjoyed the atmosphere and ice cream there after a healthy morning of spring cleaning at our nearby youth camp.
After working up a good ‘glow’, I was ready for a refreshing swim in beautiful Lake Winnipeg.
But, as I discovered, it’s a little early, unless your name is Hudson or you enjoy a cold, bracing dip.
In fact, I was told that the last of the ice had disappeared only days earlier. Our children first attended summer camp near Gimli about seven years ago. And, as it was a new experience for our family, I thought it prudent to volunteer as a Camp Mom.
My reasoning has always been that I would never expect them to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.
As my kids know, this also applies to waterslides, ziplines and go-karts.
But, I digress.
In the camping days of my youth, I recall setting up the tent in the dark, trying to light a campfire in the rain, strawberry jam and squirt cheese on crackers, clotheslines full of swimsuits, and the Coleman stove (it still scares me). I remember my brothers and I whining all the way there, making new friends, and whining all the way home.
Ah, youth really is wasted on the young.
My more recent experiences at camp have been thoroughly enjoyable and completely exhausting.
I’ve seen these young campers learn responsibility and teamwork and I’ve seen the camp councillors display compassion and problem-solving skills as they guide the children through their days and nights without mom and dad.
I’ve also noticed that most campers develop a healthy appetite for second helpings, as food mysteriously tastes better when you’re outdoors.
But it’s not all fun and games — someone has to wash the dishes. And I’m happy to tell you it’s not the Camp Mom who takes on that chore, as each cabin takes its turn scraping and washing. All cabins participate in the cabin-cleaning challenge, too — thank goodness.
Some connections made at camp turn into lifelong friendships. For others, a healthy break away from routine and stress may be the ultimate goal. Children are inundated with social media, schoolwork issues, the social drama of their peers and the dynamics of the home.
I encourage families to participate in one of the many summer camp programs available in Manitoba, and take full advantage of our lakes, beaches and campgrounds.
Wanda Prychitko is a community correspondent for St. James-Assiniboia. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org