Day 14 – Cleaning, closing activities and the Northern Lights

Our last day of camp came too quickly. We spent the morning cleaning the campsite and packing our things and then had goodbye activities.

We revealed our monitos (a secret friend we left messages, candy, and small presents for) and wrote goodbye letters to everyone at camp. In the evening we did the candle ceremony, where each person says something special about camp. Today was a special time to reflect on our experience at camp and the friendships we made. The participants came to camp as the seeds of change, grew into sprouts, and will continue to grow into trees back home. Together, all those amazing trees make a forest. We really did have an amazing camp.

Our last night was a slumber party – everyone moved their mattresses into the lullabies lounge and we laughed, sang, and laughed some more. We were very lucky and at 1:30 am the Northern Lights came out. It was a spectacular show, with the lights changing and dancing all night long.

In the morning was time to say goodbye. Thank you to everyone for such an amazing camp!!

Day 13 – Gala Night

The leaders woke everyone up this morning and ran an activity on Social Media and Instagram. This activity was important to learn about the impact that social media has on our lives, and how things on the internet are not necessarily portraying the truth.

Next up was the talent show, with the staff making an appearance of The Chins and singing one of the camp’s favourite songs, “Country Roads”. The leaders came out with a synchronized swimming performance that was hilarious and then the stage was passed over to the delegates.

After lunch we walked to the centre of town to the grain elevator and the Museum of Wheat. We were able to go inside and learn about the history of Saskatchewan and the role that grain elevators played. There used to be over 3000 elevators in Saskatchewan, but less than 250 remain and they are not really used, and in horrible shape and being demolished all the time. Its sad to see the symbol of the prairies disappear.

After our visit to the grain elevator was time to rest and relax a little and then get ready for Gala Night!

For Gala Night our dining hall was transformed with white tablecloths, centre pieces, and a delightful dessert table. We had spaghetti and meatballs (plus other tasty dishes) and everyone showed up in fancy outfits. We had many different stations available to make the night awesome! All the stations were planned and organized by the delegates. Some of the stations were a photo booth, horse races, fortune teller, slideshow, root beer pong, snack table and a quiet zone. There were some tears, some laughs, and a giant just dance party. It was a great celebration of our camp!

Day 12 – Last full day of educational activities

Team Radish started off the day with a two part activity to help us reflect on our able-bodied privilege and how things might change if we had a disability. In one space groups did an activity similar to telephone, where you had to pass a word on to the next person. In another space, participants wrote out what they did during their morning routine an then they had to imagine how that would be different if they had a disability. Our participants were able to make lots of connections to their real lives, and share some great perspectives on how having a disability changes your life but doesn’t make it impossible to do things.

Next up was Abalom group, everyone was given a passport and went to ancient masters and had to do a task. Depending on which country the passport was from, made the task more difficult or easier. This was an activity that allowed us to learn about immigration and share and reflect about our knowledge and experience with it.

After lunch the Purple Group ran a version of Clue. This was a fun activity that forced everyone to pay attention to small details.

In the evening, we had another fire roast. Hot dogs and smokies were on the menu, followed by more smores, and singing and fun times enjoying the outdoors.

Day 11 – Switzerland National Day

The delegation from Switzerland planned the first activity – a journey through Switzerland. We had to pass through the border checkpoint by sharing facts about Switzerland, make an advertisement for a watch, visit Geneva and learn about the history, taste some cheese and chocolate, and other great adventures.

Next up was the Macheena Takos group, who had planned a version of World Masters where every person in each group had to communicate in a different language. It was interesting to see how each group was able to manage using body language and understand what others were trying to communicate. At each station there was a task to complete, such as build a monster, human pyramid, or the human knot.

In the afternoon the staff planned two activities. The first was the Zipper, a trust activity in which everyone laid on the ground with their hands in the air and we passed participants up the line. It took communication, collaboration, and a lot of trust in each other to complete. Then it was All Aboard, where everyone had to stand on a platform. The first round was easy but the platform got smaller and smaller. Everyone had to work together. It was cool in our group because there was no leader, just everyone sharing ideas and trying to incorporate them in order to find success.

For supper we had fondue!

In the evening the Mosquitoast planned a very thoughtful activity that connected to fake news, governments hiding information, gossip, and much more. Groups of journalists had to look for pieces of information around the campsite and report this information to President Panchuk. The key pieces of information were that a pesticide factory was going to be built on protected land, it would kill many plants/animals/fish, it had exploded 50 years ago killing 8000 people, construction would start in 3 days at 9 pm, and President Panchuk was the only one who could stop the project. Two teams of journalists broke the story at almost the same time. Exciting and educational!

Day 10 – sleep in day

Today everyone slept in because we have been so busy! It makes you tired to make friends and learn about different things that are happening in the world. After breakfast the Canadian Delegation designed a “game of life” where groups of pretended to be a different person and had to try to get a job, find a house, and get food and water. Some groups had a disadvantage, depending on their gender identity.

The next activity focused on the drug trade, in which smugglers (participants) had to hide pieces of paper and run across the field without the cops (adults) catching them. The debrief of this activity had lots of people sharing, because most of the participants have had experience with knowing someone who has tried smoking, drugs, or alcohol. This is an important issue for many at camp, and something that is affecting many young people today.

Sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings, and reflections during our debrief

Our camp chef cooked us another amazing lunch, using the fresh dill from the garden in addition to many other delicious things. She is really treating us well with all the wonderful food we have been eating! (THANK YOU!)

President Panchuk made a return in the afternoon to inform the space travellers that their ship to space can not continue to carry all the things they had wanted to take to their new sustainable society on another planet. Groups had to work together to determine what was a need and want in the group, while solving any conflicts that may arise.

The evening activity was a fun game of Mickey Mouse, in which you try to get your team members in the comfy chair by calling different characters and switching places. It can get pretty funny and you need to have a great memory!

Day 9 – Excursion Day to the Panchuk Family Farm

On Tuesday morning staff woke everyone up, and it was time to take a giant yellow school bus 1.5 hours drive north to the farm where Maxine grew up. On the school bus everyone had a scavenger hunt, looking for things like a beaver house, triangle shaped house, no hunting sign, and maybe a moose. It was a beautiful drive through lots of flat farming and agriculture area, and then the landscape become more forested and hilly (but still lots of farming). Saskatchewan has 40% of Canada’s land that can be used for farming. On the way everyone saw lots of wetlands area that is crucial for the survival of many different types of animals and birds. Canada has 25% of the world’s wetlands, and many wetlands around the world have been destroyed which is a scary thing.

Riding the yellow school bus to the farm

When we got to the farm, we went over to the garden and helped to do some work. Groups helped to weed the beets, cucumber, zucchini, beans, peas, potatoes, dill, and corn. Some groups helped to bury our camp compost that we brought with us, and other spread compost around the plants. Some people harvested some beets and dill (which we will eat later), and others planted some lettuce. Some people even tried to pull out some burdock, a very strong and very invasive weed that is taking over the land.

We had a lunch of Elk chili that was hunted from the area and everyone who wasn’t a vegetarian got to try it. It had different locally grown vegetables in it, just like the other food we have at camp. Can you believe that later in the day we had more chocolate chip cookies for a snack?

After lunch we went to see the sheep, and got to feed them some chop and a few even let us pet some. There were adult sheep, as well as some lambs that were born in April. The sheep are so cute, and so were the cats Fireball and Walter.

After feeding the sheep we went for a nature walk through the farmyard, and into a more wild pasture area. There was so many different wildflowers in bloom and they were so beautiful. The sun was shining and it was a hot day! When we got back to the farm we needed to have a water fight. The farm has a well that gives cold water from the ground, and everyone got splashed and soaking wet an it was a ton of fun!

After drying off a little, we thought a little bit about the importance of farming and how the population is growing and we won’t have enough food for everyone in 2050 unless things change. We also talked about the importance of the wetlands as well.

We started a fire in the middle of the farmyard and roasted some hot dogs and had more smores. Everyone loves smores because they are so tasty! The bus ride back was full of more singing, and the bus driver complimented the group on their beautiful voices.