By: Michelle Fremont
Hi! I’m Michelle Fremont. This past summer I was lucky to be a part of the incredible Camp George staff in my role as Program Director for the Mini Mensch program. The Mini Mensch program at Camp George offers children in Grades 1, 2 and 3 an amazing opportunity to experience sleep away camp in a very special way. There were so many highlights about this experience but the most mentionable one, has to be the incredible delight and growth that I witnessed in our Mini Mensches during their stay with us at Camp George, beginning with our depart from city life.
Our Mini Mensches fit quickly into camp life from the moment they stepped on to the camp bus in Toronto. After saying goodbye to their parents, the campers easily shifted into ‘independent mode’. There were smiling faces on the bus and lots of chatter. Everyone was so excited to talk with new friends and to find out what was in store for them over their weekend stay at camp!
Up at camp, the Mini Mensches were involved in many amazing activities that were catered specifically to their age group. At the waterfront they swam in beautiful Maple Lake, canoed with their cabin and sailed across the lake with the sailing instructors. On land, the experiences were plentiful, with ropes courses, rock climbing, arts and crafts, drama, Gaga, soccer, dance and singing and story telling. One of my favourite memories of the weekend was the cookout because as I looked around at our smiling Mini Mensches, sitting with their friends under the trees, near the lake, enjoying their yummy cookout food, it struck me that this was a beautiful and monumental moment of happiness and independence. How lucky for our campers to have these experiences at Camp George!
As a parent of 3 young children, I was very aware of the necessity of making our campers feel safe while they were away from their own families. Camp George has extremely qualified and dedicated staff, where children’s safety is a priority. It was our motivation to make sure that our Mini Mensches were given the opportunity to exude their independence in a very safe environment. This growth experience for them was unique and momentous! It was evident in the Mini Mensches that they were very capable of being away from their families and learning to be independent and enjoying the whole experience! Cabin life for our boys and girls cabins was fun, busy, noisy and amazing!
The counsellors for the Mini Mensch program were second to none. Experienced, patient and fun, our counsellors made sure that our campers were safe and enjoying. A beautiful memory of camp I have was when our Mini Menshes celebrated Shabbat with us at Camp George. It was on the first night they arrived, and they had settled into their cabins, beds made, clothes unpacked, swim test done! At Camp George, Shabbat is a very special time for everyone. I remember looking over at our Mini Mensches and their counsellors, everyone clean, dressed in their camp Shabbat best, and sitting together as a group, already having bonded. Around them were other cabins and counsellors and staff. The Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall) was filled with song and food and joy. It was at this moment that I realized how special and amazing Camp George is and how excited I was that our Mini Mensches would have this experience with us.
With Judy and David performing, and the Magen Boys hosting an amazing camp dance for us, it is easy to see why our Mini Mensches loved every part of camp! Though bed time was important, and good sleep a must, we made sure our campers evening programs were fantastic! After full and very busy days at camp, our Mini Mensches would fall asleep each night in their cabins, with their counsellors, friends, and stuffed animals near by.
I was so lucky to be a part of Camp George and to work with such amazing and dedicated staff who strive to make experiences fun and meaningful for campers. I loved being with our Mini Mensches who we can proudly say were the most incredible campers, and who learned so many skills in such a short period of time! In the gorgeous setting Camp George has to offer, and with the incredible community that we have, our Mini Mensch campers had an absolutely amazing experience at Camp George that will be with them forever. We are so proud of all our 2013 Mini Mensches!!