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A Visit to the Past

August 27, 2013

We’re growing on a past built with love and care

Tanamakoon a life that we all share

Though the time we spend together

Passes quickly by, summer friends will give us life long ties.

-Camp Tanamakoon Song Book

Tan Directional Post

My family’s trip to Algonquin Park also included a quick visit to Camp Tanamakoon. My sisters and I all attended the camp, which left lasting impressions on our hearts. I spent a total of 9 summers at the camp and wish it could be more. The months spent at the camp were always the highlight of my summer. There was never a bad moment. Days were spent filled with activities ranging from swimming and canoeing to arts and crafts and woodcraft, which involved building fires. I spent my last summer as a counselor on woodcraft and came home smelling like a fire. The evenings were spent playing evening programs, which varied between games like “Soak the Cow” or detective or specially planned programs such as a wedding night. I have been married 2 or 3 times as a counselor. The summer would also include a variety of special all camp programs such as holidays or an olympic themed event. Of course we had our own version of battle. (What summer camp is complete without one!) July’s battle was called “Battle of the Networks,” except everyone forgot their network name and just referred to their team by color. There were cookouts and canoe trips, cabin boding and inside jokes. On the last night of camp the oldest campers tried to stay up the entire night unwilling to leave the next day. I achieved this once and slept the entire ride home, which included crossing through US customs.

But most importantly there were the traditions. What distinguishes camps from each other is their own traditions. One of our most important traditions was singing. There were the morning assembly songs and the songs we sang in the dinning room after dinner. And all the songs that were made up throughout the rest of the summer. The songs are also one of the things that continues to bind us Tan girls together whenever we meet. Although some songs have changed, a lot are still the same and when you see a Tan girl you can have a sing-a-long.

There are three other images of the camp that bring the memories rushing back. The first is the Direction Post, photographed above. The direction post in this photo is a replacement of the one that stood tall at Tanamakoon when I was still at the camp. The original post was put in during World War II when the amount of foreign campers increased and the post reminded these campers where home was.

The second image is of the sign posts. Every summer every camper and staff member signed their name on a post of wood. This was varnished and put on display. Going back with my sisters and looking for all our names was the best moment of the visit.

The last image is of the cedar green canoes. Despite them being in black and white, how they are lined on the shore has not changed in the 13 years since I began my first summer at Tanamakoon. Canoeing in a green canoe will always connect me back to my summer experiences remembering a place I grew into the person I am today.

Tan Sign Posts

Tanamakoon Cedar Green Canoes

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