Photo Credit: The Author in her Grade 9 Yearbook Photo.... YIKES!
Ahhh January! The month where everyone decides that they need to change their lives and begin fresh. Diets, Check! Exercise routine, Check! Starting a new hobby, Check! They say that the average resolution lasts 12 days before it is either totally abandoned or modified, and if you are modifying it, it is usually because there has been an element of “failure” involved. Why do we make these huge, life altering changes because of a day on the calendar? January 11th is just as effective day to begin a change as January 1st, or even March 23rd for that matter! An arbitrary day is not what will make you stick to a change, even if it was the inspiration to make the change.
Sometimes when we want to make a change, there is a reason for it. We feel inadequate for the situations we are facing, or we see a negative quality in our lives and we want to make it into a positive. Change is good, change is healthy, and change can be necessary, but you have to work to keep a change going. Often, we believe that the good intentions are enough to carry us through, and then when we aren’t putting forth the proper effort, and we fail. We then see it as another shortcoming and that the failure is due to our lack of value or worth.
When I write these blog posts, I am generally writing them to the youth that I have met at camp. I am aiming, for the most part, at the teens who have inspired me with their great attitudes and their desire to change the world. These kids are full of hope, and energy, and a vision for the world they want to live in, and energy (… LOL), and it brings me back to my own time in high school. I was a bright, happy, and friendly kid, who saw more to her life than what there was at the time. Growing up in a small Saskatchewan town, sometimes you dream of the bright lights and 24-hour convenience stores of the big city and you want to get there as soon as you can! I was a kid with some big dreams. None of those dreams are the same dreams that I have today. My plans evolved and changed as I did, and yet none of that change revolved around a calendar date.
It’s December. Normally, this month is filled with people around the world preparing for all kinds of celebrations. Some are buying gifts to give to loved ones. Some are cooking and baking wonderous treats and feasts. Some are writing cards and letters to send out to family and to friends to share the news of the past year with everyone. This year though, things will look and feel a bit different.
Unless you have been in a coma since 2019, you are fully aware that we are currently living through a world-wide pandemic. There is a virus that we all know about that is easy to spread, and easy to catch, and if you get it, it’s a generally unpleasant experience. There are communities and countries that have been hit harder than others by this virus. Governments have given us public safety policies that have caused some closures and restrictions to protect us. Locally here in our province, we have been asked to stay home and not gather with anyone who is not our immediate family. We have been told that 5 people or less is the ideal group size. This is in addition to the other precautions of stay 2 meters apart, wear a mask, wash your hands with soap and water, and when you cannot, use hand sanitizer, and if you are unwell at all, please stay home. My family as a whole has been lucky to remain healthy through all of this, and I hope that you and your families are healthy and safe as well. It’s because we as co-operative people have a concern for our communities that we are doing all that we can to help slow the spread and keep our communities, our neighbors and our friends safe.
I come from a large family. Christmas when I was a child was a loud, noisy morning. The cacophony of children laughing and yelling and ripping packages open is a welcome sound in my home still. However, there will not be a gathering of my siblings and our children in my parent’s house this year. Probably not in your homes either. No matter what your celebration is this solstice, we are not supposed to be gathering. So, what should we do?
Have you ever gone somewhere and had a whole new language thrown at you? I don’t mean that grade 12 trip to Europe, where they ACTUALLY speak a different language, I mean somewhere where the lingo is just all new? When I first got to Co-op Camp, I had absolutely no idea what a Warm Fuzzy was, or exactly why people wanted to be “cannibals”. Our final batch of letters covers the new words you may hear at Co-op Camp from R-Z. Some of these are essential to having a great summer at Co-op Camp!
Drop me a sick beat!!! Well, no, a rap session is not THAT kind of rap. It is a great way to get to know more about your fellow campers by asking a question and letting everyone give an answer. If you were a sound, what sound would it be? If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A seven-colour rainbow flag is a common symbol of the international cooperative movement. The rainbow flag has been the cooperative emblem since 1921 when the International Co-operative Congress of World Co-op Leaders met in Basel, Switzerland to identify and define the growing cooperative movement’s common values and ideals to help unite co-ops around the world.
After some experiments with different designs, a famous French cooperator, Professor Charles Gide, suggested using the seven colours of the rainbow for the flag. He pointed out that the rainbow symbolized unity in diversity and the power of light, enlightenment and progress. The first co-op rainbow flag was completed in 1924 and was adopted as an official symbol of the international cooperative movement in 1925.
Like the rainbow, this flag is a symbol of hope and peace. The seven colours from flags around the world fly in harmony.
Honorable Mentions: Recreation, Rest
We asked a long-time Co-op Camper, Staffer, and Program Assistant, Kallin Kehrig, to tell us about what Co-op Camp has given him in his life. I met this young man in January of 2019 and he made a lasting impression on me. Here he is, in his own words, telling us about his experience.
When I first heard of Co-op Camp I was young, shy, and above all, I did NOT want to go to this new summer camp my parents had signed me up for. Pulling up into a parking lot full of people I didn’t know was terrifying, especially because a handful were wearing silly costumes. I remember asking my mom if I really had to go to this weird new summer camp. It turns out that I did, in fact, have to go to this new summer camp. The first words I told my mom when I got back from camp? “Mom, I have to go back next year!”
Have you ever gone somewhere and had a whole new language thrown at you? I don’t mean that grade 12 trip to Europe, where they ACTUALLY speak a different language, I mean somewhere where the lingo is just all new? When I first got to Co-op Camp, I had absolutely no idea what a Warm Fuzzy was, or exactly why people wanted to be “cannibals”. Our second batch of letters covers the new words you may hear at Co-op Camp from J-Q. Some of these are essential to having a great summer at Co-op Camp!
Usually around this time of the year, I am sitting in a cabin, or chatting with my colour group about what they are looking forward to doing the next day, or I am laying on the beach, watching young people splash in the waves, or I am teaching a group of campers about one aspect of our co-operative principles and how they make business better. However, this year, I’m not out at our typical Co-op Camp. I’m nowhere near either Candle Lake or Last Mountain Lake. I am sitting in my office. Staring at a computer screen. It’s not the summer I could have imagined in a hundred years.
Part one: The first 9 letters that make up the song 😊
Have you ever gone somewhere and had a whole new language thrown at you? I don’t mean that grade 12 trip to Europe, where they ACTUALLY speak a different language, I mean somewhere where the lingo is just all new? When I first got to Co-op Camp, I had absolutely no idea what a Warm Fuzzy was, or exactly why people wanted to be “cannibals”. Our first block of letters covers the new words you may hear at Co-op Camp from A-I. Some of these are essential to having a great summer at Co-op Camp!
Okay, so I know that this is a reaaaalllly strange thing to say to a bunch of teenagers, but there is a valid life lesson here.
Really. Do it. Try it!
Wait… ok, what about the things that are bad for you… Well, maybe don’t try things that are illegal, or immoral, or plain stupid… Tide Pod Challenge, anyone???
What I mean by Try Everything, is give life a chance. Try things that scare you. Try things that are out of your comfort zone. When was the last time you tried something new? Show of hands… What was it? Were you successful??? How did it make you feel to try it?
If you follow Co-op Camp on Instagram or Facebook, (@coopcamprocks and Saskatchewan Co-operative Youth Program, respectively), we do a weekly introduction of a Co-op Camp Staffer. These people are the amazing volunteers who help us run the Camp program summer after summer. This year we are not doing camp in our traditional form, but there will be some new and interactive events and activities. This is because of the hard work of these two Co-op Camp Alumni, Sean den Hollander and Nicole Rowlett, the 2020 Program Assistants. I asked them to give us some info and let us get to know them a little bit. Here is our Meet the Team Monday - Blog Edition!
This is a crazy world. From Tiger Kings, to Covid-19 scares, to unstable economics, the world is a crazy and sometimes scary place. It can feel like once you get a handle on the situation, something comes along and changes your world entirely. Even when there aren’t huge looming critical events, even simply growing up and moving from one stage of life to the next, change is the inevitable. “Change is the only constant in the world.” We hear this every dang day it seems.
I heard something that, in the midst of all of the 2020 commotion that is happening all around us right now, calmed my anxiety about our world situation and made me take a breath. Camp will be there for us when this is all over. This person didn’t mean just the physical location, or the curriculum. They meant Co-op Camp.