cAmp OAkEs 2o16

    cAmp OAkEs 2o16: rOAd TrIp UsA

    Since 2004,  I have volunteered at Camp Oakes as a counselor with the exception of the year I got married (only went for 1/2 a year) and last year because my husband and I were homeless due to an asbestos filled roof collapse. We weren’t on the streets, we crashed with family and friends.

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    Naseem, Jaycee’s friend’s little girl, and Jaycee headed to the cabin to get Jaycee settled in.

    Family and friends are what make life go ’round and at Camp Oakes, friends are family with the surname Camp.

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    Brothers: Bryan Camp and Brandon Camp

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    Cousins: Michelle and Hillary

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    Old Friends: Amy and McKenzie

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    New Friends: Ashley and Jacob

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    Camp Loves: Tom and Katy

    Happy reunions are simply the best.

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    Mike Harvey and Patty (Mike tells the best stories), Ricardo and Eric, Soriya and , Sammi and Amy, Andy and Josh, Bryan and Heather

    Camp Oakes isn’t at all like any other place on earth and unless you have experienced it for at the very least a couple of hours on visitors day, then photos nor words can explain it’s magic.

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    Neil about to make a goal

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    Camp continues to change my life for the better.  I want to go every year that I possibly can. Forever. It’s a meeting of 200+ people with the kindest souls you could imagine.  The directors, the nurses, the counselors, the CIT’s (Counselor in training), the camp kids, and of course the campers: we all want to be there. No one is paid in dollars, but every life is nourished and a week somehow doesn’t seem long enough.

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    Heather and Karen  share a big bowl of ice cream.

    This year started off with a bang with the band “The Working Stiffs” playing. These guys rocked so hard from start to finish without a break in the middle.

    Alex is a true front man. With every song he brought another dancer from the crowd onto the stage and engaged with everyone in the audience.

    Our old friend, Eden came to visit. She is the one that introduced me to this amazing place! She is shown here dancing with Karen, her aide Mallory, and one of my personal camp director fav’s Bob.

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    Garrick and Taylor at the concert

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    Evan with “The Working Stiff’s”

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    The Working Stiff’s featuring Karen, Amy, Ryan, and Danny

    Pajama- Rama rocks. We all show up for flagpole and breakfast dressed in our finest nighties.

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    The patriotic Dion, Heather, and Julie, with a sleepy Ricardo in the background

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    Erin and Nancy at Pajama Rama

    We have a King and Queen of Pajama Rama

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    and we also pick out our “favorite” new counselors and generally crack and egg over their heads…. This year it was strawberry yogurt instead. Maybe next year something dairy free so we wouldn’t feel guilty for cheering on our first year vegan counselor? lol

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    The dances are of course a huge hit!

    Doug is a “camp kid”. He is 12 years old and is pictured here with Heather at our first dance, “The Sock Hop”. He made camp extra special and was a superstar “camp kid”. Every time I saw him he was helping someone out, giving someone a hug, dancing with someone, cleaning a table, or doing whatever needed to be done. The camp kids this year were extra awesome in general, but this guy really stood out. If I ever am fortunate enough to have a child, he/she will surely be a camp kid at the earliest age possible. Camp helps to shape us all, this guy was a natural. Rock on Doug, your hard work did not go unnoticed!

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    Below are Jason and Eric. They keep camp laughing and wondering what the heck is coming next.

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    A tender moment between Kaitlin and Ricardo

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    Bobby and his new girlfriend at the sock hop

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    We also had a formal dance (we do both dances every year). For the formal dance we have a whole activity period to get ready for it and we always wish we had just a little longer… showering 10 girls plus hair and make-up take forever!

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    But it’s always worth it. Here are a few snaps from the “mock-tail” party before our special dinner and formal dance.

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    Emily and Naseem

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    Zaq and Jaycee

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    Evan and Chelsea

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    Heather and her favorite camp hunk, Abe

    The daytimes are filled with things like archery, the zip line, low ropes, canoes, swimming, fishing, arts and crafts and more.

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    Mariana was new to cabin 4 this year, but handled it like she had been there forever. So thankful to have had her join our cabin.

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    Eleanor

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    Mychalea’s first year was last year, which I missed. She was a natural and beautiful addition to our cabin as well

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    photo by Eleanor

    The Mine Shoot proved to be a little dangerous this year. It ended up getting shut down after a couple of people got boo boo’s (nothing too serious, just grass rash and bruises). It’s camp. No one was complaining, in fact after my brave camper Heather and I crash landed she laughed all the way to the nurses station saying how she “loved it until the very end”. I have to admit, so did I.

    We got to go two days in a row. This is one of my favorite photos of the year… Heather on the Mine Shoot by herself the day before it got shut down.

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    This little blog is full of Cabin 4 girls and friends but check out my Facebook page to see all of these and many more.

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    Camp Oakes always needs volunteers, this year we were especially low on male CIT’s (Counselor In Training). If you know any great young men between 15-18 that are responsible, hard-working, caring, awesome, and that would love to be a part of camp send them our way. I have a couple I’m going to tag for next year.

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    Also, we prepare ALL year to make this happen. If you would like to donate money or a big ticket item for our auction, please message me. The goal is to start now collecting items for the RockStars and Babies auction (I only got one item for 2016, which we have rolled over for next year).

    Heather’s new puppy, Faith, says donate if ya can… time, money, or items. It takes a lot to keep camp going.

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    Thanks Camp Oakes! Thanks for being such a life teacher, thanks for all the laughs, the hugs, the love, the fun, the bruises, the tears, the sleepless nights, the shooting stars, the forever memories, and even for the awful vegetarian food (that’s the only thing I would change).

    I love you, Camp Oakes!

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