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Letters Three from Josephine P.

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Hey, Camp Fans!

We loved seeing all the submissions we received for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp; we got more than 30 entries! So we’re super-excited to share the entries right here on the Blog! After seven lucky winners, everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our website! Today’s post comes from the mother of Josephine P., who thought to share the following letters from camp written to her grandmother during her stay at YMCA Camp Arbutus Hayo-Went-Ha.

Dear Grandma:                      July 17th

It’s the second day of camp and everything is great. My cabin is Bows (the same one as last year) but I’m with different girls. Melina and Catie are in my cabin, they are my friends from my first year. The other girls are great and we are all good friends already. In total we have 7 campers (including me) and two counselors. We had waffles for breakfast and chicken pot pie for dinner. We learned how to portage today. One person holds the canoe while another leads them. After lunch we went on our ‘shake down’ (practice night for our trip). We canoed across Arbutus Lake and spent the night at a campsite. I have a new sleeping bag and it worked really well. We had dehydrated food for dinner and then s’mores. We spent the night then paddled back to camp in time for breakfast. We had our last shower today (July 18th) and we are getting corn rows in our hair later today. That’s all I have to write about now, but I’ll write when I get back to camp from the trip (we leave Thursday).

I hope everything is going well and you are feeling better.

Lots of love, Josephine

Hi Grandma:                                       August 3rd

I’m on the bus driving home now. The trip was amazing! We paddled in a huge circle around the park. We also had to portage a lot when we were going into a different lake. In the beginning of the trip we could only portage for 2-3 minutes at a time, but now we can go for 15 minutes. We only had two days of rain. The first storm was the worst. It caught us on the water and everything got wet. The second rain wasn’t bad at all, we were prepared this time. We usually woke up at 6:00am and paddled/portaged for a few hours. We always got to the campsite before lunch. Then we would just hang out and swim until dinner and going to sleep. There were so many wild blueberries, we would eat them almost every day. Melina (my friend) and I made a pie with the blueberries and oatmeal one day. It tasted great. We also made quesadillas. We had a layover day halfway through the trip. On our layover day we went on a day hikeTake a look at the Hayo-Went-Ha Life Style. up to Topaz Lake. Topaz is a tiny lake up in the hills. It has a rock bottom and a beautiful blue green color. We spent the day there swimming and cliff jumping. (The cliffs were 15-20 feet tall!). Another day we stayed at Lake Nellie, the clearest Lake in the park, it was beautiful. I can’t even describe it. We swam all day and wrote “AHWH” with a heart at the end on the bottom with rocks. (You can see all the way to the bottom it’s so clear). One of my favorite memories is when Melina, Catie and I went fishing. We made the hook out of a safety pin, the line out of dental floss, the pole out of a stick and the bobbin out of a piece of foam. We used slugs as gait. I taught Melina and Catie how to put the slug on the hook the way you showed me. We caught three fish!!! They were small so we threw them back, but it was so cool that we got them. Another day we stopped mid-portage to hike to the top of a mountain called Silver Peak. The view was amazing. We could see for miles, all the lakes and trees sprawled out below us. On Day Nine of the trip we got to go to a store. We have $25.00 to spend on the trip. I bought a KitKat, Oh Henry Bar and a portage sign for $10.00. Last night we stayed at Widgawa with all the other cabins. (There are 4 cabins in total, 26 campers, and 8 counselors). There was another store at Widgawa so I spent another $5.00 on an Oh Henry Bar, doritos, and a coke. The counselors surprised us with a pizza! It was great to have real food again. We stopped at McDonalds for lunch. I got so much food. Melina and I put our last $10.00 together and feasted. Now I feel sick but it was worth it. We are almost at camp now, the bus ride was about 8 hours but it was really fun. I’ll write again and tell you what I do at camp.

Love you!


PS – I had some extra string so I made a key chain thing. You don’t need to keep it, I just wanted to send it to you.

Dear Grandma,                       August 9-11

Camp has been so much fun. Since we have gotten back we have paddled to a park on the Lake Arbutus and made a blueberry pie on one of the grills there. It was so good we took it back to camp and shared it with everyone on staff. On Monday we did laundry. With our left over money we got food at CVS. I ate a whole pint of ice-cream and chips with salsa. For Super Saturday we had a food fight. It was a lot of fun. I was covered in pie and ice-cream. We jumped in the lake to rinse off. On Sunday the Explorers (me and the other girls that went to Killarney) lead chapel. We used the four core values of YMCA camps, Honest, Caring, Respect, and Responsibility. Last night my cabin and I slept outside in our hammocks, the moon was full so it was the perfect night. We have also done all the classic activities like high ropes, climbing wall, paddle boarding, splash mat and outdoor cooking. Tonight was casino night. We all dressed up in crazy clothes and danced all night. We had challenges and games to earn money. We used the money to bet on activities to do as a cabin. My cabin won ‘Gaga with Add Staff’. Gaga was so much fun, it was muddy but everyone got so into it. Second-to-last night at camp is Leader’s Follies. The counselors and staff put on little plays and skits. They were all very funny. Today is the last full day at camp. We are packing and had our last showers. I’m going to miss outdoor showers. Later today we have paper plate awards. Our counselors make a paper plate with silly awards for us and inside jokes. The campers make plates for our counselors too. Tonight we have Final Banquet. I’ll probably cry. Our counselors sing a song about our trip to us, they are always really cute.


So happy you decided to share these letters with us! They certainly are treasures. These letters are so sweet, Josephine. And we’re elated to hear what a great time at Camp Hayo-Went-Ha! You can check out Hayo-Went-Ha to see if it might be a good match for you by clicking here. And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John


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