Take Action Camp 2015

It’s been over a week since I’ve been back from TAC. Every single second, I miss the incredible people I got the privilege to know, love and reunite with.

Back in December of last year, I got an amazing email stating that I was accepted into TAC’s LIT (Leaders in Training) program. I was so happy and excited. I was going back to one of my bright places, I was going to see my old friends from last year and I was going to learn how I can further develop my leadership skills as well as learn the true meaning of camp magic.

Over the two weeks that I stayed at camp, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned from the councillors and campers around me, but I also learned a lot from within myself. It’s a struggle to express my feelings towards my time there, perhaps I can create specific posts about certain topics later on.

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The legacy.

To future campers, I hope that you have a life changing time at camp. Keep your mind and eyes open to every possibility. Listen to others, learn from them and support them. Take that fire that’s bubbling within you and bring it back home. Take action and go through with your Action plan. Find what camp magic is to you.

Sincerely, a camper (with responsibilities)

P.S. I made this little video showing some of camp and Take Action Day. I hope it puts a smile on your face.

Shedding Masks

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It’s been 5 days since I was last at camp. I lived there for 6 days with 76 of the most amazing people. I was very lucky to have been accepted into that leadership program through Me To We at St. FX University in Antigonish. To say that I had a great time, would be an understatement. Words cannot express how grateful I am to have had the honour of attending this program. The feeling of family that I experienced there was unlike anything I’ve ever felt.

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#Xleads!

During my time at camp, I’ve felt all of the feels. I’ve laughed so hard my face began to hurt, I’ve sang my heart out that my voice is still gone and I’ve cried so much that my head ached for hours. The amount of self discovery that I experienced was immense. I am also extremely grateful to have heard my friends’ stories and how it has effected them or how they’ve grown.

The leadership skills that I have learned will stay with me for the rest of my life. From speaking skills to self actualization skills, I will use them every day and never forget.

We also received a lot of information about the university itself. We went of a lovely tour (although it was really hot), witnessed different workshops and had a Q&A with the staff of St. FX! It truly is a beautiful campus and wonderful school, I just wish it was closer to where I live…

I also reunited with Addy (theartsyactivist) while I was there! It was heartwarming to spend more time with her.

Pre talent show selfie with Addy!
Pre talent show selfie with Addy!

In just 4 weeks, we will be together again at Take Action Camp in Bethany, Ontario! I will be part of the LIT (Leaders In Training) program and she will be part of the Arts and Activism stream once again! I can’t wait to share those stories with all of you.

My other amazing facilitator, Gill!
One of my amazing facilitators, Gill!
One of my amazing facilitators, Chris!
My other amazing facilitator, Chris!

Cycle Savers

Cycle Savers is an intriguing, hands-on, earth education program for elementary school classes based on a mystery code and club theme. Students decipher the lost manual of the Cycle Savers Club, which launches them on an intriguing adventure to appreciate, understand, and respect the cycles of life through an action-packed day trip to a local park. They return home to complete the final code which takes them on a journey to discover how their household is affecting the environment and what they can do to make a difference.

Years ago, when I was in grade 4, my class was learning about the different cycles; such as the air, water and soil cycles. The whole class went outside and participated in tons of hands on learning (not to mention fun!) activities. All of which taught us about each cycle, how they work and how to respect and have fun in nature.

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Fast forward to grade 10, I heard on the announcements that “…any student who would like to become a leader in the Cycle Savers program please come to a meeting at lunch.” I knew that I heard that name before… I went through that program! SO I went to the meeting, through training and became a leader named “Anglerfish” (We go by “nature names” on leading days). I could now teach the new grade 4s all about the importance of the cycles and how we can protect them. I could give them the same experience as I had when I was their age, maybe even a better one!

I’ve been a leader in Cycle Savers for two years now, and I love every moment of it. I love that I am teaching local kids the importance of our ecosystem and everything that it does for us. I get to see their eyes grow wide as they find a mysterious face in a tree. I get to see their love for our planet grow. And that is what I love most about this program.

I cannot wait for what next year brings.

Literacy Legend

My friend Addy (thartsyactivist.wordpress.com) has done something extraordinary.

Addy’s Action Plan developed at Take Action Camp has taken a fantastic turn. Her plan was to organize a large book drive and receive 1000 books to ship over to places in Africa to help decrease the amount of illiteracy. Little did she know that she’d end up with 4000! The drive was a huge success, but with all of those books comes a hefty price to ship. She then thought that selling t-shirts online designed by her would help her out, and they did!

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I bought this amazingly beautiful shirt and can happily say that I helped in some little way to achieve her Action Plan. I’m so proud of you Addy! I can’t wait to see you again this August!

Happy Birthday Little One!

Today is Oltaiyoni’s 2nd birthday! 

Firendly Oltaiyoni

Oltaiyoni is a little elephant (whom I foster) who resides at the wonderful David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. At 6 months old, she was “observed on her own near the lodge for a few days with no other elephants around.” and was rescued. To this day, no one knows where her herd is, or what happened. She was later given fluids through an I.V to manage her dehydration levels.

Once she arrived at the trust Oltaiyoni was very fearful of humans who came to close, but she took her bottle without a problem.

Today, Oltaiyoni is a matriarch in the making. She’s always looking out for the little ones (especially Mbegu, a victim of poaching. She was found with a spear wound on her rump by her dead mother) and doesn’t let the bulls bully her or her “babies” around.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a wonderful place, filled with animals of all shapes and sizes. Warthogs, ostriches, different kinds of antelope, giraffes and more! (The warthogs were like dogs, they just lied in the sun!)

DSC_8083The trust also has a black rhino named Maxwell. He can never leave the trust though, due to him being genetically blind. They’ve tried everything, but they can’t get his sight back. Although, Maxwell has been with the trust since he was a little calf, he’s used to this life and he’s happy.

DSC_8081 When my family and I went there, I was smiling from ear to ear. (Also, I was holding in tears of joy.) Just look at this little one playing with my laces!

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It was truly an incredible experience to see the orphans and the remarkably hard work Dame Daphne Sheldrick has put into this facility. Honestly, she’s one of my heroes. If you would like to help support this amazing place and make a difference in an orphans life, foster an elephant, rhino or even giraffe! You’ll get monthly updates on how your little one is doing, and beautIful art work by Daphne’s daughter.

http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/

Their Twitter is @DSWT, give them a follow as well!

Roaring Silence

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Today, April 16th, we take a silent stand for those whose voices are muffled by those who oppress them.

Today was my first time participating in Me To We’s annual campaign, We Are Silent. As an extremely expressive person, it has been challenging for me to stay silent for a whole day (19hrs down, 5 more to go). Unfortunately, when you’re in high school, you have to make some exceptions. In my grade and also in some clubs I’m actively part of, I have to participate. Therefore, I only wrote things down if necessary. During this day, you do not respond when spoken to, you do not raise your hand to ask a question and you don’t try to attract anyone’s attention. Ultimately, you turn invisible.

That’s how billions of people feel every single day. No one hears them, no one notices them, no one cares about them.

It’s an extremely troubling feeling to experience. Although, it is also so important to know how they feel, so that we can do something about it.

“Today, I am silent for the 14 million girls around the world who are forced to marry before their 18th birthday and as a result, must drop out of school.”

That was my reason to be silent. In the developing world, 1/9 girls are married before their 18th birthday and some child brides are as young as eight or nine. The notion almost always results in the girl’s removal from school. What families don’t realize, is by taking away their daughters education, they are only keeping the cycle of poverty in motion. In some countries, it’s tradition. They believe that by combining two families, there’s more security and income. it also may settle a debt that one family owes to another. Most child marriages almost always result in abusive and sometimes deadly consequences.

If you’d like to learn more on this tragic matter, I urge you to watch this short documentary.

Why are you silent?