A few weeks ago I got an e-mail (as I often do these days) with questions about enamelling supplies. The call was from Camp Wyoka, which is a Girl Guide camp in Southern Ontario. Someone had donated a kiln and they were excited about being able to add enameling to their art focused week which happens in August. But the kiln was all they had! After some discussion we decided that a couple of their leaders needed to be trained, and then together we would come up with a list of supplies that would be useful.
So I was very focused on thinking about how I would do this: I couldn’t possibly expect these young women to retain ALL the tiny bits of information that go into this art -after one day’s trasining! but I had to give them enough to pass on – and make sure they did it safely.
|Me, Shawn, Mike and Dad
Then I consulted a map to plan my driving. Imagine my surprise when I realised it was about 15 miles from the tiny town where I grew up (Mt Forest) where I had been a Girl Guide myself! The first thing I asked when I got there was “How long have the girl guides owned this property?”; the answer “50 years”. I had surely been there myself as a small girl! I didn’t remember the place specifically – but Guiding had been a very big part of my childhood. In the days before the Internet this was the only real activity a non-sports minded girl like myself could really do. My dad was a Scout leader, I was in Brownies and then Guides and my brother was in Cubs and then Scouts. It gave us a love of the outdoors and a chance to learn about nature in a fun and supportive environment.
But I also had a very vivid memory from my childhood about a particular “Weenie Roast” as we used to call them. I loved going on these outings as it meant staying up late in the forest around a campfire and it felt very adventurous. But just before the week-end I got a bad cold. I begged and begged my parents to let me go and to my surprise they did. I felt miserable but still had a great time. I always appreciated the lessons it taught me: that I could push beyond my own limitations, that weakness didn’t have to hold you back, and that some times things were worth doing even if they were really hard. I was so grateful that they trusted me with this responsibility. I am grateful still, for this and for all the support my wonderful parents have given me throughout my life. You appreciate these things even more as you get older…
The class was easier than I had supposed – the girls were bright and quick – and had a real understanding of how much their younger charges would be able to absorb. It was cheering to see that the Girl Guides are still doing their wonderful work. Summer camp is a great experience for the kids – and a great way to grow into creative and supportive young women in a stunningly beautiful environment.