We look forward to a certain week away each summer. The week we pack up, and go on a boat ride to Anvil Island to volunteer at Daybreak Point Bible Camp located on the island there. I have been going every summer since I was 9, back then I was a camper. I got Jason into volunteering on staff when we started dating, and now our daughter is basically growing up with it. Needless to say, Anvil Island holds a special place in our hearts… we did get married there. It was also nice to spend a week away from social media, and disconnected from our phones.
This time we left the stroller at home, and I didn’t have to worry about pumping at certain times (yay for kids growing up!) so that meant I got to volunteer in a different roll other than child care this time. I volunteered on kitchen crew, and Jason was the photographer for the week. If there were times neither of us were able to keep an eye on Evie, there was a babysitter crew available to watch her. They had it pretty easy going with Evie thanks to her being a great sleeper… hello 4 hour naps because she was zonked from running around all day. It was lovely!
The one morning we woke up to orange, cloudy skies due to the forest fires happening in areas nearby. All of BC seemed to be covered in it as we later found out. I felt like we were in the opening scenes of the Wizard of Oz. Thankfully the air quality wasn’t too bad in our little area, most likely due to the ocean wind, but we could not see across the water to the neighbouring islands.
One thing I really love about Anvil is all of the scenery there. There is just something so incredible about seeing God’s handiwork there. The mountains, the ocean, and then you have all the animals. There are eagles, deer, otters, and seals to be seen. One year we saw whales traveling past.
A highlight for me this week at camp, was Evie doing her “swim test” for the first time. Everyone who wants to go swimming has to do a swim test and get a swim band that is colour coded to either show they can swim with or without a life jacket. The head lifeguard said Evie could get her swim band if we put her lifejacket on her and had her float in the water for a short bit. So she came down to the swim dock with us when Jason and I needed to do our swim tests too. While she wasn’t too impressed with daddy dangling her into the ocean (we didn’t want to toss her in) and having her float, she did it! She proudly got to wear a bright orange band on her little wrist, while mommy and daddy wore blue ones. She happily showed off her band to other campers, workers kids, and staff. Being able to go in the water was so good, especially during the heat wave that happened while we were at camp. It was glorious to go in the water after a full kitchen shift and cool down.
All week Evie kept requesting to get to go do one thing… go fishing. Every day we would hear “Mama… today I go fishin’?” We finally had the opportunity towards the middle of the week there when I was off kitchen shift and Jason wanted to get some photos at the boat dock. We headed down during activity time, and Evie had a little plastic fishing pole thanks to her babysitter for the week. She was so thrilled. Soon campers and their cabin leaders filled the dock and were out on the water in paddle boards and kayaks. Evie was happily yelling “here fishy, fishy, fishy!” to try and get the fish to come to her little fishing pole (hate to tell you kid, but you never would have actually caught one). There were some boys who brought down some handmade fishing lines with actually hooks, and she watched them catch them and put them in a bucket. Evie was soon trying to catch the ones in the bucket with her bare hands. I still have no idea where she got it in her mind to get to go fishing, but she had fun. One of the sports crew even took her out in a kayak while we were down there, and she loved that.
Honestly, the whole week there, staff and campers were so incredible towards Evie and that had a huge impact on my heart. It made such a difference in knowing that she was being watched out for by so many, and that she was being included in things too. She is going to be well prepared to be a camper one day thanks to everyone, and going to camp as a workers kid.
While at camp everyone eats well! I’ve volunteered in the kitchen at camps on Anvil a few times now, and while it is a lot of hard work it is so much fun. I’ve come home with a few great recipes that I’ve had to cut down to be more manageable since I am not cooking for 200+ in my own kitchen. This time I learned how to make bread dough from scratch! I’m hooked, and now wanting to try making home made cinnamon buns. We make the dough during the week of camp. This was also the first time that I helped with the pulled pork dinner, which goes with our formal night dinner when the whole camp eats on the dock. I am always so impressed by the people in the kitchen with how they all work together and get the meal ready on time. You know the meal was good when the camp starts chanting “Oh we thank you for the food that we just ate, oh we thank you for the food that we just ate! It was yummy, yummy, yummy in our tummy, tummy, tummies. Oh we thank you for the food that we just ate!” What are the favourite meals at camp? Beef dip, pulled pork, and pizza I would say. Though this year an amazing teriyaki chicken was made that I need to still get the recipe for.
There is a tradition at camp that I remember all the way back to when I was 9 and a camper for the first time. If you have a birthday during the week at camp, you are going down the slide. It’s not worth fighting because the sports crew will hunt you down. Most everyone knows this tradition and comes prepared to all meals on the day of their birthday not knowing when they will be sent down the slide.
Jason celebrated his 30th birthday at camp this year! I made a little sign and strung it across a beam in the dinning hall, and put some balloons up. At lunch time, the camp director started singing happy birthday to Jason and he was escorted to the top of the slide. Seeing all the campers run to watch is the best. The lifeguards all hurry to their places to make sure all goes well. I wish I got better photos of him going down the slide, but I think there is a video clip somewhere. I will have to look. Poor guy did forget a towel, thankfully one of our friends offered up his from the cabin nearby. This may happen a few more summers yet to Jason since he has a summer birthday.
This week at camp is going down as one of my favourites at Anvil. So many memories were made, hearts were impacted by Christ, and it was just a lot of fun. If you are thinking of sending your kid off to summer camp next year, and are near us, definitely consider Anvil. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, and if I don’t have an answer I will get you one, I know staff at several of the different week long camps. For now, the count down is on to camp next year!
You can also find Anvil on Instagram and check out photos from throughout the summer!