A poem by Sadhbh O’Connor
Out Near Kananaskis, beneath the Rocky Mountains lies,
A place where Youth beats like a drum and laughter fills the skies.
Each day rises with the sun, a morning chill to the air.
As the flag is raised ‘O’ Canada’ can be heard everywhere.
Rumbling tummies wait for meals, counsellors at the coffee stand hoping for dregs,
As we sing our song of thanks we’re all hoping that breakfast’s not powdered eggs.
Then a bit of time for chess or a game of gagaball.
‘Fill up your nalgenes, apply your sunscreen’ all the counsellors call.
Heading off for waterfront chanting along the way,
each tipi groups sound off guiding them through the day.
At higher ground a camper is at the top and the others are cheering them on.
‘Challenge by choice, you can do it, keep that belay strong’.
Out on the trails the sun beats down as we tie our horses to the trees.
We lunch by the Kananaskis river raging, in tune with the Bow valley breeze.
On out-trip we hike over Mt.Yamnuska with a heavy load to share,
Then set up camp and cook haystacks on stovetop in open air.
Back from OT, cheers are after dinner, everybody stomping their feet.
Actions and voices loud and together, Hector lodge trembling with the beat.
Each session Grand council celebrates the land we are standing on right here, right now.
And all of our achievements acknowledged ceremoniously with a Tilikum How How.
And as darkness falls upon us, the path to our tipi illuminated by starlight,
We make a crackling fire and drift asleep to the noises of a Kananaskis night.
Nowhere else as magic, nowhere else as wild
Nowhere else better to grow, or just to be a child.
So many amazing memories made and though I must be on my way,
I know a piece of my heart remains at Camp Chief Hector Y.M.C.A.
During the summer of 2017, Sadhbh O’Connor was a Camp Counsellor for Kananaskin shotongwa (Junior Horse Program) at a summer camp just a short drive from Calgary, Alberta. This is a poem she put together to commemorate her summer camp experience.
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