Summer Camp

Kamp Kiwanis Building History

You may have spent a week at camp in Woodside Cabin getting comfortable being surrounded by its rustic log walls and beautiful wood-side scenery, but did you know that the cabin is actually named after a man named Woodside? Here’s some more Kamp Kiwanis history dug up from the archives on Kamp buildings and who they are named after…

Original entrance to Kamp Kiwanis in 1950s

Original entrance to Kamp Kiwanis in 1950s

Aerial view of Kamp Kiwanis from early 2000s

Aerial view of Kamp Kiwanis from early 2000s

Original Site

“Christopher Duke settled in the area which now houses Kamp Kiwanis in 1889 after coming from England to Alberta. Two years later he was joined by his wife, Blanche. A log house was constructed on the site of the present day Kiwano Ring campfire meeting place in 1889. This cabin stood for many years, until the original ranch was sold to Frank Taylor in 1912. The sale involved 140 acres on the south border of the Elbow River.

The Taylors built a nice little house which stood until 1962 (renamed the Kiwano Lodge) when it was burned in an accidental fire over Christmas that year. Frank Taylor operated a poultry farm and delivered eggs to Calgary every day until he moved the operation closer to Calgary. He sold the property at Pirmez Creek to Major William Atkinson in 1938.

The Atkins lived in Calgary for many years but commuted back and forth to their second home as often as possible. After the war, the idea to turn the land into a dude ranch became a reality and the holiday home became a permanent residence. Major Atkinson brought out many servicemen from the Currie Barracks, all handy with hammers and saws, and they set about building several cottages, a dining hall, a lodge and a kitchen. The first guests of the Horseshoe Dude Ranch arrived in the summer of 1946. The dude ranch ran successfully for 5 years but became too much for the Atkinson family to handle and had to be sold. It was sold to the Downtown Kiwanis Club of Calgary in 1951 to become a camp for underprivileged children.”

From Chaps and Chinooks: A History West of Calgary.


This cabin room in Venturer Lodge is named after former Kiwanis Member C. Harold Acheson who was a consulting geophysicist.


Albury - Yakandandah

Have you ever wondered where the little door goes to on the North side of Nestor Lodge? This little storage room has been used as a bunkroom in the past and was originally inhabited by 2 of our Gap Volunteers who were from Albury and Yakandandah, Australia.


Baines’ Nook

This little cabin room in Watson Lodge which used to be the Kamp Kiwanis Office is named after the first Camp Chairperson (1950), Kiwanis Club President (1953) and Kiwanis Western District Lieutenant Governor (1955), Mr. Arthur Baines.

Baker-Woodside Cabin

This 2-sided cabin has always been a bunkhouse and is still in its original location from when Kamp Kiwanis opened in 1951. Named after past Kiwanis Club presidents Mr. E.L. Baker (1942) and Mr. Charlie T. Woodside (1943).


The Biffies (Outhouses)

The “Biffies” or outhouses were constructed in 1991 beside Roper-Sigalet to replace the old “honey pots.”  Although it would likely be inappropriate to name them after specific people, they were painted in the 2000s and dedicated to some of the countries we have received volunteers from: Canada (The Bathroom), England (The Loo), Australia (The Outback Dunny) and New Zealand (The Long Drop).

biffies 2.jpg

 Buckington Cabin

This little cabin which once stood on the main cabin row and has now been relocated the Leadership Village is named in honour of Past Kiwanis Club President Mr. Frank G. Buchanan (1945).


Carlyle Cabin

This cabin room inside Watson Lodge is named after Past Kiwanis Club President and Camp Chairperson Mr. Grant Carlyle (1952).



Cougar Hall

Built in 2001 for day use by the Venturer Team, called the “Cougar Group” at the time of construction.



This building located east of Nestor Lodge is named after the Easthope Family who donated the building to Kamp Kiwanis in 1997.


Herald Storage Sheds

Named because of the donation by The Calgary Herald.


This other half to Rockdale Cabin was named after Past Kiwanis Club President Mr. Victor Hicks (1948). After the cabin was moved to the Leadership Village area of Kamp, the wall was taken down between the 2 cabin spaces to form one larger cabin, now all known as Rockdale.


Jack’s Hall

The lower part of the Wreck Ward is named after Past Camp Chairperson Mr. Jack Hall (1960-62)



Jack & Joe’s Cabin

This little cabin room inside Watson Lodge is also named after Past Camp Chairperson Mr. Jack Hall (1960-62) and Past Camp Chairperson and Kiwanis Club Secretary Mr. Joe Mather (1953)

Lake Strum

This human-made lake was created in 2007 between a partnership with Alberta Transportation in creation of the traffic circle at Highway 8 and Highway 22.  It is named after past Camp Director Roy Strum (1997-2008) and his family.  Roy helped to further develop programs at Kamp Kiwanis, including the integration of Earth Education programs, water safety, lifesaving and canoeing programs and leadership programs for junior high to high school programs.  He also created the Kamp Kiwanis Cheer, helped to develop the Kabin Banners and Objectives of Kamp Kiwanis.


Little Deeves Cabin

This cabin room inside Watson Lodge is named after past Kiwanis Club President (1954) and Western District Lieutenant Governer (1959) Mr. Bill Little and former Kiwanis Club President (1958) and Camp Chairperson (1954-55) Mr. Ed Deeves.  Ed, along with Jim Hanes spent several weekends installing new plumbing at Kamp Kiwanis before it officially opened on July 3rd, 1951.


Mayell Spray-All


Otherwise known as the Shower Hut, Mayell Spray-All, built in 1984-85, winterized in 2001 and renovated in 2012 is named after the first Camp Director Mr. John Mayell (1951-1959), Supervisor of Physical Education for the Calgary Board of Education (1953-1978) and past Kiwanis Club President (1973.)  John Mayell is the founding father of the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) and the Canadian Association of Provincial School Athletic Federations (later named Canadian School Sport Federation (CSSF).  He received the ASAA Routledge Award of Merit in 1971 and the Honour Award in 1975. John Mayell passed away in February of 2012 at the age of 93.

Nestor Lodge

The main lodge (formerly known as Kiwanis Lodge) opened in 1996.  It was only used for one session of summer camp in 1996, after which due to the nature of the program and the atmosphere of cabin living, the decision to continue using the upgraded “old site” for summer program was made. Kiwanis Lodge is a prime facility for rental groups. In 2013 it was was dedicated to Nestor Kelba, former Managing Director (1994-2012) and Camp Director 1966-1972). Nestor had a big hand in developing the main lodge in the early 1990s when there was a threat of losing the Kamp.  Nestor continues to be involved on the Kamp Kiwanis Board of Directors and Kiwanis Club of Calgary Kamp Kiwanis Board of Directors. Many of the rooms in Nestor Lodge were sponsored or named in honour of Kiwanis Members, Kiwanis Clubs, Families or Local Companies.  Notable are the main dining hall named after Ann and Sandy Cross for past Kiwanis Club member Sandy Cross and his wife Ann (who passed away in 2003 and 2013); the Great Room upstairs named for the Shikaze Family and past Kiwanis Club President (2001, 2002) Howie Shikaze; the Loft (area with the fireplace) after past Kiwanis Club member Don McEachern (passed away in 2005); the front hallways named after the Morley Family and Vine Family including past Kiwanis Club Member Ken Vine and his wife, Dona Vine who was the first female Kiwanis member in Calgary (passed away in 2015); and cabin rooms named after The Kiwanis Club of Calgary Downtown (now known as The Kiwanis Club of Calgary Kamp Kiwanis), The Chinook Kiwanis Club of Calgary, The Northmount Kiwanis Club of Calgary, The Foothills Club of Calgary and the Kelba Family Room named after Nestor and Ellen Kelba and their family.


Northmount Building

This outtripping and used clothing distribution building, built in 2001, is named after the Northmount Kiwanis Club of Calgary for their contributions to Kamp Kiwanis.



Paradise Lost Cabin

This cabin was relocated to part of the Leadership Village In remembrance of items lost by past Assistant Camp Director (1967-1970) and Camp Director (1971 when Nestor took a leave of absence to work on his Masters Degree) Brian West and past Assistant Camp Director (1971) Graham Phipps.


Parkinson aka “Parky”

Named after past Kiwanis Club president Mr. Sam Parkinson (1951) and his son Dale Parkinson who was also a past Kiwanis Club president (1982).  Sam Parkinson passed away in September 2000. Dale Parkinson past away in November 2016 at the age of 77.  Parkinson Cabin has officially been closed as it has reached the end of it’s structural lifespan. There will be a farewell ceremony and clean-out of Parkinson in early 2019 after which it will be torn down with plans to rebuild. Some of the original materials will be used for the restructure in the form of art and decor.


Roberts Lodge

This residence of the maintenance workers at Kamp Kiwanis was brought to the site in the mid 2000s and is named after past Kiwanis Club President of the Downtown Club Jay Roberts (1994, 1997 and 2004).  Jay continues to serve on the Kiwanis Club of Calgary Kamp Kiwanis Board of Directors and Kamp Kiwanis Board of Directors.


Rockdale Cabin

This cabin originally the Assistant Camp Director summer residence on cabin row, was relocated to the Leadership Village and named after Past Kiwanis Club Presidents Mr. L.W. Brockington (1926) and Mr. R.S. Trowsdale (1936).



Now also known as the Hobby Hut, Roper-Sigalet used to be a camper cabin.  It was rebuilt in 2011 for the 60th Anniversary of Kamp Kiwanis and is named after Past Camp Chairpersons Mr. Len Roper and Mr. Bill Sigalet (1966.)


Taven’s Haven

Formerly the old Wreck Ward, Taven’s Haven is currently a storage building with other possibilities to be repurposed.  It is named after past Camp Director George Taven (1985-1992).  George first worked at Kamp Kiwanis Outdoor School in 1972 (known then as the Calgary School Board’s Outdoor School Lab) and went on to work as a Camp Counsellor, Waterfront Director and Assistant Camp Director between 1972-1981.  George developed the original Environmental Day Trip Program the High School Connections Program started in 1987 in partnership with the Calgary School Board and Downtown Kiwanis Club of Calgary, now known as the SEEDS Connection Program.  George was past Kamp Kiwanis Club President of the Downtown Club in 1998-1999 and continues to serve with the Kiwanis Club of Calgary Kamp Kiwanis.  One of the trails at Kamp Kiwanis, Taven’s Loop (formerly Wanisik Loop) on the Northeast side is also named after George.


 Ted’s Tank (Kamp Kiwanis Pool)

The Kamp Kiwanis above ground pool was built in 1961 to replace the man-made “swimming hole” and named after past Camp Chairperson Edward “Ted” Walden (1956-1959).  Ted, also president of Walden Construction Ltd., was also the Property Committee Chairman who helped develop the Kamp Kiwanis site for use in the early 1950s.


 Venturer Lodge

Built in 2001, Venturer Lodge is named after the Venturers Society of Calgary, a unique community access and employment preparation non-profit program for adults with developmental disabilities.  The Calgary Venturers continue to do maintenance and building work at Kamp Kiwanis.  McKay Hall, the dining hall in Venturer Lodge is named after long time Kiwanis Member Bruce McKay. Bruce passed away in April 2018 at the age of 90. Many of the cabin rooms in Venturer are named after local families that have supported the Kamp: Barnes (who used to give horseback rides to campers in the 50s and 60s), Copithorne, Gauthier, and Robinson (who used to show their museum collection to campers in the 50s and 60s).


 Watson Lodge

Originally the Dining Hall and Hobby Hut, Watson Lodge is named after Bill “Curly” Watson’s contributions to Kamp Kiwanis with both the Downtown Kiwanis Club of Calgary and the Foothills Kiwanis Club of Calgary.  Curly was born in 1907 in Burnley, Lancashire, England but moved to Calgary with family in 1909 and was raised in Bridgeland area.  He started as a plumber in 1927 with Trotter and Morton Ltd. which he later became part owner. Curly was in the first class of plumbers to go through the Alberta Apprenticeship and Trade School and receiving Certificate No.1 for plumbers in the province of Alberta in 1930.  Curly also served as President of the Calgary Construction Association and the Calgary and Alberta Mechanical Contractors Association.  In 1994 he received the Ted Walden Award for his outstanding contributions to the Calgary Construction Association.  The Bill (Curly) Watson Memorial Scholarship for Apprenticeship and Industry Training in Alberta is named in his honor.  Curly passed away in February 1998 at the age of 90.  Watson Lodge has had several renovations over the years, including winterizing and the addition of washrooms in 1997, a laundry room in 1998, a new metal roof in 1999, the addition of showers in the mid 2000s, new flooring in 2008, 2012 and some of the floors in 2013.


White House

Named after its original white-washed siding, this house which has been the resident of camp directors was donated to Kamp Kiwanis by Mr. Grant Carlyle in 1964 after the original director’s residence, Kiwano Lodge, accidentally burned down. The White House now sports a natural log siding.


 Wreck Ward

The original Wreck Ward is now known as Taven’s Haven.  Rebuilt in 2004, the Wreck Ward now houses the Spring and Fall Program Staff, some of the Summer Resource Staff and is the First Aid Centre in the Summer.  It is named after past Kiwanis Club President (1933) and Lieutenant Governor (1937) Mr. Peter Breck and past Kiwanis Club President (1921) and Lieutenant Governor (1925-26) Mr. Horace Howard.


Thanks to Kamp Kiwanis

Drawing from a thank you card from Kamp Kiwanis participants

Drawing from a thank you card from Kamp Kiwanis participants

In the midst of the adventures going on at summer camp or outdoor school, we notice the connections our staff are making with students and campers.  We see the relationships forming between kids and nature and the building of community in cabin groups. We hear the laughter during skits and the questions pondered about how ecosystems work.  We feel the sense of calm during nature nooks (journaling spots) and the warm embraces from kids as they depart after “the most stellar summer camp week of their lives.”  But what about after camp or outdoor school is done?  What kind of lasting impact have we made?  This is perhaps one of the hardest things to measure or even place a value on.


Thanks to Camp

The Thanks to Camp movement is an initiative from the Canadian Camping Association (CCA) aiming to promote the positive impact camp has had in the lives of millions across the country. Gabrielle Raill and Stéphane Richard, both camp professionals, wanted to find a concrete way to show that camp is more than just fun, it actually helps children grow, and gives them all kinds of tools to succeed in life. In the summers of 2016 and 2017, along with their team and dozens of participating camps, they gathered stories from campers, parents, staff and alumni, completing the sentence “Thanks to camp…” In the fall of 2017, these stories were used for a social media campaign, as a prelude to a country-wide marketing campaign (a first for the CCA!) in late winter. Just in time to let new families learn about the joys of camp before registration season! For more information on Thanks to Camp please visit 


This summer Kamp Kiwanis joined the movement interested in why our campers, staff, outdoor school participants and teachers are thankful for camp and especially how Kamp Kiwanis has made a positive impact on their lives.  You can let us know by completing the sentence "Thanks to Kamp Kiwanis..."

1.     Using the hashtags #ThanksToKampKiwanis and  #thankstocamp and tagging @KampKiwanis in your social media posts on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

2.     Emailing us your story at

Your post or testimonial could be featured on Kamp Kiwanis Social media, in future blogs or in promotional material.


Here are some of testimonials we have received about Kamp Kiwanis:

Thanks to Kamp Kiwanis I travelled the right path and have a future. Words cannot express how Kamp has had a profound impact on my life! I was kamper, staff, and now an alumni. At Kamp I discovered who I am and the unlimited dreams that can become reality. I learned to believe in myself. I discovered life long friendships that support one another through good and dark times. I discovered my passion for the outdoors and working with kids. Without Kamp, I'd be lost. Heather

Thanks to Kamp Kiwanis I met some of the most supportive people in the world to help me on my journey of self acceptance. I probably would have have a much more turbulent and less supportive coming out story if Kamp Kiwanis did not exist. I wouldn’t have learned my passion for influencing young lives for the better. Josh

Written by Brittany

Written by Brittany














Thanks to Kamp Kiwanis I was given the chance to change the lives of amazing children. Brittany

I have no idea where I’d be. I wouldn't have half the confidence and ambition I have now. I wouldn't be studying to become a teacher. I wouldn't have met so many amazing children and staff. Kamp Kiwanis changed my life and thousands of others. Thanks Kamp Kiwanis. Morgan

Thanks to Kamp Kiwanis I am a better person who has discovered a passion for working with youths, and I have learned to live lightly on the earth! Kamp Kiwanis was a major turning point in my life! In fact, it represents the biggest turning point of my life and set me on the path of being a teacher. Without it, I don't want to think of where I might be. I was in a dark place when I decided to go for broke, travel across the country from New Brunswick, and work at Kamp! First time away from home, making friends, finding out what I was capable of. I have made friendships and had experiences that will last a lifetime! Paul

Thanks to Kamp Kiwanis for starting my journey as a leader. I was gifted a trip to the leadership camp in 1998 and from there was. LITE, and then a maintenance person, a counsellor and a board member. Kamp initiated my relationship with nature, with other incredible leaders and my relationship with service work for children and youth. I successfully manage programs for a nonprofit today where I continue to use the concepts and teachings gifted to me around the fire, through experience and through sharing space...all at KK!! Jody

I loved Kamp Kiwanis so much, it has become part of my life and a home for me. I made lots of friends and memories at Kamp Kiwanis. In my opinion Kamp is the best place on earth and it's a great place to be. I love Kamp so much. The counsellors make you feel welcome and feel at home. I will never forget Kamp, the people I have met and the memories I have made. Camper

The place is lit! I mean it’s a perfect place to make friends and to like experience nature and man, the food there is alright, except for the drink. They only give you like a small portion of juice and for anyone doing a job they get more. It’s cool though. I loved being there. It was an amazing time. The pool and PBK (Polar Bear Klub), man, it was lit. We got to go to the pool in the morning, but we did go at night once. It was fun. Our counsellors were Platypus and Moose. They were amazing people and I miss them so, so, so, so much. I hope to see them again for leadership camp. Camper

One of my favourite childhood memories. I would send my kids there in a heartbeat! Former Camper

The staff was amazing. This was my son’s first time attending camp. And they were all above and beyond amazing. ❤️❤️ Parent

The past few days at Kamp Kiwanis for Outdoor School have been an amazing and unimaginable experience for myself, our staff and most importantly "our kids".  I refer to them as "our kids" because that is truly how we, as a school community feel about every one of them.  To come to a place that not only shares this belief, but practices it every single day was so rewarding and touching to see and be a part of. Your staff were remarkably accommodating and caring to the needs of our kids:  Everything from helping with cuts/nose bleeds to randomly peeling apples, washing dirty clothes/sleeping bags or providing a shoulder to cry on, you and your staff did it all and never once complained or rolled an eye.  There are hundreds more examples of how all of the Kamp staff went out of their way to give our kids the best week possible.  I have heard from numerous students that this was the best week of their lives.  Knowing their back stories and having seen their remarkable growth/successes over the past few days, I believe them when they make such a large statement. The care and support that you and the staff provided to our Special Needs kids was not only remarkable but heartwarming.  Adapting to the needs of these complex kids is difficult at the best of times.  Whether it was yourself, playing guitar until a bunk of boys fell asleep each night or "Fox" jumping in on day one to support one of the most "stacked" bunk groups there could ever possibly be.  Whatever was needed, the counsellors and staff were there to help. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU...FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, THANK YOU. I think the highlight of my time here was during the final camp fire.   A skit was taking place where one of the staff was pretending to be on a roller-coaster (little did she know, the Kampers were imagining her on a toilet).  I looked across the fire to one of our kids, who suffers from severe social-anxiety causing a form of select-mutism.  He was smiling and laughing.  I have known this child for 2 years and have never once seen him laugh and smile.  Kamp allowed him the opportunity to forget about everything back home and simply be a kid.  This is what I have learned Kamp is all about. Please do not ever forget the impact that this place has on kids. I commend you for your leadership and guidance with the staff.  They are an amazing group of young people who have exciting futures ahead of them.  It is people like those who work at Kamp Kiwanis who make the world a better place, one kid at a time. Thank you so much and please pass along my most sincere gratitude to each and every counsellor/staff member. Assistant Principal from an Outdoor School Experience at Kamp Kiwanis

I wanted to thank you Josh (Outdoor School Director) and Matt (Kamp Chef) for the exceptional week you and your staff gave our daughter. When she was diagnosed last November, we didn't think going to camp was an option. Thanks to Matt's amazing work communicating and paying special attention to her needs, she found out she can really do everything she wants. I found a lot of post-its in her bag. 😉 I am sure first camp means a lot to many families, but it was really extra special for us. Thank you! Parent, Outdoor School





Kamp Kiwanis Traditions


Many of my fun memories of summer camp experiences over the past 35 years are integrally tied to the long-standing traditions of those camps: favourite campfire songs, dining hall skits and cheers, stories and jokes passed on through the ages, final night activities and even daily routines and chores.  Experiencing camp traditions helped me to build character and a love for camp life. For those camps that I returned to year after year, traditions filled me with excited anticipation to see them unfold again, each time through a slightly different lens as new staff or groups of campers added their own unique style to presenting them.



Kamp Kiwanis first opened in 1951 and many of the traditions established in those first few years continue, 66 years later.  As you wander through the buildings, you can’t help but notice the wooden K-poles that line many of the walls.  The first K-pole was created in 1951 and hangs to this day in Parkinson.  Each K-pole commemorates a session of Kamp Kiwanis by listing the names of all the kampers and staff in attendance.  They all have the 2 K’s for Kamp Kiwanis at the top and often are designed around the theme of the session with a quote to remember that session by.  Traditionally, K-poles were engraved by wood-burning, but through creative freedom have expanded to include painting and other media to suit the theme.

As Kampers arrive at Kamp Kiwanis, staff ring the Kamp Bell for each vehicle’s arrival and each vehicle is greeted by friendly staff to welcome them to Kamp Kiwanis.  Prior to the early 2000s the Kamp Bell was a buzzer on the side of Watson, one of the buildings.  The bell is much nicer on the ears! Every morning of Kamp begins with the raising of the Canada flag, singing of the national anthem and a thought of the day (unless a kabin group is on an out-trip).  Occasionally the Canadian Flag and anthem has been substituted for by another country, usually home to one of our international staff members.

Handy Andy, the original first Teddy Bear given to the Kabin that was the most helpful that day.

Handy Andy, the original first Teddy Bear given to the Kabin that was the most helpful that day.

Every evening also ends at the flagpole with the lowering of the flag while “Taps” is sung.  After the flag lowering ceremonies, kabins are presented with teddy bears to recognize their efforts. Of course, over the years the teddies have been replaced as needed due to wear and tear, but some of the names have stuck. “Handy Andy,” the first nightly teddy bear on record is still given to recognize the kabin group that is the most helpful.  A newer tradition since the mid 2000s is the nightly “Sleepy Time Thought” where one of the staff will read a short story, anecdote or quote before sending the kampers off to their kabins.


Daily routines have evolved over the years at Kamp Kiwanis as new activities have been introduced, but some of the long-standing ones have been:

  • Dining hall chants and cheers
  • Daily kabin group chores, formerly known as Knowannos and now known as (K)iwannas (the K is silent), teaching responsibility and pride in areas of Kamp that kampers use
  • Kabin Inspection, where each kabin is visited by some unusual characters in dress-up clothes
  • UP time (or unscheduled play time), a chance for kampers to choose an afternoon activity from a few options
  • Nightly kamp-wide activities such as wide games, theme games or pool parties
  • Kampfires with kabin cheers, The Kamp Cheer, songs and skits
  • Once during the kamp session, each kabin group gets to experience an overnight kamping experience or out trip in the forest on our site along the Elbow River

Each session of Kamp Kiwanis has an opening kampfire the first evening preceded by the torch light parade where each kamper can carry their own kerosene torch to the Kiwano Ring (K-Ring) Kampfire circle.  At the Closing Kampfire on the last evening of Kamp, Kampers are reminded of the 6 symbols of Kamp that represent our important values (wildlife, environment, being active, friendship, community and safety) as resource staff carry the symbols and torches to light the path to the K-Ring.  Kampfires traditionally open with the song “Fire’s Burning” and end with the Kamp Kiwanis Song and “Kum-Ba-Yah.” 

Torch Light Parade

Torch Light Parade

Each kampfire includes a “Peanut,” a witty skit put on by the staff that follows a basic formula, but can be planned or more often improvised.  The Peanut starts after or more commonly interrupts the song “Found a Peanut” and is a fun way to make announcements about the weather, events happening at Kamp, to give recognition and to drop hints to possible upcoming events…juicy, juicy, juicy!  Welcoming guests that visit is part of the opening and closing kampfires.  Closing Kampfire also includes the unveiling of the session’s K-Pole and a goodbye song from staff to kampers.

Peanut Skit Crew preparing for Kampfire

Peanut Skit Crew preparing for Kampfire

Perhaps one of the most memorable traditions at Kamp Kiwanis is the PBK (Polar Bear Klub) in which kabins are woken up before the regular wakeup call with shouts from the resource staff and sometimes banging on pots and pans, bells or horns.  The first kabin group to get all their members including kounsellors into the swimming pool wins the PBK.  In the early years, kabin groups had to run and jump in the creek that flowed behind the kabins.

Dinner at Northbend on the Elbow River

Dinner at Northbend on the Elbow River

There are even traditions unique to certain Kamp Sessions. Senior Kamps (for those kampers finished grade 6), have Tux Dinner the last evening of Kamp.  Kampers and staff dress-up and have a more formal meal to celebrate the week. Sometimes the meal is integrated with the theme and costumes range from red-carpet worthy to just fun and silly.  Some sessions get to experience a kampfire side dinner at North Bend, one of our camping sites on the Elbow River or Kiwannaval (Carnival type day) or movie night.  Staff even have their own traditions, such as the annual Jacks Tournament where staff compete to win a coveted trophy.

Every kamper goes home with their own souvenirs of Kamp, as they make a wood-cookie name tag the first day of Kamp, receive a KK T-shirt and go home with tons of memories and lots of new friends.As you can see in the reading of this blog, at Kamp Kiwanis we also swap out a lot of C’s for K’s too, another tradition of ours.

Happy Kampers with their Kamp T-shirts

Happy Kampers with their Kamp T-shirts

Being that Kamp Kiwanis is a camp that has now served a few generations of kampers, it is not uncommon to hear that the kids of past kampers or even grandkids and great grandkids of past kampers are attending Kamp Kiwanis.  In speaking to these past kampers it is amazing to hear that some of the traditions they remember are still part of Kamp Kiwanis today.  One time a delivery truck driver stopped and asked if we still had all the K-Poles and if he could look and find his name on it.  At an open house, a relative of a kamper remembered coming to Kamp Kiwanis herself as a child.  She told us that for years after Kamp she would use stones, sticks or blocks, whatever she could find, to help her recreate the layout of the kabins and buildings at Kamp Kiwanis on the ground so she would never forget the amazing week she spent here.

Kamp Kiwanis has certainly changed in the last 66 years, but at the heart of Kamp many traditions remain and make Kamp the memorable place it is in the hearts of former kampers and staff

The original Kiwano Ring (Kampfire Circle)

The original Kiwano Ring (Kampfire Circle)

A more recent photo of the Kiwano Ring

A more recent photo of the Kiwano Ring

Written by Jenn Radder

Jenn has attended summer camps since the age of 5 and nearly 35 years later is still drawn to camp life.  She has been involved with Kamp Kiwanis and all its traditions since 2000 and is currently the Development Coordinator.