Eesti Elu
Toddlers at Jõekääru Estonian Life
Eestlased Kanadas 23 Jul 2016 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Toddlers at Jõekääru
Krista Spence

 - pics/2016/07/48040_001.jpg

On sunny Saturday, July 16, Jõekääru Laste Suvekodu welcomed 23 prospective campers, ranging from the ages of three months to 6 years old. The purpose of the morning event was to introduce or re-introduce the camp to both parents and their children. Krista Spence, JSS member, and Katrin Tamm, esma-abi, were the main leaders running the half-day event, as well as some of the counsellors at different activities.
Families attended from cottages, as well as from a variety of cities, to come be a part of this fun day. Even some grandparents came along, which made it a three- generation day of activities. Part of the fun for the older generations was seeing how many things were the same, and what had changed at the camp over the years.
After registering and receiving name tags, the families started at the Timmas’ art cabin, where Andres Musta had prepared an art activity. The campers worked on a piece of art, while parents heard a bit about the art program.
Next up was walking to the youngest group cabins, at the far end of the camp. Toddlers, strollers, and dogs proceeded across the newly re-built bridge over the river. No turtle was to be seen, but we hoped to find frogs at the smaller creek ahead.
Once at the playground in front of the youngest group cabins, children and parents joined in with some parachute games with some of our youngest campers. Our sports instructors, Martin Sarv, and Maili Vessman, encouraged the little ones to join in and they made a tent with the parachute. The counsellors were introduced, Emilie Tamtik and Inga Jürimäe, with the youngest group girls, and Hunter Perry and Kertu Kesküla with the youngest boys’ cabin. All were on hand to answer questions that the parents may have about program, sleeping, and eating arrangements. Parents and families put on their sunscreen (as it was a beautiful day), reminisced with other past campers, explored new play spaces and marvelled at the next generation of campers-to-be. A quick tour through the cabins, to see where clothes are kept, climb up to play on the top bunks, and to play in the screened in playroom. New washrooms, windows, doors and an updated exhaust fan help to make the cabins more comfortable than they were in the past.
Some children grabbed nets and headed to the creek to see what creatures they could find. A group photo was taken and it was off to the bridge again to feed some fish old dry scraps from the kitchen. Snack of apple slices and baked goods were served at the picnic tables near the main bulding, and more information was shared about the options for day camp, which is available on a day-to-day basis for $50 per child per day. Opportunities abound for parents who would like to be present at camp and contribute while their children are at camp, including a supportive ‘tare ema/isa’ in the cabin, a maintenance/repair person (Saunamees), or kitchen staff. A parent asked about the food, and was reassured that our cook, Liisa Novek and her team have been slicing and dicing fresh vegetables and fruits of all kinds from the markets and that there are many delicious meals and healthy snacks available for the children. During the last hour of the day before lunch, the families were offered a variety of options for their time. Some chose to go for a swim in our salt-water pool (many children and parents hopped in!). Hr. Jaan Veenpere hosted a number of interested families at the leather work tare, where they made necklaces. Some toured through the workroom where Piret Komi had some traditional weaving available to see. Some of the families used the time to take a long walk through memory lane, visiting the shore of the water, and the sports field, and sharing these precious places with their loved ones. Singing was taught in the hall at noon, and many of the families attended and sang old familiar songs with the current campers. Lunch was served at 12:30 and picnic tables were pulled together for a tomato soup made from scratch and grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as fresh vegetables cut up on the tables to crunch on. Milk, juice and water were also available to drink (as at every meal).
We at Jõekääru hope that everyone had a great time, and that it helped little ones (and parents) prepare for their first overnight camp experiences in the weeks or years to come! Thanks to all who packed their kids in the car and brought them up to Udora to play in the fresh air, sunshine and share a bit of estonian culture at joekaaru estonian children’s camp!
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