It’s what inside that counts

by Ruth Griffiths

For the past 15 years, I have enjoyed attending Serenity Camp. It’s a four-day retreat for women at Heritage Lake Girl Guide Camp. During this wonderful weekend, we renew acquaintances and make new friends.

This year, Lillis Lawrence was the Guider in Charge, and Susan Prakash filled the role of first aider. Karen Hindle is usually our nurse, but was unable to attend this year, however her presence was felt because she had prepared in advance crafts and inspirational materials that many enjoyed.

Joanne Jansen and her daughter Jessica Jansen provided wonderful meals including blueberry muffins and pancakes utilizing the bumper crop of blueberries that are growing at the camp this year.

Elaine McMillan and Lindy Thorpe facilitated canoeing from early morning until sunset on clear water that was barely more than rippled. A daring few tested their balance on a paddleboard as part of the water activities facilitated by Elaine and Lindy. It was a wonderful weekend to be on the lake.

Even the stars co-operated to entertain us with the Perseids meteorite shower. We sat on the beach and oohed and aahed as falling stars flashed past the dancing northern lights reflected in the dark waters of the lake.

Mary McLeod again provided reflexology and massage for a minimal fee throughout the weekend. Laurie Fabrick returned to help participants produce colourful glass-inlaid stepping stones.

Pam Shynkaruk led a workshop on natural products. She helped participants make a healing lip balm and natural bug repellant.

Jan Olesko showed campers how to make willow wreaths and decorate them with found objects.

Margaret Mehler demonstrated an old-fashioned jam-making technique that requires half the sugar of modern recipes.

As usual, I led nature walks and led yoga sessions on the beach. In addition, I assisted campers with the campfire programs and morning reflections as we raised the flag to start the day.

On the closing day, we used an inspirational ceremony that had been created by Karen Hindle.

Each person standing around the flagpole was given a circle of fabric, representing this material world in which we live. People live for appearances, judge others by their exterior, but it’s what inside that counts.

Next, each person was handed a small rock. The stone represents the earth, our strong foundation.

Each person received a feather, representing the wind, the air we breathe and the spirit of our faith.

The last item each received was a snail shell, representing the water… an essential element of every living thing on this planet.

The cloth was gathered into a pouch containing the stone, shell and feather. The closing ceremony ended as we were reminded “it’s what inside that counts.”

 Next year’s camp will be Aug. 10-13, 2018. Maybe you will join me?