For new campers and staff to give you a head start on learning the Tamakwa lingo for when you arrive, and for those of you who would like a refresher…

(don’t be shy to email us other items that should be included here, complete with your definition)

49ers – our section of 13-15 year old girls – the myth is that it was named after the first year girls came to Tamakwa, but lines from a piece on the Gold Rush in 1849 is more telling: “Most of the forty-niners had never before left the place where they had grown up. Their journeys would be unforgettable.” All of the girls’ sections are named for people who are the first to go somewhere, 1949 suggested this name but the miners are the real deal

All Day Program (A.D.P.) – a competitive program in which the campers and staff compete on different teams at various activities throughout the day
ontario summer camp

Alligator Anchor – an anchor found in our lake in 1949 that was a Colour War Team gift to camp which is now used as a regular meeting spot. Incidentally, anyone who has been to the Logging Museum will know that this is a cadge anchor, Alligator anchors are about four time the size and have a different shape. (It’s like the “foot-long” hot dog in Huntsville.)

Art Deck-O – the deck located just outside the Arts & Crafts Lodge

Beaver Council – camper-elected representatives, one from each section and three executives (President, Vice President and Secretary) – all representing the voice of the campers

Beaver Cuttings – a camper- and staff-written newspaper distributed at the summer’s end

ontario summer camp Bell, The – located in main camp, the main signal for wake-up approaching meals, daily activities and evening programs

Biffy – unofficially, Bathroom In Forest For You (don’t worry the ones in camp are indoors)

Block Schedule – a schedule for activities in which cabins travel together for periods 4 and 5 during a normally scheduled activity day

Boys’ Hill– where most of the male campers live (its path begins past the Wood Shop and Clay Room)

Break – a surprise introduction to a special program or event

ontario summer campBridge, The – a gateway to forbidden girl’s camp, and the way to get to the Swim Dock, Sail Dock and Plat- Forum… the Bridge is a signature landmark for all generations of Tamakwans, although it has seen a few different styles of architecture.

Bring ‘Em In (B.E.I.) – once the Dining Hall is prepared for the meal, a Head Staff member yells “come and get it” from the Dining Hall porch and allows everyone to come in to begin each meal

Bug Juice – simply, flavoured juice crystals and water

Bum Wad – old-school name for toilet paper

C.A.M.P. – our Tamakwa radio station’s call letters, 100.1 on your FM dial

Cedar Bench Square – a popular meeting spot located in Main Camp (and, it’s really a rectangle)

Colour/Color War – the final special program of the summer (well, most of the time)

Counselors-In-Training (CITs) – our group of 16 year-olds learning to be effective counselors

Dead Head – boating term for long, stump, driftwood, rock, etc. that sticks up from the lake and presents a potential hazard

Dirty Dog – Eyes in the night: a routine administrative patrol late at night to make sure all is well.

Eye-Full Tower – this tower, located in Main Camp near the drinking fountain and is used for “Tower Duty”

Fake Break – a spoof that fakes the camp into thinking that a special program is about to begin

Fiddes – John Fiddes, a.k.a. Fiddeus or the Fiddler, our night-watchman, truly a camp legend

Flag Lowering – the lowering of the flags to the sound of Vic’s bugle rendition of taps at the end of dinner each day

Flag Raising – the welcome of a new day with the raising of the Canadian & American flags and the playing and singing of both National anthems

Foresters – our section of 7-9 year-old boys

“Freeze, You’re Busted” – the infamous phrase used by the infamous night watchman (see Fiddes) when catching those out of their cabins late at night with the largest flashlight in all of camp

Friday Night Services – they occur after dinner on Friday nights, when all of camp gathers on the Slope to listen to a group of campers make speeches linked to a common theme

Ga-Ga – an elimination game using a large sized rubber ball in an enclosed wooden polygon on the beach (confusing definition, easy game)

George Hirsch – a veteran Tamakwan who has become an international man of business traveling the world on water skis in a suit and carrying a briefcase who visits our ontario summer camp once a summer

Girls’ Hill – where most of the female campers live (it hugs the eastern shore of the lake, just past the sail docks)

Golden Day – a beautiful, sunny day at Tamakwa

Gorp – a.k.a. Trail mix… a tripper’s mix of raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds and sometimes peanuts (actually G.O.R.P. means Good Old Raisins and Peanuts)

ontario summer campHalf-Court Tennis – an Australian “mini” tennis game played on an artificial half-sized court that has been played in camp since the mid 1980’s (special racquets and balls are used)… campers of all ages and staff love to play the game as it helps build fundamental tennis strokes and also becomes a very fast-paced game at higher levels.

Hobby Hubs – peaceful activities led by campers and staff for 20-30 minutes directly after Friday Night Services (they include discussions, music, storytelling, fishing, canoeing, board games, cooking, etc.)

How How – the Tamakwan way of giving praise instead of applauding (it’s like saying, “Way to go”)

Individual Choice – part of the daily schedule, periods 1-3, when campers participate in activities that they’ve chosen for themselves. The selection process occurs once a week

Intercamp – a day where Camp Tamakwa competes against another camp in a variety of different activities, usually both Landsports and Watersports

Junior Tamakwans (JTs) – generic name for our campers ages 7-9, more commonly known at camp as Foresters and Trailblazers

Liquid Sunshine – the Tamakwa-ism for rain
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Long Trips – canoe trips apart from regular cabin trips that are usually between 8 and 18 days in duration

Lucky Log – the stump that sticks out of the lake just around the bend (tradition has it that all canoe trips superstitiously tap it with their paddles on their way out of camp to ensure a successful trip or safe return)

Main Camp – the area located in front of the Dining Hall where everyone gathers before every meal and at many other times throughout the summer

Main Camp Fireplace – the central fire pit located in front of the Dining Hall in Main Camp

Marge The Barge – a passenger barge used to transport people to and from the landing into camp as well as a great vehicle used for late night stargazing

Marilyn – oh, come on, everyone knows Marilyn Mendelson, but – like Madonna, Sting or Prince – she merits one word recognition… (like, “Libby” or “Stringer”)

Meditation – the time at the end of announcements during breakfast when a camper or staff member performs a song or reads a poem to the rest of camp
ontario summer camp

Melmac – the plates, bowls, cups, and pitchers that we use in the Dining Hall (Marilyn: “and it stays in the Dining Hall”)

Mirror, The – a place to check to make sure you’re clean, located on the west side of the Dining Hall

Monday Cookouts – after a sleep-in and brunch in camp, followed by a Super Cabin Clean-Up, the time when all counselors and campers go to campsites around our lake and adjacent lakes for a special cabin cookout

Noon-Way – a ceremony in which we ask Wakonda, our weather god, for his blessing at the beginning of every new camp season

ontario summer campOmer – Omer Stringer was one of the original founders of Camp Tamakwa and one of the premier canoeists in Canada.  Each summer Omer would demonstrate his incredible skills and comfort in a canoe by canoeing around the inside of the swim dock while the entire camp watched from all around the dock.  He always ended his demo session with his signature head stand on a seat to everyone’s surprise.

Pioneers – our section of 10-12 year-old girls

Plat-Forum – the sports surface where basketball and roller hockey are played

Pointer – our 20-25 passenger boats used to transport people to and from camp (they are fashioned after the classic Ottawa Valley-style boat used for logging in the 1800’s)

Portage – an overhauled trail between bodies of water that must be hiked when there’s no traversable waterway access (it entails carrying canoes, packs, and all other gear)

Power House – the supply shed and John Fiddes’ office which now houses a generator again since 2004. This new generator sits on the very same concrete slab as the one that was removed circa 1955 when Hydro came to Tamakwa.

PPP – Personnel Policies and Practices (i.e. “the rules of camp”) – all the policies and procedures that make Tamakwa a safe and happy place to live all summer long

Putt-Putt – a small aluminum boat used for safety purposes (usually with a 10hp engine or less)

Quoits – English game similar to horseshoes but the throwing device is a rubber ring and players try to ring it around a peg in the ground

Rangers – our section of 10-12 year-old boys

Rec Hall – an indoor theatre-type facility used mostly by the Drama department where the camp gathers to watch plays, talent shows, and other indoor events

Rest Hour – a quiet time after lunch when campers and counselors spend time in their cabins to rest up for a busy Tamakwa afternoon

Robbie’s Point – located at the end of girl’s hill, the place where most of girls’ camp bathes in the lake

Schlect – a Yiddish word for “bad” or “evil”

Schlector – a.k.a. Dave Bale

Schreck / Shreck – a good-natured practical joke played on an individual or a group of people

Shore Lunch – a term used for days when an outdoor lunch is served in main camp. (ask Guy, our chef, he’ll explain it for you)

Silver Day – a beautiful cloudy and/or rainy day at Tamakwaontario summer camp

Slope, The – the most beautiful meeting spot at Camp Tamakwa: a set of large steps that acts as the perfect amphitheater for a multitude of events and meetings all summer long… during the day it is home to Tamakwa’s Fishing activity

South Tea Lake – the lake that Camp Tamakwa is situated upon

South Tea Echo – an annual newspaper/yearbook developed by Robert Sarner, first published following the summer of 2002

Staff Rec – a place and time where staff can socialize and recreate in the back of the Rec Hall

Stringer – last name and nickname of Omer’s son David, who literally grew up at camp

Suicide Hill – the steep cliff at the top of Boy’s Hill that descends down to the area of The Crow and Bayview camper cabins

Tamagama – the group of all previous elected and secretly initiated officers of Beaver Council. Also refers to the initiation ceremony itself

Tamakwa – we believe that it is a native Indian word meaning “beaver cutting wood” or maybe that’s just our logo

Tamakwapalooza – a 90’s-like talent extravaganza of music and other performances by anyone who wishes to participate

Tamakwastock – a 60’s-like talent extravaganza of music and other performances by anyone who wishes to participate

Taps – the songs that conclude every evening program at Tamakwa, sung in unison by the entire camp… standing, swaying, with arms crossed and linked to one another

Tepee Hill – the collection of three cabins where the Foresters typically live, located just past the Half-Court Tennis courts and above Club Med, typically, one of our 49er cabins

Tetherball Valley – the area home to many tetherball courts usually populated by many Foresters and Rangers

Theme Day – another type of break in the regular routine giving campers and staff a reason to get dressed up and be silly

Tower Duty – an assignment for a staff member who must be on the Eye-Full Tower as an extra set of eyes and ears watching over South Tea Lake during activity periods

Trailblazers – our section of 7-9 year-old girls

Trip Docks – the departure and arrival area for all canoe trips and some cookoutsontario summer camp

Trip Shack – the building where all of the canoe trip equipment is stored

Tuck – our word for a piece of candy, given out 2-3 times each week to all campers from our Tuck Shop

Tuck Shop – the oldest structure at camp, where Tuck is distributed and mail is sorted and dispersed. Tuck Shop is old English meaning candy store but it now refers to a small store that sells useful items like soap, toothpaste, etc.

Unbreak – a closing ceremony for a special program, usually revealing the winner

Unca Lou – Lou Handler was the founding owner of Camp Tamakwa

Voyageur Point – a great campfire spot and where Archery is located, directly across from the Canoe Dock

Voyageur Test – the final test where campers and staff attempt to earn one of the three highest canoeing awards (Voyageur, Courier-de-Bois and “A” Canoeist)

Voyageurs – our section of 13-15 year-old boys

Wakonda- Our weather god. We ask for his blessing at the beginning of every new camp season at the noon-way ceremony.

White Cap – a swim ability designation that is considered the “ticket to ride,” it enables one to participate in all water activities, including cookouts and canoe trips (it’s attainable by passing the swim test)

Woof Woof – a traditional camp chant normally performed on the Slope by all of camp (its goal is to create as many echoes across the lake as possible)

Z-Machine – (i.e. sleep) an in-cabin rest period granted by the camp director to campers and counselors usually when it is raining in camp