Our Kids Canada's Private School Guide

16th Annual

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4 0 4 O u r K id s C a n a d a's P r iv a t e S c h o ol G u id e – 2 014 / 2 015 I loved summer camp... I remember epic games of capture the flag that went on for hours. I remember learning how to swamp a canoe in the middle of a lake, and more importantly, how to safely get back in a swamped canoe if you ever find yourself in that situation unintentionally. I remember how to make a ring bandage and secretly hoping I would someday be called upon to properly attend to someone with a branch embedded in their thigh. I remember everyone in my tent being woken up by a camp counsellor in the middle of the night, being told to grab our sleeping bags and follow him outside. We laid on our backs and watched what seemed like thousands of shooting stars. I remember thinking—"who lets kids out at this hour? This is madness! I love that there are no adults here, adults would never do this." To this day, it is still the best collection of shooting stars I have ever seen. And this may be cliché to say for a guy who went into show business, but I remember getting my first laughs. Every night during campfire, each tent was tasked with perform- ing either a song or a sketch. It was a very haphazard talent show. Some tents took this job seriously, others not so much. I took this part of camp very seriously. I never won a race or ever scored a goal in soccer. I was the kid in the outfield looking for four leaf clovers and praying the ball would never By Rick Mercer Rick Mercer on Summer Camp The experts say there's a single destination that gets kids outside having fun, while teaching them lifelong skills. It's called camp. come my way. But with the talent show I found my place. I wrote my first sketches for those talent shows and I cast the parts. Every night we killed. When it came to the forced rivalry that existed between tents, we weren't the best at tetherball but killed at the talent show. It's a dangerous thing to get your first laugh. For some kids, things are never the same again. But summer camp is rife with danger. You do things you never thought you would ever do, like swamp that canoe or stay up all night staring at the stars. For me, that big risk, that big dangerous gamble was standing up in front of everyone I knew, telling jokes that I wrote and doing an impression of the camp director. At summer camp I finally found something I was good at. I've been pretty fortunate in my professional career. I have played some of the nicest rooms in the country. I have played theatres and hockey rinks all across Canada. I have played Roy Thomson Hall and the National Arts Centre and walked out on stage on Parliament Hill for Canada Day in front of what the police estimated to be an audience of 80,000 people. That's a long way from a talent show at Camp Caribou, but I can't help but think that without one, the others wouldn't have happened. —Rick Mercer is a political satirist and TV personality. His show, "Rick Mercer Report," airs on CBC.

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