Updated: Sep 2
And that's a wrap! Brad Hirst, CEO of the Icelandic Camp, recaps the highlights and joys experienced at the 2023 Camp, the first after a three year shutdown due to pandemic restrictions.
by Brad Hirst
Well, what a summer it has been! Icelandic Camp made a return to our post-covid world with a triumphant success. Over 30 youngsters from all over North America celebrated our shared Icelandic heritage with vigor and enthusiasm.
This year we welcomed many new campers with an average age range of 10-12 years old. They were captivated by many great opportunities to learn about all things Icelandic. First up was our amazing language instructor, Sandra Bjorg. She kept the campers engaged, excited and, by week’s end they were able to have small conversations in Icelandic with each other.
Music is a big part of our camp. The campers were subjected to my singing at our music lessons. It didn’t take them long to learn their lines and the tunes. I chuckle to myself thinking their motivation to learn the songs rather quickly was so I would no longer sing to them! These songs range in difficulty from small 4-line songs like Krumur Krunki Uti, a song about a Raven inviting his friend to dine with him, to Sprengisandi, an Icelandic folk song about a journey at the end of the day. The campers enthusiastically exhibited their newly learned language and music skills, amazing all their audiences.
The campers also started their saga. Running parallel to the theme of Islendingadagurinn: “Continue your saga”, they wrote or drew short stories. Some wrote about themselves, some about Icelandic camp, and others created stories that would
impress the best selling authors.
We were blessed with wonderful weather, which provided us with ample time to enjoy the splendor of Lake Winnipeg with daily swimming fun. The campers had the pleasure of Connar David from Utah, one of the Magnus Classic Strongman competitors, toss them through the air into the water. It was like having our very own water amusement park!
As well, we had a few notable visitors. Marylin Valgarson, President of the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, came to the camp to talk about the importance of Islendingadagurinn. She spoke on the history of Icelanders in the Gimli area, telling us why we celebrate the festival, and how we can get involved with festival activities.
The camp was extremely excited to welcome the 4 x World’s Strongest Man, Magnus Ver Magnusson, from Iceland, and to see him in person. Magnus was in Gimli for the 2nd Annual Magnus Classic Strongman competition. We are very grateful to Magnus for the time he spent with the campers discussing the highlights of his strength career, allowing for photos with everyone and the handing out the Viking Swim certificates.
In conclusion, this short article barely scratches the surface of the great time enjoyed at Icelandic Camp this summer plus the importance of having this amazing youth based event in our community. I invite you to our website, Icelandic Camp, to view the excitement captured in the many photos. Also, please note our date for Icelandic Camp 2024 are July 28- August 2.
Without the help from the Icelandic Community and friends such as Icelandic Roots, we would never be able to provide such a world class activity for our young people who come from all across North America.