A canoe and outdoor adventure camp for young men and women
It is very rare for teenagers to have the opportunity to share adventures and physical challenges in a coed group. On a Northwaters coed canoe trip, everyone is on equal footing. Placing group needs before individual needs provides the perfect setting for young people to learn, laugh, trust, support and understand. Coed trips are led by a team of 1 female and 1 male leader who use a series of proven designs to foster individual empowerment and growth while developing a strong camp community, freeing participants from pressures to be anyone other than their true selves.
“The skills and experience I gain on Northwaters trips have a tremendously positive effect on my interactions and outlooks at home. I have met the most wonderful people, learned so much about myself and had great adventures with guys and girls of such different backgrounds – it’s amazing how quickly we became a family.” Hannah S.
Northwaters Co-ed program grew out of a desire to share with young women the same spirit of the wilderness that its brother camp, Langskib, afforded only young men. Northwaters offers a unique blend of canoe tripping, adventure and personal growth for young men and women to share in a supportive family environment. Working together to meet the challenges of a wilderness expedition helps adolescents learn to communicate effectively and depend on one another in an atmosphere of respect, understanding and friendship.
Getting Started: Arriving at Base camp
The journey at Northwaters Wilderness Camp begins with a gathering of all the staff and participants. Together we talk about the things that brought us to Temagami, the community we are creating, and how we wish to be treated. We discuss our responsibilities as members of the community and part of a wilderness expedition. There is time for everyone to be heard. Collectively we agree on basic tenants that will shape our experience—things like honesty, acceptance, trust, patience and humor.
A young person’s first few days at Northwaters Canoe Camp are spent developing the skills necessary for wilderness travel. With the help of the staff and more experienced participants, they learn to portage, pack a Duluth and wannigan, set up a tent, work with others, and of course, paddle a canoe!
While these few days help to lay the foundation for a successful experience, they also give leaders the opportunity to spend time with each participant.
The 20-Day Canoe Trip
Once we get to know each other, we divide up into groups of 6-12 participants and 2-3 leaders. We create tripping groups according to the needs of the individuals. These groups are called “sections.” The sections then plan trips according to the skills, experience and dynamics of the group. The canoe trips they plan range from local excursions throughout the remote wilderness of Lake Temagami, to whitewater expeditions down one of the region’s challenging rivers.
During the course of each canoe trip, leaders draw on their many years of experience and extensive training to guide the group through the challenges of wilderness canoe tripping. Using proven designs and techniques to build trust, encourage communication and foster community, leaders establish a base from which the group begins to set goals, solve problems, and make relevant decisions. As the trip develops the group draws on its experiences together. Problems become opportunities, challenges become successes, travel takes on a rhythm, and the trip becomes a journey.
All sections return to base camp on the same day within minutes of each other. They paddle in to a hero’s welcome from the staff and directors awaiting them on the docks. The sections all gather in the dining hall to feast and share their stories. The next day is spent re-entering the larger community. We continue to share stories as we de-outfit our trips, do ‘giveaways’ and get together in the Teepee to honour each young person for their accomplishments, success, gifts and contributions to the community. The next day participants from our brother program, Langskib, arrive in Voyageur canoes to celebrate with Northwaters participants, staff and parents. Together, we have a giant barbecue and celebration where we hear from each section about their adventures on the trail.