Parent Comments and Reflections from Summer 2007

March 11, 2009

We picked up our son in Ottawa yesterday all worried about how the weather had affected his stay at camp and the first words out of his mouth were “I wish I was staying longer”. On our 2 hour ride back home he did not stop talking and when we arrived I realized that he had not one complaint, not even about the weather! He loved his experience, the scenery, the activities, the staff, the quest and the food! He loved it all! He definitely wants to come back next summer. Your camp offered exactly what your literature stated and more!

Thank you and your colleagues for your wonderful work. I sent you a participant that was both apprehensive and eager in my daughter. You returned to me a strong happy and confident young woman who was experiencing the best qualities of self determination and confidence. She was better able to deal with all the dynamics of her stepfamily and sharing very uniquely with her father…She presented maturity that seemed new to me, I attribute it to her greater sense of self that you guided her to. Her stories were brimming with learning and lessons of life through adventure.

My sons have been coming up over the past 6 years and have loved their experiences. I am so overjoyed at the growth that they have experienced through their adventures with Langskib. I think you folks do an amazing job and it is clear that it is a passion for you.

My grandson recently attended Langskib for a three week wilderness and canoeing experience. As his grandmother, I was fortunate to be with his mum and sister at Northwaters to see him return from that trip and what a wonderful sight it was – one I shall never forget. Since returning home he has shared and shared his experiences with us. He loved not just every moment and all the adventures but the beauty of all he saw. He took about 200 photographs and we have looked again and again at each one. He spent days putting them in an album and we spent hours going through each one before writing a caption. His favorite photos are of beautiful sunsets upon calm waters – they are quite amazing. He is so proud and happy to have participated, and I thank you not only for all the hard work you put into such ventures, but for your respect towards these young people and the relationship you build with them.

My daughter arrived back home this week after her adventures with you all at Northwaters and I can honestly say I have never seen her look so happy.  Not always forthcoming about her doings,  she didn’t stop telling me about her experiences non stop for two days.   She found something very certain in herself on this trip, a strengthening in her fabric, which shines through all the stories.  Thank you so much to you and your colleagues and to her clearly wonderful trip leaders.

Thank you so very much not only for encouraging my son to enjoy and cherish his Langskib experience but mostly for the care, kindness and conscience that allowed him to flourish and grow through it. When he arrived home I couldn’t find the off switch for him and his wondrous tales, and I loved every moment of the tellings. My son returned home to me a better ‘man’ able to face new challenges with his teeth firmly to the wind!

The reason I sent my son to Langskib was because, if the literature was true, then it echoed my feelings on raising a boy—the idea of boy/man culture, mentoring, camaraderie, task-orientation and physical exertion. And as you, his dad and I are divorced, and, unfortunately, his father doesn’t represent the greatest male role-model—he’s more of a buddy to the kids than a dad. I wanted my son to go and see that there was more than one way to “be a man.” I was so excited on our drive up to Temagami for the BBQ; I could barely sleep the night before. The boat ride to the island. Waiting on the island. It was like Christmas. When you guys finally arrived, and I saw my son on the boat soaking wet my heart just swelled up. We both cried while we hugged each other tighter than ever before. I don’t think that moment will ever be forgotten. It was so awesome to see him in the camp environment—to see him interacting with his mates and his Leaders. On our way home we talked about how he got his Coo Feathers (which are now framed and hanging on his wall), his solo (thank you for giving the kids that opportunity, it was really special), his leaders, the rain (and the value of a good rain coat), canoeing, camping, cooking, his mates, what he learned, everything and nothing. We talked about how some of what he learned could be applied to life and school; how some people have already talked to him about really committing himself to get things done, and how it is all connected. In an effort to really learn these lessons, I told him he had to raise $100 to put towards his camp tuition next year. He put together a business plan—he’s getting people’s mail / watering plants / cat sitting/ fish sitting while people are away. At this point he’s already raised $255 with three jobs pending. I’ve really noticed a difference in him this year—he seems more determined to do his best at school instead of what he needs to do to get by. He’s starting to see that hard work really pays off—and sometimes the best pay off is a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

I am sorry that it has taken us so long to respond to the amazing experience that our son had. It was hard to put it into words, he returned to us quite changed, but in a powerful and mysterious way. We did make a place in our life for him to tell his story and he did say a great deal about the trip, mostly about the fun he had. But, I felt that he had withheld so much and couldn’t yet speak about it. With time though, it has slowly come from him. How it was the most important thing he feels that he has ever done; how he could begin high school with more sensitivity toward others and with more initiative; how he isn’t the ‘baby’ (a role he had guarded) of our family anymore; how his occasional adolescent cynicism can be reached with communication (this is still difficult though); how life isn’t just about ‘hanging out’. Thank you for this precious opportunity to grow that you have created for these young people. We are so grateful to you.

Both my husband and I have seen a notable, positive change in our daughter. She always talks most favorably about her experience at Northwaters, remarking how it was a life changing experience and one that gave her great inner and spiritual strength. She loved her trip leaders and still holds them in high esteem as wonderful role models. Our daughter often relates the life lessons learned at camp with present day challenges and recognizes the value of her experience then and her life now. Her teachers at school this year have noted a boost in confidence in her approach to her academics.

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