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Dear Parents,

Here at the off-season headquarters of Langskib and Northwaters we are surrounded by the sights and sounds of Spring arriving in our little corner of the world – melting snow, birdsongs, maple buds, deep mud, and daily deliveries of the myriad items to prepare for the coming season – tents, packs, paddles, maps of Northern rivers and epoxy for canoe repair. It all seems so familiar as we prepare for our 50th season. But it’s quiet here, the rest of the crew is working from home, office banter is limited, there is a sense of uncertainty.

Fortunately, the nature of our work is to prepare for uncertainty. Before a canoe trip leaves our dock we prepare for all kinds of possibilities – high water, low water, windstorms, medical emergencies, equipment failure, wildfires etc. Being well prepared, training staff and participants, outfitting them with good equipment and supplies goes a long way to mitigating unexpected challenges. Often though, what caries the day is resourcefulness and everyone’s willingness to set aside their comfort for the collective good. If you’ve ever seen a section return to basecamp and work together to put up their canoes and gear you know exactly what we mean. So, a big part of the growth a young person experiences with us is a result of meeting the challenges presented by the uncertainty of life on the trail. And these experiences help prepare them to meet challenges in other parts of their lives.

We expect it will be some time before we are able to accurately predict the conditions and challenges which might impact our operations this summer, so we’re keeping a steady hand on the helm and an eye on the horizon. Additionally, we are exploring options and considering possibilities in the event we need to adjust our plans. We are prepared to go to extraordinary measures to provide young people with incredible adventures this summer.

With three children now home from school we are quite aware of the challenges parents and their children face as they struggle with disrupted routines and unstructured time. We hope that you and your kids will be able to take advantage of opportunities made possible by these disruptions.

Please remember that our commitment to you and your children is year-round. We are only a phone call or email away. We are optimistically expecting to greet your children on the dock in Temagami come summer. Here is a poem by Wendell Berry, plucked from the wall of the office.

Teeth to the Wind,
C.G. & Jodi

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Berry