A canoe camp designed to be a boy’s first big adventure away from home
Named after the myth of the sword and the stone, Excalibur, a canoe adventure camp for boys, is designed to be a young man’s first trip away from home and a journey of self discovery into the Canadian wilderness.
Guided by our most experienced mentors, the program’s emphasis is on providing a safe, fun and empowering wilderness experience.
During the course of this two-week summer canoe camp, boys will learn the basics of outdoor adventure living and wilderness canoe tripping, exploring, fishing, swimming, hiking and playing along the way.
For many young men, Excalibur has started them on a path of adventure and appreciation for the natural world that has carried them through the challenges of adolescence. Far from the noise of civilization, a boy can hear himself. He can learn about hard work, being alone, being responsible, resourceful and patient. He can balance his busy life and screen time with true purpose, community and fun.
Getting Started: Arriving at Base camp
The boys’ Excalibur adventure begins on a float plane from the town of Temagami to Langskib Island base camp, with a bird’s eye view of the waterways he will be exploring. On our first evening together, we share a home cooked meal in our rustic dining hall overlooking Sharprock Inlet, and we close the day with a community circle and stories in the longhouse.
A boy’s first few days are spent developing the skills necessary for wilderness travel. With the help of our canoe camp staff and more experienced participants, boys learn how to paddle a canoe, portage, pack a Duluth and set up a tent, all the while working with their peers to become a valuable member of their unique community.
These few days not only help to lay the foundation for a successful experience, they also give our directors and canoe trip leaders the opportunity to spend time getting to know each participant personally.
The 10-Day Canoe Trip
Incorporating mythological stories and ancient maps, the boys embark in smaller sections on a ten-day wilderness canoe trip through the lakes and streams surrounding our island base camp in the heart of Ontario’s premier canoe wilderness, Temagami Forest Preserve. Ancient forests, wildlife, mountains, hiking trails, and lakes filled with fish provide endless adventures for the boys.
Whether it is setting up camp, learning to paddle a canoe with confidence, catching a northern pike, seeing their first moose or listening to stories of the Hudson Bay Company around the evening campfire, these boys inevitably become seasoned travelers in the back woods.
During the last few days of the canoe trip, the Excalibur adventure culminates in a collective treasure hunt. By now the boys are comfortable in the wilderness, and work together to follow clues on the map, which lead them to their final celebration as brothers on trail.
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 cliffs of Langskib. The sections all gather in the dining hall for a celebratory feast, and to share their stories of adventure.
The next day the stories continue as we de-outfit our trips, do a traditional ‘trade’ based on the rendezvous between trappers and native people and get together in the longhouse to honour each young man for their accomplishments, success, gifts and contributions to the community.
The next day Excalibur participants and staff pack up our Voyageur Canoes and paddle down lake to our sister camp, Northwaters. They arrive mid-afternoon to yet another hero’s welcome. Together, with visiting family members, Northern Lights staff and participants we have a barbecue and celebration where we hear from each section and their adventures on the trail.