In this era of universally accessible “virtual” experiences, there are dwindling opportunities for young people to be directly exposed to the rhythms and forces of nature. To travel by the energy of our own bodies with the day’s concerns stripped to a bare minimum is a rare experience. Learning to work in a group, travelling safely and preparing nourishing trail meals become the paramount issues. Along the way, quietly and constantly, character develops. Increased initiative, responsibility, self-reliance, and mental and physical growth are the inevitable consequences of well-organized wilderness experiences. Events do not have to be staged to achieve these goals. Our mature and well-trained staff provide the necessary guidance and encouragement.
Our emphasis is on skill development as the key to safe, efficient travel. Wilderness canoe travel should not be a reckless sprint through the bush nor a haphazard scramble to survive, but rather a fun adventure that requires skill, judgment and perseverance. The object is to feel comfortable and at home in the wilderness. Only when people are comfortable can they truly enjoy their experience. Our guides help each group learn to work, play and reflect together.
All trip groups are graduated according to age and experience. Young campers do not undertake long trips to remote areas. Skills are developed over a number of summers and increase as campers mature physically and mentally. Each summer returning campers undertake more ambitious routes and more responsibility within the trip group.
We travel in a traditional style which means small parties of 6 or 8 campers with minimum of 2 guides; often 3 with the youngest groups. We paddle wood canvas canoes, carry our food in wannigans portaged with tumplines, cook on open fires and bake daily in reflector ovens. Our approach to equipment and skills provides a link to the past, a connection to the landscape we travel through, and a heightened sense of personal accomplishment. At Camp Temagami the order of priorities for a successful trip is always first, safety, second, the enjoyment that all participants derive, and third, the specific geographic objective.
Year after year children return to camp simply because it’s fun and rewarding. However, the experience is valuable, not only in its own right, but also as an investment that continues to pay dividends throughout life. Few activities today bring together so clearly the combination of fun, adventure, challenge and reward, and experiences on the trail implicitly nurture self-reliance, self-confidence, lasting friendships, teamwork, community, an appreciation for the outdoors and a powerful sense of accomplishment. Young women and men mature into confident, thoughtful, and principled adults.