It wasn’t easy. Taking 40 newcomers and volunteers for 2 nights of camping in the Canadian wilderness. Certainly, it had its challenges; Twenty tents, 40 mattresses, five stoves, propane tanks, groceries, snacks—how would we get everything to the campground? How do you prepare 40 people who have never been camping with all the skills they would need to get started?
We did it through partnerships. Parks Canada helped us put on a “Learn to Camp” workshop and pointed us to their amazing “Learn to Camp” mobile app. Discount Truck loaned us a van to help us get everything out to the site. MEC and Greenbelt each made significant financial contributions.
The first night was magical. Thanks to the training they’d received from Parks Canada, the newcomers were able to erect their tents within half an hour. Around six, we lit the campfire over a handmade grill mesh our staff brought from home. Everyone started to skewer their sausages or hot dogs to braise them over the fire. Sweet potatoes and even bannock were cooked. campers Ray and Mike finished the evening with beautiful guitar and harmonica music.
The following morning I saw 12-year-old Sami, cutting cheese and breaking eggs. I soon realized he was making scrambled eggs for 37 people. Sure enough in 15 minutes, with bread toasted on aluminum foil on the fire, breakfast was served; thanks to Sami’s tireless commitment for it definitely left a lasting impression on me. Unfortunately, I had to stop him before he began the next day because cleaning the pot was more difficult for me than making breakfast. We settled for boiled eggs.
After all the months of planning and hard work getting everything prepared and taking care of everyone over the weekend, it had finally come together. The newcomers said they loved it and we could not believe how fast time had passed.