International Camp Returns After COVID

Sioux Lookout - Rotary District 5550 and the Rotary Club Sioux Lookout offered another amazing, wilderness, canoeing experience form July 6 – 20, 2022. The club has invited youth from all over the world each July for the last 28 years for 14 fun filled days of adventure. “There was no camp in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID, we were very glad to welcome the young people back this year. We missed the friendships and enthusiasm” said camp co-ordinator Rotarian Susan Barclay.

Young people apply through their local Rotary Club/District. Each country is invited to send one participant. Overcoming the challenges of multiple languages and experience levels is guaranteed as the group becomes a team through their days of initial training and on the trip itself.

The participants arrived on Wednesday, although there were a few snags with travel this year and not everyone’s bags arrived with them, all were unscathed.  Rotary families provided billets. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were spent training, learning about canoeing techniques and wilderness camping and getting to know each other. Sunday through Sunday the young people and leaders paddled 160 kilometre through north-western Ontario, boreal forest in two-person, aluminum canoes. Everyone participated in all aspects of the camping/canoeing trip including cooking, setting up tents, and latrines, fishing, paddling, and of course, carrying equipment and canoes over the seven portages (the longest being 2.0 km).  This year the crew face 2 and ½ days of rain to start the trip, but they did dry out. The scenery as usual was spectacular; moose, beavers, and eagles were spotted, but no bears.

The last few days of the camp were taken up with cleaning and repacking equipment and some local activities. Participants took a float plane ride over the town and surrounding area. We arranged a pontoon boat adventure Monday evening up one of the local lakes to dine at a tourist camp. Tuesday morning is usually hike to the top of Sioux Mountain. The local height of land at 404m. The weather did not cooperate this year, so we went blueberry picking. The culminating event is Tuesday evening, an “International” dinner shared with camp participants, Rotarians and local leaders. The young people prepare a dish from their country/culture. The Rotarians and friends contribute local and Canadian treats. District Governor, Fred Wright, from the Rotary Club of Kenora joined the celebration and presentation of Certificates, T-shirts, gifts and exchange of club banners.

As our District Governor has been heard to say “This is a great time to be part of Rotary!”