Camp NeeKauNis 2011

“Camp NeeKauNis sits on the shore of Sturgeon Bay, near Waubaushene, Ontario, welcoming people of all ages and from all walks of life. As a camp founded and run by Canadian Quakers, we strive to build a community that nurtures values such as compassion, co-operation, respect, and fellowship. Our camp sessions are 7 to 10 days long, and our groups are small and close-knit, with an average of 40 to 50 participants. Campers and staff alike leave camp reluctantly, and count the days to next summer. Once you have been a part of Camp NeeKauNis, it becomes a part of you. (taken from the website)”

Since Camp has a youth focus and is the only Quaker camp in Canada, I visited as many of the camp sessions this summer as I could. The opportunities to witness the fabulous staff, meet the inter-generational communities, be part of the programming and just be present in the natural beauty of the property was a special gift. Camp is doing the best job it can to provide great programming and facilities using a completely volunteer structure, but is seriously looking at how to better do this work. It was inspirational to be present during some consultation and meetings where members of the Camp committee are starting this work.

Each camp session offers something slightly different for the age specific group that is there. But, there are some aspects that remain the same across sessions. New campers are welcomed into the community with a button at their first meal and staff and campers alike share in singing the “announcements” song. Dish teams are a major community building piece, where everyone shares in the set up and dish washing from meals. Each day there is Meeting for Worship, swim period and a work period and usually there are theme meals, maybe a dance and on the last night TALENT NIGHT, with a special guest appearance from the local wildlife as the last act.

Camp may seem far away for Friends not in Ontario (and even then!), but the geographic distance is worth the trek. It can also feel financially daunting to have to fly to camp as well as cover fees, however there are bursaries and scholarships which can offset the expenses and you should contact the Camp Committee or speak with your local Monthly Meeting.

It was wonderful to meet new friends, reacquaint with other friends, share my excitement for the Youth Secretary position and get ideas, suggestions and feedback from a wider group of folks. A wonderful place to spend a few days, and camp session or the entire summer, I strongly recommend Camp NeeKauNis.