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PostPosted: November 29th, 2022, 11:25 pm 
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Joined: November 16th, 2007, 1:11 pm
Posts: 149
Location: Mid-coast Maine
My daughter had pretty terrible experiences at two different camps in Maine last summer and I am on the hunt for something better for her. I think she would enjoy one of these camps that are canoe-tripping focused, having done small trips with dad for the last several summers. Wondering if any parents or recently graduated campers could comment on their experiences and send along any specific camp endorsements. Would consider anything from New Brunswick west to central Ontario and would include the northern New England states, too, of course. She's 12 this week.
Thanks,
Christian

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PostPosted: December 1st, 2022, 11:04 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
VA paddler wrote:
My daughter had pretty terrible experiences at two different camps in Maine last summer and I am on the hunt for something better for her. I think she would enjoy one of these camps that are canoe-tripping focused, having done small trips with dad for the last several summers.


Christian, there are no lack of canoe tripping oriented camps in Canada, including traditionalist camps with wood canvas canoes, wannigans and etc. Keewaydin and others. If that is of interest to her.

My sons attended a couple different summer camps, but never one that was focused on canoe tripping; we family tripped in the summer, and over winter and spring breaks. Their favorite camp was a “Nature Camp”, focused on natural history and native flora and fauna. There was a canoeing and hiking component, but the focus was on native plants and animals.

What kind of camps did she not enjoy, and why? What are her interests?


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PostPosted: December 1st, 2022, 1:19 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2008, 2:06 pm
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Location: GTA
No first hand experience, but one camp you might consider is the Taylor Statten camp. This is based only on one observation of a group of girls on a canoe trip through Temagami once a number of years ago who seemed to be having a blast. I also saw Kate Barret (from Taylor Statten) once at the Backcountry Canoe Symposium in Waterloo talk about the camp experience and it seemed really positive.


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PostPosted: December 1st, 2022, 3:30 pm 
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Joined: July 9th, 2003, 11:48 am
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Location: Back to Winnipeg
YM-YWCA Camp Stephens is a good camp with a long history of canoe tripping, but it might be too far west for you (Kenora, Ontario, near Winnipeg). There must be similar camps in eastern Canada. P.

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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2022, 2:36 am 
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Joined: November 16th, 2007, 1:11 pm
Posts: 149
Location: Mid-coast Maine
Thanks for the suggestions, Brad & Yarnellboat.

Mike, we sent her to two of the more economical camps here in Maine. One she attended the previous summer (during Covid) and she had a blast tenting on her own (b/c of Covid) and doing a canoe trip out to some of the offshore islands and camping there with a small group for a couple days. This year in camp 1 she got stuck with a low turnout, and bunked in a cabin with a child who was much younger, unprepared to be away from home, and required a lot of attention from the counselors, who (it sounds like) were not prepared to provide it. Two other girls in her cabin asked to be moved out and she got left holding the bag. At camp 2, the canoe trip got cancelled for some reason and she was bunked in with a clique of Connecticut girls who gravitated to the mean side, and they had counselors who (it seems) couldn't be bothered to try to manage some diplomacy.

I ran a summer camp for a decade, so I'm cautious of sounding like the prima donna parent who's kid can do no wrong. But our girl's pretty thick-skinned and easy going and gets along with just about anybody, so her disappointment in her experiences registered.

God knows she, nor I, are looking for her to have a pristine canvas-and-cedar canoe experience. She just wants to have some independence and do something that challenges her skill set and comfort levels.

The videos one finds online of the teen canoe trips to the Bay and elsewhere seem like experiences that would be right up her alley. Much as I love it, tripping with dad will just allow her to rely on dad. She needs some time to interact and plan and problem solve with her peers. When I was her age (12), I was in scouts, and we were planning 4-5 day canoe trips and backpacking trips on our own. All we needed adults for was to provide the shuttle.

Some of the camps that run these trips cost what I paid for a year at college, though. Some don't. Just wondering if anyone will sing any particular camp's praises...?

Thanks,
Christian

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"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - WATER RAT, The Wind in the Willows


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2022, 11:40 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
VA paddler wrote:
God knows she, nor I, are looking for her to have a pristine canvas-and-cedar canoe experience. She just wants to have some independence and do something that challenges her skill set and comfort levels.

Much as I love it, tripping with dad will just allow her to rely on dad.

Some of the camps that run these trips cost what I paid for a year at college, though.


I agree some of the more canoe tripping immersive camps are seriously pricey. At that cost we could do family paddling road trips anywhere; spring break trips in the Carolinas, summer trips to Maine and winter break trips to Florida. Probably all three trips for what some camps charge.

We have encountered boys and girls Keewaydin trips during our family paddling travels. The kids were well organized and seemed knowledgably supervised, but not pampered in any way. The challenges included a lot of lift that bale (wannigan) and tote that barge (WC canoe). Probably not for every youngster, although from what I’ve heard and read many of their participants come back year after year and, much like Scouting, progress through the ranks to longer and more difficult trips.

I can’t help much with suggestions for an appropriate canoe camp for your daughter, hopefully other folks will continue to offer recommendations from personal experience.

Our sons were of course reliant on us at first, but even as pre-teens became increasingly self-sufficient. “Here’s your tent, you’ve help set it up before, go find a good spot” with reminders about checking for slope, drainage, widowmakers, etc as needed. “Where do you think the tarp should go for shade or rain?” “Can you filter some water while I get this ready?”

“It’s cook your own pie iron pizza tonight, get a fire going burned down to coals” (Always, every single time, “This is the perfect pie iron pizza”, “No, THIS is the perfect pie iron pizza”. I don’t care what the east German judges said, mine was perfect; I like a little black crust around the edges.

I will offer this; my sons went into age/size appropriate solo boats around your daughter’s age, actually a little younger, first on easy day trips, then on easy and progressively longer/harder campers.

They had paddled bow in tandems on two-canoe family trips from a very young age, and while they enjoyed those trips and became proficient paddlers they were noticeably happier as Captain of their own ship. They had previously enjoyed the being-there more than the getting-there. Getting there in their own boat, under their own power, was far more rewarding.

Now in their thirties they both still paddle, and even as young teens did their fair share of gear hauling and camp chores. In that regard we quickly became an efficient and cooperative tripping cohort; they knew what to look for, and what to look out or, on water and on land, and what to do and how to do it in camp.

Maybe look for an age appropriate solo canoe for your daughter. Something used would cost less than any away camp, and she could accompany you on trips in her own boat.

FWIW my boys started their solo paddling experiences in a 10’ OT Rushton pack canoe and a 10 ½’ Dagger Tupelo pack canoe and – gasp – a 13 ½’ Wilderness Systems Piccolo kayak while the missus and I (at first) paddled our tandems bow backwards and carried most of the gear.

I have said this before, but paddling with our sons in solo boats was a greater joy for everyone. I could see more than just the back of their head, and could better hear what they were saying. Turns out they are remarkably and curiously observant, and the conversations afloat are distinctively different than those at home, or even in camp; perhaps it is something about paddling alongside each other.

ImageEK_0021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageEK_0044 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Wet exit capsize practice in the Piccolo, no PFD. He eventually grew into those ears.

ImageEK_0043 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

When they outgrew those little boats and were ready to carry self-sufficient gear they moved on to used hull rebuilds, customized for their more teenage physiology and paddling preferences.

ImageDSCF1670 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Which included doing some of the work on their newly customized boats.

ImageDSCF1586 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If a suitable sized boat of her own is of interest I’m sure folks here could provide some “Keep an eye out for a used . . . . .” suggestions. Hull weight matters; paddling width and length-to-waterline ratio matters even more in a kid sized boat. Not a short, fat, slow pumpkinseed, guarantee to perish any possibility of paddling pleasure.


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2022, 11:57 am 
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Ottawa
Not canoe tripping focused, but consider a 3 or 5 day course for her @mkc.


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2022, 3:25 pm 
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Joined: November 16th, 2007, 1:11 pm
Posts: 149
Location: Mid-coast Maine
Thanks for the input Mike and Airbag.
And thanks to those of you who PMed me some suggestions to look at.

Mike, I bought a lightly used, completely outfitted, dirt cheap Dagger Impulse 6 or 7 years ago with my girls in mind. I think its been paddled twice by buddies who were without a playboat since then, over on one of the forks of the Cheat, which I imagine you're familiar with. I've never used it myself - I can't sit in those pre-molded saddles, my legs are too long. But you're right, maybe its time to stick her in it and see how she does. She's been using an old OT Pack on the lake out at camp for years, but she's outgrown it. A downriver trip in her own boat will either be a blast - or a nightmare - but I think she'd do fine. Thanks for that suggestion. Great pictures.

Christian

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"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - WATER RAT, The Wind in the Willows


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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2022, 7:38 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
I was thinking more along the lines of a kid-sized touring canoe, but if you already have the Dagger Impulse it’s worth a shot. If she enjoys the Impulse maybe follow up with Airbag’s suggestion of an MKC course.

https://www.mkc.ca/

I don’t know if MKC has age restrictions; maybe a father/daughter weekend at Madawaska?


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