2016: A Retrospective

As 2016 draws to a close, look back and celebrate all the kilometers traveled, bannocks baked, and laughter shared this summer at Wabun.  Enjoy the memories that come flooding back with the retrospective video and remember to join us at an upcoming open house, fill out a 2017 application, and reach our to sectionmates! Thank you 2016 campers and staff for a wonderful 84th season!

Happy New Year! See you in June!



Nurturing Resilience

“Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient”


This article appeared several years ago in Psychology Today and confirms what we know about the benefits of a Wabun experience. A parent recently shared her reflections on picking up her daughter at summer’s end.


I think it was the car ride home when she said it. Jo was in the back seat gazing out the window, far from her canoe’s stern seat on the Missinaibi River. But I think that’s what she was seeing in her mind’s eye, the long view over water and scrubby vegetation that opeslide_musclesns up to the sky of the far north: 

“You know, the more beautiful stuff you look at, the healthier your eyes get.”

All summer this theory, proposed by her bowman Annie, had been a guiding point for them. Living with the land, following the water, reading the sky, their journey took them far from the ease of home. With each sunset or waterfall, I imagine them turning to each other knowing that yes, their eyes were growing stronger, and so was their friendship, their inner strength, their physical endurance, their freedom.


If you are interested in learning more about Wabun’s incredible program,

email Director Jessica Lewis jess@wabun.com or visit an open house in your area.


Antidote to Darkness: A Dose of Wabun D!

As the days get shorter and we lose Vitamin D, enjoy a glimpse of bright sunny days and the fun that Wabun D had this summer!  A big thank you to Headstaff Colin Hartzell for putting the video together and leading this extraordinary group of young men!

August 7th – Paddle In!

Hard to believe it was just a week ago, that families, friends, and alums gathered on the beach of Garden Island to welcome sections home and hear stories of their adventures! Here is a quick look back at the incredible day!

Midseason Mania!

midseason campfire2016

Midseason Campfire 2016

It is hard to believe that midseason has already come and gone (see pictures on the gallery page). A few days ago families of the first three-week Chippy and Wenonah campers visited Garden Island and were treated to campsite tours and watched the sections paddle in from their last trips.  Logs, detailing summer adventures were shared by Wabun C, Wenonahs, and Chippies at our midseason campfire. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our first-session campers as they returned home and hope to see them this winter at open houses.

The new three-week campers arrived in Toronto on July 18th, enjoyed Timbits from Tim Hortons, then loaded their gear into the Wabun van and headed north. Of course, we made the mandatory stop at Webers for burgers and fries, but arrived on Garden Island in time for a wonderful dinner and spectacular sunset. The next morning we welcomed the Mattawa and Wabun D sections back to camp and the Wenonahs and Chippies got life jackets, tumps, groundsheets, duffles, and paddles from outfitting, checked in with Debi in the infirmary, learned how to tump and paddle and even managed to squeeze in a kickball game and swimming. We enjoyed hearing from Wabun D and the Mattawa sections at a second campfire and gave a wonderful cheer for our 84th season (video below). All sections have headed back out on trip and we have collected some pictures of life on trip that we will add to the gallery soon. 




Seven Sections Come and Go!

It’s been a busy week on Garden Island with seven sections coming in and heading back out MG_9162on trip. Sections cleaned and aired out their gear, played games of Stones and Nuk’em, enjoyed hot chocolate by a fire on a cool and rainy afternoon, and reoutfitted food for their next trips. This includes Cayuga B outfitting for a 29-day trip to Quebec and the Coulonge River and Wabun B for a 30-day trip down the Missinaibi River to James Bay.  We celebrated Canada Day and July 4th with cookouts, ice cream, and even fireworks.  It was wonderful to see smiling faces and hear stories of fishing, swimming, mouth-watering bannock, and spectacular sunsets. We have gathered our in-camp photos of the last week and posted them in the gallery and will work to collect photos from out on trip as sections return next time.  


Director’s Opening Letter

June 29, 2016

Fleet after fleet of red canoes full of eager paddlers pushed off from the Wabun dock this morning under blue skies as a gentle breeze blew in from the north. I could not ask for better weather, a more adventurous group of young people, or more caring and skilled group of staff to guide them. After a few days in base camp gathering gear, checking equipment, and getting to know section-mates, you could already see the camaraderie and sense of group belonging unfolding this morning as bows worked with sterns to load canoes into the water and then fill them with the supplies necessary for trips ranging from 4 to 42 days! As we sort through pictures we have taken over the past few days we will continue post them to the website and our Facebook page. We will also post the section alignment and itinerary to the website

At our opening campfire last night, we spoke of the great fun that traveling through water and woods with a crew of friends can be. We spoke of peacefulness that comes from being enveloped by the natural world and feeling at home in it. And we spoke of the sense of relief and release that comes from stepping into an environment in which we are not defined by what we purchase, post, consume, or achieve, but instead are revealed to ourselves and one another through our individual efforts, our interdependent contributions to a common goal, and the grace and humor with which we face the challenges and celebrate the successes. I would like to applaud your children for stepping outside the everyday and embracing the opportunity to join one another on a simple, but profound journey. And I would like to thank you for sharing your children with us this summer, I am grateful to be able to play a role in the experience they have set out to author. 


Late July Comings and Goings!

Busy times on Garden Island!

Both Bay Trips have checked in from Webequie as they re-outfitted and picked up their much-anticipated mail! They are all doing well, enjoying great water conditions for downstream travel, and have seen a variety of wildlife – from caribou, moose, and a wolf, to sandhill cranes, eagles and lots of fish!

The Wawatays, Chippies, Crees, and Wenonahs returned from trip and spent their in-camp time doing the obligatory laundry, postcards home, and re-outfitting, but took advantage of every free moment to beat the heat in the water. We had a variety of canoe races, one without paddles which involved tons of splashing and ended with each group flipping their canoes to cool off at the finish line. Even the staff got in on the action and couldn’t out paddle the tenacious campers who eventually took them down.  It’s hard to capture the joy of playing with friends in the clear waters of Temagami on a hot day. Hopefully these photos will capture some of that amazing energy.



Mid-Season Festivities!

It’s been a busy few days on Garden Island!

Mid-season began on July 15th with several families of three-week campers visiting the Cree and Wenonah campsites before watching sections paddle in the next morning. We welcomed Wabun D, the Crees, and Wenonahs back to Garden Island with warm showers, letters from home, delicious meals prepared by our amazing kitchen staff, and a closing campfire for the first three-week campers. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our three-week friends and the rest of the Crees, Wenonahs, and Wabun D spent the day re-outfitting, doing laundry, and playing games. The following day, the Algonquins and Mattawas returned to base camp, as Wabun D and the Crees departed. That evening, we welcomed the the Chippies and Wawatays to Wabun with a hearty Wabun cheer and blast of the canon. The next morning, the older sections introduced the younger ones to the “Wabun Way.” They learned how to tump, roll, and set up tents from experts before all four sections departed on a gloriously sunny morning – the Mattawas and Algonquins for nineteen days, the Chippies and Wawatays for four. Here are some photos of the mid-season activities as well as trip photos from the Crees, Mattawas, and Algonquins. We will continue to post as sections return.