by Rachel Crosscombe – Skills 2011, LIT 2012

My Big Canoe story actually started at Sparrow Lake Camp. I had been attending there for many years and this particular year the Reggatta was being held at Sparrow. Staff and campers from Big Canoe and another United Church Camp, whose name escapes me, came for a day of fun and games. That year’s theme was “Birthday Party” because Sparrow  was turning 50? 75? Maybe 100? I don’t remember.

But what I distinctly remember was hanging out on the volleyball court building a sandcastle with my best friend and a lady on the Board of Directors at Big Canoe. I am pretty sure her name was Patti, but I can’t be certain. We talked all about camp and she told us about Big Canoe and how they do a lot more canoe tripping. I was interested but very hesitant because going to a new camp meant new traditions, new people, new location and most scary of all, leaving my current camp friends behind.

But that conversation planted a seed in my mind. And by the end of that summer that seed had sprouted and I was begging my mum to send me to Big Canoe for Outdoor Skills.

That sandcastle led me to Big Canoe and the two fantastic summers that shaped who I am. I worked as a canoe tripper because of how amazing and inspiring my skills counsellors David and Beth were. I learned countless life lessons from my LIT leaders Adam, Alexa, and Joy.

So thanks to the lady whose name might be Patti.

A simple act of building a sandcastle, something I’m sure she doesn’t even remember, completely changed my life.

Camp Big Canoe

Camp Big Canoe is a not-for-profit overnight recreational camp for kids ages 6-16 in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada


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