by Adam Bayes – Former Camper & Staff

As I sit in my basement apartment trying to figure out what story to tell about camp that truly shows its magic, I hear rain outside. There’s a storm coming through where I live and I hear the rain hitting one of the few windows in my apartment. I can hear it over Netflix, over the hum of the air conditioner, even over the music being played by my upstairs neighbours. Like skills learned, and memories created at camp, rain will always happen. It will always rain eventually. Many people relate the rain to a feeling of loneliness or sadness, but I relate it to a very specific moment of pure joy that happened at camp. Without camp, I wouldn’t have thought I’d come close to feeling such joy because of something so mundane.

My cousin Aaron passed away the year I went into the Skills program at Camp Big Canoe. He was the one who introduced me to camp and to his friends who went there during PeeWee camp. I wouldn’t leave his shadow the first year I attended PeeWee (even PeeWee sounded intimidating to a very shy child), but I made some quick friends listening to him read vampire stories in the comfort of our canvas tent; rain lightly tapping in the background. The next year at PeeWee I became more confident and actually talked to other people instead of just Aaron – I grew up a lot because of my time at PeeWee and because of my summers with Aaron.

So I was in Skills, my first year at “real” camp and my first year without Aaron. I knew the Clarks, but that was about it. Lucky for me, Bev was running Skills that year, easing my anxiety enough to still attend. Nights were hard without stupid vampire stories, so I forced myself to try to get to know the people I was stuck with for a whole month. And of course, they were some of the most amazing people I got to call friends. I soon forgot about all of my insecurities and allowed myself to experience the beauty of Camp.

During our eight day canoe trip there was one day that I remember above all. We were out paddling to our next campsite and out of no where, rain. Rain like I had never seen before. I was instantly transported back to listening to the rain tapping while Aaron read, and I smiled the biggest smile I could muster. “I love this!” I yelled to Bev while rain soaked us all. “So do I! I love the rain!!” she yelled back, her voice barely cutting through the storm. From that moment on, I’ve loved the rain.

And like most people who end up on staff, the reason I applied was so that I could give the same experience I had at camp to my own campers. I was hooked, I was on staff and I was having the summers of my life! I was on staff from 2009 to 2012 and got to work with an array of incredible people. I learned more about myself in those four short years than I have in any other time period.

I could go on and on about my time at camp. I’ve already had to trim in order to get my story down to this. I had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest human beings on this planet. I got to spend every summer with my sister. I got to create, learn, and teach OUTSIDE (including outside of the Netflix and Facebook bubble), where THE MOST learning occurs. I have nothing but love for Camp Big Canoe.

You always know when it’s raining; the tapping sound it makes on roofs. Whether they’re steel, wood, or canvas, it is incomparable to anything else. Next time it’s raining step outside and open your mind. You’ll be amazed by what pops in – better yet, try it at Camp.

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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