Are you 15 or 16? Ever thought to yourself, I wish I could develop my skills as a leader, spend my summer outdoors, get a high school credit, make lifelong friends, go on a sweet canoe trip, learn to survive in the wilderness, mentor kids, learn a ton of new games and activities, wake up every morning with a swim, and go to bed with the stars? Ok… so maybe that was oddly specific, but all of that and so much more could be your summer if you register for the Outdoor Skills or the Leaders in Training programs at Camp Big Canoe this summer, or any summer.

Our Outdoor Skills program is the first of our two part leadership program aimed at developing the hard (physical) skills of leadership. The program is one month long and during that month you will have the opportunity to live together with a group of 10-15 teens and two staff with whom you get to learn, grow, and share the adventure with. In addition to our myriad of regular camp activities (campfires, swimming, forest games, low ropes), Outdoor Skills campers (or  “Skills” as we like to call them) get to learn about how to be a leader, specifically in the context of camping and canoe tripping. Activities specific to the program include: shelter building, fire building, canoe levels, campfire cooking, packing for canoe trips, meal planning, portaging, and much more. The program has two culminating activities that give campers the opportunity to apply all that they have learned. The first is a special night called “Vigil” where campers have the chance to spend a night alone in wilderness, using what they have learned about fire and shelter building. The second is an 8-day canoe trip where campers rely on each other and the skills they have learned to succeed. Campers who complete this program not only have the opportunity to receive a high school credit but also the pride and accomplishment of knowing that they overcame challenge and emerged from it a leader.

Our Leaders in Training program is part two, aimed at developing the soft (intangible) skills of leadership. Similarly, the program is also one month long and provides campers with the opportunity to live with a group of teens and two staff dedicated to investing in them in helping them to develop as leaders. In the Leaders in Training Program (LIT) the focus shifts away from the individual and towards the community and how campers can use their leadership skills to help others. During the month campers get to engage in creative, hands-on activities and training aimed at developing skills such as: effective communication, initiative, teamwork, time management, trust, collaboration, program planning, and much more.  The culminating activities of the LIT program are collaborative and there are also two of them. The first is the chance to plan and implement a whole day of camp. For one whole day the reigns of camp are handed over to the LITs guiding the campers and the staff through a wonderful, themed day of fun and adventure. The second is a chance to shadow a staff member for two weeks, teaming up with them in their job and getting to apply the skills learned throughout the program. Campers who complete this program, in addition to receiving a high school credit, come out of the program with confidence and awareness of their strengths as a leader. The skills learned in this program are broadly applicable and help to equip campers to be successful in a variety of areas of their life, from finding a job to leading a club and a lot in between.

If you are looking to accomplish something really meaningful this summer (or any summer), develop yourself as a leader, or just plain have a blast, then we have got you covered. Look no further than one of our leadership programs, because we would love to see you as a part of the Big Canoe family starting this summer!

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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