August 18, 2017

Epic departure and Triumphant Return

Yesterday I wrote about the winding up at the end of camp. That time when so much is going on and it showcases some of the many amazing qualities about this community. Today was perhaps the pinnacle of that. This morning one of our Brent and Back and one of our Whitney and Back canoe trips departed. Today we also saw the return of one of each of these trips. For your reference, Whitney and Back trips see the second oldest campers paddling and portaging 130 kilometers round trip to the town of Whitney just outside the Eastern end of Algonquin park. The Brent and Back trips see the oldest campers paddling and portaging 170 kilometers round trip to the town of Brent in the northern end of the park. These are both unbelievable feats of teamwork, paddling ability, stamina, and mental fortitude. Both trips are completed in 30 to 40 hours.

The fact that the young men and women who take part in these trips showcase all these amazing qualities is certainly noteworthy, but there is more to the story. Throughout the whole summer these young people wake up early while the rest of camp is still sleeping and the mist is still rising on the lake and they train. The paddle, they portage and they build their team. They practice for what they know may be the toughest physical challenge they may ever undergo. They do this together, as a team. Helping each other every step of the way.

Now these early mornings and amazing determination on the part of the campers does show one aspect of Arowhon culture. It shows the value that our community places on personal achievement and being your better self, but this is not all that these marathon canoe trips show. It is the way our community rallies around these intrepid explorers that really shows the strength of what planet Arowhon is. Early morning when the trips are departing people come from all sections to see them off and wish them well. No matter what time of day the trips return the whole camp is there at the dock to greet them with a hug, a warm smile and congratulations. This support that everyone in camp provides to those that are going through challenges and have gone through challenges is really something special. Regardless of who you are you celebrate the successes of others. You wish them all the best and that means the world.

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