Where are they now?
Where are they now?
An interview with a former TSC staff member
How many years did you attend TSC?
I attended Wapomeo for 6 years as a camper and as staff for 5 years.
As a staff member, what roles did you fulfill?
I was a CIT, main island counsellor, senior island counsellor (including a Kipawa in August), ojib/cree SD, and a Bisco counsellor.
What was your most memorable experience as a staff member and why?
That’s a tough one. The two years that stand out to me the most are my long trip year and section director year. Our Bisco trip was an incredible experience; and obviously, it’s hard to think of one moment that was the most memorable because (well) it’s long trip. The whole thing is memorable and transformative and beautiful and special regardless of if you are staff or a camper. I have never felt so strong or so sore. I have never felt so determined or so powerless. I have never felt so hungry or so satisfied. The feeling of having your livelihood exist inside of a canoe for any amount of days is perhaps the reason TSC is so important to my life and the lives of many others. It’s an indescribable experience that continues to shape who I am today. But while long trip is maybe what everyone thinks of when they think of their most memorable experience, that year of head table was huge for me. I learned a ton about leadership, collaboration, and fostering a sense of community. It’s honestly sort of crazy to think about how much responsibility I had at the age of 20, but it was a turning point in my life in a way. That year as a section director prepared me for a lot moments in my life beyond camp.
What is your current job and how do you feel TSC has impacted your path to and success in this area?
I am a public high school English teacher in 11th and 12th grade. There are so many ways TSC impacted my career. There are the obvious ones that make so many camp counsellors into educators. You realize how awesome it is to work with youth. You realize how important it is to have strong mentors in your life and decide that a career doing that is pretty awesome. And you learn an immense amount of leadership skills and collaborative skills that you use on a daily basis as a teacher.
But honestly, what stands out more are the little things.
Having spent 42 days in a canoe with 15 year olds makes it much easier to relate to and understand my 15-year-old students. When you are a teacher you don’t get to talk about the things you talk to your campers about, but I remember those conversations and they help me think through how to engage my students in the classroom, and how to be supportive when they have challenges in their lives.
Having corralled a group of high school aged students for intercamps makes me more confident when I have to get 80 kids quiet for an assembly.
Having figured out a way to get a group of freezing cold teens to jump into a freezing cold lake for a swim test makes me confident that I can get a group of kids who are fully clothed and warm in a classroom take a test they aren’t looking forward to.
Having successfully led a 22-day canoe trip at the age of 19 makes me realize that my 18-year-old students can handle more responsibilities than I sometimes give them credit for.
Having seen campers grow and change from Ojib year to Cree year makes you realize that kids can change. And that there are so many different people, and places, and influences in any young person’s life – you can’t over or under estimate your impact on someone because you never know what it will be.
What words of advice do you have for those currently working at TSC?
Enjoy it! It’s pretty incredible to have your biggest stress of the day be whether or not it will rain. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, to try new things, to spend time reflecting. Enjoy having bells tell you when to wake up, eat breakfast, and switch activities. Enjoy having a canoe and a lake within 10 steps of where you are. And, I know that there is more and more technology available on Canoe Lake and on canoe trips, but take time to disconnect. I think that’s one of the things I miss the most