Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Manitoba Pioneer Camp

My oldest son told me that there is still room at some Manitoba Pioneer Camp sessions this year and he suggested I do a blog post about camp in case you are looking for the most wonderful experience of your child's life this summer.  I went to camp for many years, as did all my siblings, and now all three of our children as well.  I have some of my fondest memories from my time at camp when I was a teenager.

Camp is on a lovely island in Shoal Lake (actually just into Ontario, but we won't mention that small detail given that it is called Manitoba Pioneer Camp).  Your camp experience begins with your ride out to the island on the Pioneer-3.

The setting is a beautiful wooded island with rocky shores.  Campers and their counsellors stay in cabins like these.

There are also buildings like the dining hall and this one, below, which is Bill Mason Place, used for evening programs and chapel.  They named it after the "canoe god" - Bill Mason - who made the movie, based on the book, Paddle to the Sea.  He went to Manitoba Pioneer Camp as a child and then returned as a young adult to set up the canoe skills and canoe-tripping program.  Every camper at camp goes on a canoe-trip, everything from going on an overnight to the next island for the juniors, to a 12-day river trip for the leaders-in-training (which William will be this summer).

Camp involves crazy, fun things like doing exercises on the benches at the waterfront.

wild jumps into the water to go swimming,

dressing up as aliens ... um ... I think that is what they are dressed up as anyway.  Camp involves a lot of dressing up actually - for banquets, and skit nights, and general fun times.

Camp involves learning to canoe.  Including such hard-core stuff as practicing canoe-over-canoe rescues, developing canoe skills,

going on canoe trips,

and making yummy canoe-trip food over a campfire.

I'll leave you with this photo from the camp website that features my eldest son, Malcolm, grabbing his rear (hmm ... charming).

(all photos were either taken by Kate or are from the camp website)

I interviewed my three resident Manitoba Pioneer Camp experts to see how they would describe the best part about camp, and here are their responses:

From Malcolm, who has gone to MPC for the past 7 years as a camper, and later as staff: 
Camp's location is its greatest gift - staying on an island means the camp is accessible to Winnipeg, but has the serenity and quiet of the northern woods.  MPC exceeds other camps in its commitment to go above and beyond to give campers the best experience possible.
From Kate, who will be going back to camp as staff, this being her 6th summer going to MPC:
Epic all round fun!
From William, who will be in the leader-in-training program this summer, which will be his 4th summer at MPC:
I like the canoe trips, the funny, entertaining meal-time conversations, and the wide games which are always fun.  You play games, you go on canoe trips, you get wet, you talk about God, and it's generally a great experience.
 So there you have it, from the horse's mouthes (so to speak)!

All I can say is, if you are looking for a life-altering experience for your child this summer, you should look into Manitoba Pioneer Camp.  Feel free to email me ( or check out the website here for more information.

I know people from all over the world read this website and you may think this is too far away to apply to you, but let me tell you that in the past 5 years there have been campers and counsellors from England, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, South Korea, United States, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Panama, Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan, and Australia.  So you can see that it's not just me saying it is a fantastic place - it is worth flying half-way around the world to get to.


  1. What a great post! The images and pictures sure do bring back memories for me. We (big sis and I) went every summer although not to this particular camp. It was always a great experience.

  2. What a beautiful place for a camp. It does look like fun. I realize people from all over go there but I just couldn't send my 13 yr old to another country alone. I do love those red canoes though! Your children seem like amazing people. I'm sure you are so proud of them.

  3. What a great camp....I am sure that it is an amazing experience for all those young campers!p.s. the pic of William is very funny!

  4. It sounds like a great time! My daughter attends "day camps" but hasn't attend an overnight camp. I don't know if I am ready for that!

  5. Ya gotta love Canada! I just loved all my trips to Northern Sask, which would be much like this. A fantastic camp for kids of all ages.

  6. Am I too old to go?! It looks lovely and I can grab my derriere for a photo as well as the next guy! ;-)

    Kat :)

  7. I never did the go-away camp thing. Wasn't really a part of my community.

    But Himself spent EVERY summer at camp, and these are some of his most precious childhood memories.

    And that one looks lovely!