Sends us your email and ideas

We have more than 300 emails for camp alumni, but over the last couple of years some of you have moved or changed your email accounts.

Please send your new email and emails of other alumni to so that we can update our list of camp alumni.

If you have an idea for a blog entry or wish to contribute other material like letters, recipes, diary entries, trip maps. . .send them my way.

If any links are broken, please tell me.

And don't be bashful. It's OK to comment. Really. It's OK.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2013 50th Trail Anniversary Call Out

The Camp Stephens Trail Program has had a lasting impact on the memories and friendships for many of us.

The 50th anniversary of the Trail Program is in the summer of 2013,  and a few of us think it's a pretty good reason for a reunion. Ideas for events include a canoe trip and a folk fest.

We've been down this road before, though.

In 2002, with the support of the Y, a number of Stephens Trail junkies formed a 40th anniversary committee. However, the 40th event never really came to be as we couldn't get a reasonable number of former paddlers to participate.

Largely, the difficulty was in connecting with paddlers from the 60's, the 70's, the 80's, 90's and those of you in this century.

That's all changed. Social media has allowed us to reconnect no matter where we are in the world. The main meeting place is here (Click) on Facebook. 

Now, we all know that you don't slap together a canoe trip and hang out a shingle hoping people will come.

We need your help in planning it. Our goal is to form a 50th anniversary committee. We'd like to begin soon. We also know many of you are thinking the same thing.

So let's get it started. You can help us by forwarding this letter to other Camp Stephens Trail paddlers, no matter what era.

If you want to be involved in planning an event, please email Perry McGregor with your contact information (email and phone). No one is too old and no one too young to be involved. Our tent is big.

Once we have a list of volunteers, we'll meet in person to start our planning. Obviously, the meeting will have to be held in Winnipeg, but we also want to include in some way those of you living in London or Australia or Brazil and beyond. Because we want you here in 2013, too.

Cheers, Perry and Bruce



If you think Canada's wild places should last forever, please check this out:

 The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada's voice for the wilderness.

We support CPAWS.  We hope you will too.  If we won't stand up for the wilderness who will?

Dave Wright                Eileen Askew
Jo Wright                     Alex Paterson
Margaret Paterson    Dean Wright
Ted Wright                  Brian Law
Cam Young                 Wes Peters
Pam Wright                Kent Paterson
Steve Wright

Monday, December 5, 2011

For the kids -- that's Y Sharing Christmas Spirit: Unwrapping the good being done this season in our city

Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press Dave Vankoughnett
wants to give kids new experiences.
Winnipeg YMCA-YWCA general manager, fund development
CHARITY: Strong Kids
How I'm sharing the
Christmas Spirit:
"We have a holiday campaign, and each of our branches will be putting up banners about giving throughout the season, where you can have four choices on how to help children. What it means is that throughout the campaign, you can subsidize memberships for kids who don't have an opportunity to go to the Y. We'll make sure that they get there. For as low as $20, kids that can't afford it can to come to the Y to learn new skills or build relationships or give them a sense of a place to go. The nice thing about the memberships for kids is that you get swimming lessons included. There's also sending a kid to camp, like Camp Stephens and our new day camp, Camp Y. There's also the international program that we have."
How you can help spread the Christmas Spirit:
The easiest way to make a donation is through the Y's website ( or by mail. Cheques can be made payable to: YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg
3550 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3K 0Z8. Donations can also be made at any branch. You can also make a donation in the memory of someone.
My Christmas wish:
"One of the reasons I come to the Y is because I believe in making the community a better place, and I think that's what we do. My wish is for everybody to have an opportunity to experience something that maybe they never have or to be in a position in their life where we're able to help them."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2011 A6

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lount Lodge - new roof

Work this fall on replacing Lount Lodge roof.

A while ago I did a piece on Lount Lodge needing some work. The photos were sent to me by the Y's new general manager of fund development and communications Dave Vankoughnett, ex-Blue Bomber offensive lineman.
In this pic old cedar shakes are coming off and a green metal roof, like on the dining hall, is to be installed. Many of the shakes were rotten.
Below are two of the new cabins. You can read more about them here and here and here.

One of the new cabins added to the line this fall.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Camp Stephens 50th Trail Anniversary in 2013

There was an attempt to have a 40th anniversary in 2003, but it fell apart because organizers couldn't connect with all you faded paddlers. 
If you want to be involved or kept up to date, please join Camp Stephens 50th Trail Anniversary on Facebook or follow developments on this blog.

Here's a sample of the Facebook conversation:

  • Over lunches, coffee shop and of course pub chatter lots of enthusiasm for doing something in 2013 to celebrate 50 years of wilderness programs at Stephens. Some thoughts have included actual trips, folk festivals & celebrating the arrival of the 2013 Six Weeker trips. Grant Platts has even gone as far as mapping out potential lake trips.

    Clearly 50 years of wilderness programming has impacted a great many people and for some it changed their lives. As we begin the process of planning for 2013 we may want to look at it from "Five Decades" so no era is left out.

    Volunteers so far are from the first two decade; Punch, Perry McGregor, Jim King, Jamie Grant, Neil Robinson and Grant Platts. Tara Law and current Wilderness Director Kelley Berringer are expressing support.

    Logistics for planning in this technology rich time should be ablle to include a great many people. If you are interested let us know (Punch - Edmonton, Perry - Winnipeg) and we will get the ball rolling.
     ·  ·  · Yesterday at 9:18am

    • Colleen Rogers likes this.

      • Punch Jackson Trip ideas included 5-7 day trips plus someone suggested a less strenuous version for the "older crowd".
        Yesterday at 9:20am ·  ·  1

      • Punch Jackson Kelly with one "e"
        Yesterday at 9:38am · 

      • Tara Debra Common kids! Even Stubby is getting on board (I'll make him even if he is grumpy and almost retired).
        Yesterday at 10:11am · 

      • Jen Wetherow Count us in for folk fest (definately) and a trip (probably). We should consider something less strenuous for the "younger crowd" too since we'll be packing 3 kids under the age of 5.
        Yesterday at 10:21am · 

      • ZoĆ« Herbert Routh I'll be packing an Aussie husband with a need for beer, so long canoe trips without showers and refrigeration may be an obstacle. Though I am definitely keen to make the long haul across the pond!
        Yesterday at 7:12pm · 

      • Perry McGregor During the planning for the 40th. reunion the committee at that time looked at a number of ideas... these covered activities like a pre reunion dinner, teaching trail skills to the newbies young and old, movies, slide shows/ powerpoints, music, and developing for sale items like trail maps, maps with all the trip routes on them, trail cook books, t shirts, commemorative paddles...stations might include examples of how equipment has evolved over the years, taste testing T.V.P. perhaps?( it pseudo chicken or pseudo beef or what?) obviously not all ideas are keepers...
        Yesterday at 7:45pm · 

      • Garth Nemy you remember your very first cabin and councilor ?
        11 hours ago · 

      • Kalyn Murdock I'd be interested in helping out however I can
        4 hours ago · 

      • Jess Irvine I'd be interested in planning some trips/helpin' out.
        2 hours ago · 

      • Kate Margaret Count me in. I'd love to help out with anything.
        about an hour ago via mobile · 

      • Colleen Rogers I'd help out too!
        32 minutes ago · 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Alfred David

Alfred David's grave at Brookside Cemetery (section 26-0117) in Winnipeg. Photo taken by Punch Jackson. David's WW I service records are here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why the 'Y' is important

She sees the error in her ways

Thanks, in part, to United Way

Caitlynn Stranger pals around with Ken Mason at the North Y Youth Centre Friday (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Busted for shoplifting a pair of expensive headphones at a department store last year, Caitlynn Stranger convinced herself community service was an unfair punishment that didn't fit the crime.
In hindsight, the 16-year-old says she had it completely wrong.

"It made me really mad at the time because I thought I didn't deserve it," Caitlynn said. "It turns out I really did."
Caitlynn began serving her punishment volunteering at the North Y Youth Centre in the North End.
Caitlynn's involvement eventually grew from menial tasks like cleaning to helping coach youth basketball. As a reward, she was sent to the Y's Camp Stephens -- a first for Caitlynn, who had never stepped foot outside of Winnipeg.
"It was just a whole new experience to me. I didn't know people did that stuff before," she said, reflecting on a 10-day canoe trip she believes made her a more positive person.
Caitlynn continues to volunteer as a supervisor for the centre every day after school and works for pay once a week.
"I'd really like to help other youth get out of the same place I've been," she said. "I'm way more of a confident person, I'm open to new experiences. I'm a lot happier."
Caitlynn is one of more than 1,200 youths who come through the centre every year, each of whom has a story about how the centre has been influential in their lives, says centre manager Ken Mason.
Since the centre opened in October 2009, neighbouring businesses like Safeway have told Mason loitering and shoplifting have declined by more than half. Even a fire inspector dropped by the office to thank Mason because autobin fires and vandalism have also declined significantly since the centre opened, Mason said.
"It's an outcome we can't really measure and wouldn't hear about unless somebody went out of their way to tell us," he said, noting Safeway donated 60 Blue Bombers tickets as a gift of thanks.
"It was a reward for something (the kids) probably didn't realize they were doing. It was a great surprise."
This year, United Way contributed more than $475,000 to the YMCA-YWCA, money Mason uses to subsidize youth memberships at his location to $5 a year.
"If it was the $20 a month, there's no way kids would be able to get in here. It just would not be feasible in this neighbourhood," Mason said. "We wouldn't be able to do this without it."
For more information on the YMCA-YWCA, visit For information on the United Way's 2011 campaign and how you can donate, visit or call 477-5360.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 5, 2011 B2