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, March 24, 2012

50th trail anniversary update - mark your calendars

1969 six week
Phil Reece
Peter Spence
Jim Kane
Jim King
Paul Robinson
Grant Mohr (missing)

We met March 21 and made some great progress.
Ashleigh Hall, Kayln Murdock, Tara Law, Janet Young, Les Robinson, Leif Larson, Steve Allen, Wayne Johnson, Dave Vankoughnett, Dave Wright, Grant Platts, Perry McGregor and myself attended.
The plan so far :
- We intend to create an ongoing fund aimed at raising money for the Trail program and Camp Stephens. It will look a lot like the Y's Strong Kids campaign, but it will be designed to reflect the values and impact of the Trail program and Camp Stephens. We will start work on it soon. Money from the fund, to be decided by Camp Stephens staff, will go towards things like replacing old life jackets and paddles or whatever, depending on what's needed most.
Old logo.
- We are developing a new logo to represent 50 years of the Trail program. You will be seeing a lot of it. Kayln is working on it.

- Dave Wright and Punch Jackson will co-ordinate a series of "Punch Talks", a series of public podcasts on the unique history of the Trail program and the people who've been involved.
- We will also launch a series of short videos made by Trail alumni on the impact of the Wilderness program. This will allow any one of us, no matter where we are in the world, to make for example a two-minute video on how the Trail program shaped our lives. These videos will be posted for public viewing. Myself and Leif are to co-ordinate, but your help is needed, obviously.
- Grant and others are collecting as much information as possible on the history of the six-week trip and Wilderness program; routes, log books, photos, participants, stories, whatever we can get. We intend to create both a static and virtual display, so that this rich history is saved for all to view and share.
- We and the YMCA-YWCA are looking at hosting a sunrise ceremony to bid farewell to the 2013 six-weekers. It will be held at the new Camp Y near Woodlands Saturday, July 13, 2013. It would feature a pancake breakfast (Tara to co-ordinate). Trail and camp alumni would then spend the rest of the day, with their families, enjoying the amenities of the Y's newest camp in Manitoba, including a pool with water slides, a high ropes course and climbing wall and nature trails you can either walk or bike. There's also mini-golf. Yup. Mini golf.
Here's the layout of Camp Y and a short video of what it looked like at the end of March.
- The six-weekers return Saturday Aug. 24, 2013 at Camp Stephens. This day is theirs and theirs alone.
- An Trail alumni five-day canoe trip will leave camp either the next day or on the Monday. There will be cost, but it has not been finalized yet. It will be co-led by a current staff tripper and alumni tripper. Depending on interest, shorter trips can be organized.
- The five-day trip will return to camp the following weekend, the Labour Day weekend of 2013 (Aug. 30-Sept. 2).
- Trail and camp alumni (and their families) can come out to Camp Stephens on that weekend for three days at camp with programming focused on 50 years of the Trail and Wilderness programs, organized and run by alumni. There will be a cost.

- The camp work weekend for 2013 is May 17-20. Alumni are invited to participate. In the past I've brought my kids. 

- The 2012 camp work weekend is May 18-21. Again, alumni can come out to work and play. Basically, all camp needs to know is how many of us are showing up. We meet at the boat dock by the laundromat, across the Safeway, Friday evening. Bring work gloves and your bathing suit.

We also also looking at setting up an alumni association, similar to the Y's Camp Pine Crest in Ontario.

Naturally, we have a lot more planning to do. The dates, however, won't change.

Our biggest challenge is getting the word out. We still need to connect with a lot of people. And as we get closer to 2013, we'll also need more help in pulling it off.

We also need your feedback. If there's something we've missed, we need to know now. Remember, events at Camp Stephens have to be co-ordinated around regular summer programming. Camp Stephens is a very busy place in July and August.

Our next meeting is April 25, 6:30 p.m. at room 334 of the Manitoba Legislative Building.

- Bruce and Perry

Friday, March 2, 2012

Camp Stephens 50th Trail Anniversary meeting

A group us met Feb. 28 in Winnipeg to start planning what we need to do for 2013. It was our second meeting.

Who was there: Les Robinson, Laurie and Lynda MacIntosh, Leif Larson, Steve Allen, Kayln Murdock, Dave Vankoughnett, Perry McGregor, Margaux Cadieux, Ashleigh Hall, Tara Law, Jim Arthur, Dave Wright, Grant Platts and Punch Jackson.

All eras of camp and trail were represented. Allen is the current director of Camp Stephens and Vankoughnett is the Y's general manager of fund development and communications.

Our next meeting is March 21 at a location still to be determined:


We have several ideas so far on how we can mark the 50th and make a lasting contribution to camp. We haven't picked dates yet, but will soon to allow you enough time to find your trail jacket and plan a trip to attend.

Besides a chance to get together, our main goal is to raise funds which can be used by camp in future years, like replacing old tents or life jackets. The second goal is to set up an official alumni association. The third to is build an awareness of wilderness conservation and the importance of a wilderness experience in a young person's development.

The fourth is to create a permanent record of the Trail program, including a display of six-week trip routes which could be both static and web-based, and a video history.

Events are still in the formative stage; nothing is set in stone. Briefly, here's what we've discussed:

- A pre-reunion event which could include a folk-fest, a symposium on nature-deficit disorder or a wine and cheese event, something like a TEDx talk for people who know what gorp is.
- Alumni involvement in the sunrise farewell to the 2013 six-weekers, perhaps hosting a pancake breakfast open to other alumni to attend.

- A reunion event in Winnipeg in the summer of 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary. Personally, I believe beer must be involved. I do not see how this can be avoided.

- An event at camp. How this is organized, we're still discussing. We don't want to overshadow the return of the six-weekers as this day should be theirs, not our's.

- There are also plans to run at least one alumni canoe trip out of camp. Different dates are available, so more than one trip is possible. Family trips are also possible. 

Everything we're planning will done with Y's blessing. All organizing will be done by us.

As this progresses, we'll need some extra help. 

The first thing we need of you is to reach out to former Trail alumni, trippers, camp staff and others connected to the Wilderness program.

The best way at this stage is through the Camp Stephens 50th Trail Anniversary group page on Facebook. If you're not a member, please join and add others from your friends list.

We are also exploring how we can include those of you outside Winnipeg in this process. If those of you living in Australia or Great Britain or Transcona have any ideas, fire away.

As plans become more precise we'll update you as quickly as we can. We always welcome your input. My email is and you can post public comments on the Facebook group page. - Bruce