It is no exaggeration to say that Appleby's Northern Campus in Temagami was my favourite experience and has been my most enduring connection to the school.

How can you not develop a great bond with your fellow students when you are collecting sticks and piling snow to build your snow sleep shelters (Quincy’s) together, marching all day on wooden snowshoes across the frozen lake and relying on each other to drill a water hole or make dinner on a fire together?

The remote location and the challenge of camping in minus fifteen degree weather means that junior and senior leaders are truly required to lead as so many new skills and knowledge is required.

I recall having one student say “he just could not go on” while walking through the snowy woods in snowshoes on a full day walk in Temagami. He had never experienced anything like this in his life and we all encouraged him. I did end up saying we must keep moving to get out of here by dark and the situation forced him to keep moving. Years later, this boy said these were perspective changing experiences.

I also recall hauling canoes as a team up a challenging trail to portage to a smaller lake called Gull Lake from Lake Temagami. I had recalled hearing many stories about this place from my friends but what I had forgotten is how bad they had mentioned the mosquitoes were! However this forced our group to work so quickly and hard (and use leverage) to get our canoes over the Rocky hill in the woods and get to the next lake.

Every little challenge, from putting up tents in the summer to various winter tasks, helps to develop the character of Appleby students. This character filled with understanding of others and hard work will help carry the students far in difficult situations.

I truly believe some of the best learnings I had occurred in these outdoors. Thanks Appleby!