I joined Appleby's Northward Bound canoe trip in Temagami in 1997 while I was in grade 9 going to a public school in Oakville, and have now been a Guide with the program for 25 years. I suggested to a friend the idea joining an amazing canoe trip with Appleby College (they had a sign on the property that read: "Summer Canoe Trip - Sign up"). That was my first experience at Lake Temagami.

Northward Bound taught me how to be strong and how to stand with my spine upright and my eyes clearly focused on moving as a team through any terrain, and any situation so grand and beyond our individual capacity. It taught me how to look at the world with awe and find beauty and wonderful stories everywhere I turn.

Since I was 13 years old, that first time I put my canoe paddle into the water of Temagami off the dock of Appleby College’s Rabbitnose Island campus — I felt like I was connected to something really special, and from by first year at Temagami (age 13), I was driven to retturn year after year - now I am 38!

Going through the many breathtaking terrains of Northern Ontario boreal in all seasons and being able to make a fire in any weather, any day of the year — these are activities a well-built team can enjoy working together. The  teamwork and empowering approach have equipped me to continue serving matters of human-land connections in bigger and broader ways, giving me the skillset to contribute professionally in the world of ecosystems research, national parks, forestry, natural resources and Indigenous land rights. What I get out of the Northward Bound experience is more than just about how to put on snowshoes or how to properly read map and compass. I get character growth, self discipline, self-respect and a healthy forward looking can-do attitude. These are the deeper values and skills I emphasize and share when I guide Appleby students in Temagami.

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