Director’s Update – March 19, 2020

Dear Wabun Family,

I spent this past weekend in the woods. Being surrounded by wilderness; listening to the rhythm of the rain on my tent, hearing the rustles and howls of wild things, and catching scent and sight of small signs of spring was restorative. This brief sojourn provided the perspective and peace of mind that comes from being immersed in the wild order of nature. 

I know so many of you- campers, staff, alumni, and families- find a similar solace and strength in nature. In wild spaces, in the company of kindred souls, we learn who we are. We are able to ask much of ourselves and of one another. We are able to weave our own strands into the web of interconnection that serves as a foundation for us all – to strengthen the whole with individual effort. We learn that generosity yields abundance. We learn that compassion yields connection. We learn that when we are in the same boat it works best to stroke in tandem. 

Another thing we learn in wild places is that nothing is certain. You can read the clouds and plan for tomorrow, but, come morning, the wind will blow where it may. We learn to adapt. To take each day as it comes and try our best to be agile, thoughtful, patient, and vigilant. The time will come when we know what the next right move will be. We trust in our sectionmates, we take stock, and we gather information. 

In this time of uncertainty I reach out to say that I am grateful for you, the Wabun family, to know that there is a web of strong, compassionate people working to weave a strong foundation for our families, our communities, and our interconnected world. I write this morning to tell you that I do not have all the answers at this point regarding what the impact of the Coronavirus will be on our 2020 Wabun season. I write to let you know that I believe to my core that getting our young people out in wild places this summer will do us all good, and that Julie, Sarah, and the whole Wabun crew is working hard to open our 2020 season as scheduled and uninterrupted. We believe in the value of young people spending significant time in the wilderness, especially now during these times of challenge and stress.

We also understand and respect that a Wabun summer is an investment – as such we are working to revise our tuition refund policy taking into consideration these unprecedented times. We are striving to do right by our families and by our staff. We greatly appreciate your patience as we craft a thoughtful and balanced amendment. I will reach out with an update on that in the coming week. 

As we step into the unknown of the coming months, please know that our campers and staff, alumni and families are, and always will be, at the heart of what we do. The young people who bravely step off the beaten path with us each summer are at the center of our circle. Their well-being is our highest priority and we will act responsibly to safeguard their health. Wabun is working closely with the Timiskaming Health Unit, the Ontario Camps Association, and the American Camps Association to review plans and procedures promoting the health and safety of our campers, staff, and community. 

We will continue to turn to experts in Public Health to advise us as we move toward June and provide us with information and consultation to ensure we are operating under best practices.The safety and health of campers and staff is always the highest priority at camp, and camps like ours have a long history of planning for and managing communicable diseases. We will continue to offer updates as we receive new information and guidance.

For now we will continue to chart river routes, secure park permits, varnish the paddles and order the bacon! We will read the clouds and plan for tomorrow and when dawn breaks we will honor the forces of nature that face us and see which way the wind is blowing. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with you and make the next right move together. 

Wishing you sun on your shoulders and wind at your back,


Everyone is dreaming of a Wabun summer!

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