Canoe Adventures

By Brianna Wiebe and Amani Amstutz

Welcome to the Outtatown South Africa blog! For the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year, the students on this site will be posting regular updates and stories about our adventures on this blog. Last week, all the Outtatown sites traveled to Manitoba Pioneer Camp to start the semester off with a 4-day canoe trip on Shoal Lake.

Since the South Africa site has 37 people, we were split into two separate canoe groups with two guides each, only passing each other once. Each group had an amazing and unique trip, so we decided to interview a fellow student from both groups to share perspectives and stories from both trips.

Cole Stewart…

What was the highlight of your canoe trip experience?

“Getting to know everyone really well right off the bat. We didn’t really have room to be alone, which made it good. It was easy to get to know people, because you had to be real close.”

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What was the funniest story from your trip?

“There were a lot of funny stories, because we had a hilarious group of people. The first night, we had 3 broken-down tents that were not able to be used, so we had to put them up, and take them down, and then put the new ones up. There was one boat in particular, nicknamed the Silver Bullet, or the Tin Can, which sunk every time it filled with water. And Sid crashed into a tree… Because that’s Sid.”

What did you learn from spending a week in the wilderness with your group?

“I learned that working together is essential when you’re in the wilderness. You need to stick together—body heat cuddles for warmth. You need to be able to help out with everything from setting up the tents, to washing dishes, to making food.”

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How was the trip different in reality from your expectations?

“The food was much better than I expected it to be, and there was much more than I thought there would be. We worked hard, but it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be, because even when we were working hard, we were still having fun and enjoying ourselves, because we were doing something that was completely new for a lot of us.”

How did the trip impact you?

“I saw parts of God’s creation that I haven’t seen before. I noticed how every person is unique and different in the things they like, and the ways they live their life. The whole experience really highlighted God’s glory and the beauty he’s put in this world.”

What advice do you have for future groups going on similar trips?

“Only pack the necessities. Pack for warmth, for minimal comfort, and not for cleanliness, because you will get dirty and you will get smelly. Expect to work hard and most of all, expect to have fun!”

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Bailey Cressman…

What was the highlight of your canoe trip experience?

“I love being out in nature, that’s where I’m most comfortable so I was really comfortable out there, and the waves were awesome even though they were really challenging. And I just loved being with everyone and becoming comfortable with everyone in our group, and I think that was like the biggest.”

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What was the funniest story from your trip?

“Basically at the end of each canoe part that we had, Silas would start singing Taylor Swift and everyone would join in, but it was always Silas starting with Taylor Swift ‘cause we found out he has like 8 albums of Taylor Swift on his phone. And it was just really funny because he knew more of the words than any of the girls did. So that was great, it was a lot of fun.”

What did you learn from spending a week in the wilderness with your group?

“I found that God was especially pointing out that I had been making misguided snap judgements of people when I was first meeting them. So He really just point out the flaws in my thinking, and that even though some first impressions may be correct that I shouldn’t be creating people’s characters for them, and that I should let them show me their character in their own time and let God show me their character in His own time.”

How was the trip different in reality from your expectations?

“It was quite cold, and I thought that I’d be pretty good with being up front in the pack because that’s what I’m used to on canoe trips, but I wasn’t whenever I was in the stern, so that threw me off guard but it wasn’t too much of a big deal. Oh, the food was a lot better than expected as well. And just the company.”

How did the trip impact you?

“Mostly the people impacted me. And nature always impacts me. I’ve grown up in Ontario, so I’ve grown up in this kind of surroundings and I’m very comfortable with it, but still every single time I’m out on the water doing stuff like this, God’s creation gets me every single time. Especially going on the lines of the beauty and brokenness study, how much brokenness plays a part in beauty, and that in our world they’re very much intertwined; there has to be brokenness before new beauty can emerge.”

What advice do you have for future groups going on similar trips?

“To be totally open-minded about it. To expect everything and to expect nothing, and to just enjoy yourself out there. And if you’re not very good at canoeing, place yourself with one of the guides because that will help out a lot. Just be prepared to help out, and if you’re not outgoing try to be more outgoing to meet people because they’re just as afraid as you are to meet new people.”

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2 thoughts on “Canoe Adventures

  1. Great to hear the first week together was great and full of new experiences and learning….only the beginning!
    Looking forward to reading more posts.

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