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Focus is on hands-on learning at Great Lakes Cultural Camps (22 photos)

Year-round camps for all ages focus on traditional knowledge

Have you heard about Great Lakes Cultural Camps?

GLCC is Anishinaabi family owned and operated and focuses on hands-on land-based learning throughout Northern Ontario. They recognize the value of being active in the outdoors and specialize in: Working with Food of Our Ancestors, Bushcraft, Anishinaabe Wilderness Skills and more. You may choose to experience an Anishinaabe Sugar Bush, Traditional Fish Camp or hone your skills around Hide Tanning Camp, or maybe watch a carving or weaving demonstration and learn about Chi-Gete-Anishinaabe Kendaasowin (ancestral knowledge).

Every effort is made to strengthen traditional knowledge, life skills on the land, cultural revitalization, implementing and acting on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC): Calls To Action, and preserving the area’s incredible natural environment for future generations.

"We operate year-round. Every season in northern Ontario is uniquely different from each other. Summer in the north is like no other – filled with warm lakes and fireflies, the magnificent fall colours in the autumn and a winter wonderland of fun during the winter months. Spring brings new life and is a time of awakening of nature where the maple sap flows from the trees and the fish spawn in the rivers. All the seasons are so different."

"Great Lakes Cultural Camps is an all-inclusive year-round mobile outdoor cultural camp which means that we bring everything to you. Great Lakes Cultural Camps is known for bringing the fun and has been hosting cultural camp experiences for over a decade. We provide the instructors, equipment, and a great experience. You organize the group. This can be for your family, staff, team, school, or community. We’ll work with you to make sure that the experience runs smoothly, and we’ll help you spread the word." said Maheengun Shawanda, Director & Founder GLCC.

Since GLCC offers a multitude of paddling disciplines you can choose to learn the basics of paddling, add on to the skills you already possess, or build confidence on the water. All of the top of the line equipment is provided and brought right to your location along with the team of instructors. With superb instruction you can experience anything from beginner lessons to white water canoe trips into the untamed north.

"At any given time, the mobile camp is filled with friends, staff and lifelong guests sharing their stories about adventures on the water and learning on the land," said Shawanda. The next two seasons may look a little different for the interim due to safe social distancing practices and procedures.

It took a bit of time after their three-month hiatus to get a COVID-19 Action Response Plan in place with adapted procedures for working with guests and communities, but the office team is fully operational and working from home. They have already made plans for programming and how it will be delivered for the short term.

Due to physical distancing requirements across the country, some Anishinaabe Summer Cultural Camp (Niibin Anishinaabe Naadizowin Gbeshiwin) activities for the season will be delivered virtually instead of in person. The structured sessions will include a variety of experiences such as: Feeding the Community and Gardening, Anishinaabe Food Systems, Anishinaabe Fish Camp, Wilderness Camping, Bushcraft and Anishinaabe Wilderness Skills as well as Paddle School and Water Safety.

"Our first virtual summer cultural camp experience kicks off this week for the awesome students, their families, and team of the Algoma District School Board. Our first session is called ‘Being Safe in and Around The Water.’ It’s filled with drone/GoPro footage and useful tips to keep safe in and around the water this summer," said Shawanda

Also being offered are private "live" dynamic online sessions each day featuring talented instructors and supplemented by optional offline activities related to the daily cultural oriented theme which will be local in nature. These sessions are generally hosted each summer by communities for their families.

You can check out Great Lakes Cultural Camps via the organization's Facebook page.