Leadership Camp 2012

Heather MacLeod
Heritage Presenter
Wapusk National Park & Manitoba North National Historic Sites

Wapusk News - Volume 6, 2013

Leadership campers traversing raised beach ridge along coast of Hudson Bay in Wapusk NP Leadership campers traversing raised beach ridge along coast of Hudson Bay in Wapusk NP
© Parks Canada
This is nothing here but animals and the land…a place to breathe and think.
- Lateesha Redhead

The way everything worked together. If one element was taken away it would create a ripple effect and possibly cause a total collapse in the environment.
- Aimee Scribe

My past ancestors roamed this land. It's their history and mine. It's in my blood.
- Lateesha Redhead

Hidden Treasure
There is so much more to this park than you think.
- Roxana Akhnetova

Parks Canada was pleased to offer the 4th annual Wapusk National Park Leadership Camp from July 5-10, 2012. Manitoba youth in grades 10 and 11 were selected from northern, urban and rural communities to participate in this adventure learning camp which aims to provide new opportunities for young Manitobans to discover one of Canada’s most remote national parks as they build on their knowledge of the environment and develop leadership skills.

The adventure began with a journey by train to Churchill. Some students started the trip with the camp chaperones in Winnipeg, while others joined the group along the way for a total of 13 campers and 2 staff on the northbound train. Upon arrival in Churchill, the students were whisked out of town to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC), a research station located 23 km east of Churchill, for an evening of presentations. Mother Nature had some say in the plans as heavy fog descended, delaying the helicopter flight into the park by one day. However, this delay provided the opportunity for the camp participants to explore the area around the CNSC and enjoy a talk by Churchill trapper Stanley Spence who spoke about life working a trap-line.

If the participants thought that CNSC was remote, the helicopter trip to the Nester One research camp in Wapusk National Park (NP) was one step beyond. This small facility, surrounded by a bear-proof fence, would be our home for the next two nights. Surrounded by ancient, raised beach ridges, the expansive tundra landscape and the dramatic ice floes on Hudson Bay captured the students’ attention completely.

It's just breathtaking, the way the land moves and twists.
- Aimee Scribe

While we were out on the land there was so much to look at. It seemed that every few minutes there was something new to learn about.
- Anais Giasson

It is so preserved and ancient; it almost feels like a new world.
- Joshua Guenther

It really gets you to look past buildings, electronics and everything and just think about life and breathe.
- Cameo Argan

Each student was responsible for some aspect of camp life during the Leadership Camp, and everyone helped with additional daily chores such as cooking and clean-up. The days were spent outside as much as possible since Mother Nature made up for the initial delays with pristine weather. This was actually the warmest camp so far! An important aspect of the Leadership Camp is for the participants to share the experience with others. To this end, the students gave presentations to the Churchill community after they arrived back in town and it was standing room only! The students also committed to making presentations in their own communities to talk about their experiences in this wondrous place and to further develop their leadership skills.

The Leadership Camp experience is best described in the words of the participants themselves. While the students were spending time discovering Wapusk NP on foot, they were asked to use keywords to describe the park and to explain why they chose those words. Some of these thoughts are shared in the boxes sprinkled throughout the article.

All of the students contributed to the camp blog. Each day a question was posed for the students to ponder. Here is an excerpt from a response to the question “What does the word ‘Leader’ mean to you?”

“When I think of a leader I think of all the people I know who continually push themselves out of their comfort zone to benefit others... All of us are leaving behind the ordinary to venture out into a place we have never been before, Wapusk National Park, to learn how to be leaders for our planet and our lives.”

Science in Wapusk National Park Dr. Larry Dyke and student taking a water sample
© Parks Canada

This amazing group of students gained unique insight about themselves and the natural and cultural treasures of Canada as they matured before our eyes during their participation in Wapusk National Park’s Leadership Camp. We expect to hear more about the park as our “Leaders for Our Planet” wrap up their community presentations and continue to share this unique experience in the future.

Learn more about the 2013 Leadership Camp.