About Keewaydin Temagami for Boys & Girls
Keewaydin Temagami camp provides single gender wilderness canoe trips for boys and girls ages 10 to 18. Keewaydin remains true to the vision of our founder, A.S. Greg Clarke “The Commodore”, who wanted to start a camp that focused on canoe trips. Today we look much the same as we did in 1893; paddling in wood canvas canoes, using tump lines to portage canoes, equipment, and wannigans (the wooden boxes in which we carry food and equipment.) Meals are cooked over open fires and sections prepare all of their food from scratch. Groups (sections) of six to eight kids travel the surrounding wilderness waterways, often portaging from lake to lake or up and down rivers, making camp at new spots each night, sleeping in tents with one or two other campers. Traveling in the pristine wilderness of Ontario and Quebec, kids become part of a team, each member essential to the group’s success. These fun, empowering and safe excursions build outdoor skills while fostering strength, leadership, self-reliance and confidence. Lifelong friendships are formed and campers return home with a renewed sense of self.
Emily Schoelzel, Director, began her career at Keewaydin in 1999 as a pioneer—leading the first Keewaydin girls’ trips from the shores of Devil Island. She led trips for 4 summers before switching gears to a professional wooden boat builder, building canoes for Keewaydin with her partner Dylan Schoelzel. In 2010, she returned to Keewaydin the Associate Director.
She then, she spent 10 years dedicated to the growth of camp and support of staff and campers. She built relationships with parents and focused on expanding Keewaydin’s risk management, social and emotional needs of campers and staff, and the quality of equipment used on the canoe trips. Now as the Director of Keewaydin, Emily continues to build upon her many years of leadership. She is thrilled to help shepherd Keewaydin’s traditions and welcome new campers and families into our community.
The camp is well run and very organized. Emily does an outstanding job in leading and motivating the staff and campers. I see it when I talk to my son, Grant, see his pictures and read the reports from the staff. – Alexandra Chesney, Keewaydin Temagami Parent
John Frazier, Associate Director, grew up spending summers on Lake Temagami, and started at Keewaydin Temagami, as a twelve-year-old camper, in 1996. After six years as a camper, John joined trip staff and led trips for eighteen years. He worked with campers of each of the age groups, from Manitou to Long Trips, and lead Section A for his final eight summers on trip staff. John grew up steeped in the stories, traditions, and reverence for the experience that Keewaydin provides, with his father being deeply connected to the camp since the 1950s. After 24 years as either camper or trip leader, John has seen and felt these firsthand. As Associate Director, he is able to work with next generation of trip leaders, campers, and parents, and assist in the day to day operations and ongoing stewardship of the camp’s values.
Founded in 1893 by A.S. Gregg Clarke and located on Devil’s Island on Lake Temagami in Ontario, Canada Keewaydin is the world’s oldest canoe-tripping camp. The camp remains true to Clarke’s vision: to operate a program focused on wilderness canoe tripping, with minimum time spent in base camp. Traveling in wood and canvas canoes, using leather tumplines and following routes that are centuries old there is not much that has changed at Keewaydin since 1893. Devil’s Island remains a rustic base camp for trips to outfit, organize, gather, depart from and then return home to amidst the roar of the Keewaydin cheer. While we embrace our traditions we employ the most up to date outdoor education best practices and philosophy.