Marie-Pierre Lacasse, Director, Camp YMCA Kanawana
Part of the Kanawana family since: 2007, with a break from 2010 to February 2023
Field of study: Recreation and Leisure Studies, Concordia University
Professional journey in the camp industry: I have been working in the camp industry since 1996 and have had several jobs over the years. From camp counsellor to expedition guide, I started integrating the summer camp management team in 2002. I was actually the director of expeditions at Kanawana from 2007 to 2010, where I put in place the current expedition program.
Favourite spot at camp: The boating rock. It’s a beautiful place with views over Lake Kanawana and where you can meditate to the sounds of the waves and noises of camp.
Motto of the moment: “It’s gonna be OK.”
What are your likes and dislikes? Likes: picking wild mushrooms. Dislikes: pessimism in my daily life; I much rather focus on enjoying life!
Why do you work at summer camp? Summer camp creates this constructive community where everyone can take calculated risks and where failure is seen as a positive thing. Everyone’s potential is put forth, and there is this warmth and attachment that forms between people, creating this big family conducive to personal growth
Kevin (KevN0r), Director, Summer Camp
Part of the Kanawana family since: 2003
Field of study: Biology, Specialization in Ecology (BA)
Professional journey in the camp industry: LIT 2011, Trip Packer, Boating Specialist, LIT Director, Program Staff Manager, Program Director
Favourite spot at camp: The Log. Something about how quiet it is up there, and the way you can sit in the roots of that upturned petrified tree. It’s an incredible place to help create deep connections with the natural world for our campers. The beautiful setting makes it so easy.
Motto of the moment: “Wainh”
What are your likes and dislikes? Likes: Fancy cheese and rainy days. Dislikes: Waking up at a “reasonable” hour.
Why do you work at summer camp? Camp has given me and so many of the amazing people I grew up with incredible experiences and opportunities for growth. Being able to keep that tradition going and get out of the city at the same time is too good to be true.
Amy Thomson, Assistant to the directors
Part of the Kanawana family since: 2008
Field of study: Psychology (BA), Concordia University
Professional journey in the camp industry: I was summer camp staff from 2002 to 2008, working in a few different roles (summer 2008 at Kanawana), and in 2023 I returned to the Kanawana family.
Favourite spot at camp: In a boat on the lake! I love the peacefulness of being on the water with the views of the forest all around, and the sounds of children playing in the background.
Motto of the moment: “Everything happens for reason.”
What are your likes and dislikes? Likes: Spending quality time with my son Dislikes: Mosquitoes! They tend to bite me over everyone else around.
Why do you work at summer camp? Summer camp is a place where you can truly be yourself, and where I have learned many skills, which have carried me through life. I have met so many amazing people and created lifelong friendships while working at camp.
Emily Fleisler, Trip and Rentals Coordinator
Part of the Kanawana family since: 2005
Field of study: Psychology (BA), McGill University
Professional journey in the camp industry: I was a trailblazer (LIT) in 2013, which led me into working two summers as a pioneer counsellor (2014 and 2015). After that, I took some time away from camp to finish my degree and work in my field of study. In 2022, I had the wonderful opportunity to enter the guiding world, working as a zipline/high ropes course guide, and teambuilding facilitator in the Adirondacks. Once the season was over, I couldn’t help but be drawn back to Kanawana in the summer of 2023 to guide canoe camping expeditions, and work as Assistant Hike & Trip Director.
Favourite spot at camp: Nothing beats the view from sunset overnight site. Whether it’s the early morning fog over the lake, a sunset, or a starry night, I will never get tired of sitting on the rock overlooking Lake Wilson.
Motto of the moment: “Ring, ring-a-ling, ding, ring-a-ding-ding, ring, ding ding”
What are your likes and dislikes? Likes: Any opportunity at all to be outside, particularly for a morning paddle or stargazing. Dislikes: When the coffee machine is broken.
Why do you work at summer camp? I am so lucky to be amongst the family that calls Camp Kanawana home. The staff who returned year after year helped raise and guide me through childhood into adulthood. The trees, the lake, the chipmunks, the herons, and the beavers all watched me grow up. It is my honour to be able to give back to this place and the community that gave me so much; and to be part of guiding this generation of Kanawanians as they learn, and play, and grow.