#1 Camp Latona

Posted by on Dec 11 2012 | 26 great life experiences

I decided to start with Camp Latona instead of Purdue because it has as profound an effect on me at an important time of my life. As I’ve been developing my list, I realize that going through my top 25 great life experiences more or less chronologically makes a bit more sense than trying to rank them. They were all special to me. So, it will be a bit like writing my life story. A vanity project, for sure — but when you have a major health crisis and no parents or children, you start to realize that if you don’t record your presence, you’ll be forgotten very shortly after you’re gone without any trace. Since I can’t work now, I have the time.

In 1970, I first went to Camp Latona, situated on the north side of Gambier Island in Howe Sound. I was in a cabin named “Haida”, my counsellor was “Miss Kathy”, the camp director was “Sister Theresa”, and we had powdered milk on our cereal. I kept going back every summer in session 1, the first two weeks of July. Session 1 was always the wet session and the girls in Session 2 always got the sunshine. At camp reunions we would identify with our session — those of us from Session 1 liked to talk about how we formed our friendships as we struggled to stay dry in our primitive lean-tos with those old sleeping bags that never dried after they got wet. I grew up at Latona, as a camper until I became a counsellor-in-training, then a counsellor. I also spent time as the “outtrip director” at boys camp in 1977. I returned in the late 80s as a counsellor, then the next year as the Junior Counsellor director and Director of Senior Co-Ed Camp.

Latona was a very special place. It was there that I had the opportunity to see myself in different, positive ways. Growing up unattached in an alcoholic home was very difficult for me, and all of us in my family suffered in our own unique ways. I formed healthy friendships there that helped me get through the challenges of adolescence.

When the camp closed in the mid-90s and was sold, I never thought I would ever see it again. Declan Lawlor, “waterfront director” in the 80s, bought Latona and has re-opened a summer camp. Declan and I have fond memories of pranks and being captains of the “Gumbys” where we painted ourselves green and made carboard heads in the shape of our favourite flexible character. I am so glad that children in Vancouver have a chance to experience Latona again. It was my home away from home.

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One Response to “#1 Camp Latona”

  1. […] 1. Camp Latona […]

    29 Jul 2016 at 11:08 am

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