Smiles, laughs, and the Great Outdoors – Wild Kidz Camp Barriere 2016!
Every year the BCWF puts on summer camps for children and youths in different communities, this year one of the camps was hosted in Barriere in partnership with the North Thompson Fish and Game Club and the Simpcw First Nations. Despite being a small mountain town, their inhabitants are tight-knit and incredibly friendly. The BCWF team was welcomed warmly and became familiar faces by the end of the week! In this small town of around 2000 people, a group of 23 children eagerly awaited the adventures the BCWF team would bring them on. The camp ran from July 11th – July 15th, the week would be filled with smiles, laughs, and the occasional forgotten lunchbox.
The BCWF sent their 3 most, a-hem, youthful representatives: Kasey “Captain Caddisfly” Wong, Neil “Marsh Hawk” Fletcher, and Douglas “Diving Beetle” Newbigging (formerly known as Sedgie Wedgie). These 3 along were backed up by our gracious hosts from the North Thompson Fish and Game Society: Mel “Moose Head” Schmidt, Robert “Elk” Strachan”, George “Dog Breath” Smith, and Robert “Grizz” Wittner. Our team of thoughtfully named individuals would be responsible for keeping the kids out of trouble, and more importantly making sure they had fun! The week was packed with exciting outdoor activities, with the odd sprinkling of learning in between. So without further ado, let’s begin!
Monday started off with some icebreakers designed to get the kids familiar with each other, many of the kids knew each other already which made our job much easier!
After the kids seemed more comfortable being themselves, we got them into some team building activities. One of the activities was four-corner soccer, which was a crowd favourite. The kids then got to build their own birdhouses with support from the North Thompson Fish and Game Club and dissect owl pellets before lunch. The owl pellets got a couple squeals and “ewws” out of the kids, but they had fun discovering the diets of owls nonetheless. After lunch we were treated to a tour of the North Thompson Museum, complete with multiple in-depth trapping demonstrations by George “Trapper” Jalava.
Tuesday was spent at the Wells Grey Provincial Park, a beautiful park in Clearwater that contained a bevy of waterfalls. The kids got to hike to three waterfalls (Helmcken, Spahats, and Mouls), and boy was it worth the trek. Each hike was capped off with a view of a majestic waterfall.
The hike to Moul Falls was the toughest, which saw the kids traversing down a mountainside on barely defined trail. But what awaited them at the bottom was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the chance to cross behind a waterfall! The kids were able to stand in a cavern behind a Moul Falls, and take in one of the most amazing sights one can imagine. The kids emerged out of the cavern soaked, but with wide smiles plastered on their faces, it was definitely worth the hike back up the mountain!
Wednesday was spent at the Simpcw First Nations headquarters, which included the Dunn Creek Hatchery. The tour started with the children being brought into the Simpcw’s pit house, a winter home that they had built. Inside the group sat around a big fire while youth leaders from the Simpcw community, Marissa Eustache and Justin Prairie Chicken sang songs, and captivated us with their traditional stories.
A tour of their hatchery with Tina Donald followed, where the children learned about the process in which salmon are raised and cultivated. The kids then had lunch beside the Dunn Creek, the very same creek that the Simpcw get some of their salmon from. The day ended with the children going fossil hunting at a fossil bed! They were allowed to bring with them one fossil or rock to paint on. Big thanks to the Simpcw community for being so incredibly accommodating and gracious!
Thursday kicked off with a quick game to get the kids energized, and then it was straight
onto the bus. We travelled to Lake Latermouille for a day out in, on, and around the water! The camp was split into three different groups, each group did a different activity for an hour and then switched with one another. The first group went paddling with Captain Caddisfly and Diving Beetle, the calm waters and beautiful surroundings made it an
incredibly peaceful kayaking experience. The second group went with Marsh Hawk into a wetland for a spot of aquatic invertebrate discovering, followed by some wildlife spotting. The kids all threw on camo blankets in
a bid to blend into their surroundings, something the children really enjoyed! Finally, the third group went fishing with Elk, Grizz, Moose Head, and Dog’s Breath. This was the kicker, as everybody caught at least one fish! We had landed more than 40 fish by the end of the day, which the kids took home much to the delight (or dismay) of their parents.
Friday was the last day of the camp, and for some it was the most exciting. The last day was spent on the North Thompson Fish and Gun Society’s gun range! Our day started off with safety demonstration and a black powder gun demonstration, which included a musket and a couple of flintlock rifles to show the kids. Our demonstrator then of course fired the guns, which got the children riled up. Lunch was next, and the kids ate while listening to a presentation prepared by Corporal Darin Underhill. The presentation covered everything from drugs, to outdoor etiquette. Then came the moment a lot of the kids were waiting for, firing time! The camp was again
split in three groups. The first group went shooting .22 rifles under the guidance of George “Shotgun” McKnight, the kids had a blast (pun definitely intended)! The second group went off in the woods with Ken Harris who taught them how to correctly use a GPS, he did so through caches spread around the area. The kids had to navigate the woods by following their GPSs in order to find said caches. The final group participated in a nature scavenger hunt devised by our very own Marsh Hawk. The day (and subsequently the camp) was capped off with the campers signing each other’s camp t-shirts, and a big barbecue hosted by the North Thompson Fish and Game Club!
The Barriere camp was a huge success! All thanks to our partners and funders. A special thanks to the North Thompson Fish and Game Society for all their help and facilities, and to the Simpcw First Nations for their support as well! Financial Support for this Camp was provided by BC Conservation Foundation, the Government of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada.
This camp was held in partnership with:
And was financially supported by: