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Wilderness camps provide unique opportunity for summer student

By: Christina Waldner

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 10:38 am

Nathan David and Brodie Parker are helping counsellors at the Boys and Girls Club Airdrie get ready to take kids out on wilderness summer camps.
Nathan David and Brodie Parker are helping counsellors at the Boys and Girls Club Airdrie get ready to take kids out on wilderness summer camps.
Christina Waldner/Rocky View Publishing

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Brodie Parker said he considers himself lucky to have such a great summer job. He’s the new Wilderness Camp Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie (BGCA), a job he’s been working towards for a while.

“This job is the most responsibility I’ve ever had in a job,” Parker said.

“I’m thankful to have made the step from a regular job to a job in a coordinating position.”

The 22-year-old Political Science student at the University of Ottawa is in Airdrie for the summer, and he couldn’t be more excited. It’s a chance for him to experience the west while taking on a more senior role for the first time.

Parker, along with 19-year-old Nathan David, will be leading camps to places like Bow Valley outside of Cochrane, Lake Louise and Waterton National Park. Kids have to be at least 10 years of age to participate, and camps alternate each week between ones for kids in grades 5 to 7 and ones for older kids in grades 8 to 12.

According to Parker, the kids will learn about the environment while having fun. They’re in for lots of hikes, rain or shine, as well as paddle boarding, rafting, horseback riding, and other fun activities. Teaching the kids about how to eat nutritionally while camping and hiking to maintain your energy is also something Parker hopes to cover.

Parker has experience with wilderness camps but this is the first time he’ll be taking a leadership role. He’s responsible for all the planning and ensuring they have enough equipment, food and water for the duration of each camp is a challenge. He’s also making sure the counsellors who will head to the camps with him and the kids will know their stuff.

It’s not a bad way to spend a summer for a young man who’s used to life out east.

“A lot of people from out east pay to get to do the sorts of things - I’m getting paid to do,” said Parker.

For his part, David said he’s most looking forward to bonding with the kids.

“Having some fun with them, getting to experience some things they normally wouldn’t get to experience.”

The Calgary resident started with the BGCA about a month ago working with the club’s drop-in programs but jumped at the chance to become Parker’s second in command with the wilderness programs.

The very popular camps fill up quickly, and this year’s camps are full, according to Denisa Sanness, executive director of the BGCA. The club offers drop-in programs each afternoon throughout the summer for kids heading into grades 7 to 12 at the Ron Ebbesen Arena. Day camps at the BGCA’s location in Irricana also have some spaces left.

A lot of students have to work for the summer to save up for the next school year. Parker said he’s found a job that’s a perfect fit for him.

“Experiencing western Canada the way I’m going to be experiencing it is a blessing and I’m very thankful to have had this opportunity. I couldn’t really ask for anything more.”


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