"It was years ago that I hopped into that yellow Project Canoe van, ready to embark on the first canoe trip of my life. At fourteen, I had little concept of what a 26 day canoe trip involved and even less insight into how this journey would affect me years to come. I remember being quite resistant to the idea, thinking that I would only be floating around in the middle of a lake for days on end with nothing to do. An hour into the first day I realized I would feel everything but boredom in this vast world my trip guides called wilderness. As the days rolled by like waves on massive waters, I began to transform from an incredibly insecure and rebellious teenager to one who felt she might have something greater to offer.
How this transformation took place is difficult to describe, but I do know that there were moments on this trip that consistently made me shine inside. For example, there were the millions of bright stars that came out each night; stars that I never even knew existed. There were also many adventures that often resulted in being cold and tired, yet brought our group closer together in trust, and in facing hardships side by side. The many elements that made this experience powerful, along side the positive encouragement from my trip leaders, exposed me to a larger and more beautiful world. It was this world that I wanted to participate in, and it is these lessons that I carried with me through high school, university and all my life between.
Last spring I finished my masters in Indigenous and Canadian Studies. There is no doubt in my mind that Project Canoe is what led me down this colorful path, and so, I felt it was fitting to return to the place that planted my sense of self worth. As a trip leader last summer I felt an incredible satisfaction to watch those first experiences occur in campers. I maintain that the only greater joy than paddling Temagami rivers and lakes is doing so while watching youth build a similar appreciation for the land."
Also read: an Interview with Maggie Embury in the Toronto Star.