Baking Bay Bread

Ahhhhh... Our busy week has come to a close. On Friday, we had our baking day: this includes a very hot day full of sweet and savory smells and a big mess to clean up! We had a few stations (thanks to the Eickhoff's lovely hospitality) including a meat station, a bay bread station, and a hot chocolate station. The girls had an opportunity to switch every so often so that they know how to make all of these signature recipes. We have a lot of great flavors in our bay bread (the girls brought these so that they all could make a pan of "their" flavor). The most interesting flavor, in our opinion, has got to be the fruity pebble bay bread! Our hamburger was seasoned perfectly and is currently hanging out in our dehydrator drying! After the hamburger, we only have a few more things to go before we leave!

Thank you all for the meals provided and spaces volunteered! We really couldn't have done it without your help and support!

Only 8 days until trail! Hope yall are excited!

Busy Basecamp Bees!


I'm sure all of the girls on the trip have been out of the house quite a bit this week between regular shifts at the dehydrating site and time spent working at basecamp! We've had lots of extra activities in this past week including sewing our ditty bags, preparing out beef jerky, shopping for trail clothes, and ending with a lovely morning paddle. 

Beef jerky day was a lot of work but it promises some great results! It was a long day of tedious work. The girls learned a lot about knife safety and how to properly cut meat. They also learned how to get the fat off of the meat and how to marinate meat properly. 

At our dehydrating site, we've finished all of our fruit that we will eat for our lunches. As soon as we had prepared our beef jerky, we "squeegeed" the brine off and began to load up the dehydrator with jerky. After that, vegetables and some sauce are all that are left!

Ditty bags were a huge success! Thank you to all of you who volunteered time, space, and/or expertise as we embarked on our sewing journey. The girls learned so much and this skill will be something they can continue to practice as life goes on. These bags are going to go through a lot on trail so it's great that they were done right!

We all went to Savers to get some trail clothes after our beef jerky day. We had to find some trail shirts, wind jackets, trail pants, and some camp clothes. With our new (and a little used) clothes will keep up with us throughout our Canadian adventure. 

Looking ahead- we have food packing day and baking day. Those will be two busy days but we will be oh so prepared and VERY excited for trail food! We will learn how to make the revered Voyageur hot chocolate and create our very own flavors of Hudson Bay Bread. 

Can't wait for the following days- only a week and a half until trail!!

Paddling and Planning!

Hello all!

Last week we finished up the week by taking a nice paddle during the hour of sunshine we had! It was a bit windy but that was great practice for trail. After reviewing the stroke we had previously learned, we put them to the test in some river current. We crossed the Mississippi River and played around with different strokes in a lake. Here, Ann and I taught the girls how to switch positions in the canoe by gunwale walking. This is a great way to get people comfortable in a canoe on the water- we make them spread out like a spider and walk on all fours over a person sitting in the middle. What better way to get comfortable than feel like you're going to tip over?! 

"A knot not neat is a knot not needed," might be a phrase that the girls may have taken home. We review a few different knots and their purposes in how we secure tents, tarps, and canoes. These will be put to the test when we learn how to assemble the perfect tent and tarp. The knots we covered were the Trucker's Hitch, Bowline, Tautline, and the square knot. The purposes are different for each knot and the girls felt comfortable with all the knots by the time out meeting ended!

In the following meetings, we will be continuing to prepare for trail (17 DAYS UNTIL TRAIL). This means a lot of help from parents as ditty bag day and baking day arrive. Thank you again for volunteering! This has been a tremendous help to Ann and myself and will ensure the success our trip. 

To Canada and Beyond

Hello All!!

A full meeting with everyone present, Woooohooo:) On Tuesday May 23rd we got a pretty important task started. However before the meeting even began, the girls took the initiative to come early and practice flipping the canoe and everyone got it at least once by themselves, such a BIG accomplishment!! Once the meeting started we got right down to business. The girls laid out the maps and we began sketching out a possible route for our trip this summer! We all talked about some of the big name portages and rivers that we want to be completing. It was awesome to see the girls voicing their opinions on what they liked and disliked. Communication is such a key life skill and very important in this program, we were so excited to see the girls excelling with it right away. To close out the meeting we went around and said some pluses and deltas. This gave everyone the chance to voice something they liked about the meeting or how KJ and myself are doing, but also the opportunity so say hey maybe we could change this or work on doing this better. It was very beneficial to hear from the girls their perspective thus far in their journey! 

We then, as a crew, brought our dehydrator to the Eickhoff's house, which is where we will be dehydrating our food for the trip. HUGE thank you to the Eickhoff's for allowing us to borrow that space for the next month! 

We hope to finalize our route very soon so we can start sharing with you where we will be going and what we will be seeing!

Ann and KJ

Flipping and Floods

During our most recent crew meeting, we tackled a lot! The girls arrived and we started out the meeting with an activity involving putting together maps. Ann and I did not give them any help in how to put the maps together so the girls had to work together and communicate effectively to get the job done. The began aligning maps by UTMs. This method does work but it takes a lot of time to put the maps together. They made it about halfway before one of the girls figured out there is an image on the bottom of the map called the index of adjoining maps. This provides a very simple way to know, firstly, the map that you are currently looking at, and secondly, all of the maps that surround that map. After the index to adjoining maps was found, it only took 15 minutes to put all of the maps together!

After our map activity, Ann and I decided it would be a good experience to flip canoes in the rain! As we walked out of basecamp, we went over the general rules about canoes and the parts of the canoe. Many crews were out at basecamp so we had many visitors while learning how to canoe flip. After going through the basic steps of canoe flipping, the rain really started to come down (there'll be new pictures up from our meeting)! All of the girls got the canoe up on the shoulders even in the pouring rain. This provided the perfect opportunity to discuss problem soling in less than ideal weather situations and how to adapt while on trial. 

Post rain storm, our crew got to dry off in basecamp and worked on sanding their paddles. We bonded and had lots of laughs while shivering and sanding. This was a bit of a late meeting but we also accomplished and learned many new skills! We will be doing another day with canoe flipping where we will introduce the aspect of portaging. Since not everyone was able to attend our most recent meeting, this will provide an opportunity for those who missed to gain the basic skills of canoe flipping. 

Looking forward to our next meeting! Remember, if you're not early, you're late ;)

A small reminder for parents- the parent meeting will be on Thursday, May 25th at 7:30pm in the basecamp meeting room! 

Crew Goals and Cake

Our meeting this week finally had two guides! KJ arrived from Omaha earlier today so now all crew members are in one area and ready to get going with trip preparation and planning. Almost all of the crew was able to meet so we headed out to basecamp to chat about our goals on the trip. This was mainly to get some idea of what the girls had heard about from other participants about their trips and what this crew wants to do. Ideas like a night paddle, a voyageur morning, and various portages were discussed. Ann and KJ pulled crew journals from previous years so the girls would have an opportunity to see different options in terms of portages and routes. 

After chatting about some ideas for this summer's trip, we moved to the attic of basecamp where the girls surprised Ann with an ice cream cake for her birthday! They really pulled a fast one on us today! While we ate ice cream cake, we discussed what everyone wanted to get out of this trip. After going over crew goals and answering a few more questions, we cleaned up basecamp and headed out to spend some time with our mommas for Mother's Day!

A big thank you for everyone's hard work to make time in your busy schedule and an even bigger thank you to the families that continue to understand the time commitment for Voyageurs. It's been an absolute breeze so far and I hope it continues like so!

Girls- we'll see you either at the basecamp cleanup or at our next crew meeting! 

Parents- we are looking forward to the parent meeting next week! Feel free to think about potential questions to ask!

Your guides, 

KJ and Ann

5/7 Meeting and Some Info

Hello Everyone,

On Sunday the crew got together to spend some time at basecamp. At the meeting we covered a few things. We started the meeting talking about personal gear and clothing that we will be shopping for at Savers, hopefully soon! After some questions and answers, we embarked on a tour around basecamp so everyone can feel more at home. The tour is a great opportunity to become more familiar with the area because the girls will be spending a majority of their time there :) We then went inside and hung out for a while talking about the trip. We shared a few memories from our previous trips and talked about our upcoming trip! Hearing what everyone is planning on painting on their paddles is so exciting, we can't wait to see the finished products. We are excited for our next meeting and can't wait to start practicing skills! 

In other news: We have set a date for the Berdan/Heinen parent meeting! Thursday May 25th at 7:30pm at Voyageurs Basecamp will be the plan. At the meeting we will cover details about this upcoming summer and hopefully be able to answer any questions that are asked. 

See you soon,

Ann and KJ 

Calendars and Contact


Just writing to update everyone on our calendar system! Ann and I will be using a system called TeamUp to help with availability this year. The online system essentially allows everyone to input their availability or when they're not available (for example: when they're busy working, going to a family event, or have graduation/prom). This will allow the guides to plan meetings that will best work for the majority of the girls. Parents- I ask you to chat with your daughters about family obligations over this summer! This will help keep everyone on the same page in terms of availability. As guides, Ann and I will do our best to keep the ladies updated on meeting times, dates, and places as our busy summer begins!

In other news, I'd like to thank Sarah Dvoracek's parents, Teresa and Marc, for volunteering to be our crew coordinators this year! If parents have any questions, please feel free to contact Ann or I directly, or go through Teresa or Marc if we are preoccupied. Ann and I will make sure to address any and all concerns in a timely manner. Emails will soon be sent to schedule a few specials days, such as ditty bag day, so we can have a time and a place set in stone! 

Thanks! Looking forward to seeing y'all soon!

Cathryn (KJ) and Ann 

Phone Calls and Icebreakers

Just a little bit about ourselves….


KJ- I attended Cathedral High School and graduated in 2016. My first Voyageurs trip was during the summer between my junior year and my senior year (Ann and I were both in first session but on separate crews). In terms of my life now, I go to the University of Nebraska at Omaha where I am majoring in Biology and hoping to be a PA one day. For this summer, I could not be more excited to work with this excellent group of girls and continue to explore the natural beauty of our world!


Ann- I also attended Cathedral High School and graduated in 2016. As KJ mentioned my first trip was the summer after junior year. Just this past summer, I also went on a second year Far North trip where we traveled on the Missinaibi River. I currently am a student at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and majoring in Nursing. I am very excited to return to Canada again with this courageous group of girls.  


In terms of contact, we will most likely be communicating with you through a variety of methods. Email will most likely be utilized for longer messages with a lot of details, dates, and big picture communication. Texting and phone calls are great for seeing who may be on time or late to a crew meeting or who wants to carpool together. Regardless of the way we talk to you, both of us will be checking our phones and emails regularly so do not hesitate to ask questions or confirm meeting times!


After having our first phone conversations with the girls we are so excited to get to meet them this Sunday at the parent meeting. The enthusiasm and excitement they shared with us about this upcoming experience of a lifetime put smiles on our faces and we can't wait to experience it with them and make it the best it can be. We can't wait to get started with the preparation process and begin to form bonds that will last a lifetime with this amazing crew.  


See you very soon!


Your guides,

    KJ and Ann