The Final Countdown...

Wow, what a busy few days! As you have probably heard from your daughters, we have been doing the last minute things needed before we leave. So much has been happening that we haven't even had time to blog! Let's rewind a few days to let you all in on what has been happening.

Saturday July 7th:

Our final official paddle day. We went out on the Mississippi for the final time together before going on trail. We paddled with two old packs per boat that had logs in them to try and best simulate paddling with our heavy packs in the boat. The girls have been getting the hang of the way the canoes handle with a little more weight in them, so we feel confident that they will do great with the roughly 100 lb food pack, 50 lb personal pack, 25 lb guide pack, and the third crew member in each canoe. Soon they will forget what it felt like to handle an empty boat, and trust us it feels very different.

Sunday July 8th:

We all gathered at the Weldon Household where our food has been slowly accumulating over the past month and a half. (Thank you so much for giving up your beautiful basement for us to use in preparing for the trip. It was greatly appreciated!). The girls all brought their personal gear that they will need for the next month such as clothing, soap, journals, etc. We went through the packing list one item at a time in "LVI Equipment Shakedown" style where guides read off an item and the girls hold them up for us to visualize that they do indeed have what they need. As expected, some things were forgotten and noted so they could be brought for the day we physically packed away everything in the packs. We also packed up our Care Package treats that the girls picked out. They brought some good treats that should taste amazing after eating our different variations of similar meals on rotation for two weeks straight. 

Monday July 9th:

We all came back to the Weldon Homestead to pack up our food for the trip. The girls did a great job of dividing and conquering and getting it all packed efficiently. We separated out the food for the first half of our trip and second half. The food for the second half of our trip was packed into shipping boxes which we will drop off at an airport on our drive up to our starting point. The boxes will then be flown to Lake Sassaginnigak Lodge where they will be waiting for us to pick up at our half way point. This makes it easier for us rather than having to bring three more heavy food packs in addition to the three we already bring. (Special "thank you" to the Daniels Family for the great lunch they provided!!)

Tuesday July 10th:

Our final day meeting at the Weldon Residence to finish packing. Today, we packed up personal gear and thankfully everyone remembered the things they didn't have (or so we hope, but only time will tell...) on Equipment Shakedown Day. We also tied up loose ends like repacking our Kettle Pack, decorating our care package boxes, and doing our preliminary anti-fungal spray treatment on our boots. (Also thank you to the Weldon's for the yummy lunch!)

Tomorrow, Wednesday July 11th:

Tomorrow we will all meet at Cathedral High School at 7:45am to pack the bus. All crews will be present to load all of their packs and other supplies on to the bus and trailer in preparation for leaving for trail the next afternoon. It's crazy to think that we are leaving in two short days. The first half of the summer flew by, but the excitement has been growing in anticipation the whole time.

Some general reminders

  1. The Last Supper will begin at Warner Lake Park (different from where the beach is located) promptly at 3:30 with a short mass and the choker ceremony, photos, and potluck. Please bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on if you wish for during the mass and dinner.
  2. The girls will all need to be dropped off at Cathedral High School by 2:15pm where we will all load the bus and arrive at the Last Supper together.
  3. Please remind friends and family that may be writing the girls care package letters that we do not allow any objects in the letters. Only the paper and possibly pictures if you would like. Placing objects in the envelopes risks your daughter not receiving that letter.
  4. We will be hitting the road at 6:15pm sharp and off on our grand adventure!!

We would also like to take the time to thank all the crew parents. You have all been so wonderful as this exciting journey has unfolded. It has been a privilege to get to know you all and we greatly appreciate all you have done to help it go smoothly. From volunteering your space, talents, food, endless support and empowerment of your daughters, and your trust in us and willingness to share your fantastic daughters with us for the summer has been more than we expected. If anything comes up in the next few days leading up to our departure, do not hesitate to send either of us a text or call at any time. We will see you all very soon at the last supper! TWO MORE SLEEPS UNTIL TRAIL!!!

Your excited guides,

McKenna and Mackenzie

 

Update

Hello all, here is a quick update of what we have been up to!

The last few meetings have been busy with trying new things, but also refreshing the old stuff. Something that we recently did was we went as a crew down to Watab Park in Sartell. Here we took the girls down behind the kiddy pool to look at the whitewater features on the river in real life, and not just on a a whiteboard or cardboard cut out. The girls were able to pick out the different features that we would see in a whitewater setting. After that, we headed back to basecamp to begin to try new things. The girls were able to experience a "bushier" trail that is more similar to what they will experience up in Canada. This trail ends in a swampy area at the tip of the point. Once they got to this area, they all practiced flipping up and putting down  the canoe in knee deep water, with their feet stuck in the mud. Despite them thinking that it was "gross", they all did awesome (and some even fell up to their shoulders in the muck)!:) After getting all dirty, we headed back to the dock to practice saving people with throw bags (and so that the girls could clean off). 

Some of the things that we continue to practice include setting up tarps, packing the kettle pack, setting up the tents, and canoeing. The girls showed off their tarp setting up skills once again, and proved that they know how to set up a mean tarp! After that was done, they all got to take their turn packing the kettle pack to prove that they know how to do it. Finally, we went for a paddle out on the river. Once again, we were able to practice having heavier boats to simulate what it will be like up on trail. The girls paddled with an extra person, plus some sort of pack in their boat and were able to experience what the boats feel like when they are somewhat loaded. 

All the girls are doing so awesome and are proving that they are prepared for trail! Times flying, and in just one week we will be hopping on the bus heading up to Canada! 

Your Guides, 

Kenzie and Kenna

Ditty Bag Fun

Today the "2 Kens Crew" (or "Tucan" if you will...) gathered at the Atkinson household. Thank You for volunteering your space!!) to sew our paddle cases and ditty bags. We will use the paddle cases to transport our paddles on our way up and back to make sure that they don't get scratched up or damaged in the trailer. Our ditty bags are small bags of varying sizes that help with organizing personal items in our big personal packs which will have 3 people's personal gear in them at once. It helps to not have multiple bottles of CampSuds or bug lotion floating around the packs and keeps everyone's separate for easy recognition. The girls (with help from multiple moms and grandmas) all sewed their own. We were very impressed with everyone's skills and creativity making durable bags, some of which were multicolored. 

We ended the afternoon with some great spaghetti and garlic bread that Avery slaved away in the kitchen all morning to make before we all got there. Thank You Avery! We can't wait for your meals you will make on trail as head cook (; 

Thank you to all the moms and grandma that came out to help us sew and brought their sewing machines too. It was great to watch everyone learn how to sew and those skills will definitely come in handy for years to come. We couldn't have done this day without you!

Another step closer to Trail,

Kenna and Kenzie 

Lots Going On!

Friday and Saturday were busy days filled with lots going on. Between these two day we paddled, practiced orienteering, learned how to set up our tents, and finalized out route. 

One of the main things that we have been doing a lot of is paddling. Paddling is something that the girls will need to "perfect" so that when we get up on trail it isn't a shock to them. We have been going out as a crew as much as possible, and have also cleared them all to go out on their own time to practice! We encourage the girls to be going as much as they can!

Something else that is important that we did a refresher on was orienteering. This skill is important so that the girls are able to read the map and tell where they are and what they should be seeing. This skill will also be important if we have to "bush crash", or make our own trail, while we are up there. To practice, the girls did a scavenger hunt around basecamp where they had to follow certain bearings to find the next clue. They all did great! 

Next, we learned how to set up our tents. Although this is something that we will re-learn when we get up on trail, it was nice to get them familiar with all the different parts and how to they will put it up and take it down efficiently. 

Finally, one of the main things that has been long in the process is our route planning. For several meetings we have been creating and re-creating a route that we will follow this summer. The route that the girls chose includes starting at Cairn's lake and ending at the Berens River Village on the edge of Lake Winnipeg. In-between those two points includes many things such as named portages (Big and Little Sas), cliff jumping, 4th of July Falls, pictographs, waterfalls and much more. The route will be a challenging, but fun one! After we had a route set in place that we would like to do, Fred graciously came to one of our meetings to go over the route with us. He gave the girls a few pointers as to whether a stream may or may not be there, some more cliff jumping sites, and also helped us organize our days and figure out about how far we could make it each day to stay on track. With Fred's knowledge and insight, we have a better picture of what the route all entails

Times flying by and the excitement is rising! We will soon be on a bus heading up to the "bush". 

Great Excitement, 

McKenna and Mackenzie

Family BBQ, Crew Sleepover, and Long Paddle

The past two days have been extremely busy for the girls! On Sunday night, all the girls and their families came out to basecamp for the family BBQ. Thanks again to Jessie Zack for coordinating this, it was a blast! At the family BBQ, all the families were able to mingle and meet each other, and converse over some delicious food. After everyone was done eating, the girls were able to show off some of what they have learned. The girls showed off their skills in canoe flipping and paddling. After some encouragement, some of the parents even took up the challenge and tried flipping the canoe themselves! :) Despite the girls cringing at the "different technique" most parents ended up using, it was a ton of fun for the girls to get to show off their skills and have their parents or siblings give it a try! After most people got their turn flipping the canoe, some families were able to get out on the water. The girls gave their families a little canoe ride around the dock area. After tonight, I'm sure parents and siblings have a newfound respect for the girls and how hard some of the skills they have been learning are! 

After the family BBQ was done and everyone started leaving, the girls stayed at basecamp for our crew sleepover! Before all the fun activities began, we loaded the trailer with canoes, paddles and PFD's for out paddle in the morning. Once the trailer was ready to go, the sleepover fun began! The girls decided on tie-dying shirts! This was a super fun activity, and they all decided that we will bring our shirt on trail as our "camp shirt". Once we were done tie-dying, we went into the basecamp meeting room and played some fun rounds of charades and headbanz. All the girls got super involved and it was fun to interact as a crew in that aspect. After many intense rounds, everyone was getting tired and decided to put on "Mamma Mia" and head to bed. It wasn't long before everyone was sleeping! 

Now for this morning, we got up at 5am and cleaned up everything from our sleepover. After everything was clean and packed up, Fred drove us down in the large Voyageur van to Royalton Sportsman Park. Here, we unloaded the canoes from the trailer and got on the water. It so happened that the weather forecast was extremely incorrect and absolutely downpoured when we got there and were getting on the water. Despite the rain that continued for most of the paddle, the girls kept a great attitude and we were on our way, paddling back to basecamp. Lots of fun was had as we had 3 people in each canoe (as we will on trail). After just 3 short hours, and switching positions 3 times (so that everyone could experience each position), we made it back to basecamp! This long paddle was beneficial for the girls to get used to paddling with extra weight, and paddling for a longer amount of time. 

These last two days were filled with lots of laughs and lots of fun! We couldn't be more proud of how much the girls have improved, and look forward to heading out on trail soon! 

16 days until we leave!!! 

Your Guides, 

McKenna and Mackenzie 

Baking Day Fun

Today was another big day for the Fritz/Wensman Crew!

We all gathered at St. Augustine Church kitchen bright and early to get the day started. (Thank you to the Daniels Family for getting the Church booked with the last minute changes!) We had lots to do today, and the girls all worked hard until all was finished.

This morning we started off with all the girls making their own Hudson Bay Bread. HBB is a calorie dense granola bar that we eat for lunch most days. Paddling and portaging for 10 hours a day requires a lot of fuel to keep up! They all brought some ingredients to add to their signature HBB. We had everything from raspberry white chocolate to Rolo candy and pretzels. We are very excited to dig in to all these great flavors on trail (and even snuck a few samples while bagging it all up just to make sure it was all we hoped for. Hint: it was!!!). 

Next we seasoned 60 lbs of ground beef. We used taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, Lawry's, and chili seasoning and baked it in the oven. After it was done cooking we drained off the grease and crumbled it to get it ready for the dehydrator. This hamburger will be what we use in most of our dinners like spaghetti or mashed potatoes. 

We also mixed up our hot chocolate powder and our bannock mix. We have hot chocolate almost every breakfast and some dinners if we want a nice warm beverage. Bannock is a dense bread (kind of similar to beer bread) that we make on trail for lunch when we don't have HBB. We bake it the night before on our reflector ovens and can mix in various ingredients to make the bread either sweet or salty. Some examples are: apple cinnamon, blueberry muffin, or pizza. 

When everything was cleaned up, we could dive into a much deserved lunch provided by the Zack Family (Thank you!). 

Overall, today was a great day and got one more thing checked off the to do list before we leave. 21 more days until the last supper! 

We are very excited to keep up the progress and anxious to get on trail,

Kenna and Kenzie

 

Meat Galore!

Today was another big day for Voyageur participants- beef jerky day. Big thanks to the Trigg family for all their help and allowing us to use their household! All first session crews gathered at 8am this morning to begin the day. After a few instructions, each crew was given piles on top of piles of sliced meat. Each crew was instructed to cut off all the fat from the meat, and then cut the meat slices into smaller strips which were then put into a marinade mixture. The meat will sit in the marinade for a couple hours, and will soon be put on the dehydrator to make our beef jerky for the trip. 

The girls worked so hard this morning and did an awesome job! After several hours of cutting up meat, and inhaling the smell of raw meat/ marinade, we finally finished up with the cutting of the meat and were able to clean up. Once everything was all cleaned and put away. we were able to sit down as a crew and have lunch. Thanks to the Deal-Hansen family for the wonderful lunch (it was delicious and everyone was starving)!! 

Today was a fun day, and tomorrow we have another busy day- our baking day! At our baking day we will be preparing for our trip things such as Hudson Bay Bread, Bannock, and Hot Chocolate.

See all the girls again bright and early tomorrow morning!! :) 

Kenzie and Kenna  

 

Quick Update

Hello All! 

We would just like to give you a quick update on the short meetings we have had recently and whats coming up in the upcoming weeks! 

As for the past couple short meetings we have had (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), the girls have been able to get out on the water and continue to improve on paddling. Each time we go paddling, we see improvement, and the girls continue to gain confidence in their paddle strokes and ability to control the canoe. Paddling is something that we will continue to do often before we leave, so that everyone is comfortable when we paddle away and start our journey up on trail (very soon)! As for the next steps in paddling, we will begin to go on longer paddles so that the girls arms get used to paddling for a longer amount of time (as we will do up on trail). Additionally, we will soon load the canoes so that they can get the feel of what it will be like (weight wise) to paddle up on trail with 3 packs and an extra person! 

As for the upcoming weeks leading up until we leave, there is going to be a lot going on! This week, we have 2 big days: Beef Jerky Day and Baking Day. These will be held on Wednesday June 20th and Thursday June 21st. The following week we will have our Ditty Bag Day, and soon after that we will have to start packing our packs and preparing to leave. Additionally, we will have a family BBQ out at basecamp on June 24th as a time for families to meet each other, and give the girls an opportunity to show everyone around (thanks to Jessie Zack for setting that up -look for an email/ text from her with information about it- otherwise it is also our on crew calendar!) As for skills wise, the girls will be learning more skills they will need up on trail, while also fine-tuning ones that they have already learned. The girls will continue to dehydrate the rest of the food we will need such as our beef jerky, hamburger, fruits and vegetables. 

For those of you who may not have seen, the first session crews left this past Sunday (June 17th), and are now on trail. Les Voyageurs has posted a few pictures on Facebook if you would like to go check those out! In just 24 short days we will be at our last supper, heading up to Canada to welcome first session out of the bush, as we head in there!! 

Time is counting down until we leave, and excitement is rising! 

McKenna and Mackenzie 

Finally in the River!

Yesterday's weather finally cooperated to allow us to get in the water! We learned how to T-Rescue a capsized canoe in the middle of a large river or lake. Hopefully we never have to use this on trail (knock on wood) but in case we do, the girls are now equipped with the techniques they need to rescue canoes! Next, the girls got the opportunity to J-Lean a canoe. J-leaning is when you try to tip your canoe just enough so water can start to fill the boat, but no enough that it completely tips upside down. It is tough to get a handle on how far is too far, but familiarity is starting to form after just a half hour. While doing this, the girls also learned how to "brace" with their paddles to make the canoe go back right side up in the middle of tipping. This will help the girls prevent tipping (and T-Rescues) on trail if they become comfortable with both bracing and knowing the canoe's tipping points. It was a quick, but fun meeting! We will continue to work on J-Leaning and T-Rescues in future meetings! Overall the girls had fun getting in the river on a nice day!

McKenna and Mackenzie 

Rain, Rain Go Away, We Wanted to Paddle Today

Today's plans had to be slightly modified due to the rain and lightening. That being said, we still got a lot of things done and getting a few steps closer to being ready for trail in one short month (Crazy to think it is so close!).

We started off the meeting spreading out all our maps and putting finishing touches on the route that the girls want to take this summer. Having a few guest appearances from other guides to share their past routes (Thanks to Mary Spethman, Hannah Windschitl, and Ann Berdan!) we nailed down what looks to be a challenging but exciting route! Out Map Manager Avery had the honor of using an Expo marker to trace our future path on the maps. The next step in officially nailing down this route is to have the prestigious Fred Rupp come and impart his expertise and give us the final tweaks and OK on the route. As of now, our route includes some cool cliff jumping, rapid swimming, all 3 of the possible 2nd Session "Big Name Portages" (famous in LVI history for kicking crew's butts year after year), pictographs, and a night paddle.

The girls also learned how to orienteer using only a compass and a map due to the lack of Google Turn By Turn Navigation in the Canadian Wilderness. Orienteering was tied together with how to measure UTM's which are a unit of measure similar to longitude and latitude on the maps. We also tied in a classroom session on how to navigate white water hazards and safely go down rapids that we will see along the Blood Vein and Berens River during our trip. We finished up the meeting with a quick crash course on a variety of topics like lightening safety, how to load and unload canoes with packs, and how to start fires with matches. 

We can't wait for our next meetings to continue to build off the skills the girls have!

McKenna and Mackenzie 

We Are the Champions, My Friends

Well today was a very eventful day. Today was Crew Olympics. This has been a tradition of Voyageurs since about 2013. Each year, all of the first year crews gather to have a friendly competition against each other with the skills they have learned for trail. Each crew completes 4 different events: paddling, portaging, tarp set up, and kettle pack packing. Within each of the events, each crew is judged based on time, and quality of their performance. For paddling, each crew has to make "figure 8's" around buoys. As for portaging, each participant has a relay with their crew going to the tennis courts on pine point road, switching with a fellow crew member and then racing back. Typically, many crews are in competition mode and end up doing a sprint with a canoe on their shoulders!! Next, for tarp set up, the crews were given different weather circumstances and have to pick the best trees to set up the tarp based on the circumstances. Once the trees are picked, they have to set up the neatest tarp they can. Finally, the last event is kettle packing. Each crew is given all the supplies that go in a kettle pack and they are timed for the amount of time it takes them to pack it qualitatively. After all the events are done, the scores from all the crews from each event are compiled together to determine the winner. 

Each and every crew did so great and had a blast! There were even several ties, and in order to break the tie between the Windschitl and Rau crew, there was a dance off. These two crews got to show off their best dancing skills to the song "Eye of the Tiger." But, Kenna and I are so proud to announce that the girls of the Fritz/ Wensman crew GOT 1ST PLACE!!!! :D After lots of hard work and friendly competition, the girls won the Crew Olympics by 1 point!! We are so happy to see the girls show off all the skills they have learned and the improvements that have been made to pull off the win! We will now be part of Voyageurs "Crew Olympics History" as we got our crew name signed on the Crew Olympics "golden medal paddle."

Proud "Crew Parents",

McKenna and Mackenzie

BOOTS!! (:

Today was a busy (and slightly expensive) day! We started the day bright and early with some of the girls coming out at 7am to go paddling. As of now, the girls all have been out on the water at least two times and are getting more comfortable with the use of different strokes and where they will turn the canoe. They are ready to paddle figure 8's tomorrow morning at Crew Olympics! 

This afternoon we all met up at The Boot Shack in St. Cloud to pick up our boots we will be bringing on trail, two pairs of socks and sock liners, and some mink oil! The girls will all be mink oiling their boots in the near future (if they need the instructions they are under the parent instructions tab of this website). Once they are oiled we can start breaking in the boots! It is important that the girls follow the instructions for oiling the boots, because it helps the leather withstand being wet all day and drying out (mostly) at night. These boots are our babies! Bad boots = hard time portaging. 

We rounded out the shopping spree by going to Savers to pick out trail/camp clothes. The girls were excited to extend the "Dad" theme we had at Food Packing Day to the trail clothes they chose to buy. Some still have to pick out a few more things, but overall today was a success!

Looking forward to the Olympics tomorrow,

Kenna and Kenzie (:

Olympics Practice

Today we had a crew meeting and were able to practice all of our skills for crew olympics, which is on Friday. As a crew, we began the meeting with a portage. All the girls have said that portaging is getting easier for them, which is great! Portaging is one of the events for crew olympics, and it will be timed. Next, another event the girls will have on Friday is tarp making. The girls perfected their tarp setting up skills today and are ready to win it on Friday :). Another skill that we practiced was packing the kettle pack. The girls made the kettle pack look great, and will be given an opportunity to show off their skills again on Friday. Finally, the last skill that is involved in the crew olympics is paddling. Each of the girls have came in outside of crew meetings to paddle with Kenna and I. With each time that we go, there is great improvement. Now to end the meeting, we took a look at our maps and got a general idea of where we want to go this summer. This is something that we will continue to look at and finalize in the upcoming weeks. 

The girls are doing so awesome and it is so fun to see them learn more and improve from meeting to meeting. See the girls ready to go (and WIN!!) the crew olympics on Friday!!!

With great excitement

Kenna and Kenzie

Food, Food, and More Food!

On Tuesday we had our food packing day. This day was filled with controlled chaos. 11 crews gathered in the cafeteria at Cathedral High School where food packing took place. Each crew came dressed up in different costumes, as that is a tradition for food packing day, and it was super fun to see what everyone chose. As for the Fritz/ Wensman crew, everyone went all out and we were some bomb lookin "Dads" :D. After some instructions and an explanation of how the day would play out, the crews began! Chaos began as each crew gathered at their assigned table and then were instructed by the food manager from each crew, in our case Noelle, to go out to the tables filled with food and get what they were told. The food manager was in charge of instructing each crew member to get different amounts of the different foods we had on our menu that we completed. Some examples of the food that was packed were noodles, mashed potatoes, nuts, oatmeal, ham, and much much more. As a crew, the girls had the responsibility of making sure that they were on the same page as Noelle so that she could check off the food once it was in our bins to limit the amount of mistakes made, and make sure we have all the food we need for trail. 

After several hours of packing food, we stopped to have lunch. Shout out to the Weldon family for bringing the lunch for food packing day, it was delicious!!!! After filling our bellies with food, we went back into the cafeteria and finished up getting everything we needed for our menu. Once we were done, we helped other crews finish up and then cleaned up the cafeteria. After the fun filled food packing day was done, we packed up our food in the car and brought it to the Weldon household to store there until we pack our food packs before we depart on our trip. We also went to the dehydrator site and bagged up the fruit that we had been working on. 

Food packing day was a long, but fun day for the girls; it seemed to have made each of the girls that much more excited for our departure!

35 days until the last supper!!!! 

Much love and excitement, 

Kenna and Kenzie 

 

 

Busy Busy Busy!

Now that the majority of the Voyageur participants are done with school, things are picking up around basecamp! Each day, there are often many crews, learning and improving many different things and skills needed for trail! As for the Fritz/ Wensman Crew, we have been busy learning new skills also! 

One of the things that the crew has been able to do within the last two meetings was get out on the river and practice our paddle strokes in live action in canoes!! :D Although much different than just practicing the strokes on land which we had done at a previous meeting, the girls are catching on to the paddle strokes while actually paddling a canoe in the water, quickly. Soon the girls will feel extremely comfortable with them; this is essential as it is something we will do everyday up in Canada! Paddling is something that we will continue to do at meetings quite often in preparation for our trip. Soon we will be able to go on longer paddles as an entire crew, and will even get to learn some fun canoe games! :D

Two other skills that will be used up in Canada everyday are portaging and knot tying. We have began many of our meetings with portaging as far as the girls can go in order to get their body more comfortable with carrying a heavy canoe on their shoulders in preparation for our longer portages on trail. With each meeting, Kenna and I are thrilled to have seen and continue to see the improvement each girl makes in their ability to go further and show more confidence in portaging. Additionally, we have spent a lot of time learning and reviewing different types of knots. Each not has a specific purpose in the Voyageur world, so it is essential that all the girls are comfortable and able to do all of them. This is also a skill that we have seen improvement in and are confident the girls are able to do all the knots we have taught them correctly and know their purpose!

Additionally, at our meeting yesterday we were able to learn how to properly pack a pack! Packing our packs properly is essential as we have lots of equipment, with limited space. The pack that we practiced packing is called the "Kettle Pack." This pack contains many things that we will need such as our pots and pans, saws, fuel bottles and stoves, tarps, ropes, cooking utensils, buckets and sinks for water, repair kits and much more! Because of how much equipment we have to pack in there, it is essential that the Kettle Pack is packed methodically in order to fit everything in it, but still be neat and organized. In addition to packing the Kettle Pack, the girls will soon need to use their methodical packing skills to pack the food packs and personal packs in order to fit everything in them. 

Finally, one last thing that we were able to begin within the last two meetings was dehydrating. Thanks to the Deal- Hansen's we have a perfect dehydrating site where the girls will spend a lot of time dehydrating and bagging our food from now until we depart! As a crew, we went over to the dehydrating site and were able to show them the ropes of how the dehydrating process works. The first thing that we are starting with is peaches. As a crew, we drained the peaches, dried them off a bit, cut them into smaller pieces, and then placed them on racks and into the dehydrator they went! Once the peaches are done, the next few foods they will dehydrate will be pears and pineapple. Because the food is done on the dehydrator at a certain time, the girls will be going to the dehydrator site at all times of the day and night to ensure that the food is on and off when it needs to be! The dehydrating process will continue from now until a little before we leave, and the girls will dehydrate several different fruits, vegetables, meatballs and beef jerky!!

As the days count down until we depart, the girls will become more busy with Voyaguers to ensure that we are prepared for our trip! Kenna and I appreciate the time we get to spend with your girls, and are so excited to watch them continue to grow and learn both before trail and while we are up in Canada! 

Only 37 DAYS until we depart!!! :D

Excitedly,

McKenna and Mackenzie

Portaging, Paddle Dryland, Tarps and Crew Bonding :D

Today we had yet again, another great meeting! For each meeting, we have started by working on our canoe flipping and portaging. This is a skill that each girl will conquer, and we are working hard each day to get to that point. At our meeting today, we got each of the girls to flip up the canoe, and told them to go as far as they could... we even had several go to the tennis courts on Pine Point road which is an AWESOME start! It was so fun having everyone at the meeting, and everyone was able to encourage each other while portaging. 

The next thing that we worked on was learning the paddle strokes we will use in the canoe, but started by practicing them on the land. Some of the different strokes the girls learned were the power stroke, draw, cross draw, J- stroke and C- stroke. These different paddle strokes will be used to powerfully move the canoe forward, and also keep the canoe going in a straight line. Once everyone understood the strokes on land, we went and sat on the side of the dock and were able to practice the strokes in the water to feel some of the resistance the water gives. The girls caught on well and we will soon be able to get on the water in the canoes!! 

The next thing that we worked on was setting up a tarp. This is something that we will use at camp when it is either windy, or rainy. Setting up a tarp gives us the ability to put our packs under them so that they don't get wet, and we can also sit under them to protect ourselves from the wind and rain. 

After we were done with portaging, learning paddle strokes, and learning how to put up a tarp, we had crew bonding. The girls brought stuff for s'mores, and hot dogs to roast on the fire. We sat around the fire for a while, and some people jumped in the river and went for a swim, and then sat around the fire again to dry off. After we were done sitting by the fire, the girls opted to go inside and make crew bracelets. The girls brought bandanas and on each of the bandanas, we wrote either a crew goal, personal goal, or what it mean to be a voyageur. From there, they were braided and we will all have these bracelets as a crew with everyones interpretations on them. Overall this was a great meeting and it is so fun seeing everyone grow closer as a crew! Everyone has been so encouraging of each other, and that is great to see! 

We look forward to the upcoming meetings and seeing continued growth and improvement within the crew!:) 

  

1st Portage and Knots!

Thursday (May 21) was a successful day! Everyone was able to flip the canoe on to their shoulders with minimal help and portage with it! Everyone did awesome considering it was our first time portaging and it takes some practice getting comfortable with balancing a canoe and walking with it. We will continue to practice flipping and portaging until we leave on our trip to make sure everyone is comfortable and more than able to carry a canoe through various terrains we will be encountering including steep hills, rain, and in the water.

We also started to learn some of the important knots that we will be tying every day on trail for tarps, connecting packs, and setting up clothes lines! It was great to see the girls helping each other tie the knots once they understood how to. 

Everyone is becoming more comfortable with each other and the crew is meshing very well for this early in the summer. We are all excited to see where this summer will take us!

Warmly,

Kenna and Kenzie

Flipping, Jobs, and Meal Plan!

Tonight we had a busy meeting. We started by giving everyone their jobs for the summer such as the Food Manager, Equipment Manager, Map Manager, etc. These jobs give the girls responsibilities that start tonight and end when we return our gear upon coming home.

After that, we went outside and covered how to properly flip a canoe on our shoulders to portage. Everyone was able to get the canoe on their shoulders by the end of the meeting, so we just need to perfect our techniques and get comfortable under a canoe. 

Finally, we closed the meeting going through the different food choices that we will have on trail and submitting our food order. The girls were all open to trying new foods, so we are bringing a wide variety of everything! We are all excited to see what different combos we can try for our meals. We are going to fill our food orders and bag everything up in one meal portions during Food Packing Day on June 5. 

The excitement is building for our trip as we start to learn new skills! 

Best,

McKenna and Mackenzie

Map Activity, Typical Day, Jobs!

Today we all got together for the second time as a whole crew. We started off with doing the infamous Voyageurs "Map Activity". The girls became familiar with the maps that we are going to be using this summer and how to put them together. It took some time, but they eventually got them in order (40 minutes later). After they were done, we showed them that on the back of the map there is a key to show which maps go where which would have made putting the maps together much quicker. Overall, lessons were learned about teamwork that we will carry on to other meetings and trail. We then did a brief overview of the different camp jobs that we will have every day and what a typical trail day will look like. Overall it was a short, but packed meeting! 

The excitement is building for the upcoming summer! 62 Days until the last supper!

Best,

Mckenna and Mackenzine

1st Meeting

The first official meeting was held today!

This was the first time everyone was present besides at the parent meeting held last Sunday. The parent meeting was a great way to get everyone excited for the upcoming summer and meet all the parents. Today we started the meeting off with trying on sample gear and going over the packing list. We then took a brief tour of basecamp so everyone became familiar with our new home for the summer. Sanding paddles came next and it got everyone thinking of what they want to have painted on their paddles! Some cool ideas were shared and we are all excited to see the paintings when they are finished, either by the reformatory, friends, or family. We rounded out our meeting by looking into the future and what crew goals we have for preparing and when we actually get on trail. The girls had some great ideas and we are excited to see what this crew can do!

Best,

McKenna and Mackenzie

P.S: We have added two photos from today so you get an idea of what we did!