Orienteering is my life. I fell in love with it too many years ago to count, and finally grew old enough to pass this love along to family and friends. In the summer of 2016, my son Leonid and I volunteered at the Sass Peepre Camp in Alberta, and very much inspired by its spirit and the new friendships, took on the task of hosting the 2018 camp in Morin-Heights, Quebec.

(Pic. 1 The majority of our group. The crutches belong to Daniel Holmes from Kimberley. He sprained his ankle a day before leaving for O Fest, but was able to participate in many activities, including the rope course, which he loved)

It was a year-long project which required lots of help, and help we got! Kitty Jones and Sass Peepre Committee of Orienteering Canada handled much of the logistics. Canada 150 Community Foundations granted us $5000, which helped made the camp more affordable and easier on volunteers, who did not have to cook this year.

(Pic. 2 Those beautiful T-shirts ordered by Marsha Fehr will last us one more year, thank you “Canada 150”!)

Francis Falardeau updated three maps, planned all the courses, and hung most of the controls.

(Pic. 3 Francis giving instructions for the Night-O)

Finally, with the weather at its best, the Laurentians gave us a mosquito- and tic-free environment, some much-appreciated respite for all the participants.

More than 40 kids from all over Canada, and even from the US, can now cherish memories from the three days of training, exploring and relaxing.

We started out strong: a combination of Night-O and Score-O. Juniors and trainers were given an hour to find all the controls they could. More advanced juniors went off on their own, while new recruits were closely followed by our volunteer trainers.

The next morning we started off with a Line-O. The participants had to follow the line on the map, and identify the exact spot where controls were hung.

(Pic. 7 The 1:5000 map had contours and major trails, and the forest was beautiful)

(Pic. 12 Vlad Gavrilov from Ramblers, Montreal teaching)

(Pic. 13 Etienne Jacques, 7, from Ramblers club, does everything on his own. What’s more, he finished all the races at the ECOC and COC 2017 with a medal in the M11- group. Bravo Etienne!)

The PM training session consisted in working on bearings and contour reading, on the updated map of the Morin-Heights Camping area.

After a short break, we headed to the rope course (“Acronature” activity) where our brave Orienteers had to make their way through the tree tops. It was challenging at times, but everybody loved it.

After the supper, there was a time for presentations and less formal exchanges. We learnt about Sass Peepre, High Performance Program, studied some maps and rocks from Iceland.

And then there was our last day. We started it off with a relay, a bit complicated to explain, so I am posting the picture of the rules, for future reference too.

Some beautiful moments of inter- and intra-generational exchanges and collaboration were captured by Alex Vakulenko, our wonderful Photographer.

And we’re off!

(Pic. 43 There is always enough time to catch a few frogs!)

After the last training, came the time to be picked up by parents. But not before some beach volleyball and a dip in a pool!

I am sorry I could not get in all of the pictures: there are over 900 of them in the album, but even more in our memories. Let’s keep creating memories together.

I would like to thank all of our dedicated volunteers from the bottom of my heart. Kitty Jones, Jonathan Winn, Francis Falardeau, David Campden, Marion Owen, Tomas Graham, Jen Mackeigan, Mike Minium, Denise Obriain, Leonid Fichman, Lina Gavrilova, Vlad Gavrilov, Teresa Winn, Philippe Coté-Jacques, Olga Rayda, Diane Pagé, Isabel Sigouin, Kelly Fahey, Margaret Barber, Valerie Stuckey, Jonathan Walsh, Alex Vakulenko: without all of you, this camp would not have happened.

With love,
Anna Fichman