Who trashes a kids’ camp?
Staff at Mount Moresby Adventure Camp were likely asking that question after someone sprayed all their fire extinguishers into the bunkhouse over the May long weekend.
Whoever it was used a finger to write “Sorry” in the mess of dry chemicals they left behind, but staff spent hours cleaning it up. One of the canoes at the Mosquito Lake camp was also taken and later found beached by the public campsite further down the lake.
“It hurt the camp a bit,” says Toby Sanmiya, executive director of the non-profit kids camp. “But it’s not going to prevent us from doing the service that we do.”
Vandalism is rare at the adventure camp, said Sanmiya, but over the years the camp has lost a few things to theft — mainly a brush trimmer and some hand tools.
That may partly be due to rumours that MMAC was closed, but it’s as busy as ever.
So far this year, the camp has hosted students from Tahayghen Elementary and both islands high schools, visits that included two trips into Gwaii Haanas.
This week, the camp will have about two dozen students from Agnes L. Mathers, Sk’aadgaa Naay, and Port Clements Elementary, and a group of Grade 11s are coming soon, too.
“We want people to know that it’s a vibrant, living camp right now,” said Sanmiya, adding that MMAC might put up a new welcome sign by the road and hang more photos and art in the camp buildings to make that clear.
“A lot of work gets done by the students themselves, and there’s a dedicated group of people that want to make sure that, you know, our extinguishers stay on the walls,” he said.
One of the recent camp projects students are helping out with sounds simple enough — building a new bay for the woodshed.
But because nearly all the materials are gathered and made by hand, it’s become a fun project to learn on.
Travis Glasman will soon visit the camp to show students how to make cedar-shake bolts, which they will then split into shakes for the new woodshed roof.
Sanmiya recently hand-milled a beam for the project, using a fro, wedges, a chainsaw, and axe to mill and hew the log straight.
“We do a lot of stuff from scratch,” he said.
Most people on Haida Gwaii have children who have gone to the camp, or they’ve gone themselves, said Sanmiya, so people generally respect the place.
“Anyone I’ve ever seen come into the camp, usually they have really good intentions,” he said.