Youth Wilderness Training Program
Since 1964 Churchill River Canoe Outfitters has been the leader in providing Canadian Shield wilderness canoe tripping in Western Canada. From Sigurd Olson's "Voyageurs'' (who were some of our first clients that summer!) to weekend family trips on the French Lake circuit to individuals like Steve Rice with his many solo trips to the Hudson's Bay, CRCO has provided the full range of canoe outfitting services for over 54 years. In 2021 we are offering a chance for a small group of 8 to 10 teens to spend three weeks in our beautiful backyard with the CRCO Youth Wilderness Training Program.
The CRCO Youth Wilderness Training Program is designed for youth ages 14-17 with an interest in wilderness and a desire to further their backcountry travel skills. The program will include 2 extended canoe trips designed to encourage teamwork, further personal development, retain an appreciation and love of wilderness and further technical backcountry skills.
With two CRCO guides to lead you, you will learn practical skills in the areas of route planning, meal planning, trip packing, flatwater canoeing, whitewater canoeing, backcountry camping/cooking, and navigation. In addition we will work on the development of “soft skills” in the areas of leadership, teamwork, environmental awareness, and environmental action.
Dates: July 13, 2021- Aug 2, 2021
Costs: $4950 regular /$3850 adjusted*
Includes: Transport from Saskatoon to Basecamp in Missinipe and back to Saskatoon; food; guiding; instruction; group equipment (e.g. canoes, tents, cooking gear); accommodation in Missinipe during the course.
Does not include: Transport to Saskatoon; food or accommodation before (e.g. Day 0) or after the course.
*We are able to make the adjusted price available to families as a result of the generosity of our donors and fundraising efforts which support our Youth Program. The regular price reflects the actual cost of running this trip. Please choose the fee which is most suitable for your family. The fee you choose in no way influences the experience your camper will receive. Payment plans and financial assistance are also available. Please contact us for more information.
Prerequisites: The only prerequisite is being willing to work with a team for an extended period of time in the backcountry! No prior canoeing or backcountry experience required. Note that while our routes/destinations will not be above the skill level of beginner paddlers/campers, we will be in the backcountry for up to 10 consecutive days during the course. While very doable and rewarding, this could be a challenging objective for beginners. Again, a willingness to undertake these challenges with a good attitude will be your biggest advantage!
Sample itinerary, subject to change.
Day 0: There will be a liaison in Saskatoon to meet and accompany students coming to Saskatoon from out of town on the day prior to the trip start date. Airport pickup, hotel fees, and meals are not included with the trip price, please contact us for details and a separate quote for this service.
Day 1: Transport is provided with a departure from Saskatoon at 7:00 am**. We reach Missinipe in time for lunch & introductions, afternoon fun on Otter Lake in Missinipe, dinner at “The Timberframe” (large communal kitchen and meeting area), and finally an evening program. Students are assigned to comfortable cabins for the next two nights.
Day 2: Breakfast together at the Timberframe, gear packing in the morning, food packing after lunch, paddling skills, dinner at the Timberframe, and an evening program.
Days 3-7: Trip 1 (Intro Skills Trip) Our first trip will introduce further canoeing skills (primarily flatwater), backcountry camping, backcountry cooking and navigation. The pace of this trip will be more laid-back to allow ample opportunity to begin learning skills in these areas. We will return to our Missinipe Basecamp for Day 7.
Days 8-9: Repacking and prep for Trip 2. After the introduction to backcountry skills during the first trip, campers will learn the ‘behind the scenes’ that goes into planning a backcountry trip. From our basecamp in Missinipe we will focus on route planning, meal planning, gear packing, and possibly a small introduction to whitewater paddling. The second trip will have more camper leadership involvement and so campers will also be involved in the planning process of the trip. Trip 2 will be tailored to the groups goals and interests.
Days 10 to 19: Trip 2 (Advanced Skills Trip) For the second trip we will hone the skills learned during days 1-9 on an extended backcountry trip. We will arrive back in Missinipe for day 19.
Days 20: For our last full day we will enjoy meals together at the Timberframe, debrief Trip 2, and enjoy our final day in Missnipe; finishing with a final banquet at the Timberframe.
Day 21: Breakfast will be provided in Missinipe and transportation back to Saskatoon for those requiring transportation.**
**Transportation to and from Saskatoon is optional. If you live near Missinipe or would prefer to drive yourself to Missinipe you are more than welcome to.
Guides and Safety
CRCO guides are Paddle Canada certified. Moreover, they are skilled in the CRCO way of travelling through Canadian Shield Canoe country. CRCO's long history of save travel in these waters -- close to 60 years -- as well as a carefully considered risk management plan will ensure the maximum possible safety during this course. All of our equipment is in excellent condition and build tough to stand up to the rigours of expeditionary use. Communications devices ensure continuous contact with our base, and provide the option of rapid deployment of emergency services in the event of a medical condition or an injury. While the Churchill is remote, quick access via floatplane is possible with excellent medical services available within a half hour's flight to La Ronge, the nearest hospital. Please contact us for more details if you have questions about our guides or anything to do with the safety of our programs.