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What makes you, YOU? Certain things are better appreciated in hindsight. Looking back, it is remarkable how all the subtleties of our family upbringing, the friends we rubbed shoulders with, and even the places we visited, can facilitate the way we see the world and the character we establish.

There is likely no single place that has had a greater impact on me than Camp Mishewah. A campground located on little Round Lake in Killaloe, Ontario (home of the Beaver Tail!)- 30 minutes outside of Pembroke in the Ottawa Valley. A place I was first dragged to with my family in my childhood to spend a week camping in a cabin, enjoying the outdoors through activities like canoeing, sailing, and swimming.

As years progressed, I eventually made the decision to return to Mishewah on my own accord to serve as a camp counselor and eventually summer staff team leader. Children and youth week-long camp programming was typically run in the latter half of each summer. I spent the better portion of 6 consecutive summers at this camp, having the opportunity to love, encourage, and be challenged by the various campers and counselors as I did my part to foster leadership and assorted life skills in these groups. These turned out to be some of the most trying and rewarding years of my life and where I would accredit the development of my heart for serving others and the fortification of many of my personal values.

Camp Mishewah is also where I met my wife Emily. Together we continue to visit Mishewah seasonally at a trailer we have there. This affords us the ability to continue to cherish memories of this place from our younger years while building new memories as we camp lakeside with our family and friends.

With the sun shining hot now, we have been able to take some time to head up to our trailer for another season of outdoor antics and spiritual rest.

~ Ryan Wark

This article was originally published in issue 29 of SOS Physiotherapy’s newsletter, “The Spinal Column”

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