Saturday, December 21, 2013

YMCA Wilderness Camp Widjiwagan BWCA from 1978 - 83 Adventures with Camp Superkids

Dr Tom Weaver (this author, 1978 on the trail as a Super Doc :-)
I have always had an interest in nature, environmental education and sharing health learnings on my path.  I completed my formal medical education at the U of Minnesota in 1974 with graduation with an MD.  That summer prior to starting an internship at St Lukes Hospital in Duluth, I had the chance to teach Wilderness First Aid at ACM Field Station on Basswood Lake.   I had done a special study of Wilderness First Aid, Using a Book Medicine for Mountaineering, under the direction of Dr Jim House, a respected orthopedist I studied with at the U of M Med School the prior year.  So in the summer of 1974 I also continued to build on my canoeing and camping experiences I had informally developed in  college.  Working with Rev Ernie Campbell, Dean of the Faribault Episcopal Cathedral, who loved to work with teens in the church, created a place to blend spirituality and nature...When Dean Ernie  asked me to co lead at trip in 1967 to the  BWCA after my sophomore year at Carleton, I said sure, I am willing to learn and be mentored.  I had a lot of book learning about biology and when I got my hand on a canoe paddle on Lake One near Carlson's Outfitting on Moose Lake, I began a life long learning curve.  Learning the J stroke is an art, and can only be learned doing it...So Learning to face my fears in a good way, has brought many adventures my way. Thanks to Ernie for his trust for 3 years, BWCA 1967, Then a Grand Tetons Adventure 1968, and then a trip down the Big Fork River to  Canada, my first time out of the US, in 1969 byAge 22.   So this set the stage for my next adventure.  
Wilderness Camp Superkids 1978 Camp Widjiwagen
Widji, run by the St Paul YMCA,  has a seasoned counselor go on each trip.  Here is Doug "Habes" Heberman pointing out our route to some of the guys at Widji Base Camp on the North Arm of Burntside Lake near Ely MN

Down time throwing frisbees, the guys with Steve Smith (yellow shirt) the director of the American Lung Association in Minneapolis that co sponsored this camp.  The Camp Superkids Local Camp was at Camp Iduhapi on Lake Independence west of the Twin Cities. It was here I first met, Dr Dick "Cush" Cushing the medical advisor, and pediatric allergy specialist who, with his nurses got me up to speed on  asthma and allergy management in the Camp Setting. Dr Cushing was a founder of Camp Superkids, and practiced out of St Louis Park Medical Center in those days. Note the frisbees some of the guys took on the trip. 

I had forgotten this year was an all boys group.  Sue Weaver, my wife of then four years on the right in blue , was game to join us on the trip  .  Still at Camp Widjiwagen , I am waiting on Eric Thompson, 6th from the left, to help with the ID's.  Doug Haberman is in the cap and our Widji Counselor.  In the Superkids Yellowshirt is Steve Smith of the Sponsoring Hennepin American Lung Association, I remember visiting on Portland Ave S near Franklin to work with Steve at the building there . I recall Steve Moved to New Hampshire many years ago.
Widji Vee Cee (Vomit Comet) for the bouncing center of gravity issue, pulling a trailer of canoes to start the trip
Vee Cee unloading canoes. 

 The Break In trip to Slim Lake to test out skills, after camp demo's, demonstration of camping set up, making wood skills.   Here practicing canoeing skills  Habes waving from the right canoe, likely on North Arm Burntside Lake.
T.L. "Trail Mix" with Doug Haberman, with campers.

Lunch on a rock....during the trip

Camper looking at some of the marsh plants as we paddle up a stream.
Aluminum Canoe loaded with 3 campers and our Duluth Packs.

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