Camp Manitou adds lake, biking trails

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HEADINGLEY

Some exciting additions at Camp Manitou will expose more people to the joys of the outdoors, camp director Audrey Hicks said.

Part of the True North Youth Foundation, Camp Manitou welcomes thousands of children every year to its facilities five minutes outside of Winnipeg on the Assiniboine River. Youth can become volunteers and eventually staff.

Also new are cycling trails around the lake, which were built in part with earth excavated when the lake was dug.

Making its debut this summer on 11 acres of new land is a 2.6-acre lake that allows for new water-based recreation programs.

“It is the perfect size for teaching kids how to canoe and kayak in a safe, controlled environment,” Hicks said.

A key feature of the lake is a docking system donated by Nor Col EZ Dock in Gimli. It includes a kayak launcher that makes it easier for people with disabilities to get into kayaks and canoes.

“Traditional kayaks can be very hard to get in and out of without tipping,” Hicks said. “The way it works is you take the kayak and go into this launcher, and then you can get in or out easily.”

The docking system is accessible for people in wheelchairs, she added. It moves people over and then into the boat.

“It’s created a system that allows us to pretty much take anybody out on the lake. And that has been very cool,” Hicks said.

As of early August, more than 1,500 campers had used the lake this summer. That includes people with juvenile arthritis from the Arthritis Society, campers with physical and communicative disabilities through the Open Access Resource Centre, and children with autism and Down’s syndrome from Partners and Pals.

New to Camp Manitou this year is 2.6-acre lake which allows for new water-based recreation programs.

For some, it was the first time they ever had the opportunity to go into a boat,” Hicks said. “In the case of this one young gentleman, the fact that he felt comfortable enough after his previous experience (that had been not a good one) to be able actually to go out, he ended up going out a few times.”

The dirt from the lake was turned into bicycle tracks that encircle the new water feature, Hicks said. It’s a popular site for youth in their leadership program. Camp Manitou has also hired a cycling instructor receiving extra training through a partnership with the Manitoba Cycling Association. Both organizations will benefit.

The lake and cycling trails will help the next generation of leaders.

“A lot of the participants in (the leadership program) are part of our hockey academy,” Hicks said. “One of the things that I’m hoping to do is to build those boating skills in them and then take them out on wilderness canoe trips as part of their leadership training. The doors that are going to open for us, I’m very excited about them.”

Tony Zerucha

Tony Zerucha
East Kildonan community correspondent

Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at tzerucha@gmail.com

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