‘Canoe’ Canoe? (Canoe Heads for Kids)

On June 4th, not one but TWO teams consisting of Oconto alumni and current staff participated in Canoe Heads for Kids.

Together, Team Oconto Alum and Team Oconto Staff raised $7,025.28, which will send approximately 6 kids to camp this summer!

Oconto Staff team posing for a photo

Top: Tess Sutherland, Katie Scott, Danny-Mae Toon, Emily Pepper, Kate Lahaie Bottom: Brooklyn Colborne, Maddy Horne. Photo by Teddy Chau

Oconto Alum team posing for a photo before the event

Top: Emily Peebles, Beth McNeil, Calynn Irwin, Alice Nelson Bottom: Sophie Bertram, Evelyn Nelson, Kay Watson. Photo by Teddy Chau

Canoe Heads for Kids is an event that started in 2006 by Billy Anderson in hopes to raise $10,000 to send deserving kids to camp. He portaged a total of 43 km across the span of two days. From that, the idea came about to have an annual event portaging 20km through downtown Toronto and paddling 20km, totaling 40km.


Today, Canoe Heads for Kids is a 7km portage starting from the Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre and ending up at Humber Bridge, then a 7km paddle back to Harbourfront. About 125 people participated this year and raised over $120,000 so far!

All participants listening to organizers talk about Canoe Heads for kids and the event.

All participants listening to pre event speeches. Photo by Teddy Chau

‘In the end, all the hard work is worth it when we see the money roll in and hear first hand from Amici campers about their amazing experiences at summer camp’

 -Tim McMartin (Organizing Commitee)


We spoke to the captain of our alumni team Sophie Bertram about her 5 years of experience participating in Canoe Heads and what camp means to her:

Sophie Bertram paddling during the event with team mate Kay Watson

Sophie Bertram paddling during the event with team mates Kay Watson and Beth McNeil. Photo by Teddy Chau

What does participating in this event and representing a team of Oconto Alum mean to you?


Sophie: It is so important to me that every child has the opportunity to attend camp. As Oconto Alum, I know the power of the camp experience and how much of an impact it can have on a child’s life. I wanted to raise as much money as I could to give that gift to as many children as possible.


What did you learn growing up at camp?


Sophie: Camp taught me confidence and resilience. At camp, you are in a safe environment to explore and play without the pressure and judgment we often face in the ‘real world’. You can be goofy and carefree but also sensitive and reflective – being your authentic self is celebrated and encouraged at camp, which gave me the confidence to always be myself no matter what.

With this confidence, came a resilience to face challenges head on and turn them into opportunities for learning and growth. Not everyday was going to be sunshine and rainbows, but with self-confidence and support from my peers I learned how to make the most of every day and turn a negative experience into something positive. This attitude and approach to life was instilled in me from my summers at Oconto and helps me navigate through my life today.

Oconto Alum ready for their paddle

Evelyn Nelson, Emily Peebles, Sophie Bertram, Kay Watson and Beth McNeil ready to paddle. Photo by Teddy Chau

Click HERE to see more photos from this year’s event! (Photos by Teddy Chau)

All participants and volunteers for canoe heads for kids

Photo by Teddy Chau

Emily Pepper, Danny-Mae Toon and Kate Lahaie paddling during the event

Emily Pepper, Danny-Mae Toon and Kate Lahaie Photo by Teddy Chau

Katie Scott and Maddy Horne paddling during the event

Katie Scott and Maddy Horne Photo by Teddy Chau

Brooklyn Colborne and Tess Sutherland paddling during the event

Brooklyn Colborne and Tess Sutherland Photo by Teddy Chau

There is still time to donate to canoe heads for kids and help send a kid to camp!


Save the date for next year’s Canoe Heads for Kids:  Saturday, June 3, 2017


*If you are interested in getting involved with Canoe Heads or Amici visit their website http://amicicharity.org/get-involved/