Erin Sunstrum and Gill Thompson, Director
I fell in love with summer camp immediately upon starting my first camp job in 2004. I started as an Outdoor Centre staff and Arts and Crafts instructor at Camp White Pine and knew right away I had found my calling. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Education, I spent a year teaching abroad… but camp was calling me home. In November of 2010, I accepted a position with Camp Wanapitei to cover a maternity leave. I spent an amazing year getting to know the community and knew that I had found my place. After some part-time work as the Administrative Director, I joined the full-time staff team officially in January of 2015. Fast forward to the fall of 2019 when I accepted the role of Director.
I come into the position with tonnes of institutional knowledge and training from our outgoing leadership team. I am an active member of the Ontario Camps Association, sitting on the Annual Conference Committee since 2016 and presenting at camping conferences on topics such as Wilderness Trips and Your Health Centre and Incorporating Mindfulness Programming into Summer Camp. I am certified in Mental Health and Psychological First Aid, as well as a trainer for Project Wild and AdventureSmart. I am currently pursuing post-graduate studies in the field of Counselling Psychology, with the hopes of finishing my Masters in the next three years.
I believe the most important part of summer camp is the community – a place for children and youth to find a sense of belonging away from the pressures of an increasingly challenging world. The Wanapitei experience allows for campers and their leaders to have that sense of place while challenging themselves in new and exciting ways, all with the backdrop of some of the most beautiful parts of our country. We are passionate about our programs and all that they offer.
We invite you to call or email us to discuss Camp Wanapitei with you and your family. Phone: 519-767-91714 or email: [email protected]
I love Wanapitei! I first came here as a 2-week Pioneer camper in 2004 and haven’t really left. As a camper I felt immediately connected to this community. My leaders were positive and inspiring role models who encouraged my love of adventure, and who helped me learn how to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to help others find that same sense of belonging.
After my camper career, I was a Wanapitei trip leader for seven summers, and trip director for three summers. I led every level of trip that Wanapitei offers, travelling through incredible places with wonderful people. After finishing school for Outdoor Recreation in 2012, I spent my time travelling and working at different camps and outdoor centres. In 2014 I started working at the Kandalore Outdoor Centre where I was an instructor for several seasons before moving to a full time position as Program Director in 2017. Although I will always love being out on the “front lines” on canoe trips or at activities, I also really love approaching camp from a management position, and I’m grateful to continue doing that work at Wanapitei. I feel very fortunate to be able to do this job with Erin.
We can all learn from being in nature. Whether it’s self discovery, making connections with others, or just learning some cool facts about frogs, being on a canoe trip can really give you a new perspective. I love hearing stories about trip - paddling the beautiful waters of Temagami, making your way to James Bay, or even dragging your boat up some unnamed creek in the north. Our experiences may be different, but the common thread of our community ties us together. Looking forward to hearing your stories next.