A note from Executive Director Jeff Bradshaw:
After a fairly exhaustive search and interview process the past few months (led by Honorary Director Jane McCutcheon, FOW members Will Stratton & Jason Monteith, Renata, and me), I’m pleased to announce that our “Path to the Future” has been secured with the appointment of two new fulltime staff members (who will be very familiar to many).
Welcome (back) to our new Summer Camp Director Geoff “Rudy” Williamson and our new Outdoor Centre Director Fraser “Tito” McOuat!
Rudy and Tito will start officially in their new roles on November 3rd at the new Burlington Office where they will join Wenonah Board Chair Renata, Associate Director Caron and me in the year-round/fulltime management of Camp life. Rudy, as Summer Camp Director, will be just that – fully responsible for all aspects of the Summer Camp experience at Wenonah. He becomes the face and voice of Camp. Likewise, Tito in his role as Outdoor Centre Director will do the same in Spring and Fall.
Rather than doing a “dry” summary of their respective experience and history with Camp, I asked Rudy and Tito, in their own words, to provide a bit of background on their lives and engagement with Wenonah.
GEOFF “RUDY” WILLIAMSON – SUMMER CAMP DIRECTOR
I first attended Camp Wenonah with my older brother in August of 2000, and have returned to Camp every Summer since. I returned as a camper through 2005 season before participating in the POLARIS program in August of 2006, and the WCIT program in August of 2007. I first took on a staff role at Wenonah as a counsellor during Period 5 of 2007. Over the next number of years I took on the roles of Junior Program Staff, Counsellor, POLARIS Director, Introductory Period Assistant Director, POLARIS Tripper and Boys Section Director before taking on the full-time role of Assistant Director for the 2013 season. In addition I took on the roles of Program Specialist and Group Coordinator during the Spring Outdoor Centre seasons between 2010 and 2013 and the Fall Outdoor Centre seasons between 2012 and 2014. After travelling throughout Asia and Northern Europe this past winter, I returned to Camp this Summer to take on a number of roles throughout the Summer season.
Between the years of 2008 and 2012 I attended and graduated from the University of Western Ontario in Media, Information and Technoculture with a minor in Film Studies.
For me, Camp has always been a family affair. After attending Camp for the first couple of years with my older brother (FOW member and past Assistant Director Chris “Gary” Williamson), we were joined by our younger brother Cam in 2003 and our younger sister Carolyn in 2008 (both staff members at Wenonah this Summer). In recent years I have also shared my Camp experience with my niece and nephew Spencer and Riley Couch. Camp provided us all not only with the opportunity to grow on a personal level, but also to grow as a family by sharing a communal Camp experience. Undoubtedly, my love and commitment to Camp has stemmed largely from my ability to grow alongside my family over the past fifteen years.
Fifteen years ago when my mother first registered me for Camp at Wenonah, there was no knowing to what lengths Wenonah, and more generally a Camp experience, would change my life. Over the past fifteen years I have found an undying love and appreciation for the outdoors, I have gained a growing self-confidence with every passing year, I have found self-worth, I have made many of my greatest friends, I have developed leadership skills that I will hold for the rest of my life, I have discovered my true personality and have found my own voice. It is for these reasons that I am honoured and excited to take on the role as the new Summer Camp Director, because I now understand and appreciate how a Summer Camp experience can make a world of difference to a young person, but also how those experiences as a child can translate to great things as they make the transition into adulthood.
The benefits of Camp on my life are indescribable and unmeasurable and to be able to play a part in providing those experiences for a new generation of young people makes me proud to be a driving force behind the Wenonah experience.
FRASER “TITO” MCOUAT – DIRECTOR – THE CAMP WENONAH CENTRE FOR OUTDOOR EDUCATION
I, Tito, began attending Wenonah in the Summer of 1999. I have attended each Summer since, including the incredibly rare three week program at Camp in 2001. I was a member of the POLARIS program in August 2006, and the WCIT program in 2007. I joined the staff team in 2008 as a Property Staff. Over the next five years, I was a Counsellor, Operations Director, POLARIS Director, WCIT Director, and many roles during Period 5. Beginning in 2010, I began with the Outdoor Centre and each Spring since (and the last two Fall Seasons), I have been a part of the glorious team.
I began to understand the importance of leadership and began to foster my love for Outdoor Education while being a student leader and counsellor throughout the latter stages of my high school career. Being a summer camper, I was unaware of the impact and the importance that outdoor experiences would have on young individuals. I began to take these skills and bring them with me as I began to carve out a career working summers at Wenonah.
During my time studying at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario (Bachelor of Arts – English), I had the opportunity, along with FOW alumni Rory Poole and Duncan Bull, to coach a minor hockey team full of kids just learning how to play. It was a special time where we were able to give back to the community and teach kids a thing or two (or three) about everything we knew.
In my spare time I enjoy visiting Goodlife Fitness (occasionally going inside!), watching my beloved Maple Leafs, hitting the golf course (like my beloved Maple Leafs), and spending time with friends and family. But most of all, I enjoy being and working at Camp with all the different campers and students. I am truly proud to be able to continue working with Camp Wenonah and carving out lifelong experiences for everyone!
We’re thrilled to have Rudy and Tito lead us during Wenonah’s next chapter.
Lots of other great news will be sent in the weeks and months ahead as we prepare for the 2015 season and beyond!