Staff Training Begins!

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The paths are raked, the cabins swept and the stage is set for 2019 staff training. As the second week of work camp comes to an end, we say goodbye to generous CV friends and alumni who volunteer valuable hard work and time to prepare facilities for incoming staff. Thanks to Phil Dodge, Tom (N’orleans), the Clarks, Jim and Jim, Kerry Claros and Will Carls. Mikey Meves, along with his crew from Menomonie, and Alex Kvanli cleared brush, downed trees, then cut and moved the logs from the depths of the forest to the sauna. Although hauling wood is back-breaking work, the split and stacked firewood is now plentiful and convenient, so, “shut the door” and “hit the rocks,” because the sauna is stoked and hot for the summer!

American Canoe Association certified instructor Ivan Bartha founded One Planet Adventures, whose mission is to provide outdoor leadership skills training using adventure, innovation, client centered culture and collaborative learning experiences while maintaining the highest industry standards.

The first day started in the mess hall early Monday morning. The delicious aroma of Deb’s kitchen and a hot crackling fire in the fireplace welcomed returning veterans Evan Riske, Dylan Jackson, Tom Brandt and CIT Kyle Montgomery to the camp’s beautiful north woods peninsula. New recruits include Jackson Peacock from Marquette University, Matt Berning, University of Minnesota students Paul Nelson-Thompson and Ben Mohr, a student from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. After hot coffee and a mouth-watering Voyageur four-course breakfast, it was time to go to work. The clock is ticking, and the season is short, so there’s no time to waste as staff prepare for camper arrival.

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ACA certified canoe paddling instructor, Ivan Bartha, set the tone. Starting day one of staff training, Bartha’s presentation focused on some of the much-needed knowledge, foundational skills and techniques he uses to teach kids around the world to effectively paddle a canoe. After revealing some of his tricks of the trade, he covered the main tenets of experiential education (our favorite kind of education!) and drove home the importance of consistent feedback, self-checking, and making the lesson fun for the participants. Bartha’s ability to keep the crowd engaged and active in the material was inspirational. Staff look forward to the excitement of hosting Bartha next summer, as his teachings are invaluable and our appetite for learning and growing is insatiable, here at CV. Visit Ivan’s website at for more from our new friend.

Armed with all the necessary experience, it was time to put our paddles in the water, learning multiple new canoe strokes, maneuvering techniques, and how to control the boat efficiently before plunging into the frigid lake to practice rescues. Ivan introduced us to where we learned the river is moving 470 cubic feet per second of water by the camp bay, and the temperature of the water in Farm Lake varied from 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. While the guys were wet, they worked as a team to move the swim dock out of storage and into the ice-cold water. Remember, no diving off the dock, and yes, that big rock is still out there halfway to the raft.

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Next up, the crew heads to Vermilion Community College for two days of Wilderness First Aid training with Sue Pasmick!

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