MNR goes canoeing – thanks Andy Baxter

I have a lot of respect for my canoemate, Andy Baxter. He has a normal job, working for the Ministry of Natural Resources as a Program Coordinator in the Water Resource Section. Of course, I have no idea what that means, and I have no idea what he really does at work. He’s tried to explain it to me during our lengthy canoe trips together but my mind quickly goes blank during the description process. What I do know is that it has nothing to do with canoeing, which is probably why my attention span is reduced. But if it has nothing to do with canoeing, then why did he ask me to help him a week ago to take his summer youth staff on a canoe trip at the end of their employment? Well, it’s because Andy is totally dedicated to “re-introduce” the art of canoe tripping to a large chunk of new and up-and-coming MNR staff occupying the gigantic government edifice lurking over the downtown core of Peterborough. It seems conversation about canoe tripping in the wilderness is more popular around the water cooler with the soon-to-retire staff then the newbie workforce. And my buddy, Andy, is committed to changing that (on his spare time, of course).

Of the seven staff members we took on the trip, less then a quarter had been on any real kind of wilderness canoe excursion. After our adventure, however, all seven were set on organizing a more extensive paddle jaunt in the near future. Andy had done his job — he had given the people that are soon to be responsible for managing our natural resources in Ontario some initiative to step away from their blue cubicles and lab tops and get in the field more, to connect with nature like no other professional development day could ever muster up.

I was told that the group went back chatting up the trip and created a real buzz on more canoe trips in the future. Andy definitely made a difference at his work place — and by reading some of the emails I received from the group members of the initial trip, and other employees that wished they had went as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if next season’s MNR employment canoe trip outing is led by the Minister herself.

Andy borrowed my daughter’s favorite camp mug and I promised I wouldn’t post a pic of it – sorry Andy.

Andy holds on to the tarp during a brutal storm (a number of tornadoes hit Ontario that night). Yikes!

Andy and I make sure not to show any fear to the new paddlers when the big storm hits.