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TRIP FAQ

  • WHAT KIND OF FOOD DO YOU EAT ON TRIPS?
    Our trip food is delicious and nutritious! We take food seriously since we are so active during the day. In addition to providing the necessary nutrients to refuel our bodies, our meals are a core part of our wilderness experiences - students play a significant role in the planning and cooking of meals and are given opportunities to be creative and experiment when doing so. Most of the food we bring on our trips is dehydrated, with the exception of a few fresh meals at the beginning of the trip. The dried food is the real deal, it's just been dried up to save both space and weight (something you'll be thankful for on the portage trail). Cooking over a fire, sipping hot drinks, and enjoying meals together are often highlights for our participants, so come prepared to enjoy! Bon appetit!
  • WHAT LEVEL OF WILDERNESS AND PADDLING EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED TO GO ON A TRIP?
    None, unless otherwise specified! Our trips are designed to accommodate people of all experience levels. Our highly trained and equipped instructors will teach you everything you need to know in order to thrive in the wilderness. We just ask that you be willing to challenge yourself and try new things. Our experiences operate on a 'challenge by choice' principle. This means that regardless of your experience level, you should expect to be challenged. This will look different for everyone; some challenges may be physical, some mental, some relational, some spirtitual.
  • CAN PARTICIPANTS TAKE THEIR PHONES AND OTHER TECHNOLOGY ON THE TRIPS?
    One of the greatest reasons we head out into the wilderness is to free ourselves from the immense volume of distractions that plague us in the world we know. As such, we ask participants to leave their technology in a safe storage area at the base camp while they are out on their trip. Taking a break from technology allows participants to be fully present with one another, and gives the group the best chance to become a tight-knit community. Not to mention, cell phones won't have reception in the backcountry and there is a risk of damage to electronics if they are brought out on trip. That being said, participants are more than welcome to bring along a camera if they would like. Coldwater will provide the opportunity for participants to collaborate and share all their photos after the trip is over.
  • WHAT SORT OF TRAINING DO THE TRIP LEADERS UNDERGO?
    Our instructors take part in a fully immersive two-month training program. The first month involves the development of a wide range of 'hard' wilderness skills through a three-week backcountry canoe trip. These skills include paddling techniques, camp craft, navigation, fire building, and cooking over a fire. Following their trip, leaders spend over a month learning about the process of small group development, the journey of spiritual formation, and the stages of adolescence and psychological development. This training is full of practical, hands-on experience so that all instructors can feel equipped and empowered to lead on trips. Coldwater also requires that all instructors hold a valid Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification prior to the beginning of the summer.
  • HOW MANY PARTICIPANTS AND LEADERS ARE TYPICALLY ON A TRIP?
    Our trip experiences are rooted in small group development because this is where we tend to see the most significant growth. In light of that, each trip has two highly trained, mature instructors and around 5-10 students.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A POTENTIAL PARTICIPANT WHO'S NERVOUS THAT THEY'LL SLOW THE GROUP DOWN?
    You have a unique role in the group and the group needs you! Each person on the trip, including you, has unique strengths and brings something of value to your trip community. Similarly, each person has areas where they can improve. If you look at your areas of improvement as learning opportunities instead of a weakness that hinders the group, you will experience so much more growth! The point of our trips is not to simply get from point A to point B as fast as possible; we are journeying. This means that what happens along the way is just as important, or maybe more so, than the final destination.
  • DO PARTICIPANTS HAVE ANY DOWN TIME DURING THE TRIP TO RELAX?
    Our trips are fairly fast-paced, but we believe strongly in fun, reflection, and taking the time to find a Christ-centred calmness while in the wilderness. Morning quiet times are an integral part of our daily routine, as are evening group conversations around the campfire. Should the opportunity present itself, groups have been known to enjoy swimming, hiking, and exploring.
  • I STILL HAVE SOME QUESTIONS. HOW CAN I REACH OUT?
    Please feel free to send an email with any questions you may have to info@coldwatercanada.org and we'll get back to you shortly!
  • HOW DO I KNOW WHICH TRIP TO SIGN UP FOR?
    Each of our trips is designed for a certain age range. We've listed ages for each trip, which indicate what age you will be by the end of this calendar year. For increased clarity, we've added grade ranges this year for all youth trips. If you still find yourself unsure of which trip to sign yourself or your child up for, please feel free to send an email to info@coldwatercanada.org.
  • WHAT HAPPENS IN THE CASE OF AN EMERGENCY?
    In the unlikely event of an emergency that cannot be handled with the available first aid supplies, instructors are equipped with and trained to use a satellite locator device. This device sends out the exact location of the group to the assigned Coldwater contact person. This person is available for contact 24/7 for the duration of the trip. Immediately upon receipt of the 'help' signal, a team is mobilized to head out and meet the group, bringing whatever they might need. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, the instructors can use the special SOS button to send a signal to the nearest emergency services team. This team typically travels by helicopter, providing a very quick response time. They will arrive at the location of the signal and will take the necessary action.
  • ARE THE TRIPS SAFE?
    Every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of all staff and participants on a trip. All of our instructors are individuals who have proven themselves to be competent and mature in the wilderness and who have received a high degree of first aid training that meets the industry standard. Risk management is a significant portion of instructor training and our instructors are trained to identify different hazards and address them before they become an issue.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A POTENTIAL PARTICIPANT WHO'S BEEN TO A STAY-OVER BIBLE CAMP BEFORE AND LOVED IT, BUT HAVEN'T BEEN ON A CANOE TRIP? ARE THERE CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF CAMP THAT MIGHT BE FAMILIAR TO THEM ON A COLDWATER TRIP?"
    Definitely come on a trip! Similar to camp, you will have leaders (we call them instructors) with you for the whole week. You will get the chance to swim, sing songs, have morning devotion times, and make strong friendships. You'll also get to try new things like cooking over a fire, setting up a shelter, paddling a canoe, and using a map and compass to find your way!
  • Will I be required to wear a PFD?
    YES. All participants and instructors will be required to wear PFDs when they are on or in the water.
  • What will the day look like?
    After checking-in at the Brant Conservation Area and being shuttled to your starting point, the rest of your day will be spent paddling down the Grand River. You can expect good conversation, breaks when needed and time well spent outside. For more details on the full-day and half-day event schedules, see above!
  • What should I bring?
    Please bring the following with you on June 24th: - Weather-appropriate clothing - A long-sleeve synthetic shirt in a Ziploc bag - Sturdy close toed shoes (we recommend an old pair of running shoes that you can get wet) - A sun hat - 2 reusable water bottles (If you need a reusable water bottle, there will be Coldwater Nalgenes available for purchase) - Sunscreen - Sunglasses - You could also consider bringing a warm, dry change of clothes to keep in your vehicle and change into when you get back for dinner. If you are in need of any personal gear please send an email to admin@coldwatercanada.org no later than June 19th so we can do our best to accommodate your request!
  • Are we travelling by ourselves or in groups?
    You will be traveling in a group of canoes led by a Coldwater Wilderness Instructor who will be keeping an eye out for you. There will be safety protocols and risk management in place and check-ins along the way.
  • Are there prizes for top fundraisers?
    Yes! We greatly appreciate your efforts and want to thank you for your hard work towards making Coldwater programs accessible for every student. The individual or pair who raises the highest amount of funds for our Student Sponsorship Fund prior to June 24th, 2023 will be awarded a two-night stay at Cedar Shore Cottage in Turkey Point, ON, redeemable between September 2023 and April 2024. Full details will be provided to the winner in the weeks following the Paddle-a-thon.
  • What if there is lightning or other inclement weather?
    In the case of lightning or other unsafe inclement weather, participants will be guided off of the water until the unsafe weather passes. If it is just rain, the event will continue!
  • What will I do with my vehicle?
    You can leave your vehicle parked at the Brant Conservation Area from 8 AM - 8 PM. Parking is $8.
  • What if I have my own canoe?
    If you plan on bringing your own canoe, please let us know in the registration form. You are responsible for transporting your own canoe to the starting point (Blair or Glen Morris) prior to meeting at the Brant Conservation Area.
  • What gear is included?
    On the day of the event, we will provide: -A canoe and safety kit for every pair registered. -A PFD and paddle for each participant. -A First-Aid kit for every group.
  • Do I have to fundraise?
    Your registration fee will help cover the cost of the event. However, your fundraising efforts will directly impact the lives of students in need of financial assistance. In order to make a greater impact, please thoughtfully and prayerfully fundraise.
  • When does the event end?
    We are anticipating both groups to arrive back at Brant Conservation Area around 5:30 PM. We will enjoy a celebratory BBQ dinner together and be on our way before your parking day pass expires at 8:00 PM.
  • How do I fundraise? Is there a minimum amount I need to fundraise?
    For details on how to fundraise, check out the ‘Fundraising Specifics’ section above. If you have any further questions or want to discuss ideas, feel free to contact Jess at jessm@coldwatercanada.org. As for the minimum amount to fundraise, we encourage at least $350, which would cover one registration fee for our shortest trip.
  • What will the dinner look like?
    A BBQ dinner will be provided by Coldwater volunteers for your arrival at the Brant Conservation Area at the end of your paddle. Accommodating dietary restrictions is important to us, so please be sure to notify us of all restrictions when completing your registration form.
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