Camp Onawaw Alumnae


In about 1991 Cathie Sault Hughes, a former Onawaw camper and counsellor, discovered that the Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA camp (Camp Wabanaki) which had purchased Camp Onawaw in 1970, was renting the Camp to groups during the month of June. From this bit of information came her idea to organize a Camp Onawaw reunion. She organized some of her Onawaw contemporaries to help, and in June of 1992, 75 former campers and counsellors, alumnae from many different years at Onawaw, gathered at the camp for a 'never to be forgotten' weekend. Out of this gathering the informal group, "The Camp Onawaw Alumnae", was formed.

Each June since then, alumnae have gathered at Wabanaki to sleep in the cabin bunks, to swim and sail, to eat and sing, and to enjoy old friendships in the magnificent Lake Vernon setting.

Very quickly, a special relationship developed between the Onawaw 'girls' and the staff of Wabanaki. Wabanaki welcomed the alumnae each year and worked very hard to make their return enjoyable. The Onawaw alums recognised that the Wab staff's appreciation for the Camp Onawaw/Wabanaki setting and their goals for Wab campers matched very closely Margaret Govan's love of Lake Vernon and her goals for Onawaw campers. The result was the development of the Onawaw-Margaret Govan Fund to help finance girls who could not afford the full fees to attend Wabanaki. Onawaw alums also raised funds to help Wabanaki to build a new canoe dock, now known as the Onawaw dock.

So who are we? We're a group of VERY mature women who owe a lot to our early camping experiences at Onawaw, who love to come back to camp to re-experience the friendships and the activities which were so enjoyable when we were young, and who are trying to help Wabanaki to provide some of the same life-changing lessons and opportunities which Onawaw gave to us.