Whitewater Adventure

Resting in an eddy - Madawaska River 2010
Resting in an eddy – Madawaska River 2010

Sunday, July 6 to Saturday, July 12, 2014 on the Lower Madawaska River to Griffith, Ontario

Pdf version of this information for printing. Different photos in the pdf as well.

The 403rd Toronto Sea Scouts are hosting an exciting opportunity for Venturers and Scouts to take their canoeing skills to the next level on one of Ontario’s best canoeing rivers.
This camp is open to any registered member of Scouts Canada from age 13 to 17 inclusive. There are only 12 spaces for participants, so you should act quickly to secure your spot.

This river is an amazing place to experience the Ontario wilderness and whitewater canoeing firsthand. In recent years many Scout programs have become very easy and have had only limited tripping until much older. This is a not to be missed opportunity to do something exciting and test your boundaries and resourcefulness.

Getting there

You are responsible for getting yourself to Paddler Co-op in Palmer Rapids by noon on July 6 and getting home from Griffth in the afternoon of July 12. We can, however, put you in touch with other participants and parents so that you can car pool to minimise the driving. Here’s a map showing both locations.


The trip will be led by experienced Scout leaders and canoe trippers Beth Baskin, Peter Farr and Keith Nunn who collectively have spent more than 500 nights on canoe trips. Together they spent 21 days on the South Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories in 2009. Keith and Peter are whitewater paddling instructors with ORCKA and Paddle Canada. Keith is certified as a Wilderness First Responder and Peter as an Advanced Wilderness First Aider. Keith and Beth are certified canoe guides with ORCKA. Beth has over 25 years of experience as an educator and group facilitator with youth and adults. This same team ran this event in 2011 as well.

The first real rapid of our downriver trip
The first real rapid of our downriver trip


We’ll be using lightweight equipment: Whisperlight stoves, backpacking tents, water pumps, canoe packs. Participants will need to pack their gear in a waterproof bag (best to acquire your own, but we have a few to loan) and then share a canoe pack with a partner.

In addition to the whitewater instruction and paddling, there will be instruction and work in group leadership, menu planning, budgeting, shopping, risk management, water-related first aid, cooking, boat repair. We’ll also have a couple of campfires and at least one Scout’s Own. There will be ample opportunities for swimming, including in rapids.

Before the camp we will meet twice in downtown Toronto to do team building, plan our menu and organize equipment. Those meeting dates are Sunday, April 27 from 2-5pm and Sunday, June 8 from 2-5pm. These dates are an important part of the program. Missing one or both may jeopardize your certifications.

The first 3 days of the camp itself (July 6 to 8) will be spent focussing on canoeing skills, especially whitewater. The remaining 4 days (July 9-12) will be spent on the downriver trip. No prior whitewater experience is needed, however some canoeing and camping experience is essential. If you can canoe in a basically straight line and have camped, cooked and cleaned outdoors, that’s good enough. However, you must provide a reference for your canoeing skill as we cannot afford to have those who don’t have the ability to steer a boat effectively on flat water. We¬†will call your paddling reference before we accept your application.

Madawaska River campfire 2010
Madawaska River campfire 2010


Successful participants in the week long trip will be certified in the ORCKA Moving Water level 1a and Canoe Tripping  level 1.

Scout participants will be able to complete the Whitewater and Water Tripping badges. They will also complete some requirements for Advanced Tripping (part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8), Exploring (part 1, 2, 3, 4), Pathfinder Outdoor Skills (1, part 2, 3, 5, 6, 12), cooking (1, 2, 3, part 4, 5). If Scouts don’t actually have their paddling badge already, they will be able to complete that as well.

Venturers, subject to company approval, could use aspects of the trip to complete parts of the Exploration Award (discovery 1, challenge 1), Outdoors Award (discovery a, challenge c, skills a-i, part a-ii, b-ii, c-i, ), or possibly Queen’s Venturer (6, if the Venturer works as a leader on the trip).

There will likely be some river clean up and site maintenance involved as well, so community service hours may be accumulated.


The cost of this event in 2014 will be $450. This includes all camping, canoe rentals, food, instruction, badges and certifications. To apply to join the trip, complete the attached Level 3 activity permission, Course application and canoeing skill forms and return with a $100 deposit (cheque payable to 403rd Toronto Scouts) to Keith Nunn, 435 Shuter Street, Toronto, ON, M5A 1X4. We will also need a copy of your Scouts Canada registration form from your home group. If you have any questions you can contact Keith at kapn@kapn.net or 416-363-7923.


The end of the last rapid and time to go home
The end of the last rapid and time to go home