Memories of Camp Samac

By Jill Passmore, Visitor Experience Co-ordinator

I realized when I wrote my last blog post that so many of my memories of the Civic Auditorium were tied into those of Camp Samac as well. I have vague memories of coming to Camp Samac on a bus from Port Credit, ON when I was little for Brownie camp. I was excited because I knew were we were going since my maternal grandparents lived in Oshawa. It was not long after this that our family moved to Oshawa and my siblings and I were enrolled into Oshawa Units of Brownies, Guides and Beavers. We attended meetings at Waverly PS, St. Michael CS (now Trent University Durham) and Glen Stewart Clubhouse.

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As a family we often went for hikes through Camp Samac – the Sunrise and Sunset trails, and I am fairly certain this was an all-season activity. One memorable hike took place in the fall. We were out with our neighbours, who were also involved in Scouting. Their son and my brother were the same age and had gone up ahead on the trail. The footing has given way and down my brother went into the creek – he could not swim at the time! My Dad wasted no time getting down that bluff camera and all. Not long after we were enrolled in swimming lessons at the Civic Auditorium.

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I also remember participating in huge campfires held at Samac. I am assuming they were at Kitchie Lodge since that is the most open area for campfires of that size. It seemed like there were many other Cub Packs from Oshawa there on those nights. Many would be wrapped in warm campfire blankets, their badges proudly sewn on. We would play games like telephone; sing songs like Old Mrs. O’Leary, On Top of Spaghetti and One Bottle of Pop/Fish & Chips & Vinegar.

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There was also the familiar scent of the camp shop. If you have been there, you know what I mean. You will also probably remember the awful carpeting! Most of the time we got to pick out a patch to sew onto our campfire blankets. I was disappointed to find out that the blankets are not made as they used to be. I guess that happens to some things after twenty-five years, right? Also, most of the uniforms and badgers for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are sold online these days, the same goes for Sparks, Brownies and Guides.

Last year my daughter went to Sparks camp at Samac. Boy did it bring back memories. I meant to go back and go to the shop but forgot to amidst the familiar hustle and bustle of getting kids settled at camp. Picking out bunks, checking out the cabin, checking out the fire pit etc. They want on a hike too; though I don’t think it was on Sunrise or Sunset. It makes me happy that my kids are getting to experience something I remember so fondly and that Camp Samac is there for at least another generation to enjoy.

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Jill and her siblings at Camp Samac, mid-1980s

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