Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
September 3, 2001
Women discover spirit of the river
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
FORT SASKATCHEWAN — On July 20, a group of 16 women, ranging in age from around 20 to over 50, gathered for a weekend of canoeing, camping and camaraderie while prayerfully savouring the sights and sounds of stream and sky.
They chose one of the most scenic areas of the Red Deer River. Even though several had never canoed or even camped, everyone's co-operative adventurous spirit made for a memorable time.
The weather was perfect with a bit of sun, a bit of cloud and a sprinkle of rain. On Sunday, the clouds poured rain. We were saturated with mud and water, but our spirits were only dampened until we gathered for a final meal in Camrose.
Mary-Lou Veeken, past-archdiocesan CWL president, led the group. Mary-Lou holds her level two canoeing certificate, has taught canoeing for Scouts Canada and has canoed for over 30 years.
Her assistants were Louise Lee, Carol Borynec and Dorina Marchesin.
Camp duties were divided up, our meals were simple but nutritious and tasty and our campfire time was special. Prayer reflections allowed the women to explore different ways of prayer.
New friendships developed as we learned each other's strengths and weaknesses and learned to work together as a team. There was also much laughter.
WomanSpiritRiverJourney was the brainchild of Glenda Carline. In 1997 she called seven women together to canoe the North Saskatchewan for a weekend.
We enjoyed it so much we decided to make it a yearly event but commitments wouldn't allow. . . until this year. Four of the original seven women were able to return for the 2001 trip.
We began with a meeting in order to meet each other, go over the gear, the menus and decide on our river.
In a few weeks, we held a warmup session to practise our strokes and match skill levels to decide who would be in the stern and who in the bow. Another week or so later we were on the river.
Some comments at the conclusion of the trip were:
"I overcame my fear of water."
"I'm changed. I don't know how, but I'm sure my husband will be able to see a difference in how I am."
"I have never canoed and I have never camped. Now I want to do both. Next weekend!"
"This group has been exceptional in spirit and in perseverance."
"I was touched by the camaraderie and goodwill of every person present."
"It's more than canoeing. It's learning to trust yourself, the other person in your canoe, and God, really."
For 2002? We are planning one weekend for a group of 10. But our list is now at 31. Those women of prayerful spirit and canoeing expertise who are interested in leading a group of 10 may contact Mary-Lou at 464-6116.
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