AlgomaTrad Family Camp 2022 – Another great year!

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AlgomaTrad Family Camp 2022 was held at the AlgomaTrad Centre from Monday, August 08 to Sunday, August 14. The 150-strong community of learners of all-ages and their very talented and passionate mentors enjoyed a beautiful week of weather (no tornadoes this year, thank goodness!) on beautiful St. Joseph Island. The Camp featured about 70 workshops every day, covering all learning levels from introduction to master, in: fiddle, tin whistle, guitar, piano, cello, bass, uilleann and highland pipes, ukulele, mandolin, harmonica, bodhran, singing, step dancing, basketmaking, natural dyes and fibre arts, blacksmithing, community arts,  and children’s music, theatre, and stories programming.

Evenings were full with concerts, music sessions, community contra/square/balfolk dances, and the always awesome annual Staff Concert at the Richards Landing Centennial Grounds.

AlgomaTrad is hugely grateful for this year’s incredible staff, including: the amazing quartet Vinta, featuring fiddler/pianist/accordionist Emilyn Stam, fiddler/singer/guitarist Nathan Smith, clarinet/harmonica/accordion player John Williams, and fiddler/bassist Alan Mackie; fiddler and Ottawa-valley stepdancer, Adriana Ciccone; dance caller/singer-songwriter/children’s performer Hannah Naiman; multi-instrumentalist and arranger James Stephens; fiddler/multi-instrumentalist/Old-time Canadian stepdancers Alanna Jenish; fiddler and multi-instrumentalist Lea Kirstein; uilleann piper/bodhran player, multi-instrumentalist, and sound and video guru, Steáfán Hannigan; fiddler Aine Schryer-O’Gorman; piano accompanist Julie Schryer;  tin whistle, flute, and accordion player Eli Howard; Highland and Uilleann pipers and tin whistle players Spencer Murray and Pat O’Gorman; choir leader and children’s programming facilitator Shifra Cooper; basketmakers Johnny Suderman and Heather Pepper; artist and community arts leaders Miranda Bouchardnatural dye specialist and fibre artist Tuija Hansen; Blacksmith Denis Frechette; volunteer children’s workshop leader Vince Candelino; musicians Zach Lefebvre and Benoit Lefebvre; and sound engineer/percussionist Jason Sonier; as well as the heart and soul of the Camp, the kitchen staff – Jane Wildman, Abbie Wildman, Hannah-Lee Lawrence, Yvonne Kulawic, Cindy Glover, Donna Forster, and a host of volunteers and worktraders.

Big thanks go out to the AlgomaTrad’s hardworking president/chair Barb Willoughby and Board of Directors: Sarah Fleming, Mary and Steve Schneider, Amy Reich, Samantha Giguere, Eli Howard, and Michael O’Gorman, who volunteer their time to guide the entire AlgomaTrad endeavour. Special thanks to the Auction committee whose efforts raised close to $8000 for the Nicholas Missere Bursary Fund, including Barb, Sarah, Mary, and Samantha with  Joyce Ervin, and Sylvie Tremblay.  The Fund is an important tool to help make events and programs more accessible to families and individuals in need. Heartfelt thanks for all the support before and during camp from volunteer Assistant Camp Director Lou Hayden. Much thanks also goes to Gary Bloch and Sarah Kulawic for their ongoing health and safety guidance as we continued to negotiate the Covid reality. Our summer employees Jeffrey Stevens and Gwen Allard, in positions supported by grants from Governments of Ontario and Canada, were there for us every step of the way – thanks, you two.

We had some wonderful support from our corporate sponsors: kudos to, Penokean Hills Farms, ONEKA, North Shore Sentinel, Island Clippings, EchoTech, and Karhi Contracting.

As with every year, the St. Joseph Island and area community had our backs in every way, before, during and after the Camp – very special thanks go to St. Joseph Township, Jocelyn Township, St. Joseph Island Central School and the Algoma District School Board, the Wildman Family, Gina Marie Wilson, Brian (the mad grass cutter) and Heather Fox, Al Tithecott, Steve Monks, Mike Jones, Aaron Fisher, Pierre Lefebvre, Benoit Lefebvre, David De Geus, Steve Dominy, George Willoughby, Marg Carruthers, Andrew MacKay, Heidi Werner, Carl & Marilyn Bowyer, Heather & Brian Whitley, the Hodgson Family, Ron Dorscht, and all of our wonderful volunteers.  Very special shout-out to super volunteer Julie Corcoran who seemed to always be there before, during, and after Camp, cleaning, repairing, building shower stalls, preparing breakfast, and generally taking care of the site.

A huge thank you to our funders the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Canadian Heritage, who helped us prepare for the safe re-opening of the Camp during the Covid pandemic and provided tools for the future safe delivery of programs and events.

The Kate Murphy Memorial Bursary Fund, as well as the Annie Bartlett Memorial Bursary Fund will carry the memory of these two beautiful humans and their love for music, dance, and community forward by providing empowering opportunities to people of all ages in the joy of learning and celebrating traditional music and dance through inclusive community. This year these funds supported 3 young Campers to come to Camp and who are all dedicated to learning fiddle, stepdance and more during the year.

A big thank you to everyone who came out on a cool evening to the staff concert and who supported the online fundraising auction, your support helps in more ways than you know.

AlgomaTrad acknowledges that the organization and Centre operate on the traditional lands of the Aniishinaabe and Metis. We recognize the harms of the past and are committed to improving our understanding of local Indigenous culture, to honouring their voices, and to learning from their community members in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.

Finally, Artistic Directors Julie Schryer and Pat O’Gorman  send our huge thank to all of this year’s AlgomaTradders who brought their passion, their excitement, and their total commitment to building a joyful and loving community!

See you next year!!