02 July, 2016

July 2, 2016

July 2, 2016

We had another great day on Ahmic Lake! Our day started with earlybird, with the option of running, swimming or mountain biking. After breakfast the younger girls had a swim practice before some of them headed off to the North Bay Triathlon! The girls at the triathlon had a fantastic and successful day, and arrived back to camp at dinner time. The girls who stayed at camp for the day enjoyed morning classes of swimming, canoeing, diving, basketball, rugby and softball. After lunch we had our first paddling practice to start preparing for the upcoming regattas. After paddling, the girls had the option of synchro, ultimate frisbee or a bootcamp class. After a delicious dinner of homemade lasagna we had a camp wide game of Capture the Flag to end off the night. The girls were tuckered out after a busy day and definitely ready for bed! 

01 July, 2016

July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016

The girls have had a very busy first couple of days! Our campers all arrived on Wednesday and got to know one another as they got settled in their cabins. We started Thursday morning with an earlybird of swimming, running and biking. The new campers went on a tour of camp to get acquainted with things and get to know one another. After breakfast we started our morning classes, and the girls got to try out soccer, canoeing, archery and of course swimming! The weather was great on Thursday so in the afternoon we did a bit of sailing, paddling, diving and tennis. Thursday evening ended with some games on the backfield for the entire camp, and we finished with some partner tag. The rain held off for earlybird on Friday morning, and the girls were able to enjoy swimming, running and biking. After a delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast the girls had a relaxing yoga session before we headed off to Magnetawan for the Canada Day Parade! The rain didn't slow us down, and we marched through the town singing camp songs and representing all of our different countries. After some lunch and ice cream we headed back to camp for a fun-filled afternoon of team comp! The theme for this session is Finding Nemo, and the teams came up with fantastic skits and cheers to start us off. It has been a wonderful start to summer and we can't wait for all of the activities to come! 

30 June, 2016

We welcome you all to our camp

Start of our 2016 Season

We welcome you all to our camp, and we hope you're for our Ak-O-Mak, for we know it's the best of all camps East and West and we're loyal to our Ak-O-Mak!!!! A beautiful day here at camp to start our 2016 season view all our cabins on our Facebook page.

25 June, 2016

Meet Some Of Our Counsellors

Summer 2016 Staff

Jessica Clark is going to be a fourth year Ak-O-Makker this year. She had never gone to summer camp until her first year as camp counselor. Like swimming in new waters, not knowing what to expect was a little scary. Despite this, the experience she got out of it was life changing.  

Jessica enjoys team sports, such as soccer, basketball, ultimate Frisbee and volleyball; she’s more of a land mammal. Jessica also enjoys running and completed her first half marathon in September. Currently she’s part of an ultimate Frisbee league in Ottawa, loves cycling anywhere she goes and enjoys hitting the gym whenever she can.

Jessica is studying Nursing at the University of Ottawa in French and is going into her fifth year of university but her last year in her current program.  

My name is Hannah Puckering and this is my seventh summer at Akomak and my second  summer on staff. I will be graduating highschool at St. John's College this year in Brantford, Ontario where I played on both the rugby and volleyball teams. I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years and I also enjoy running and cycling and participating in a number of triathlons each year. Next year I am thrilled to be attending the University of Guelph for biological sciences. Camp is my favourite place in the world and I'm so excited to be a counsellor this summer. 

Hi, I'm Erin L! I'm from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, but I just finished my first year of Engineering at Queen's University, where I'm a member of the varsity swim team.  My favourite sports are swimming and running. I'm most looking forward to Sunday campfires, running the trails, and traveling to triathlons this summer at camp!

Hi my name is Emma, I’m a university student from Liverpool in England

and my favourite sports are soccer and volleyball. 

Hey my name is Charlotte and I'm from England. I am fun, enthusiastic and encouraging towards the children/ young adults. ( We all were there once and know what they go through) I hope I can make this their best summer yet. I look forward to helping all the girls discover new things they can do, especially things they didn't think they could do. 


Hi Everyone , my name is Lilia Aguilar but I prefer Lily, I am from Mexico, I am 21 years old, Iam Studying Marketing in Mexico City, this is my second year as Counsellor at Camp. I used to be camper in 2004 and 2005, my favorite thing to do in life is to do Triathlons, I started doing them when i was 11 years old. All the skills i learn at Camp pushed me to start doing them. From then to now i have done 15 Triathlons.

I love challenging myself and I am higher every time, learning from the experiences i take and also from my mistakes. Defining myself in one word can be perseverant because I'm one step at the time person but always looking forward till I reach my goal. I`m very excited to experience what this summer is going to become in. One of my favorite quotes says “ Put a little part of you in everything you do” so that  will be my aim for this summer. I'm looking forward to meet all the campers and make its summer a summer to remember , That is all about!!!. 

"My name is Catherine and I am from Melbourne, Australia. This will be my second summer at Camp Ak-O-Mak and I am thrilled to be returning. I love being outside and I thoroughly enjoy sports and exercise. I learnt how to swim last summer and I can't wait to accomplish something new this summer. I spent the winter in Banff, Alberta. Whilst the snow and skiing was great, I am looking forward to new adventures in a slightly warmer environment!

Hi! My name is Alexa Murray and this will be my ninth year at Camp Akomak, my second year on staff. I just finished my first year at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (better known as Virginia Tech) studying Wildlife Conservation. First semester, I was honored for my academic achievement by being named a member of the Dean’s List. Back at home in Delaware, I swam from ages 6-18 on both school and club teams, making High School State Championships five years in a row. I started competing triathlons at eight years old, and have dabbled in every sport in between. Camp holds a special place in my heart and I want to share my favorite place in the world with all of you. I am very excited to meet all of your daughters and hopefully make this the best summer yet!

My name is Grace Pestridge. This is my 6th summer at Camp Akomak, but only my first year in staff! I am from Lake Oswego, Oregon and will be in 12th grade next year. I have been swimming for 7 years and more recently started playing water polo. I am the Editor -in-Cheif of my school newspaper and have an internship researching and writing for Mom Magazine. I've lived in Australia, England, China, and the United States. I have a younger sister and two dogs! I am looking forward to a fun summer filled with lots of laughs and good memories! 

Pamela Rubio - Counselor

Pam is a fun athlete who has worked with children of different ages, using sport as a key to have fun.

She brings enthusiasm to activities and is very caring. She was a camper at Ak-O-Mak and has come back as a counselor to share the exciting experiences at camp that she once had. She started competing in triathlons when she was 12, she has been part of different sports teams and has coached children for football tournaments.

Pam lives in Mexico City and will be joining us as Staff for this summer.


Hey I'm Brett Saunders! I am from Newark, Delaware. I am an 18 year old swimmer, biker, tennis player, and triathlon enthusiast. I also love almost every other sport there is. I am state champion in tennis, and 5-time runner up in swimming. This year I also won the stock market game in my state if that counts for anything! I started going up to Canada for the summer in 2005, and it is still my favorite place to be. I will be attending the University of Tampa for swimming next year, and I plan to major in business. 


Hello! I'm a big advocate when it comes to physical activity and love to get others up and moving. I, myself, enjoy to be active and engage in activities such as long distance running, Ultimate, resistance training and yoga among other activities. I also love the outdoors and hiking. I just recently became a graduate from the University of Ottawa's kinesiology program. In September, I'll be returning as a student for my master degree of art in human kinetics. I hope one day to work in the health promotion domain. This will be my fourth year as a camp counselor but my third year at Ak-O-Mak. My goal this summer is to focus on cultivating healthy life habits with the campers so that they can become their best selves.

Hi, I'm Anna from Manchester in England.

I love all sports and have really enjoyed being a member of Trafford Athletics and Rowing club in my local area. I am a keen football fan and support Manchester United. I have played football (soccer) for 6 years and I am also a qualified referee.

I can't wait to get involved with all of the amazing activities on offer at Camp Ak-O-Mak and to make sure that we all have the best time this summer!

I'm really looking forward to my time at Camp Ak-O-Mak as I've never been to Canada before, so this is a new experience for me and one I can't wait to get started! See you all in a few weeks!


Amy Quinn

I am a university student from England, currently studying Psychology and History. During term time I volunteer for the Scottish Mental Health Foundation aiming to decrease stigma within the community, focussing specifically on young people’s mental health. I also play football (soccer) for my University and view land sports and travelling as two of my main passions. I am very excited to be returning to Camp Ak-O-Mak this year.  

Hi! My name is Vanessa and I’m so excited to be on staff for Camp Ak-O-Mak this summer! I’m originally from Toronto and I’ve just finished my forth year at Laurentian University where I am majoring in French and Philosophy. During the school year I swim for the Laurentian Voyageurs and coach the Sudbury Special Olympics Swim Team. While I’ve gone to and worked at various summer camps this will be my second year at Ak-O-Mak and I can’t wait to meet everyone!   

My name is Monica Cordero, im from Mexico and just finished grade 12. This is my 11th year at Camp Ak-O-Mak and my first as a staff member, I really enjoy being at camp in the summer and glad to have this opportunity. I love sailing, running, swimming and paddling.

27 May, 2016

Volunteer Work Weekend a Success

Volunteer Work Weekend a Success

Dianne and Catherine would like to express a heartfelt THANKS to the 14 friends of Ak-O-Mak who participated in our volunteer work weekend.

This annual event is an opportunity for us to put a "dent" in the chore list for opening camp.  As a group, we were able to "hammer out" a number of projects, proving that "many hands DO make light work!"

We had fantastic weather for 5 days straight and the beautiful lake breezes kept the bugs in the bush and off of the workers, just the way we like it.  It was so nice that Rosie and the Puckering Clan swam every day and the only squealing heard was from the flock of seagulls near Monster Rock....(Uh, Mike, that wasn't YOU, was it??).

Dianne kept everyone on task and organized.  She knows where everything is and how everything goes together and managed to supervise while answering phone calls from parents inquiring about camp!

Samson was the Chef Extraordinaire and kept us all well fed with the assistance of his sister and acting sous chef, Joyce!  We were all pleased to act as "guinea pigs" for a few yummy items that, having been given "double thumbs up" by the group, will be added to the Camp Menu this summer.  You will not be disappointed!

Sandi- "Counsellor"-Wilder brought her muscle, enthusiasm and her black lab, 'Donzie', to the weekend.  Donzie said he had a "paws-itively wonderful vay-cay, in and out of the lake all day and eating delectable droppings from the buffet table.


Emma, Hannah and mom, Sheryl,  were the perfect-painting-Puckering-people, and managed to avoid spilling a drop.  Catherine on the other hand.....

Thanks also to Jeff Manning, Mike Puckering and Herb Denny for the heavy-lifts and technical fixes all weekend and to Jim Fraser and his maintenance crew for help all around, every day.

We could not accomplish so much...

in so little time...

with so many laughs...

without you!

Thank you!

01 May, 2016

First Visit to Camp 2016

First Visit to Camp 2016

They say, "the older you get, the faster time passes". 

It sure seems that way after this winter...which, by the way, was a "non-winter" by Canadian standards as Ontario enjoyed most of its snowfall in APRIL this year.  This is fine if you're schlepping to work every day (us), but lousy if you want to ski, skate and toboggan (you?).  

As I write, Dianne and I have made our first sojourn north to  Ak-O-Mak to see how camp faired over the winter.   We were surprised that it looks, and quite frankly feels, the same as when we left in October.

All of the docks and roofs have remained in their original positions, unmoved by disengaging ice flows, heavy snows or high water levels from the spring thaw.  Hooray!!...No expensive damage!

Saturday was the picture-perfect, first day of spring at Camp Ak-O-Mak.  The weatherman delivered on a promise of severe-clear skies, brilliant sunshine and 13 degree C temperatures, although it sure felt a lot warmer!

Dianne, Catherine and Jim Fraser, Ak-O-Mak's chief maintenance man, did their annual Spring Walk About, prioritizing the myriad jobs that will need to be done in the next 2 months.  It is "wakey-wakey time" for this grand ol' dame, Ak-O-Mak, and there is a lot to do to have her looking her best in time for the first day of camp!

According to Jim, the Ahmic Lake ice went out about 10 days ago.  The last snowfall here was last Monday and enough fell that the local snow plows were called in to action.  The only white stuff now are the remnants of snow drifts in the shaded nooks and crannies of camp's forested perimeter.

With the lists and planning finished for the day, we retreated to Buck's Dock to take in the splendour of the beautiful spring afternoon. 

The lake and forest is quiet at this time of year...not that heavy, blanket of silence that so characterizes winter, but a quietude born of of this seasonal transition.  No people. No boats. A lone seagull...and very few birds occupying the still-naked forest. The rest of the birds, I presume, remain en route from more southern climes. 

As we took in the sights and sounds from our sunny dock, our attention was captured by a distant, unmistakable, high-pitched hum.  Looking up against the sun at the border between sky and trees, we saw a massive, morphing cloud...of newly hatched mozies!!  Gazillions of them!  They were in that stuporous, naive, newborn state where they know not the scent of food, so fortunately for us, did not notice the "tasty morsels" sitting below them  on the dock.

Unmolested by the mozies, we happily enjoyed the peaceful view til sunset...on this most perfect, spring day...on Ahmic Lake.


19 April, 2016

Libby Ernharth Ak-O-Mak Alumni Chat with Diana Nyad

Libby Ernharth Ak-O-Mak Alumni Chat with Diana Nyad


On Wednesday February 10th I was lucky enough to see Diana Nyad speak about her book, her life and her drive.

Diana spent a summer swimming at Ak-O-Mak in preparation for her swim across Lake Ontario in 1970. Buck Dawson is credited with introducing Diana to marathon swimming. In her autobiography, Find a Way, she talks about a quote that she comes across and posts on her wall for years, “A diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it.”  

Diana swam around Manhattan Island setting records in 1975.  She then made two attempts to reach the Keys from Cuba in 1978 and 1979 and the latter was to be her last swim on her 30th birthday. Both were amazing swims from the standpoint of accomplishment but neither completed her mission. Life brought her back to Cuba and in 2013 at the age of 65.  She successfully reached the Keys from Cuba after 53 hours of swimming, on her 5th attempt.

Diana’s talk was amazing. She spoke of the playlist in her brain as she swam. The years and hours of training that resulted in timing and cadence so precise that albums playing in her head, lists of counting in various languages consistently corresponded to mileage and hours in the water. Time after time a complete album represented a certain number of miles, a certain number of minutes. I suspect that Diana is a metronome.

Her primary speech topic was...

                                      “What will you do with your one precious life?”

She didn’t interpret this in the traditional, athletic career time frame.  She didn’t speak to "what will you do with your college athletic career” or “what you will do when you fail to accomplish your life’s goal the first few times.”

Diana clearly emphasized a key to her success, her team...the scientist and doctors who helped to treat and eventually avoid the deadly box jelly fish that almost killed her during an attempt, her handlers and dear friends...the ones who made her eat when her mouth was raw from saltwater ulcers and when she was seasick. Those who navigated her seas, helped her to create a mask to protect her skin from the jelly venom. Diana is clearly an amazing athlete, a testament to the power of a stubborn, driven brain. But Diana’s words and humility were that of a true leader, a gracious athlete who knew that her success did not belong just to herself and she communicated this so clearly to her audience.

After the speech, I was able to briefly speak to Diana. Her ability to pause and share our small overlap in the universe without making me feel rushed struck me. I showed her a picture of her name on the main house wall.  Thank goodness it was in black marker and NOT in toothpaste!  (I had taken the photo when visiting Ak-O-Mak after dropping my boys at Chikopi).  We talked about Buck...(big smiles)... "he was my first open water coach.” She had spoken of being an atheist during her talk in response to an audience question but she told me that "if there was a God, then swimming on Ahmic Lake was the closest (she) had ever been to God". She showed true smiles of fondness.

I walked back to my car with a new excitement about swimming and a refreshed attitude and outlook for a dreary cold February day. I have always held that Buck Dawson should have emphasized camp’s role in the mission of athletics for life. Matt Mann’s quote “a diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it” isn’t a metaphor for campers only. It is for counselors and owners, parents and alumni. To become that diamond takes longer that it takes to get a 5 year ring or 10 year watch at Ak-O-Mak or Chikopi. It occurs while doing what you plan with your one precious life. What an amazing night!  I am so thankful to have been affected by her journey. I highly recommend her book, her speaking tour and her TED talk.

Libby Ernharth

Ak-O-Mak Alumni


22 March, 2016

First Day of Spring at Ak-O-Mak

First Day of Spring at Ak-O-Mak

“Hey Dianne. Took these photos this morning…”

“Winter isn't giving up yet. It's been cold so the lake started making ice again and there is snow in our forecast for this coming week. The sun is super strong so it will win in the end. All seems well at camp. There are robins searching for worms on the bare sections of the field and the animals are coming out of hibernation.” (J&J, Rocky Reef)

Thanks to our neighbours at Rocky Reef, we have this glimpse of camp at the dawning of spring.

Like one stirring from a deep sleep, Ak-O-Mak has yawned and “rolled over” for the last weeks of her wintery slumber!

As the sun climbs ever higher and the days grow longer, so our excitement builds as we look forward to our first trip back to camp this year.  After the grey of an urban winter, it is always a treat for us to witness Ak-O-Mak’s wilderness spring to life!...to watch the forests don their leafy garb and loamy scent, to hear the music of the frogs and the birds as they court.

The transient gift of spring is an experience to be cherished...just like youth and a summer at Camp Ak-O-Mak.

Please visit our Facebook page to see some photos.

25 January, 2016

Emma Puckering, Program Director

Emma Puckering, Program Director

“Put On Your Loud, Loud, Loud, Loud, Bang, Bang Paddles!  Make a Lot of Noise!”

One of the greatest pleasures of running a summer camp is sharing in the lives of our wonderful campers and staff.  We grow very fond of our girls as they grow up at camp and then move forward to take on the world!

This is just such a moment when we bid farewell to our much-loved program director, Megan Puckering.  As many of you know, Megan is now eyeball-deep in her first year of medical school at McMaster University. We wish her abundant success in this new phase of life!

And so, it is with great pleasure that we announce the passing of the torch to Camp Ak-O-Mak’s Program Director for 2016 and beyond, EMMA PUCKERING!  Congratulations, Emma!  Emma has many camping years under her belt and has been a perennial favourite with campers and staff alike.  We invite you to read Emma’s bio under the Staff section of our website.

Welcome aboard, Emma!

12 January, 2016

Camp Ak-O-Maks Staff Member Athlete of Week: Brett Saunders

BRETT SAUNDERS, senior, Conrad swimming

Camp Ak-O-Mak’s Staff Member Athlete of Week: Brett Saunders

THE WEEK: Won the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.49) and 100-yard butterfly (55.00) and was part of the winning 200 medley and 400 free relay teams as Conrad topped St. Andrew’s 92-78 last Tuesday.

THE LIFE: “It’s pretty much my whole lifestyle,” Saunders said. “All of my friends are in swimming. All of my fitness I get from swimming. I wake up for swimming, go to sleep early for swimming.”

THE LEADERSHIP: “Brett brings a lot of things to the table besides his physical abilities in the water,” Conrad coach Michelle Northshield said. “He’s just a natural-born leader. He helps everybody, he cheers for everybody. He’s interested in everybody doing the best they can.”

THE STRENGTH: Saunders says his best stroke is the breaststroke. But his best event is the 200 individual medley, which combines all of the strokes. “You don’t have to focus on one thing,” he said. “I like doing a lot of stuff. I like variety.”

THE PARENTS: Brett’s mother, Jocelyn Muir-Saunders, was a world champion marathon swimmer and triathlete in Canada and the first person to swim 521 nautical miles around Lake Ontario, completing the distance in 60 days in 1987. His father, Blair Saunders, was a member of the 1992 Canadian Olympic team in cycling and still competes at a high level in distance cycling and triathlons.

THE UPSET: Saunders won the 100 freestyle and 100 breastroke and helped two winning relay teams as Conrad shocked 10-time defending DIAA champion Salesianum 90-80 on Dec. 8. “That was a great moment,” he said. “Coming into the school four years ago, I would have never expected anything, that we would even go against Sallies. So to be able to beat them is just amazing.”

THE GOAL: Saunders finished second in the 200 individual medley (1:52.83) and 100 breastroke (58.58) at last year’s DIAA state meet. “My main goal is to do best times,” he said. “That’s the one thing I can control. I can’t control what place I get. Of course I want to do as well as I can, but I mainly want to do my best times.”

THE TITLE: Saunders stopped playing tennis as a freshman, but resumed last spring as a junior and won the DIAA state title at third singles. “That was crazy. I still can’t believe it when I look back on it,” he said. “… I decided to come back to it, and I just played it for fun while I still swam every day. I came into the state tournament unranked, just wanting to have fun, and then I just won every match.”

THE CLASSROOM: Saunders said his favorite subject is psychology.

THE FUTURE: Saunders has already committed to swim at the University of Tampa next fall. He may also play tennis and compete in triathlons on the side.


Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ


Let The Games Begin!

Camp AkOMak
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