The Summer of a Lifetime is waiting at Camp Ekon. Located at Stanley House on the shore of Lake Joseph in Ontario's Muskoka Lake Region (just 250 km north of Toronto), campers gather from across Canada and around the world to enjoy an unforgettable experience that has made Camp Ekon a yearly return for children and teenagers alike.
Camp Ekon is Jesuit in philosophy, Roman Catholic in tradition and public in service.
Campers and staff from all faith traditions are welcome at Ekon.
Religious programming includes the fostering of a constructive environment of belonging, sharing and respect, a simple sung grace at meals and an optional daily Catholic liturgy. All campers are expected to attend the Sunday service, which is conducted outdoors in the waterfront area, weather permitting, or in the dining room on inclement days.
Leadership programs incorporate reflective, spiritual and service components appropriate to the camper's age and respectful of differences in faith traditions.
Camp Ekon is organized on the insights of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP). "Ignatian" refers to St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order (The Society of Jesus). The Jesuits were founded in 1540 by a small group of men whose primary goal was to "help souls." To this end, they began to preach, to counsel people in spiritual matters and to serve the church as missionaries. The early Jesuits quickly realized that one very important way to "help souls" was to educate youth. It is out of this desire to work with youth that they developed the Ratio Studiorum (1599), a teaching method aimed at educating the whole person in everything from science to the arts, and, of course, spirituality. The IPP is the contemporary expression of the traditional "Ratio" (philosophy of education) which has guided Jesuit education for 400 years.
The paradigm is made up of two parts: skills and values. The skills recognize the importance of a cyclic process of learning from experience. The process always begins with experience. The cycle then continues to reflection on experience, "brainstorming" in light of reflection, decision and action. The cycle begins again with each new set of experiences. The values of the IPP present a clearly articulated framework and direction for personal growth. Values such as inclusion, respect for differences, service of others and carrying the heavier load are at the Christian core of the Ignatian way of being in the world. The idea is to be able to make informed choices and to take initiative and responsibility for one's own life and learning in the world.
Stanley House was originally built as a resort in 1888 by Englishman, W. B. McLean. The building itself was an ornate, four story structure from whose towers breathtaking scenery could be viewed in all directions. With a bathing beach and its own farm, Stanley House soon became very popular for family groups. In 1907 Edward Leef of Minett purchased the hotel, only to sell it shortly afterwards to his father-in-law, William Bissonette, in 1910.
One evening in 1921 someone filled the fireplace at Stanley House with evergreen boughs and started a large fire. Sparks set the roof ablaze and the big hotel turned into an inferno. The boathouse and barn were also destroyed. Although it was only partially insured, the Bissonettes went to work and rebuilt the main building by 1922. The reconstructed hotel was less ornate than its predecessor but still had thirty-four bright rooms. Stanley House prospered in the 1920s but the depression signalled its end as a resort.
The Jesuits leased the property from the Bissonettes beginning in 1937 and in 1941 they purchased the five acres on the point for $15,000. The Jesuits were not very wealthy and needed to take out a ten year mortgage on the land. In 1953 the Jesuits bought another 1.5 acres for use as a garden. The Jesuits used the property for summer courses, retreats, vacations, meetings, and every sort of gathering. In 1978, the Diocese of Peterborough gave the old church building (now the Camp Director's Cottage) to the Jesuits asking that it not be used for services. The final addition of land was the purchase of the shore allowance in 1991. In all there is just over ten acres of property. Camp Ekon was founded in 1971 by the Jesuits of Upper Canada to provide an opportunity for young people to form a community of service. Founding Director Fr. Brian "Buzz" Massie, S.J. provided the inspiration which continues to make Ekon a place for kids where the "little guy" comes first.
Over the years Ekon's program and community has developed in many positive and creative ways. New approaches have been undertaken to foster a spirit of growth and vitality. Close collaboration between Jesuit and lay staff has always been a hallmark of the Ekon way. Girls and boys camping, canoe tripping, the leader-in-training programs, reflection on leadership and coaching styles, cooperative games, association with the people of the First Nations, improvements to the physical facility and program equipment, development of progressive instruction lesson plans, environmental awareness, evolving communication structures and the evolution of a structured staff development program have all been part of Ekon's history of growth and change.
The camp has undergone extensive renovations since 1990 with the majority of the work being accomplished in the spring of 1993 under the supervision of Fr. Gordon Rixon, S.J. The renovation of the arts studio was completed in 1996 and was named after Br. Dan Brady. S.J. The existing long range plan (2004) builds on the 1993 plan and looks forward to the construction three new camper cabins and the replacement of the venerable wash hut. In addition to the Stanley House property, Ekon has the privilege to use "Little Round Island," known to the camp community, as Little Chief, about a forty minute south east paddle from the camp. The island is held in trust for the camp by the Massie family.
Ekon sits on a 10 acre peninsula jutting into the northern end of Lake Joseph. In many ways it has the feel of an island. The 600 metre (2000 ft) of waterfront gives the impression of a much larger property. Indeed, it is the extensive waterfront that gives Ekon the ability to offer such a wide variety of water oriented programs without campers falling over each other. Starting with the beach area near the entrance driveway, programs wend their way around the peninsula:
The area between the ski dock and the Kayak dock is a high rocky face overlooking the lake (off limits to campers). At the top of this face is the main building "Stanley House," the converted old resort hotel that houses the dining hall, camper showers, kitchen and staff quarters. The view from the north-west corner of the main building is quite impressive, especially the beautiful Muskoka sunsets. The climbing wall is attached to this same corner of the main building.
The interior of the property is divided into five areas:
The most beautiful building on site is the Br. Dan Brady, S.J. Art Studio. Br. Brady, who died in 2003, spent many years at Ekon and he built the original studio building. In 1993 a generous benefactor provided the funding for a total refurbishment of the building. The studio now houses both the art and drama programs. Situated directly on the lake, next to the Kayak dock, the Art Studio is a classic Muskoka design offering large windows and a beautiful deck opening onto the expanse of the lake.
To see pictures of the camp grounds, visit our photo gallery or click here.
Ekon is the name given by the Ouendat people to the seventeenth century Jesuit missionary and pioneer Jean de Brébeuf.
The Ouendat, known to Europeans as the "Huron," respected Brébeuf for his physical strength and gentle disposition. Brébeuf paddled all day with the Ouendat on their long canoe voyages from Montreal to Ste. Marie near present day Midland. Brébeuf showed his spirit by willingly taking the heaviest load on the many portages which followed hard paddles.
Brébeuf was an eager student of the Ouendat ways and grew to respect their rich culture and mastery of the life skills needed to live in harmony with the forest and water. In the Ouendat language, "Ekon" means "the healing tree." The Ouendat made medicine from the bark of the evergreen tree as a salve for the sick. Brébeuf's tall physical stature and kindness were undoubtedly traits which prompted his native friends to give him this powerful name.
Ekon staff and campers try to live in the spirit of Brébeuf: willingly taking more than a fair share of the load, living in harmony with people of different cultures and backgrounds, respecting the natural environment and working to master the skills which they need to make a positive contribution to the common good of all the world's peoples.
Ekon is a community built on joy, participation and respect.
Meg is the Director of Camp Ekon. She has been associated with Camp Ekon since 1990.
Meg was born and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland and attended the Jesuit High School, Gonzaga. It was here that she learned of Camp Ekon and first attended as a leader in training in 1990. Meg spent the following four summers on staff at Camp Ekon. Since then Meg has maintained strong ties with Camp Ekon and was a member of the Board of Directors for four years.
Meg completed her degree in Recreation Management at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Prior to becoming Camp Director, she spent ten years working with youth in St. John’s and Toronto. She has served as the Camp Director at Ekon since 2006. Meg lives in Oakville, Ontario with her husband Steve and their three children, Ben, Claire and Michael.
Meg is looking forward to the exciting challenge of another summer as Camp Director of Ekon. Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Fr. John Sullivan, SJ is the Executive Director. Fr. John is from the Ottawa area and is currently the Pastor at our Lady of Lourdes Parish in downtown Toronto. He was ordained in April 2007. Fr. John has been a member of the Camp Ekon Board of Directors for many years.
You can e-mail Fr. John at email@example.com.
The Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada, board, staff and supporters of Camp Ekon are excited about the ongoing success of the Father Brian Massie, SJ Fund-Raising Project. The brainchild of long time friend and benefactor, Frances Taylor-Wentges, this fund-raising initiative will support a staff endowment fund and an ambitious project to build three new camper cabins and a new wash house. Camp Ekon is a non-profit summer camp for boys and girls located at Stanley House, on the scenic waters and rocky shores of Lake Joseph, Muskoka.
With your help, we can lay a solid foundation for a bright future at Ekon by making an investment in our staff and our facilities. To ensure that your contribution is remembered, we are creating a Recognition Board that will be displayed prominently at the camp. Donors will be recognized by contribution amounts as follows:
We invite you to join in the building of a sustainable future for our camp as one of Ekon's Partners for Progress. With your support we can continue to provide an opportunity for campers and staff to develop core values and essential interpersonal and leadership skills that are so critical in our contemporary society. At the present moment we only accept monetary donations by cheque.
At the present moment we only accept monetary donations by cheque.
Please mail your cheque to the Camp's winter office. If you have a preference, be sure to clearly mark where you would like your funds to be distributed:
Online donations can be made through Canada Helps. We are listed under Ekon Jesuit Fathers of Muskoka.
Camp Ekon is a registered charity and will gladly issue a tax receipt for any monetary donation made to the camp.
The camp also accepts non-monetary donations and is currently looking for:
The Ekon Alumni is a group of people who share one thing in common: camp. Ekon Alumni date back to 1971 and include former campers, staff and LITs. These are people to whom "carry the heaviest load" and "always lookout for the little guy" are more than just phrases - they are mantras that have helped to shape their lives.
Although spread across Canada and around the world, Ekon Alumni remain connected through events and updates that rekindle memories and strengthen bonds that keep the spirit of Ekon alive through the generations.
If you are an Ekon Alumnus and you want to be informed of Alumni events, such as our annual pub night or our Alumni work weekend at camp, please fill in this form to provide us with your most up-to-date contact information.
We are looking forward to seeing you again!
For a complete page of common questions and answers about Camp Ekon, click here.
There's always a lot of great stuff going on at Camp Ekon. For the latest news, click here.
We are standing by,
Jesuit Offices, 3rd Floor