Posted by Jim Dawson
 
The trip by Jim and Marjorie Dawson of RC Norfolk Sunrise to teach canoeing in Pikangikum this year was slightly different than planned.  Their usual canoe certification training and subsequent canoe trip was postponed due to a significant fire and community evacuation at the start of June.  They were asked to help with a bike camp and to run a canoe camp at the start of July and went to the community July 3. They helped deliver a short bike camp and the initiation of a hugely successful summer long bike program run by local youth with support from the RC of Cataraqui - Kingston, New Hope Bikes, and the OPP.  
 
As preparation for the canoe camp and the signing of parental permission forms was under way, a second much larger fire threatened the community and a full evacuation was called. Jim and Marjorie were recruited to help mobilise the full community evacuation.   The Rotarians helped by providing coffee, tea, water and food preparation, feeding over 300 people per day as they waited to be evacuated by air for six days until they themselves were evacuated by float plane.  The canoe program was picked up by some of their enthusiastic canoe students in late July as the community returned from evacuation.   While not what they planned, Jim and Marjorie got to meet a lot of the community and develop the relationship further by working with the community during this trying time.