Paddling a River for Ontario Pioneer

Originally posted on Ontario Pioneer Camp’s ‘On the Shores Blog’ – July 10, 2015.


On July 26, Ontario Pioneer Camp alumnus Ronn Bagge will begin a 100-mile canoe trip down the Missinaibi River between Peterbell and Mattice in Northern Ontario. Along the way, he’ll navigate 20 sets of rapids and portage 10 times. As he sets out on the trip, Ronn is issuing a challenge to other OPC Alumni – make a donation to OPC inspired by his paddling adventure. An anonymous donor has agreed to match each donation. All the funds will go to support general needs at the camp. To make your donation, click here.

At the end of the trip, Ronn will update the blog. Here are his thoughts on why he undertaking this challenge.

All aboard for OPC

In 1966, at the age of eight, I boarded a train in Chicago and set out for Ontario Pioneer Camp. The next year, my Dad and I flew in his small Cessna to the Muskoka Airport (CYQA) so I could return to OPC. I couldn’t wait to go back to Boys’ Camp and to get back in a canoe.

Ronn BaggCamp became a staple of my summers. I was a Counselor in Training (CIT) in 1973 under Cobber and learned how to lead a small group Bible Study as well as the importance of personal Quiet Time. That summer, our CIT canoe trip was led by Larry Offner, now OPC Alumni Director and a good friend.

Between 1974 and 1979 I was a camp chalet leader, learning spiritual and leadership lessons that remain with me to this day. OPC gave me skills and role models who made faith in Jesus Christ the most important thing in my life. The leaders who taught me remain role models today.

Important Lesson

While at OPC, I paddled on many canoe trips. One trip in particular stands out to me. I was 11 years old and we were paddling the Muskoka River when we ran into trouble. I still remember David Guest and I singing God is our Refuge to power us through the rough waters. I’ve carried that lesson with me ever since.

In 1998 I founded YQA Capital Management (named for the Muskoka Airport!), a Wheaton, Illinois company.

Ronn Bagge

Giving Back

This summer, I am taking time away from work to enjoy a challenging paddle and raise money for the camp that has meant so much to me through the years.

I’ll fly, once again, to the Muskoka Airport, looking down from the air on OPC, the former Bagge Farm and Port Sydney. Then I’ll start my canoe trip with the Missinaibi Headwaters Outfitters. We expect to reach Mattice by August 2.

My goal, in addition to paddling a river that drops 300 feet in elevation, is to raise funds for OPC. Gifts will honour the memory of Allan E. and Lois L. Bagge, who had the vision to first send me to Ontario Pioneer Camp.

To make a donation to the Ontario Pioneer Camp Ronn Bagge Challenge, click here.


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