Otter Lake, ON - Cadhla Gray
My Watermark is Otter Lake, Ontario.
For seven years from 2006-2012, I spent my summers on Otter Lake, learning how to canoe, sail and windsurf as I grew up. This body of water was, and is, a playground for the campers and staff of Camp Otterdale, a place where youth learn valuable skills and make friendships that last a lifetime. I'm certain that I don't speak for myself when I say that this geographical area was the most important place in my life and provided me with a connection to nature that instilled a sense of curiosity, compassion and environmental justice from a young age.
As a staff member, I taught children the same skills I learned out on the water while developing an understanding of responsibility and leadership. In addition to sunny swimming days, there were also powerful thunderstorms that could be both frightening and exhilarating. Paddling as hard as you can while a heavy sheet of rain catches up to your back is an incredible sensation, especially with a crew of 13-year old canoeists. Meanwhile, being alone in a sailboat when lightning strikes makes you understand the power that water holds. These experiences, along with countless others, make Otter Lake's vitality so important for preserving memories as well as providing many more in the future.