The Woods, above all else, is a fun experience of making music in a supportive and friendly environment. Our program includes two streams of four classes each, devoted to songs, singing, making music, dancing, and a variety of musical traditions. Daily workshops feature shorter subjects of typically one or two sessions each. There is also a “community time” every day, involving all staff and students in the exploration of a specific topic. Staff members and students perform evening concerts, followed by dances, song circles and jams every night. Bark Lake Leadership Centre grounds encompass a private lake, many beautiful acres of woods, trails, cabins, and common spaces. All activities at The Woods take place in different buildings around the campus. We eat meals together in the stunning and spacious Dining Hall, which also serves as the location for concerts and dances. Classes and workshops are spread out amongst four or five different buildings spread around the site. Campers are housed in a variety of buildings, most of which feature dormitory-style or cabin-style rooms, equipped with bunk beds and desks, common areas and shared washroom and shower facilities. The Oak Lodge Centre features hotel-style rooms with en suite bathrooms a large common area that is used for song circle, and two meeting rooms that are used for classes.
Note that many of the buildings are a fair distance apart and campers should be comfortable walking between buildings on unpaved, occasionally hilly, rural-style roadways.
Classes and workshops
Classes usually include from 5 to 15 students, and meet each day of camp. Classes change from year to year depending on the staff, but there are always offerings on a variety of topics geared to different levels. Most classes take place in classrooms, but when the weather is nice, you might find yourself learning to play the blues outside! Workshops run for one or two days only, and often are on topics not covered in the classes. Sometimes workshops bring a few different staff members together to “compare and contrast” their styles. At “Community Time” each day, the whole camp gathers to explore one topic in more detail.
Nights at The Woods are as full as the days. After dinner, “Performer’s Circle” gives a few campers the chance to perform in an intimate, supportive environment. Each night we are graced with a concert from one or more of our fabulous staff. Following the concert, our dance caller leads us all in a community dance. Dancers of all skill levels are welcome– each dance is taught by the caller beforehand. After the dance, campers can participate in formal and informal song circles and jams late into the evening.
Despite the full agenda at The Woods, every day there are a few hours of free time built into the schedule. The facilities include a swimming dock, a boating area, campfire area and a beach. It’s common to find people playing, singing, swimming, canoeing, sunning and sleeping….at all hours of the day and night! There are also lots of places to go walking. Free time gives campers a chance to do their class homework, sleep, jam with their new and old friends… or sometimes……….play alone, by the lakeshore.