The event changes and evolves every year, but there are a few things that stay consistent from year to year.
In general, here’s what you can expect at camp:
Camp Lookout is such a beautiful and unique venue that adds so much to our event. However, that uniqueness extends to our arrival process. Visit our Arrival and Parking page to learn more about parking, transporting your gear across the lake, your short paddle to camp, and the check-in process.
Well you’re going to be paddling, so be sure to bring what you need for being in (and under) the water. That said, we still spend a lot of time not in the water and so you’ll need some general camp stuff. For a full sample packing list, check out our Packing page.
Each year everyone kicks off camp with a Wet Exit! This can be done Thursday afternoon, if you are out on the water with a mentor, or Friday morning before you start your on-water instruction. For the long-timers, we will have mentors in the water ready to watch you perform your wet exit (and assist if needed) and award you with a token to wear on your life jacket. If you are not yet comfortable with your wet exit we will have a demo and then pair you up with one of our mentors. Note that we have a few fantastic mentors who are great at working with folks who have some anxiety or fear of being underwater in a qajaq. They will be right by your side through the process.
The event unfolds from Thursday through Sunday.
Instruction on Thursday is a bit less formal as people are flowing into camp. Participants may begin arriving at 3 pm and we will have some mentors on the water ready to go! Demonstrate your wet exit. Get a head start on your new roll. Try a skin-on-frame before the dock gets busy. The possibilities are endless! At 6 pm we will all gather for our first delicious meal of the weekend. After dinner you can potentially expect a bonfire, an impromptu ropes demo, or socializing on the porch overlooking the lake. This is a great time to settle in and catch up with faces you may not have seen since last year.
Friday morning kicks off our core activities. Formal instruction will begin after breakfast and again after a break for lunch. A schedule will be provided when you arrive at camp so that you can plan your weekend, but over the weekend expect opportunities to:
In the evening you can catch a quick shower, take a walk on the beach, enjoy social time on the deck, or swap stories around the bonfire.
Formal instruction continues on Saturday. There will be social hour before dinner, followed by the raffle, silent auction, and live auction after dinner in the lodge.
After breakfast, individual on-water instruction continues. People with long drives begin to pack up and move gear to the pontoon boat, which will begin ferrying gear as soon as there is a full load. Following lunch, departures begin in earnest as we say goodbye to Camp Lookout for another year. Having your gear ready to load on the pontoon boat early will help avoid a great deal of chaos.
Surfing and rough water training will happen when and if conditions allow. If you plan to participate in any paddles or classes on Lake Michigan you MUST have a kayak with bulkheads or a kayak with float bags (float bags and sea sock are preferred) and may require a helmet if surf conditions merit it.
TC is an adult event and as such, we welcome participants to bring their beverages of choice for enjoyment, or to share, once on-water activities have been completed for the day. Happy hour is a common occurrence and sometimes highlights mixed drinks or tasting opportunities (think Scotch or Kombucha). Please remember that any alcoholic beverages are to be enjoyed with care and once started, you are not to be on the water for the remainder of the day.
Food is plentiful at camp, but as we are working hard all day, some enjoy bringing snacks to stay fueled between meals. Please note that food is not allowed in the cabins or tent village. Camp provides storage areas in the dining hall for any snacks.
QajaqTC Needs You! If you’ve attended training camp before, you’ve probably gone home with the feeling that you just spent a few days with friends in a relaxed, laid back atmosphere. The time at camp flows with opportunities for learning, playing, and eating as though you’ve morphed to a kayak wonderland.
Camp experience is actually so inviting and all-inclusive because people like you share their skills, time, and personalities! We’d love to invite you to join us in connecting and making this camp feel more your own. Please read through the volunteer opportunities to see if any are a fit. As part of registration, you will be able to let us know if you are interested in helping! We’d also love to hear from you should you have another talent or contribution that would add to our time together.
Don’t hesitate because you feel unqualified or clueless! We’ll gladly walk you through and be right there should you need any help finding your groove.