In the late 1970's, in honour of his love for the outdoors, concern for people and dedication to camping, the ACA initiated the Don Smith Address to be given at the Annual Conference. In 1990, the Don Smith Award was introduced. The recipient of the Don Smith Award this year was Doug Saul of Camp Chief Hector, YMCA.
Doug Saul, Camp Chief Hector YMCA
Doug Saul started his camping career at the age of 6 as the youngest camper at Camp Glenfern, Toronto, for two consecutive years. Through his camper years, Doug also attended Camp Pinecrest with the Toronto YMCA, Camp Hurontario and Camp Kandalore.
He started as a staff member with Taylor Statten Camps, Ontario, as a canoe trip leader. He went on to work at Camp Kandalore as a canoe trip leader which really cemented his love for northern canoe tripping.
He came out West for university and quickly learned to love and appreciate the mountains. He ended up taking a first aid course which had several Camp Chief Hector YMCA folks in it. He quickly signed up to work the following summer, leading to many years of leading extended hiking and canoeing trips, including our first ever Sac Dene canoe trip which is still running today along the Mackenzie River to Inuvik.
Doug took a hiatus from working at camp while he travelled, worked with at risk youth in the outdoors and worked as a teacher in the school system.
Doug came back to Camp Chief Hector YMCA as the Sat Camp Director, our remote site in the Yaha Tinda. As he set-up and ran the remote site, he also began to write outripping policies, risk management standards and set trip routes and trails. Doug helped to scout out and acquire our current Gray Jay remote site, also in Yaha Tinda, and directed that site for its inaugural year.
Doug became Camp Chief Hector YMCA’s Camp Director in 2005. With 10 years of his leadership as Camp Director, Doug has created a camp culture that celebrates staff for the right things, puts the needs of campers first, and connects kids to nature and wild spaces. He is a visionary in all aspects of his role.
Staff and campers alike have had the pleasure of having him play his guitar and sing them to sleep around the glow of the tipi campfire. He gives his whole self to his work at camp, and we are all better for the knowing of Doug Saul.