For Dr. Marc Beique, it's a matter of life and death. The 48-year-old Montreal resident has spent 20 years saving patients from the brink of death in the emergency departments of two hospitals in the city. Before he studied the intricacies of life at the University of Ottawa, advised the Ministry of Health about it, or taught it at the McGill University Health Centre, he learned about the meaning behind it at camp. Read more
"The people stay with you - the campers I grew up with, the staff who took a daily interest in me," he says. "They showed me things beyond the technical lessons like tying a knot."
Beique was 10 years old when he first went to Camp Nominingue, an all-boys, overnight camp just north of Montreal, to practice his English. He returned every summer for the next 12 years. As a camper, counsellor, canoe tripping director and camp doctor, he learned practical skills as well as flexibility, leadership and group work.
Ever the perfectionist as a teen, Beique's woodshop instructor even taught him to accept the imperfections, both on his canoe paddle and within himself.
"Looking back, I've done well over the years, but some of that is being forgiving of yourself," Beique says. "I use (that lesson) every day."
In the spirit of camp, Beique made sure that his own students in medical school not only understood how to save a life, but how to appreciate it too.
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