Travelling with fellow members of Canada's national freestyle ski team in the lead-up to the 2010 Olympics, Veronika Bauer continually draws on three vital things she learned at camp — none of which has anything to do with skiing.
At Pleasant Bay Camp, a non-profit camp on the shores of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County, Bauer learned at age 14 how to get along with a diverse group of people. "On a ski team, you need to get along with everyone because you're spending so much time with them--just like the girls in your cabin at camp," says Bauer.
Second, Bauer learned responsibility. "When you're at camp without your parents, you have to make sure you sign up for activities yourself and show up at the right place at the right time," she says. By her mid-teens, Bauer was training and competing around the world, and the independence gained at camp helped with solo situations such as getting through airports.
Bauer, a four-time national aerials champion, 2001 world champion and two-time Olympian, loved the easygoing, non-competitive spirit of camp. "I water skied, wakeboarded and played beach volleyball — it was so fun," she says. "I remember one night we all ate ice cream sundaes with no hands. And I loved the cabins with bunk beds! You brought your own sleeping bag and pillow — it was like a sleepover every night."
Still recovering from post-concussion syndrome after a bad fall last winter, Bauer hopes she'll be well enough to compete in the Olympics. Meanwhile, as she travels with the team, she's living out of a small suitcase — the third important thing she learned at camp. "I can put everything I need in one bag!" she says.