Matt Poppleton, Executive Director
As the summer of 2018 wrapped up there was a flurry of staffing updates that are both exciting and bittersweet to share with the Widji Community. As the dust was settling around Widji at the end of summer, Kathleen Floberg and Mike D’Arcangelo headed off on short canoe trip down to Ring Rock Island on Burntside Lake. When they returned they were engaged! We are very excited for Kathleen and Mike as they start this next adventure together.
News that came as being a little more bittersweet was learning that Jim Schwartz, Widji’s Canoe Master for 15 years, had taken the position as Property Manager for YMCA Camp Northern Lights; the Y’s newest Family Camp located on Bear Island Lake. Jim served as Widji’s Canoe Master since 2003 and has had a tremendously positive impact on Widji. Jim did it all, from repairing and restoring Widji’s extensive fleet of canoes, to being the first to build Widji’s Heritage Canoes off of the Seliga form. Jim also supported Widji by preparing amazing meals in Kirby, helping with the maintenance and cleaning around camp, and being a renowned portrait and nature photographer. We are extremely grateful for Jim’s work over the years. We wish him the best in helping to start a new Family Camp and glad that he’ll still be working with the Y and in the surrounding area.
So to replace the Canoe Master was a rather daunting task, but we are excited to share that Mike D’Arcangelo has accepted the position! Mike has been working with Jim in Widji’s Canoe Shop for the past two summers and brings his own unique skill set to help move Widji’s Canoe Program forward. Mike had been working at Voyageur Outward Bound when he first came to Widji and also worked the past two years with the Outdoor Learning Program as an Instructor.
And as opportunities with the Y Camps in the northwoods seem to be in abundance, it’s more bittersweet news to share that Jake Cahill will be heading down the road to Camp du Nord to join their team. We are sad to Jake leave Widji, but excited for this opportunity for Jake and that he’ll be just down the road. Jake has had an extensive history with Widji and as of late has been helping Joe Smith with vehicles and maintenance during the summer and has been an Instructor and Weekend Coordinator with the Outdoor Learning Program. Thank you Jake for all that you have given to Widji and best of luck at Camp du Nord.