Engagé Life



"The Engagés"

Work Camper Program at Menogyn


Engagé Life

The daily life of an Engagé at Camp Menogyn is usually filled with hard work, physical labor, fun activities and community hang-out time. Menogyn needs Engagés to help keep camp running smoothly and we greatly appreciate them! Every summer, Menogyn has a limited number of opportunities for campers to work and live in our base camp. This program is offered to summer campers who are already registered for camp, to assist them in paying their fees.  Engagés are the key to enabling Menogyn to expand the effectiveness and quality of our program for our campers! As an Engagé you will get to know camp extremely well-from getting to know staff members and other campers not on your trip, to the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes workings. The program also provides leadership growth opportunities and the chance to really contribute to the Menogyn community through hard work, respect and the joy of community living.

What does an Engagé really do?

Two senior staff members, called the Engagé Counselors, will run your Session. Your counselor will also live with you and the rest of the Engagés in your cabins. There are six sessions of 8, 11 or 15 workdays to choose from throughout the summer.  Each session will include work, as scheduled by the Engagé counselors, and maybe a day "off" in Grand Marais. 

Schedule: The workday will begin at 7:00 a.m. for kitchen work and continue until 3:30 each afternoon. There will be a break from 3:30 - 5:00 each day. This break time can be used for reading, writing, or going swimming, or simply "hanging out."  Engagé's will then return to the dining hall for further instructions at 5:00 and work until dishes are done after the evening meal.   Each individual Engagé will be assigned jobs and is expected to be responsible for the completion of the task (with minimum supervision) to the best of his/her ability. Engagés are expected to participate in camp life and activities along with everyone else at camp.

Areas of work may include: kitchen (cooking, cleaning, dishwashing), Trail Department (packouts, equipment repair, cleaning), maintenance (assisting the maintenance staff with dock repair, painting etc.), and camp programs (welcomes, campfires, etc.).

A Bit of History

The "Engagés" (ón-gah-jays) were a rowdy bunch! At Fort William and Grand Portage, the trading forts of the Northwest Company, the Engagés were the workers. They were a class of laborers at the fort but were not yet a part of the management class, called the bourgeoisie. The Engagés weren't trail guides or Voyageurs (who were the laborers on the trail). The Engagés of old filled the very important role of providing needed assistance within the everyday workings of the fort. Menogyn's Engagés fill that same important role of assisting and making sure the everyday workings of Camp are happening!  Even though the replica of Fort William and Grand Portage are museums and the days of the bourgeoisie, Voyageurs, guides and Engagés have long since passed, they're still alive and working at Menogyn!