January 22nd, 2019

Registration for 2019 Jam Camps opens Feb 1!

Oregon Jam Camp: June 23 to 28, Milo McIver State Park, Oregon

Jam Camp on the River: July 20 to 25, Mabel Lake Community Hall, Lumby BC

Jam Camp by the Sea: July 21 to 26, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island BC

Jam Camp North: July 28 to Aug2, Cottonwood House Historic Site, Quesnel BC

Kootenay Jam Camp: date and place TBA, stay tuned!

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Flashback: 2011 (Year 9)

July 27th, 2012


Year Nine.

Jam Camp had officially entered the pre-teen years.

It had grown immensely in scope, imagination and precocity since its humble, scattered infancyby the shores of Mabel Lake, when songs were about moss and the moon, and facilitators wererewarded with gloriously creamy homemade sheep’s cheese for their efforts. Now it hadgathered creative power from year to year and from song to song, giving it form and force andvelocity for the new campers as well as the old, and it broke out in waves of self-aware,thoughtful, compelling, zany musicianship unlike any I had ever seen at previous camps.

Every year at Jam Camp, I admit that I come expecting to be surprised by the creative flow that is inevitable there: and despite myself I am surprised anyways, and it just keeps getting better. Still, I’m caught off guard, all the more so this last year when so many of the campers, whom we’ve witnessed each year growing up through their childhood and teens, have come into their own as young adults gifted with insight, awareness and sensitivity, as well as the voices and the means to express those things, sometimes with disarming clarity, sometimes with screwball senses of humour. It’s a testament to the youth, and their parents, and the whole community.

I’m told that children in their ninth year become more responsible, more independent; theybegin to think critically about things and are more intellectually curious, emotionally mature,and socially conscious. I think Jam Camp got there too, in its ninth year: with a whole new crewof facilitators bringing fresh perspective and energy, with campers who were already formingbands and gigging on their own, with Jamaican dancehall night and Balinese ketjak, and writing

songs about bettering the world, and healing family dysfunction, and holding fast to friendshipin the face of the hardships that might come to shake us.

So here’s the power of Jam Camp: the collective effervescence that comes from playing musicand writing songs together over one short, transcendent week, teaches us lessons and lights up pathways for us that we can take away with us and follow in our daily lives. And walking thosepathways daily in turn nurtures and informs our values and inspires our creativity, which all gets expressed again in music and song. Awesome.

Jam Camp, kudos. Happy 10th anniversary.






About the author...

Chris Suen

Christopher Suen sings and plays clawhammer banjo, guitar, piano, pipe organ, and classical Chinese zithers (guzheng and guqin). Although he only started playing banjo in 2005, he has firmly established himself in Vancouver's acoustic music community with his different musical projects: the alt-bluegrass string band Whiskeyjar; the high energy Appalachian old-time trio Shout! White Dragon; and the rootsy folk band Lily Come Down. He also teaches banjo lessons and workshops, and he is at the heart of a collective of old-time musicians in Vancouver who host regular jams, workshops and square dances. Chris is also assistant choir director and principal organist at his Vancouver church Holy Family Parish, a community that offers traditional services in Latin, with Gregorian chant and Renaissance choral music. His love of music and community finds full expression in Jam Camp, which he values as a unique opportunity for campers, parents, and facilitators to be enlightened by each other's musical energy and creativity in the spirit of fun and sharing.


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Flashback: 2011 (Magic Music Chest)

July 27th, 2012


In 2011, Jam Campers found a bottle floating in Christina Lake, BC, with a note saying;

"Legend has it, that the turning of each Great Age a Magic Music Chest travels through the sacred Valley to gather up key artifacts from Lost Legends. The stories of these artifacts are mysteries still untold and in need of worthy story tellers and song writers to let forth their truths..... but be aware... the Chest is sealed with a Music Lock and can only be broken with a worthy song!"

Many worthy songs sprang forth beginning in Christina Lake! This was the first year JC was hosted by Paula and Scott at the Village in Christina Lake, as they welcomed in local people and visitors from afar. Their generous hospitality and welcoming spaces provided JC participants with a great place to make music and new friends. This was also the first time facilitators stayed in a motel room, with showers, beds and meals with MEAT! Highlights include Damien's amazing natural abilities on the key board, Jack and Shaun's stand up routines in the bar, great drum jams, Randy's classic rock open mic, steak, crab, roast beef, fried chicken, and 3 fantastic song group diddies! The kids at this camp were all so much fun and very enthusiastic ; ))

The chest made its way to the Mable Lake's Shuswap River, where the group had to search for hidden humongous steel wind chimes scattered throughout the forrest. Once the group assembled the chimes and played them, a band of Ghost Gypsies made their way into the site for tall tales and wails of harmonies, drums and Strum Sticks!! 2011 was the first year the McNally Strum Stick was introduced as a new instruments for beginner string players, and they found their way into many of the final group songs! Highlights from this camp included the Jam Camp Documentary by Colby, Tarun's Monkey Chant, an open mic 4 hours long, Baltic Springs commercial, dance, dance and more dance! Dehli 2 Dublin also provided a night of great entertainment in generous support of JC!!!

Finally, the chest drifted up the Shuswap and into Mabel Lake. The group had to once again embark on a treasure hunt to find clues to unravel the mystery that laid waiting. As they gathered the Ghost Gypsies reappeared to share what was needed to open the chest, great songs! The Lake camp was crawling with young and ole, and proved to be a tremendous ending for the 2011 camp season. The addition of Collin, Wendy, Barry and Richelle was awesome! The song writing group highlights included boys rocking rhythms, girls beautiful harmonies, epic ballads, lyrics that brought laughter and performances from the heart!

Jam Camp was my introduction to the great Dueling tradition of Mabel Lake, music and fine friends! I found my wife here, and will always hold the friendships I've made throughout my 10 years with warm regards!! A year without Jam Camp would be like a year without a summer!!

About the author...

Bobby Bovenzi

BSc African and Afro-American Studies
MSc Elementary Education
Instructor influences: Khalid Saleem, Clyde Morgan, Kpani Addy, Arthur Hull, Keio Ogawa, Mamady "Wadaba" Kourouma, Artero "Uncle" Mulfufo, Keith Terry, Thomas Cruz, Mamady Keita, and Famadou Konate

Bobby has been a student of ethnic percussion and dance since 1994. He began studying the drum in University though Khalid Saleem at the SUNY brockport in upstate NY. "Khalid introduced me to the power of rhythm and its ability to unite communities. His drum playing changed my life, and allowed me to explore an artful way to promote understanding, acceptance, and appreciation for the arts and their impact on creating a society in harmony." Since his early university education, Bobby has shared his passion for drumming with hundreds of thousands of people in Canada, Japan, and the US, from seniors to toddlers, corporate team building to gymnasiums packed with students and teachers. "I believe everyone has the desire to be creative, whether it be dance, music, or art, and through these mediums each life becomes a positive model for the next, free to express what's inside without fear of judgement." Bobby has earned the reputation of creating a successful experience for every participant he reaches, and is considered to be a Master Facilitator and Teacher.


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Flashback: 2010 (Salmon Mating Habits)

July 24th, 2012


Where to start? Jam Camp is the best week of my summer... A time to re-unite with old friends, make new ones, swim in the river, camp under the stars (and occasionally the rain), eat really well... And play a little bit of music too! Usually I adopt the mandolin (a far cry from the tabla, my 'real' instrument), relearn all the chords I learned the year before, practice a bunch, and by the end of the week I can plunk along slowly with a very slow bluegrass tune. It's so refreshing to be so terrible at an instrument, but to have so much fun!

To me, that's what JC is about - trying new things, breaking old patterns, and learning to have fun with music - whether you're a pro, a student, or a total beginner. It's a week where the old baggage doesn't apply, where we all become kids, and the playing field is even. Everyone's learning.

To be honest, as we approach this 10th camp (and I've been at every one...), it's hard for me to differentiate between the camps! They've all gelled into an amorphous sunny nature memory. Celina asked me to include a little bit about the 'salmon' themed camp a couple of years back - it's hard for me to distinguish that year from any other year. I do, of course, remember the infamous salmon mating ritual which Joe mcleod and I so deftly dramatized. The subject of the songwriting workshops that year was this long story about a salmon's life (with different groups writing songs about different parts of the lifecycle - birth, migration, death, etc). All very fanciful and in full creative jam camp style. Joe and I realized on the eve of the final performance, when all these songs would be played live, that the courtship and mating ritual had been (intentionally?) omitted! As scientists, we were apalled at the lack of biological realism. We felt we owed it to the camp to do our part in enacting that crucial part of the salmon's life. Everyone knows that salmon are the rednecks of the fish world. Their juicy red flesh spells that out. Joe and

I aren't salmon however, we're humans. So we enacted a redneck salmon courtship ritual, as it might happen in a redneck salmon bar somewhere in the interior of BC. Say

Lumby. It involved a whole lot of longing looks, fishy lips, a bartender, a couple of cold ones, and some really tight Jean shorts. 

Needless to say, i think we did our part to educate the campers on the lesser known aspects of salmonid dating, and the better known aspects of why short shorts aren't that popular anymore.

I know that story didn't make a whole lot of sense, and was probably totally irrelevant. And that's the great thing about jam camp. It doesn't always make sense. But it sure as heck is an awesome week in the woods making music with friends

About the author...

Tarun Nayar

Tarun is a hybrid, a meeting point between east and west; a cross-cultural (con)fusion. He is a classically trained tabla player, a DJ, and a producer, obsessed with fusing traditional Asian sounds with wicked electronic beats. He performs globally, trains in Mumbai, and represents the Canadian massive in Vancouver. As a producer, Tarun creates South Asian influenced sonic landscapes and uptempo asian beats and breaks. As a DJ, 'Tspoon' mashes funk, hip-hop, dancehall and bhangra into a bouncy, juicy dance floor madness. As a tabla player, Tarun trains classically in the Punjab school, and represents in both traditional and electronic situations. Tarun is currently performing with 3 projects; global music DJ collective Beats Without Borders; crazy celtic punjabi live electronic act Delhi2Dublin; and bhangra/ grime/ hip-hop trio BPM.


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Flashback: 2010 (Spirit Tracks)

July 24th, 2012


July 2010- My husband and I, with our two children ages 5 and 8, traversed our way through the province from the coastal islands, headed towards the forested hills that enclose the long, glacier fed waters of Mable Lake.   After many years of hearing stories, we are finally joining in on Jam Camp as volunteer facilitators, hoping that we can, in a new environment and with our own kids to facilitate, give the best of our musical skills and ideas in creating this summers' experience.  This was the first year that the Jam Camp team had created a week directed more for the younger age jam campers, leaving the teenagers to their own camp at the river.  We found a spot among the families and their lakeside summer exuberance, set up camp, and jumped in.

We started out with a whole group drum and percussion jam, led by the energetic and rhythm savvy hands of Bobby.  A situation ripe for choas, Bobby directed everyone's happy drum hands into simple yet beat rich layers with games and enthusiastic order.  After that we had more intimate moments in smaller groups, with adults and children encouraged to pick up something they may have never played before and give it a go under the aid of one of the facilitators.  Children who had perhaps never seen a fiddle before could hold down rhythms while others accompanied on percussion.  There was also opportunities for the more experienced to add to their abilities through advanced groups.  Everyday, we met in a smaller group with whom we worked together to write a song to perform on the last day.  I helped another facilitator in a group of 5 and 6 year old boys, strumming and singing our way through the forest and up and down the beach until our song of the salmon was ready to record and perform.  Both my children enjoyed finding new challenges, such as joining the advanced fiddle group and learning how to improvise instead of playing memorized or sight-read songs.  

Despite the seemingly busy activities of each day, there was also plenty of opportunities for free play and general lakeside lay-abouting, with chances for instruments to find each other and pass around a song or two.  We were able to reconnect with our own kids and tend to their needs, and to wander off on a little explore as a family.  The sun and the clouds teased each other, and finally gave in to a day of rain.  The group stuck together that day, sheltered in under the large structure at the campground, and kept our spirits lifted with more fun percussion games and a craft of shaping ocarina's out of clay and then firing them in the campfire the next day when it was dry.

Jam Camp has given me the chance to understand my own musicality better.  New rhythms, instruments, and collaborations have illuminated for me the endless possibilities of our musical selves, and at the same time given light to my own unique qualities and abilities.  The setting of joy and fun erase all limiting ideas and pressures of being musically "perfect" or "talented", and lay out a backdrop of safety and trust for unique expression.  The innocence of the children and the enthusiasm of the Jam Camp team creates an atmosphere that is engaging and magnetically interactive.  My family and I have been delighted and touched, and excitedly plan to continue to be a part of these summer gatherings.

About the author...

Wendi Lopatecki

Wendi began learning to play the guitar as a teenager and spent most of her musical time jamming on camping trips with a her group of musical and creative friends. Jam Camp feels much like those distant days, now that she is a mother of two children and spends most of her time building a house and gardening on the Gulf Islands. Luckily, her husband, Colin, picked up the banjo at the time of the birth of their first daughter, and since then they have been staying up way too late getting some time together writing songs and learning a few traditional old time tunes. The growing of the family has become a strong motivation for creating music as a way of connecting and communicating together, and Wendi and her family have been seen chopping out a few tunes around the island. Jam Camp offers a new context from those distant days which include the many smiling faces of children and parents, and Wendi is excited to share her experiences of song, guitar and mandolin with the extended Jam Camp family.


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Flashback: 2009 (Ninjas!)

July 17th, 2012


Jam Camp 2009: The Inaugural Shuswap River edition!

This was the year we departed from tradition, forwent the fabled shores of Mabel Lake (notorious home of Jack the beaver), and embraced a whole new adventure of epic proportions: Shuswap River 2009!  This meant going from a reasonably warm & calm lake to a freezing cold & rapid river.  Fortunately there was a bit of a heat wave going on (and plenty of babysitters), so many did not tarry to cool right down with float down the river at a moment's notice.  There were a few mosquitoes at the far end by the creek, but all in all we were living large, and the new digs provided plenty of camping options, from 1st class prime time to backwoods redneck.  

Culturally there was a lot going on!  We learned new songs from India to Quebec to the Pacific Isles; there was square dancing, African dancing, even bilingual modern dance expression!; there were small folk ensembles and BIG rock orchestras (think facilitators' drum and trumpet infused finale ;); acoustic and electronic creations.  The jam camp parents in particular took things to new levels with multiple songwriting groups, record participation at workshops, and the beginnings of a stagecraft program.  The little ones took us on a fantastical fairy tale ride, and almost everyone came away with super rad DIY tie-dyed camp tee!  There were hardcore basketball showdowns, old-time jams in the instrument cave, fiddle tunes on the front porch, and late-night world music collaborations in the kitchen.  

Oh yes and the Kamasake ninja senseis came down to show us a thing or two about stealth gaming and (non-violent!) tactical warfare (they were a big hit).  We even had a surprise visit one evening when some local yahoos decided to take their 4x4 truck down the river (it didn't seem legal, but... in the spirit of adventure!).  

In the words of John Lennon, "those were the days I wanna hold you man".  Eh man, can I get a "Amen"?!"

About the author...

Tyler Rudolf

Tyler's musical interests range from early jazz to bhangra, though he is particularly passionate about bluegrass, old-time, and the fusion of folk traditions. An accomplished songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Tyler is at heart a storyteller who captures universal themes through tales and anecdotes. Instrumentally he is driven by improvisation and harnessing the melodic potential of his music.

Leaving Winnipeg for the west in 1995, Tyler picked up his first banjo and went on to firmly establish himself in Vancouver's acoustic music scene. For three years he served as programmer and host of Bluegrass for Breakfast and High on Grass on UBC's CITR 101.9FM. He has since performed with numerous Canadian roots acts, but his main projects include Viper Central and the Bogghoppers, a Montréal-based old-time trio. Currently completing his M.Sc. in applied conservation biology at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Tyler cherishes the opportunity to grow, learn, and share with the artists of tomorrow at Jam Camp.


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Flashback: 2007 (Vancouver Folk Fest)

July 5th, 2012


It was the single, biggest moment for Jam Campers everywhere: they were invited to the Vancouver Folk Festival, summer 2007! We had been working on a Best of Five Years album of our originals gone by, and the word had got out that we were pretty darn good, I say. Nonchalant, a dozen of us high-school kids pulled into Spanish Bay, unloaded our shakers, our guitars, flutes and what have you, and mounted Stage 8. In reflection, we should have been daunted more than we were, but the spirit of our tunes impelled us, I suppose. We weren't as professional as the the pickers before us, but I reckon we had something just as good: fresh vibes. 

Who would have thought that this group, aged 5-17, totally all over the place, off the beat in many places, had a crowd of over 50 people skipping and dancing? I remember that well, when we sang Get Up and Dance, definitely a hit. Tarun had to come up as we were already 15 minutes into our groove and tell us, from his professional experience, that we better cut it out soon or else the energy is going to plummet! He did it with wide eyes and the finger slitting throat communication. We were reluctant. 

It was the biggest concert that Jam Camp has been invited to, considering over 30,000 folks made it out there that year, and thousands no doubt caught wind of our name, maybe thousands more wondered how we could do it. We even sold our Best of Five Years album at the CD tent. How did we do it? One of our tunes showed how: Sing a simple song, sing a simple song, make it real strong, make it real loud. 

As remembered by me, Jon Deuling

About the author...

Jon Deuling

Jon has been a musician from birth! He has kept up the great momentum in his music through a band called 'As it Happens' whom he played with through the school years. Also during those school years he taught music, with a philosophy that is much different than the classic approach of drills, sight reading, and severe discipline. While not disregarding these things altogether, Jon aims to have the student be self motivated, to cultivate their playing by ear, to write their own songs, and to learn how to jam all night long! Jon is a firm believer that a person's belief in themselves and their self-consciousness corresponds to their music in every way; he takes a lot of time to encourage people, raise their spirits, and boost their confidence in themselves. His main ambition is to master the banjo like a real red-neck, and has already done so with the guitar. He also plays bass, drums, penny whistle, piano, Chinese zither, and telephone digits.


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Flashback: 2007 (Mabel Lake Showdown!)

July 3rd, 2012

Jamcamp 2007, the fifth annual Mabel Lake edition, was a year of singing. I suppose that every year of jamcamp is a year of singing, but this particular one really stands out in my mind for so many beautiful songs sung. Many of these songs still run through my head regularly, and are standards for bicycle singing and getting friends to join in on sing-a-longs. Clapping along to “Jovano”, the clinking of rocks on the beach to accompany “Poor Mother” and all the original songs being written in the forests and on the beaches are just some of the memories.

It’s hard to distinguish sometimes between the years, and I found myself unable to remember exactly what had happened in 2007. I listened to the CD a couple times to see if I could find out anything. Apparently it rained a bunch, some campers got stuck in the overflow, and we all learned a lot from the beauty of our surroundings. Classic jamcamp themes. I was inspired by the music and the lyrics from every original song, from the littlest kids group to the political minded songs about protecting our environment. 

Jamcamp has always been a place where I feel there is real freedom to express ourselves, it is a safe place to practice play and take creative risks. It is a place to celebrate the things we are passionate about, and to learn passion for new things. Jamcamp is where you wake up singing with the sun, and crowd around the campfire late into the night, sharing stories and songs with friends new and old, tired out from a day of learning and play.  

2007 was a special year for Jamcamp, but every year is. It’s a magical place where a sense of community is born, ideas are shared, we learn to trust each other and ourselves, and see that we all have something we can bring forward to the jam. That is what Jamcamp means to me.

About the author...

Leh Deuling

Leh has been playing music since her early teen years at some of the first years of Jam Camp. She has grown from a world travelling busker finding gigs wherever she could, to a Montreal based folk musician and activist. Leh works hard to open up spaces for folks to engage with music who don’t always feel encouraged to do so. She runs monthly shows for women and trans folks, sings and writes with a feminist choir and writes and performs with her dark-country band. She also facilitates song writing workshops in French and English for blooming activists. She has worked with Rock Camp for Girls Montreal teaching electric guitar. Her focus these days is writing sad country songs and picking old folk tunes on her banjo.



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Flashback: 2006 (Amen! Hell Yeah!)

June 26th, 2012

Ahhh… Jam Camp Mabel Lake 2006… excellent weather, dance parties galore, non-stop music being made, and best of all, the people! As I reflect on what Jam Camp really is to me, I always come back to the same thing… it’s the people! We’re like a family- one big happy noisy somewhat obnoxious but always full of love family! 

And Jam Camp 2006 was no exception. In fact, I’m pretty sure we had an actual family reunion crash Jam Camp that summer… but Jam Campers have always been the kind of folk who are totally open to more friendly faces! They’re the type of family that will welcome you whether you’re a Fashion Guru or a Fashion Slave… the type of family where if one person’s dog accidentally…  ummm… ‘takes out’ another person’s guinea pig, they work out their differences, make up, and end up writing a great and memorable song about it! RIP Cheddar. They’re the type of family that will accept you for who you are…. even if your name is Leaf Kabob and you’re an unemployed albino chipmunk with an identity crisis. There’s just that much love people. 

Jam Camp is that family kinda place where babies like Rosebud learn to walk, and babies like Amani learn to breakdance. That place where slightly mischievous older ladies (oh come on, every family has them!!) hide their “pop” in the creek and spend their afternoons pretending to not be spying on Naked Beach. The type of down to earth place where we learn about Classical Indian Percussive Theory Compositions by referring to them as kidney beans and veggie pizza. The place where you’re treated like a Rock Star whether you’ve been playing music for 25 years, or 25 minutes… whether you’ve got super sweet moves- or your salsa dancing is a little, not so graceful. 

Jam Camp Mabel Lake 2006 was the camp of a lot of momentous firsts for our family: the first time singing “A Boron Ma” and learning “Long Time Traveling” in 3 part harmony… “Voyager”(Oui Oui Oui!), and the first time a lot of us heard the sweet Mother Beluga song… it was the camp where a fine group of grrrls wrote the o so popular “Get Up and Dance”, which is now backing up our AWESOME Jam Camp promo video- have you watched it yet?!? If not, do it!!! 

Too many wonderful memories to describe…. Gonna leave you with this one last bit of love from 2006.


Amen (Hell Yeah!) - 2006 Facilitator Song


Gonna keep on singing till the day is done

Gonna keep on drumming till the morning comes

Gonna keep on strumming till my fingers are numb

Gonna keep on loving till we all are one


Amen! Hell Ya! Amen! Hell Ya!


Swimming in the lake has never seemed so fine

As when I hold your little hand in mine

Summer days so long and hot and lazy

Just like the way that it's suppose to be


Amen! Hell Ya! Amen! Hell Ya!


Come swing your partner in some Old Time style

This Cuban Salsa party's getting wild

Bhangra Reggae Blues and Bluegrass, Bobby's drum

Screwin' in the light bulbs, and scratch you bum


Amen! Hell Ya! Amen! Hell Ya!


Sharing all our music in the setting sun

Our hearts are heavy- Jam Camp's almost done

When the summer's over don't forget our fun

And the spirit's sure to keep us groovin' on


Amen! Hell Ya! Amen! Hell Ya!

About the author...

Theresa Bovenzi

Theresa is a guitar, piano, mandolin and African drum player. Theresa's original songs come from her experience in relationships and in her travels, and she desires to inspire people to live in peace with themselves and each other. Theresa has shared music with children as a Music Director art summer camps, in individual lessons, in childcare work and as therapy in shelters for homeless children. Music is a source of comfort and emotional release for Theresa, and her goal is to facilitate that process for others by sharing music with them.


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Flashback: 2005 (Japan Camp!)

June 21st, 2012

"U e o muo e te" ... these are the words (or should I say combination of vowel sounds) that will forever be engraved in my musical heart, when thinking of my brief experiences in Japan with the Jam Camp Society over 8 years ago.  The song is an "old" contemporary folk song (written about 60 years ago) to cheer up a friend who was sad, and pretty much every person from Japan knows this song.   If you browse back through the Jam Camp cd's, it is immortalized in reggae form on the 2005 edition...IRE

The people of Japan are essentially peaceful and generous, always wanting to help a stranger, and willing to go out of their way... and do I ever mean go out of their way.  When I first arrived in Japan, I spoke only English, and was trying to find my way to the rural location of the camps, the prefecture of Shikkoku Island (about 8 hours south of Tokyo).  After making my way a portion of the journey south, I became lost while trying to find a bus connection.  After asking for directions from a small store, the owner of the store asked an employee to escort me to the proper bus stop, where she patiently waited with me for about 15 minutes until the bus arrived, and saw that I would be ok.  This was only the beginning of many experiences of uber hospitality that I had while visiting Japan.

Some of the most memorable experiences during the brief visit include: eating fresh Udon noodles cooked over fire, ancient shrines hidden in bamboo forests, Nato - fermented beans and rice for breakfast (really helps your constitution), jamming with some soul brothers on water bottles on a train, flicking mosquitos on very thin paper walls,  and onsen, onsen, onsen.  I hope that my journeys will take me back to Japan some day soon, and till then, I will be singing my favorite Japanese song to tide me over... Jam on Japan!

About the author...

Thomas Tumbach

Thomas Tumbach is a violinist and co-founder of Jam Camp Society. Thomas was trained as a classical violin player and has studied the musical styles of Serbian, Indian, American, Celtic, and African cultures, as well as many explorations with Folk, Jazz, Bluegrass and Live Dance. As a young adult Thomas was travelled to Argentina where he met Classical guitarists and Composers, who trained him as a violinist in the classic musical style of Argentina, the Tango. As a music educator, Thomas teaches all levels of violin, mandolin, and composition, in any style of music. Thomas is passionate about instilling a love of music, and approaches music education in a way that makes his students feel supported, creative and inspired. Thomas is a lead facilitator at Jam Camps, and teaches violin at several music schools in the Okanagan valley. Thomas is a sought-after instrumentalist, and has recorded with various independent songwriters in BC. Thomas considers working with children one of his greatest joys.


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FLASHBACK: 2004 (Damp Camp)

June 12th, 2012

I remember the weeks coming up to summer holiday, excitedly telling my friends about how much fun Jam Camp is, convincing them to come and spend the week jamming in the sunshine at lake. Of course as the date grew nearer, and the weather reports started coming in, one by one they all backed out. I was confident though, "Weather reports are never right" I scoffed to my friend as she told me she heard it was supposed to rain everyday of the week. 

As the week grew closer and closer, I was becoming more and more excited. It was only our second year with Jam Camp, and our first year as an official camp staying in the group camp site at Mabel Lake. On that first day, as people started pouring in, greeting old friends, and meeting new ones and setting up camp, the rain came pouring down. 

I think the real test was those first two days, when the rain kept coming down and everything was soaking wet with no way to dry it. Tempers were running a bit high, but, by day three everyone had pretty much faced the fact that this was happening, weather we liked it or not so we better just make the most of it. 

And we did, we would huddle up around the chimneya attempting to take in any heat we could, and whenever there was the slightest break in the rain and the sun would shine, out would come the blankets onto the grass drinking it in. On the night of the first official DJ dance party we set up under the shelter and danced the night away with no thoughts of the rain pounding down around us. Instead of having jams around a campfire, we would gather around the chimneya making up songs about rain and wishing for sunshine.

That is the true spirit of Jam Camp, to spent an entire week in the rain, soaking wet, with miserable kids and grumpy parents, and be able to look back at it and smile. Maybe grimace a little at first, but remember it fondly. That is the reason kids and parents alike keep coming year after year, because no matter how bad it seems and no matter how wet your sleeping bag is, you can just wander on up to the shelter, join in a drum jam and forget all about it.

About the author...

Esther Deuling

Esther has been with Jam Camp since the very beginning, starting as a wee participant in 2003 and over the years volunteering and facilitating by teaching poi, leading song writing groups and teaching workshops. She can now be seen wandering camps with a manager clip board in hand making sure people follow the rules. Esther loves everything to do with Jam Camp and is so happy that she can take on a bigger role in something that has been such a huge part of her life for so long.  During her real life, away from the dreamy summer Jam Camp weeks, she can be found in North Vancouver wandering the woods with her dog, working on her massage business and doing her best to help the powers that be organize upcoming Jam Camps.


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FLASHBACK: 2003 (The One that Started It All)

June 12th, 2012

Ja Ja Jam Camp!

Jam Camp, for me, is like a big blob of pulsating energy that is constantly expanding and changing colours.  Yup, strange imagery, probably because my brain is slightly altered from the last few months sunk in Jam Camp details that aren't so fun, like budgets and insurance and taxes, while simultaneously doing things with Jam Camp that are really fun, like making connections with people who are going to be bringing some very fun ideas to camp this summer!!  

Jam Camp is not a product.  It isn't something that is made, delivered, consumed.  It's not even something that is planned.  It's ironic that I feel that way, given that I spend from September to August of each year planning Jam Camps!!  But really, what the people behind the scenes like me, who are doing the planning/organizing/accounting work, are really doing is keeping the foundation alive and healthy so that the Camps can continue to build.  What happens at Jam Camp is the result of open hearts and minds and the magic that occurs when we are all just up for having fun!  Yes, there is a certain amount of money and forms and budgeting and applications involved, but even when it overwhelms me it still doesn't define what Jam Camp IS for me.

I can clearly remember the first conversation Thomas and I had about Jam Camp.  Thomas had been approached to start a Celtic fiddle camp, and he was struggling with the concept because for so many years he had been trying to shake the shackles of the traditional music instruction he had received.  He had loved his violin teacher, but the whole competitive system had been hurtful and not conducive to enjoying playing music.  I remember Thomas in full flight of imagining a camp that would embody what music meant to him, a "JAM camp"!  And so it was, and so it is.  I was stoked about this particular idea of his, as my musical upbringing consisted mainly of jamming on the shores of Mabel Lake all summer long, so it sounded good to me!  I remember meeting Bobby Bovenzi that summer at a family gathering in Oregon, and convincing him to come up to Canada to do this camp with us (didn't take much convincing, especially when we told him Theresa would be there...)!  And then all we had to do was invite Tarun and Chris Suen, and get my cousins to come with their friends, and that was the first Jam Camp!  It was so easy...and that has been the magic ever since, that all it takes is getting the people in the same place at the same time, and it all happens.  Of course, if the place is  beside a gorgeous lake or river surrounded by beautiful forest, that helps too!

When I envision the future, I want Jam Camp in it.  I want there to always be moments of that pure Jam Camp bliss, where we are connected with each other and with the Earth and with the moment through music.  I always want there to be a space where it doesn't matter if I'm very good at playing guitar, or if I sing a wrong note, if I am best friends with everyone, or as cool as everyone else...I can still connect and be part of that beautiful sound.

About the author...

Celina Tumbach

Celina is a singer-songwriter and guitar player who has been writing songs since her youth. Celina has performed in various venues, festivals and community events in the Okanagan and in Vancouver. Celina's music is inspired by environmental and social issues, as well as by the beauty of Nature and the people in her life.


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Announcing the Jam Camp 10-Year Blog Project

June 4th, 2012

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been part of the following conversation over the years—

Them: So, you go to band camp every summer?

Me: Uh, no. I go to Jam Camp.

Them: Right, that’s what I said. Do you play the tuba? Is there marching?

Me: No! Jam Camp. JAM CAMP. I mean, sometimes there are tubas, but, it’s not the same thing.

Them: Whatever. So... what’s Jam Camp?

Me: *attempts to explain the amazing, empowering, inspiring experience that is Jam Camp, fails, resorts to flailing hands around and shouting about djembes*

—I would have a lot of nickels. At least enough nickels to buy myself new strings for my ukulele. Maybe even two packs of new strings.

The trouble is, “What is Jam Camp?” is a hard question to answer, because Jam Camp encompasses so many things. And every year, as more and more people come and jam with us and experience Jam Camp for themselves, the question gets even harder to answer, because those people bring new things with them. Jam Camp grows, and changes. Which is awesome, but also presents us with a little bit of difficulty in the description.

Our good friend Colby, who joined us just last year at Shuswap River Camp, made a sweet video that, in my opinion, does an amazing job of telling the world what Jam Camp is about. (Have you watched it yet? If not, go watch it now. I’ll wait.) I’m super excited to know that the next time somebody asks me if I play the tuba, I’ll be able to just smile and point them to our YouTube channel.

This year, Jam Camp turns ten years old. TEN. I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the first camp, sitting in the trees and singing about the stars over our heads, asking the moon to guide us.

As we reflected on the past ten years of Jam Camp, in planning for this summer’s camps, I found myself coming back to that pesky question: “What is Jam Camp?” All of us, campers, parents, volunteers, facilitators, have probably tried to answer this question at least once over the past ten years. And every year, the answer changes, because the people change, and Jam Camp changes with them. I don’t think there will ever be a single “right” answer. I think there are as many Jam Camps as there are Jam Campers.

And so, as we begin our countdown to our 10th anniversary celebration (76 days until the Jam Camp Summer Dance Party, for the record), I am pleased to announce a project that showcases some of many different Jam Camps from the past ten years. Each week, a facilitator, camper, volunteer, parent, or friend of Jam Camp will contribute a blog post reflecting on a specific Jam Camp of old, starting at year one and going forward, all the way until now. They are personal stories, hilarious accounts of that time we threw Tarun in the lake, pride in the songs we’ve created, and reflections on how Jam Camp has made an impact on our lives. As we look back over the past ten years, we can celebrate our memories, while also looking forward to the next ten years, and imagining what our answers will be, then.

So. What is Jam Camp? Well, this is. And this. And this. I know what my answer is: what’s yours?

About the author...

Amy Miles

Amy's great passion in life is to create earnest ukulele covers of over-produced pop songs—especially the four-chord variety. A Jam Camp veteran—she's missed only two since its inception—she can usually be found teaching Ukulele 101 and 201, leading camp songs (or shouting matches), or running around taking photographs and asking strange interview questions that may, or may not, end up on the internet. Amy loves the Jam Camp family, and is consistently inspired by how creative every person can be. 


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Naming Contest: Jam Camp YouTube Channel

January 27th, 2012

Hey there, Jam Campers!

We want to create a Jam Camp YouTube channel! Unfortunately, we are not the only awesome music camp for kids with that name. Actually, did you know that when you google “Jam Camp,” none of the top 5 results are us?

#1: Jam Camp, the Northwest’s jam-fusion band
#2 Jam Camp West, a new hip music camp for kids 10-15
#3 Camp Jam, America’s ultimate Rock n Roll Summer Camp
#4: Harmonica Jam Camp
#5: BGA Jam 2011 Summer Music Camp

Our beloved Jam Camp is waaaaaaaay down at the bottom of the first page of results. But hey, at least we’re on the first page! Same Problem with YouTube: there’s definitely already a “Jam Camp” channel. (Also, the first thing that comes up when you run a YouTube search for “Jam Camp” is Camp Rock, that Disney movie with the Jonas Brothers.)

Don’t worry: we’re not trying to re-name Jam Camp itself! We’re trying to come up with a name that takes everything awesome about Jam Camp and smooshes it all together into something we can use as a YouTube handle. And we need your help. Please take thirty seconds to fill out this survey:

Thanks, and rock on!
-Jam Camp

About the author...

Amy Miles

Amy's great passion in life is to create earnest ukulele covers of over-produced pop songs—especially the four-chord variety. A Jam Camp veteran—she's missed only two since its inception—she can usually be found teaching Ukulele 101 and 201, leading camp songs (or shouting matches), or running around taking photographs and asking strange interview questions that may, or may not, end up on the internet. Amy loves the Jam Camp family, and is consistently inspired by how creative every person can be.