Summer Overnight & Day Camp - Outdoor Centre - School
located in Huntsville, Ontario - 705.789.5612


The Directors of Camp Tawingo

We have fun building great kids!

In 1961, Jack and Helen Pearse founded Camp Tawingo with a vision of creating a summer oasis of safe, wholesome, traditional, camper-centered fun for boys and girls.This they did - and then some - for over four decades. Today, Michael and Tia Pearse, along with fellow Director John Jorgenson, lovingly and faithfully dedicate themselves to that same vision, and to the preservation of the important camping traditions set by Jack and Helen 59 years ago.

Mike Headshot 2MICHAEL PEARSE is Tawingo's Managing Director. He has spent 45 years at Camp Tawingo, where he has been a camper, a counsellor, Section Director, Waterfront Director, Co-ordinator of Leadership Development, Wilderness Canoe Trip Leader, and Director of leadership. He is a past chair of the Ontario Camps Association Counsellors Conference and has presented leadership workshops and motivational speeches across Canada, in the United States, Japan, and Venezuela. Mike was the Director of Academics at Tawingo College for two years and is now the school's Managing Director. Mike graduated with the Gold Medal in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, and received the Chancellor's Award for the highest graduating average in the Social Sciences Faculty. He attained his Bachelor of Education from Althouse Teachers' College, where he received the J.W. Bowden Award for Academic and Teaching Excellence. Mike taught at Oakridge Secondary School in London for 10 years, where he coached Soccer, Hockey, and advised the Student Council, and Drama Club. While there, he received numerous teaching awards, including the Graduating Students' Teaching Award and the city-wide Bishop Townsend Award for Teaching Excellence. Mike co-directed The Original Kids Summer Theatre Day Camp in London with his wife Tia, and together they now own and operate Camp Tawingo. Mike and Tia live year-round at Camp with their sons Christopher, Tyler, and Carson.

Tia PearseTIA PEARSE is the Director of Food Service, Health Care, and the Day Camp Program at Camp Tawingo. Tia has an Honours B.A. in English from The University of Western Ontario and a B.Ed. from The University of Toronto. From the age of ten Tia was involved in professional theatre at such venues as The O’Keefe Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, and Hamilton Place. For four years, she was Director, Office Manager, and Registrar for the Original Kids Summer Theatre Day Camp in London. In Muskoka, Tia has directed, choreographed, and performed in several Community Theatre productions, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.  Prior to starting a family, Tia taught English and History at Laurier Secondary School in London, where she choreographed the school musicals, coached Cheerleading and Boys’ Soccer, and advised the Students’ Council. Tia is past co-Chair of two Ontario Camps Association Conferences for Directors and Senior Staff and past-Chair of the Public Relations Committee on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Camps Association.

John  JorgensonJOHN JORGENSON has an Honours B.Sc. Degree in Biology from University of Waterloo and has been at Camp Tawingo since 1977. He directs and coordinates the Tawingo Outdoor Centre throughout the year and he is a Director of Program for the Summer Camp. He has served as President of the Ontario Camps Association, President of the Canadian Camping Association, Chair of the Editorial Board of the American Camps Association's "Camping Magazine", and a Board Member of the Society of Camp Directors. Recently "Jorgi" became an Honourary Life Member of the Ontario Camps Association. He has conducted workshops on Camping and Outdoor Education across Canada, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Bulgaria, Russia, and Hong Kong. He has contributed to and co-authored five Camp Tawingo Publications. John was the General Session Chair of the Third International Camping Congress in Toronto in 1994, the Kindred Conference Chair for the Association of Independent Camps of the American Camping Association in the same year, and continues to serve on the Executive of the International Camping Fellowship. Recently Jorgi was recognized with the International Development Award for his outstanding contributions to camping the world over.  

Jack  PearseJACK PEARSE - 1926 - 2013 Jack once wrote – in song: “We can make a difference, you and I; we can make a difference, if we try.”  There is little question that Jack made an immeasurable difference in the lives of an equally immeasurable number of children, students, and leaders the world over.  His revolutionary philosophies of teaching, coaching, leadership, and life have been cemented in books and articles, and in the hearts and minds of all those whom he has touched and led, just as they were foundational to the success of: the Department of Recreation and Leisure studies at the University of Waterloo, which he co-founded; the University of Waterloo Golf Team, which he coached beginning in 1968 and for which he was inducted into the U of W Sports Hall of Fame; the Ontario Camps Association, the Canadian Camping Association, and the American Association of Independent Camps, of which he served as President all; the American Camps Association; the International Camping Fellowship, which he co-founded and for which he was the longest-running Chair, and, of course – his greatest passion and, perhaps, greatest legacy – Camp Tawingo, which he co-founded, owned, and directed for 42 years beginning in 1961. A song-leading legend, Jack recorded three collections of camp songs, co-authored 10 books on camp songs, program, and leadership, and led singing to 100s of 1000s of delighted children and adults on virtually every continent. Fittingly there are awards of excellence and endowment funds in his name in the Canadian Camping Association, the U of W Golf organization and Golf Association of Canada, and at Camp Tawingo. We do not teach the reef knot, we teach the camper; and if we make the camper our focus, the skill will surely follow: so believed Jack Pearse, and – right up to the moment of his passing - so did he inspire others to believe the same…others whom he consciously and carefully put at the centre of everything he thought, spoke, and did. What a gift to us all…and to generations to come. "Keep singing 'till we meet, again, Jack..."


Tawingo Talkback!

" I love that the kitchen doesn't have a deep-fryer! "

- Parent