Gordon Alexander Wright : A Bark Lake Legacy

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The Friends of Bark Lake: Ontario Camp Leadership Centre, Irondale, Ontario, Canada

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The following article was researched and written by
Richard Devenney. More contributors.

Gordon Alexander Wright - A Bark Lake Legacy

(January 18, 1911 – November 15, 2007)

I am sure any one who ever knew this man, would have known him as “Gord”, and it is certainly the way I knew him. Approachable, accessible, vigorous and truly a one of a kind person - he was a great friend to, and of, my family. I first met Gord in 1956.

My father though, Hart Devenney, had come to know Gord years before that - probably in the early years after World War II. It was, almost certainly, as a result of the various meetings of the band of Canadian physical educators who eventually grouped themselves together to form a professional association that became CAPHER - the Canadian Association of Physical Health, Education and Recreation - in the late 1940s and early 50s. Since I was born in 1949, I cannot be certain. Still, I do know there were significant CAPHER or pre-CAPHER meetings in 1952 and 1954, the latter in conjunction with the notable British Empire Games in Vancouver.

The reason they may have met, was among other things, a particular lesson, and Canadian concern, arising from the experience, at all levels of government and throughout society arising out of World War II. The problem was that ‘society’, in general, just did not have enough “leaders” to go around. How this deficiency might be addressed, was a hot topic for all - not the least of whom were educators.

Gord Wright was well placed to help formulate an “education” based solution to this problem. Along with many, many others (including my father), he was able to create and ‘sell’ his approach, and also the idea of using both athletic and camp venues to give instruction to skilled teens in their late formative years (16 - 19) in how to hone their personal skills to become better mentors, teachers and coaches - in short, better leaders. It was, and still is, a wonderful idea - both in the simplicity of its conception and how it could be implemented.

First to benefit, almost immediately, would be the high schools and the not-for-profit summer camps from which such teenaged candidates would come. Later as they went on in their lives, to university, to work, to their communities and to the places of community involvement, they would be able to take up leadership positions in any of the myriad of groups that are a part of all such human activities.

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Gord Wright with his Ontario Achievement Award
Bill Davis (William G. Davis),Ontario Minister of Education presented
Gord with this award for his distinguished contributions to
fitness and amateur sport on May 5, 1964