Aikens Romance: The Catch of a Lifetime
Feb. 12, 2020
The Aikens extended family is a tight-knit group. The friendships created at Aikens by our staff and team members run deep, and the connections last a lifetime.
“Part of what has always made us proud is what a community Aikens is,” said Julie. “They say you can reconnect with a true friend in seconds and feel like you never spent time apart. That’s how it is for so many of the extended Aikens family members anytime they see each other for the rest of their lives.”
Those who understand the magic of Aikens also appreciate the fact that numerous young people came to Aikens for a summer job and––low and behold––left the peninsula having found the person with whom they’ll spend the rest of their lives.
The most recent example is Brittany Byron and Marcel Bedard, a pair of longtime staffers who met at Aikens nine years ago and last fall tied the knot at a beautiful wedding ceremony––joined in their celebration by 25 Aikens team members!
“It was awesome,” said Brittany, who was a housekeeper from 2011 to 2013 and now serves a research technician in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Manitoba. “The Aikens crew took a bus together to the venue. Pat, Kik and Josée in the wedding party, and Pit was our emcee. He brought out all kinds of Aikens stories.”
The couple incorporated Aikens into their special day in several unique, meaningful ways. They enacted a ceremonial knot tying using rope symbolizing significant parts of their lives, with Marcel––a dock hand for four years––using a boat rope from Aikens. The ringbearer carried a fishing pole down the aisle. The reception featured Lakeside Kolsch, a local brew on tap at Big Molly’s, and another Aikens’ favorite: Gibson’s whiskey.
Even the venue, Rivers Edge Resort near Winnipeg, had a floating dock and atmosphere reminiscent of Aikens, with cabins named similar to cabins at Aikens. Indeed, many of Marcel and Brittany’s special memories are tied to Aikens, where their romance began.
While each claims the other person “liked” them first, the reality is the rest of the Aikens crew knew Marcel and Brittany were meant for each other long before the duo realized it themselves. Pit even referenced the couples’ immediate and obvious connection in his wedding toast, while squeezing in some good-natured teasing, of course.
“I remember our first staff meeting of the season at Aikens, when all the rookies have to stand up and give a short bio. When it was Brittany’s turn, it was something like: ‘Hi, my name is Brittany, I love riding my horse, and I have a black belt in Taekwondo. Watch out!’” Pit said. “Then we learned that Brittany loves country music, line dancing, and wearing plaid. Holy crap… Did we just hire the female version of Mars? Thankfully, that didn’t end up being the case. Brittney also mixes in charm and grace, tact, a sharp sense of humour, she has a lot of other excellent qualities! She is one-of-a-kind.”
The newlyweds feel that Aikens is a one-of-a-kind place with excellent qualities to foster friendships that last.
“Aikens is a beautiful backdrop to get to know people,” said Brittany. “Bonfires, fishing, swimming at the falls, card games, shuffleboard tourneys, the occasional misadventure. Some of us got lucky to also end the day with back rubs, or have their misadventure (I busted my ankle my first summer) lead to coffee dates, and then… marriage!”
The couple is grateful for the meaningful, lifelong friendships made at Aikens and sustained to this day.
“We still try to have a ‘couples’ night’ every once in a while with a few of the people we worked with at Aikens,” said Marcel, who still returns to Aikens each spring to open camp and again each fall to close the season. Today, Marcel works as a Construction Officer for Southern Health, and is glad to live “close enough to the float base if he needs to get to Aikens.”
For Marcel and Brittany, nothing’s quite like with the memories of those special summers when they didn’t need a plane ride to return to paradise, but rather lived there with the extended Aikens family.
“You work, eat, sleep and play with the same crew for over three months straight. You see each other at your best and sometimes at your worst. Everyone becomes friends,” Brittany said. “Pit and Julie seem to have a knack for choosing staff that click well together. Many of the friends we made at Aikens, we would never have met otherwise, yet here we are years later and these people are lifers.”
To date, five different couples met while working at Aikens, fell in love and eventually got married––including well-known, long-time team members such as Patrick and Janelle (married in 2010) and Jesse and Reanne (married in 2018).
Please join us in congratulating Marcel and Brittany in their marriage, and all the other wonderful Aikens couples!