Sixteen children from Tillsonburg, Ingersoll, and Thamesford had the experience of a lifetime July 7-16 as they travelled to the Tim Horton Memorial Camp in Parry Sound.
The first of seven Big Brothers Big Sisters camps, the Tim Horton Memorial Camp was founded in 1975 on Lorimer Lake, north of Parry Sound. Spread out over 104 acres, the camp offers many outdoor activities and facilities for guests including nature trails, 800 feet of sandy beach, and a large sports field.
The Foundation Camp experiences are designed to change the way young people from eligible homes think about themselves and the opportunities that exist for them. Many of the campers returned home with new confidence and willingness to try new things. A Foundation camp experience provides programs to help these children develop lifelong skills. When they return home, they bring with them a positive attitude about their future, and the confidence to achieve goals they learned to set for themselves.
Funding for Foundation camps comes primarily from Camp Day, a 24-hour period when Tim Hortons restaurant owners donate the proceeds of all coffee sales and public donations to the Foundation.
Lori Salverda, owner of the Tim Hortons restaurants in Ingersoll, said “her team works hard every year to make Camp Day special in order to support the Foundation’s efforts to get as many kids as possible to camp.”
She and her team are passionate about the opportunities camp provides.
Some of the campers had this to say about their experience:
Kayla Malcolm of Ingersoll - “I loved it so much I want to go back and work as a camp counsellor. I loved everything about it. I was afraid to swim in the lake and once I did I wasn’t afraid anymore. I wanted to stay in the camp and never come back.”
Sierra Balint, Tillsonburg: “Everything was fantastic - the activities were fun and great, there was nothing I didn’t like about it… well, I didn’t like getting up so early, but it was all worth it in the end. You create such an attachment with your counsellors because they are so much fun that is hard to leave them behind.”
Lindsey McLean, Tillsonburg: “I loved kayaking and archery the most. We also got to play games, arts and crafts, swim and go rock climbing. I made lots of new friends and loved my camp counsellors.”
Calie Williams-Cyr, Ingersoll: “The games were great. We did so much I wanted to stay a little longer. It was a really good experience and I wish I could do it again!”
Each camper came home with a sleeping bag, water bottle, hat, two tote bags and a camp photo book filled with memories of their time away.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, a mentoring organization for children and youth, assists the local Tim Hortons stores in finding eligible children to attend and helping families complete the necessary application forms to make this experience possible. It’s a great partnership that truly makes a difference in children’s lives!