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ACF14009

Silver Lake Camp "A small camp with a big impact"

  • Submitted by:

    Stephanie Stretch

    Organization:

    Silver Lake Camp Committee

    Location:

    Kinloss, Ontario

  • Idea Created:

    September 28, 2012

    Community Size:

    100,000

Overview:

In silence, the mist rises off the lake in the cool of an early August morning as the water sits glassy, reflecting the clouds, the far shore, the dock, everything double. A lone lifeguard stands at the water’s edge, feet sinking into the wet sand. In the distance, a bell rings and moments later her morning reflection is shattered by the clamour of 100 feet racing from their cabins splashing into the lake for their morning dip. So a day begins at Silver Lake. The lake is at once at the edge of camp – literally creating a boundary on three sides – and at the centre. As a typical day proceeds, campers swim, play games, toss frisbees, balls or each other amidst gales of laughter and splashing, always under the watchful eye of the lifeguards watching from dock and shore. Canoes launch from the shoreline through the reeds into the open bay where campers learn to paddle, learn to splash with a paddle, learn to manoeuvre a canoe ... and occasionally how to tip it. Beyond the end of the dock, campers leap from the diving raft or get bounced from the water trampoline, bobbing to the surface in their lifejackets and swimming back for more. Such are the games that make summer camp. These are the days from which lifelong friendships are forged, these are the ways by which love gets shared and children learn how valued and valuable they are. The water is a place of play, of learning, of fun and of reflection. Without it, camp would not exist. The waterfront at Silver Lake – this central space to the life of camp – is 50 years old and in need of rehabilitation. The retaining wall isn’t retaining so well, letting the soil from the embankment creep into the sandy shore. The dock and boathouse, though lovingly and maintained, are both well past their expected lifespan. Two of the seven canoes are only good for tipping and sinking, not so good for floating. Paddles and lifejackets are always getting broken, worn out, or damaged. The campers who come to Silver Lake are diverse. Some are from the local farms and farming communities of Bruce and Huron county; others from cities like Guelph, Kitchener, Cambridge or Hamilton. Some come because they like camp or want a particular program; others because a single parent needs affordable childcare, or a caregiver needs a well-earned rest. Silver Lake partners with Reach for the Rainbow to accommodate special-needs campers each week, offers bursaries to families in need, and strives to keep camp affordable for all families to enjoy. So, the amenities of camp remain simple –no daredevil para-ski jet-boat – and the spirit of camp remains true to the natural environment. As such, rejuvenating our waterfront stands as an important priority for camp for the next 50 years. We believe that the Aviva Community Fund would offer an excellent opportunity to bring new energy and life to the waterfront through a new retaining wall of stone, new landscaping, a new dock with a slide, three new canoes and a new boathouse full of lifejackets and paddles. Aviva would not only be benefitting the campers from across southwestern Ontario who use the camp in the summer but numerous community groups who use the camp in the spring and fall. Truly, the Aviva Community Fund would benefit a broad and deserving community. The still, misty mornings would still get shattered by racing feet, laughter would still ring across the lake throughout the day, and even better, more children would get to come to camp, to be loved and cared for and discover that all the wonders of this world are for them. Thank you for your vote and consideration!