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Wall of Distinction unveiled as Camp Kitchikewana celebrates 100 years

Celebrations honoured camp's past and helped secure its future; Camp's mission is to challenge youth to be the very best they can be
YMCA Camp Kitchikewana Wall of Distinction Honourees 2019
Supplied photo

2019 marks Camp Kitchikewana’s 100th anniversary and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka celebrated from Sept. 6 to 8 at Camp Kitchikewana on Beausoleil Island.

With over 400 camp alumni and friends in attendance, participants relived their camp experience by taking part in summer activities (swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking), waking up to the morning bell, flag raising, morning dips, camp songs, and more. A wall of distinction was also unveiled honouring 20 camp alumni, including former camp directors, who had a profound impact on the camp.

For 100 years, YMCA Camp Kitchikewana has been offering traditional summer camp programs for youth of all ages. Today, it continues to offer overnight camp programs for youth as well as canoe trips, a high school credit program, school group outdoor education and volunteer programs.

After 100 years, Camp Kitchikewana’s mission remains the same - to challenge youth to be the very best they can be. Through a variety of outdoor and skill-building activities, campers are encouraged to challenge themselves while building self-confidence, having fun, and creating lasting friendships.

Jennie Hughes-Meeker still fondly remembers her 11 summers at YMCA Camp Kitchikewana. It was the start of a lifetime of memories.

“Camp Kitchikewana not only taught me many skills through a wide variety of activities, it was an invaluable opportunity to learn much more,” said Hughes-Meeker.

“Camp taught me how to think independently, to respect and appreciate the beauty and heritage of the island, and allowed me to make lasting friendships with those who loved camp as much as I did. And, now 40 years later, I am still blessed to be spending time with my wonderful camp friends.”

As part of the 100th celebration, Camp Kitchikewana alumni in partnership with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and the Huronia Community Foundation have established an endowment fund to ensure the continuation of high-quality camp experiences for generations to come.

The endowment fund has currently received $940,000 in donations, with the help of a generous Kitchikewana alumnus, Paul Lawrence, who has offered to match every donation up to $1,000,000. The goal of the endowment fund is to reach $2,000,000.

“We have been fortunate to have many people step forward and donate to the endowment fund because of what the Camp Kitchikewana experience did for them,” said Gord Dunlop, General Manager, Camping and Outdoor Education, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. “Community heroes like Paul Lawrence know how meaningful camp can be for a child and we are so thankful his support and for the support of all our camp family and friends.”

Since it opened its doors in 1919, Camp Kitchikewana, with the generous support of alumni, has modernized its facilities, adding new cabins, washrooms, docks, sailboats, canoes and a state-of-the-art kitchen.

Proceeds from the 100th Anniversary Endowment Fund will be used to enhance the camper experience including replenishing, replacing and repairing program equipment and facilities used by the campers.

For more information about YMCA Camp Kitchikewana, the 100th Anniversary Endowment Fund and how to donate, please click here, or visit the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka website for the full list of Camp Kitchikewana’s Wall of Distinction honourees.