In 1950, the late Dr. W.J. Stevenson made his own dream a reality through a memorial contribution in honour of Dr. Hugh Stevenson. That gift was the cornerstone of our camp. Since then, we’ve carried on his legacy by providing meaningful camp experiences for local kids whose families face economic hardship.
Stevenson Children’s Camp Is a registered charitable organization that has been providing a residential camp experience for underprivileged children for over 50 years. It is always a challenge for charitable organizations to continue within a limited budget.
In the mid 1990’s Stevenson Children’s Camp was struggling there was a threat that it may close down. The building were in stages of disrepair some even rotting into the ground. The board of directors asked United Way for assistance and suggestions which lead to the involvement of London District Labour Council. It was in 1994 that Jim McKinnon, Paddy Musson and Gerry Fleming, attended a camp board meeting suggesting a change in the bylaw structure from 5 directors to 8 with 3 representatives from Labour Unions on the board.
This was the beginning of the rebuilding of Stevenson. the camp has been completely overhauled since that meeting in 1994. All buildings have been upgraded from raising and rebuilding the camper cabins, new washroom facilities, opening up the Rec hall, adding a walk in freezer to new wiring, so often we have needed the assistance of the members of the London and District Labour Council. Construction, repair and capital projects will always be a challenge to a charitable organization but partnerships help make it happen.
Stevenson Children’s Camp continues its dedication to providing opportunities that will assist children develop positive social, emotional and physical growth through a residential summer camp experience. Since the involvement of the Labour council we have gone from 274 to 768 campers each summer. This summer vacation is welcome difference in the life of children who are less fortunate and supports their families through difficult times.
The fun, friendships and laughter create a memory that they never forget. The cost per child is approximately $365.00 of which the campers pay only $20.00. Last year 54% of our children could not afford the $20.00. Each year we ask the families to complete a survey which helps us all understand the difference a camp experience can make for our children.
The families comments say it best “It gave me a chance to look for a job without having to pay for childcare” “Camp increased my child’s self confidence.” “We are living in difficult circumstances right now and it was a wonderful chance for my daughter to just have fun.” “My son was so happy when he got home he is usually so quiet but he couldn’t stop talking about camp.” It was the highlight of our summer.” “Our family cannot afford vacations but I want my children to have the opportunities that other kids have.” “With both of us working we still struggle to make ends meet. The kids got a holiday and it helped us not worry for a week.”
It is always amazing that people are able to give of themselves, the staff of Stevenson are able to see the smiles and hear the laughter, however many of the volunteers don’t get that chance and yet give of their time and resources. Just imagine the number of children since that meeting in 1994 who have been able to raise their hand the first day of school when the teacher asks that question “What did you do this summer?” and say with pride and smile “I went to camp!”
Thank you!! London District Labour Council