Rotary’s Camp Tillicum has been helping children make memories for decades.
Located on the shores of Lake Nipissing, it serves as a day camp used by the YMCA.
The Rotary Club has taken on the Camp Tillicum Renewal Project to replace one of its buildings.
An official ground breaking ceremony was held over the weekend.
“The plan is to replace the main building. We are going to be constructing the Redpath Youth Centre on the spot of the current recreation building at the camp,” explained Bob Cunningham, president of the Camp Tillicum board of directors.
“It will be the main building for indoor activities. There will be a small kitchen there, a fairly large activity room, change room, and bathroom. Just the one building is coming down. The dining hall is staying and another couple of small cabins are also staying.”
The YMCA is the camp’s primary tenant.
“We have a long-term lease with them for operating the camp. Of course, their chief customers are children. So, every summer they run weekly day camps there. I think the number of children this past camping year was in the 600’s. It is a very, very active camp,” said Cunningham.
There are a couple of construction options to consider.
“One is to start taking the existing building down this fall and do some of the preliminary work or we may start all that work in the spring next year.”
The camp has a rich and proud history, providing boys and girls with the opportunity to get back to nature, have fun and play while making new friendships.
“The recreation centre has a magnificent history. I think 90 per cent of the camp counsellors that have ever worked for the ‘Y’ at the camp, have left their names and dates and other decorations in this building,” said Cunningham.
“We are going to get a very serious amateur photographer to take pictures of all of the details there in order to retain that. It is not possible to retain the actual boards and stuff but we’re going to keep those memories alive.”
Rotary’s history with the camp goes back to 1947.
“It was actually operated as a camp before then but two businessmen in North Bay passed us the camp in ’47 and we’ve operated it ever since. It used to be a full-service camp with overnight cabins and of course as time moved on, our resources didn’t allow us to maintain it at that level. So, it is now a day camp facility.”
The Rotary Club’s fundraising campaign is well underway.
“At this point we have just over $1 million in donations and pledges. Our target is $1.3 million,” said Cunningham.
Donations are being accepted online by going to www.buildingcamptillicum.ca