Pastor Darin Phillips introduces the Kids for Camp crew to the Oceanview Community Church congregation on June 2.

Anonymous donor helps send Ladysmith children to camp

Oceanview Community Church will send 40 children to Camp Qwanoes this summer with help from an anonymous donor.

Oceanview Community Church (OCC) will send 40 local children to camp this summer with the help of a generous, anonymous donor.

Pastor Darin Phillips said OCC helps fund a week-long summer camp experience at Crofton’s Camp Qwanoes for a handful of children each year through OCC’s “Kids for Camp” program.

The church has traditionally funded the program through events like the garage sale OCC hosted Saturday, June 1, but for the last two years, they’ve received an unexpected boost from a donor who chooses to remain anonymous.

Phillips said the donor approached him last year, informing Phillips that he loved the idea of Kids for Camp and offering to help the campaign with a donation.

Not knowing what the donor had in mind, Phillips asked if the donation might cover the cost of sending an additional two or three kids to camp. The donor’s response caught him completely off guard.

“He said ‘I love what you guys are doing. I want to help you send kids to camp. I’m giving you seven grand!’ And I’m like, what?” Phillips said.

With an additional $7,000 in hand, OCC upped the number of kids it helps sponsor to 40, Phillips said, covering, on average, 55 per cent of the $500 per-week camp fee for each child.

The children and their families, in turn, fundraise to cover the remainder, he added.

Phillips described Camp Qwanoes as “summer camp on steroids.” In addition to the traditional summer camp activities like camping and canoeing, Camp Qwanoes has an “Iceberg” anchored offshore — an enormous white inflatable climbing wall floating in the camp’s swimming area — along with its own skate ramp, basketball court and a high ropes course.

Phillips said the camp is “unapologetically” Christian, but tries to be “super inclusive, and anyone and everyone can go.”

“It’s a pretty remarkable place,” he added.

This year’s Kids for Camp crew was introduced to the OCC congregation Sunday, June 2, Phillips said, adding that anyone interested in learning more about Camp Qwanoes should visit the camp during their annual pre-season open house Saturday, June 8. This year’s open house runs from 11:45 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The event is free, but advance reservations are required. Phone 250-246-3014 or e-mail registrar@qwanoes.ca to reserve your spot or learn more.