Ushering In the New Year

Winter 2021

It’s New Year’s Day, the sun is rising, and I’m taking a moment to reflect on a year unlike any other. I have been moved and inspired as our community has shared moments of pain, fear and worry, and helped each other to persevere with support, optimism and hope for 2021.
This year more than ever has demonstrated camp is so much more than its 300 acres. It’s more than the summer, or any specific camp activity. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m eager to get back on site, but 2020 has been unique in highlighting that the true spirit of Scugog is found in our community and its enduring connections. By community, I of course mean the campers and staff, but I’m also talking about you, our donors, volunteers and friends who help make it all possible. I cannot overstate your importance.
As tough as this year has been, we’ve seen your generosity provide much needed strength and security. With the kindness of friends like you, we’ve been providing “COVID relief” programming to campers, staff and LIT/JC’s through the summer and fall, and this holiday season was no exception. One of our staff dressed up as Santa and safely delivered a homemade quilt and a $200 grocery card to every family who attended our Mom’s and Children’s program in 2019. Our LIT/JC’s were given gift cards to purchase something safely online, and all summer 2019 kids and teens were sent cards with fun camp themed activities. We also provided gently used, and some new clothing to every family who indicated a need. These gifts were often met with tears of gratitude and relief.
After receiving new clothes, one mom wrote:
“There are no words that can convey how thankful I am. I had a good cry after unpacking all the clothes because they are stunning and it’s been such a long, long time since I had nice clothing like this! Without sharing too much – I have been deeply depressed this year and these beautiful clothes make me want to wake up and dress up every day! It’s been a long long time since I felt excited about getting dressed in the morning! Thank you!”
The program that excited me most was our Christmas exchange. Campers and families were partnered with friends of Scugog to share gifts. Moms received support for themselves and their children, so that they had warm food on the table and gifts under the tree. Science and craft kits, Lego and snow suits seemed to be the most popular items. Each camp family had the opportunity to give a gift back to their new friend, and I can’t tell you how many expressed appreciation. Some moms shared their cooking or baked holiday treats (with donated food), while others leaned into their craft skills and made ornaments and other small tokens of gratitude. It was powerful watching the mom’s share their gifts on our Facebook group, enthusiastically showcasing what they were making, thrilled beyond measure to be able to share in the dignity of giving.
I can’t reflect on 2020 without sharing the remarkable strides that have been made to Scugog’s facilities. We received a very generous donation that allowed for a total renovation of our near dilapidated boathouse. I’m thrilled about the beautiful skylight and gorgeous wrap around porch. Besides being safe enough for campers to use again, the new porch will allow for a whole host of new activities, providing shelter from the sun and rain.
Our waterfront has also received a huge makeover. It was eroding and was becoming unsafe. It’s now been braced and landscaped with armor stone, new, wider steps have been added, and in the spring we will plant beautiful trees to provide shade. I’m also pleased to report there is great excitement for the basketball court we’re building. This past fall, the ground was levelled, and gravel added. It will sit over the winter, and the court will be finished in the spring. I can’t wait for the first group of campers to see these changes to the site, and to feel the pride that comes with maintaining and improving a place you hold so dear.
So it’s with both gratitude and optimism that I say goodbye to 2020 and usher in the new year. These past months have been remarkably challenging for all of us, and it’s been such an honour to be able to play a small role in bringing hope and joy to others. I can’t thank you enough for being a part of it.
Dana Leahey
Camp Director
Boathouse Before and After

Our New Waterfront

Some Homemade Gifts for the Holiday Exchange
Assistant Director Carol Delivering Her Gifts