Church and schools continue to push to get kids to camp

Jodi Schellenberg
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Some lucky students will be going to camp this summer thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers.

Malcolm Jenkins of Canadian Tire presents a cheque for $25,000 to the Tri For Kids group on Saturday. The money will go towards sending underprivileged children to Camp Christopher this summer.

A triathlon was held on Saturday as one of the final fundraising effort for Tri For Kids, an effort put together by St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, King George Community School and Riverside Community School to raise money to send students to Camp Christopher.

Four teachers from the two school participated in the triathlon, swimming in the lake, then biking and running back to Prince Albert.

Sandy Scott started the triathlon, said King George principal Sterling Swain.

“He did it a lot of times solo and I can see why,” Sterling said. “To be out there early in the morning with the stillness and quiet, it was amazing.

“I decided this year we would bring in some other teachers from King George and the Vice Principal from Riverside to participate,” he added. “It gives us a chance to bond and get some exercise and we are doing it obviously for our students.”

The church has also been involved since the beginning, raising fund through events during the year.

It costs about $200 to send a child to camp for a week, church member Debbie Salmond said.

Last year the group managed to send 133 kids to camp, through their fundraising efforts and also with a matching donation from Malcolm Jenkins of Canadian Tire -- he matches up to $25,000, Salmond said.

Although they did not have final tallies on Saturday, Salmond said they hope to have numbers later in the week. She hopes to send as many kids this year as last.

“These are kids that would never be allowed to go to camp -- they wouldn’t have the money for it so we send them and they have a blast,” she said. “If they go once, then they can go every year after that. When they are older youth, they can become counselors-in-training and then counselors.”

Swain said it is an important initiative, giving the students a way to experience something different.

“Right now we have a little over 20 of our students -- so that is about 10 per cent or better of our student population -- that wouldn’t otherwise get to go to camp,” Sterling said. “We are also, the other part is, being able to send all of our student in the fall to a cultural camp at Camp Christopher and that is fully funded for us.

“We get all of our students from King George and Riverside get up to camp at least once and some for a whole week and year after year. It is very exciting for them.”

The church members all remember what it was like going to camp as children, Salmond said. It is an amazing learning experience for the children.

Not only will they learn teamwork, cooking, cleaning and other responsibilities, there are also fun activities such as swimming, canoeing and many others.

“There are so many things you learn at camp that stick with you for the rest of your life,” Salmond said.

They will be doing the fundraising again next year to send kids to camp.

“We will be doing a few different things but we will be sure to let the public know because it is very important that everybody get involved.”

Organizations: Presbyterian Church, King George Community School, Riverside Community School Prince Albert Canadian Tire

Geographic location: Riverside, St. Paul

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