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Alumni of Oochigeas A Camp supporting children affected by childhood cancer Issue 1

Volume 1

Spring 2014

Camp Ooch Alumni - Our Foundation and our Future I hear it all the time. “Camp Ooch is where I met my best friends, it’s where I built my fondest memories, changed a child’s life and it’s where I discovered who I really am.” Having experienced the Magic of Ooch first hand, I love to hear other peoples stories about the impact Ooch has had and continues to have on the kids, families, volunteers and the medical community we are privileged to meet, serve and work with. As an alumni of Camp Ooch you have a personal journey and the truth is, we want to remain part of it. We know that lives get busy, that priorities shift and that commitments are many. In response to this Ooch continues to build a dynamic Alumni Network to keep Ooch alive in the hearts and lives of everyone it touches. Connected by a common bond and passion for kids and Camp, this network will be built on the pillars of friendship and fun and just like your time at Ooch, once you have experienced it, our hope is you will never want to leave. Our vision is simple – connect, engage, equip and empower Camp Ooch Alumni to successfully continue the journey of impact, influence and Magic beyond the shores of Rosseau Lake College, Donner Lake, the doors of Ooch Downtown and the hallways and rooms of Ooch on the 8th at SickKids. The success of Camp Ooch is people. People like you! Please take a few minutes to fill in the online Alumni form at and indicate what you would value in a Camp Ooch Alumni Program and how you would like to stay connected. Your feedback is both important and valuable as we build what promises to be a wonderful extension of the Magic of Ooch. Sincerely, Alex Robertson Executive Director




Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides kids with and affected by childhood cancer with unique opportunities for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences. Camp Oochigeas, 464 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5T 2S6 t: 416.961.6624 f: 416.961.2267 e: | | @campooch

“It’s Real and It’s Magical.” - Alumni Profile Here at Ooch we hear time and time again that what makes Ooch unique and special is the “Magic”. To understand what this really means we met with Dale McIntosh, a volunteer who has committed many hours over the last 20 years volunteering with Camp Ooch in various roles. Q How did you first learn about Ooch? A In high school many of my teachers and counsellors from the summer camp I attended volunteered at Ooch. They talked about their incredible experiences and it really resonated with me. I thought - I think I would enjoy that. A last minute phone call came in and I was on my way to Camp. Q What roles/positions have you held over the past 20 years? A I started as a volunteer counsellor and then a couple of years as Head of Boat Docks - kayaking, canoeing and sailing (I liked this role because it meant I had the opportunity to interact with all of the kids). The majority of my time was as Session One’s Program Coordinator. I loved the programming role but not the wake-up duty! Q What is your current role with Camp Ooch? A As a professional event planner, I was eager to blend my commitment to Ooch with my skill set. I have volunteered, co-chaired and currently

sit as chair of the biennial gala An Evening of Summer Dreams. (This years Summer Dreams are about to get a lot cooler as we launch the inaugural An Evening of Winter Dreams). I also participate in the Sporting Life 10K. Q What keeps you coming back? A There is no one word to describe Ooch. It’s a personal place. A place where friendships are real and deep. It’s a place of comfort and understanding amidst a caring, nurturing environment. Getting together with other Ooch alumni is always a wonderful trip down memory lane. Reminiscing about times on the boat docks, trips to Picnic Island, planning creative Special Days, playing pranks, doing pudding drops, playing impromptu road hockey games, dressing up and having dance parties, wearing buttons & braids, organizing crazy evening programs, sliding down plastic tarps, and standing around the flagpole; all lead to many good laughs and inevitably more stories. Not knowing him at the time, I ended up marrying a former Ooch volunteer, Garth Nichols, who still raises awareness and funds for Ooch through Tour for Kids.

Friendships that last a lifetime.

Fun is the foundation of everything that happens at Ooch.

Q Why should past volunteers and alumni stay connected? A Close your eyes and remember your time at Camp; remember the smell of the pine trees, the cool feeling of the lake, the sounds of kids, and the sight of all those smiling faces ... pure joy and that Magic, it still exists.

A Brave Spirit Makes All Things Possible - celebrating kids, cancer and Camp. To commemorate thirty years of impact this beautiful coffee table book reflects a history of kids, cancer and Camp. Showcasing the humble beginnings and evolution of Ooch through the many voices of campers, volunteers, founders and board members, this book is a perfect keepsake that will compel your heart and spirit to celebrate the joy, laughter, friendship and fun Ooch provides. Purchase yours today!

Dale is currently a Freelance Event Producer and Co-Founder of The Diaper Bank. She also sits on the Board of Governors at Havergal College, President of the Old Girls Association at Havergal College, on the Board of Directors of Kids Up Front Toronto and has two boys; Cooper (6) and Spencer (4).

Friends of Oochigeas A camp supporting children affected by childhood cancer Issue 1


Volume 18 • Spring/Summer 2014

A place where kids are defined by who they are, NOT what they have.

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer with unique opportunities for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences. Camp Oochigeas, 464 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5T 2S6 t: 416.961.6624 f: 416.961.2267 e: | | @campooch

The printing of this newsletter was generously donated by RR Donnelley

In-Hospital Program Camp Ooch Program Specialists at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) as well as at three satellite centres across southern Ontario provide friendship and fun in every activity they facilitate. Programs this past winter included Space Day, building bridges, transforming wheelchairs and chairs into groovy cars and making postcards to send to Paris. Whatever the program, the objective remains the same - letting kids with cancer experience the joy of being a kid while forgetting about their illness. “Often kids and families meet Ooch staff on the day of diagnosis,” says Petra, InHospital Program Manager. “We are there for the kids and families seven days a week to sing songs, play games, read books and have fun.”

“The In-Hospital program made time at the hospital so much easier for Zoe and it was a saving grace for my husband and I when we needed to take a breath, drink a coffee and regroup our minds.... all while Zoe was merrily crafting away with Camp Ooch staff.” Zoe’s mom, camper parent

Ooch Downtown



“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but rather, by the moments that take our breath away.” Nothing could be more true of the programs facilitated at Ooch Downtown this past winter. Visits from exotic animals, Disney on Ice, kicksledding in Barrie, winter wonderland activities and camp-a-thons are just a few of the exciting opportunities your support provides to kids with and affected by childhood cancer. Kids like tenyear-old Alex who summarizes Ooch with these words, “Camp Ooch is amazing!”

Ooch in Muskoka


For many, the winter of 2013 will be recorded as too cold and too long. At Ooch Muskoka it will be recorded as memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. Taking advantage of the mountains of snow, activities included snowshoeing, building snow forts, cross country skiing, chickadee feeding, curling, making snow angels and so much more. The iconic ice-storm of 2013 even brought an unexpected friend to Ooch Muskoka. Since friendship and fun are what we do best, this orphan deer was welcomed into the Ooch community. Lovingly named Flicker by volunteers and campers, everyone who had a chance to meet him delighted in the experience.







Cancer changes a kids life. So does Camp. Camp Oochigeas let’s kids with cancer experience the wonder and joy of being a kid. This summer we anticipate more than 450 kids like Hugh will attend Residential Camp in Muskoka. This is Hugh’s story as told by his mom Kate.

Hugh is seven years old. Diagnosed with a high-grade brain tumour at four, the doctors told us there was a 30% chance he would survive. He was brave and strong through every procedure and treatment. Every time we entered SickKids, Hugh would look for the Camp Ooch team with hope and excitement. They always invited him to participate in fun Camp activities. I wasn’t ready – but he sure was. After meeting the wonderful Program Specialists, I gained the confidence I needed to let Hugh attend Camp. We started with Day Camp. On the first day, he climbed the steps of the bus not knowing anyone, turned to me and said ‘Don’t worry Mom – this is a cake walk, next year I’m going to Sleepover Camp.’ He was beaming with joy. Without the amazing staff at Camp Ooch my little boy would not have grown with such confidence. Trying new things and making cool new friends, Camp Ooch gave my Hugh friendship, fun and memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you Camp Ooch.

Mommy, breakfast we have r fo – re he t a e gr The food is drink hot to t ge I s e m ti e om s nch pancakes and for lu it has every kind r, ba d la sa e th ve chocolate. I lo ve been doing a h I . e n gi a im n ca of vegetable you rockwall. d n a g in rd a o b e e kn super cool stuff like t they call a a h w ith w y da e th Every morning I start at... maybe th d lle ca ’s it hy w re Polar Bear Dip. (Not su bears.) What are e lik ve a br d n a g bi without because we are d e or b is m a S t be I home? you guys doing back ecial drawer sp y m ch u to ’t sn oe d me. Make sure she and tell her h O . zy a cr is e sh k thin and let her know I d she doesn’t). ba o o (t s ow ll e m h rs a I get to roast m and we all get on ti a n oy B r io n u J My cabin is called we sing a lot of d n a ht g i n t a s e r i pf along. We have cam nds. Can I e i fr w e n of e n n to a songs. I have made love it up here. I r? a ye xt e n k c please come ba Xoxo Hugh

PPoolalar rBBeear Dip 2 ar Dip 20013 13


Rock Wall20

Friendsh ip a Weekend nd Fun Winter at Camp (WAC)



Going the distance for kids with cancer. On May 11, 2014, 27,000 people walked or ran in the Sporting Life 10K in support of Camp Ooch. “It is always incredible to see so many people come together to raise critical funds and awareness for Camp Ooch,” says Alex Robertson, Executive Director. “We are inspired and encouraged that the city of Toronto gets behind this run.” Each year, there are more kids who need more Ooch, more often and without events like the Sporting Life 10K Camp Ooch would struggle to provide the resources and programs kids with and affected by childhood cancer need. Raising over $2 Million, we are incredibly grateful to our sponsors, volunteers and participants. We are especially grateful to Sporting Life for their ongoing commitment.

“How do I define the Magic of Ooch? Quite simply it’s the people.” An introduction and interview with Judy Tripp, former founder, current volunteer and now staff member stepping into the role of Major Gifts Officer with Camp Oochigeas. “More than half of my life has been associated with Camp Oochigeas,” says Judy Tripp. “Astounding really when I think of it. My greatest memory at Ooch (so far) was on the last day of that very first session of Camp. We knew then the power of Ooch and we knew people would come back.” Fast forward 30 years and what started as a two-week summer camp for 38 kids with cancer has done much, much more than bring people back. Blossoming into a community of more than 450 annual volunteers, 40 staff and most importantly a resource for more than 1000 kids with and affected by childhood cancer and their families across Ontario, Camp Ooch strives to continue meeting the increased needs of kids with cancer. Judy in 1983 with two of the very first Camp Ooch campers. “To succeed in this field you must have creativity, compassion and a competitive spirit,” says Tripp.

“As the Major Gifts Officer my number one priority will be finding funds to fuel the great work currently happening at Ooch alongside generating new revenue to provide more Ooch, more often, for more kids. I know that there are talented, caring people who just don’t know about the incredible impact of Ooch... yet. But they will,” she says with a smile. When asked how the current Ooch community can support Tripp in her new role, she looks both contemplative and reflective. “Quite simply - it’s the people. People sharing their story of Ooch with friends, families, colleagues and associates. Tapping into their personal relationships boldly declaring how wonderful Ooch is. How important it is and how others can get involved to make a difference. Yes, quite simply it’s the people.” Judy in 2013 as a volunteer counsellor alongside her son Taylor an In-Hospital Program Specialist with Camp Ooch and Cole a Session One camper.

To learn more about our Major Gifts program and how you can support Camp Ooch email or phone 416.961.6624

Other Ways to Get Involved Mud Hero

Muskoka Rocks

Ooch Open House

You and your friends are invited to get down and dirty in support of Camp Ooch. Voted one of Canada’s best-rated obstacle events in 2013, Mud Hero Toronto hosts a wild mix of amazing trails, water and onsite camping. 6 km, 16 obstacles and a 10,000 watt afterparty. Register with this special Ooch Volunteer discount code to receive $5 off your registration fee – GDTBRJ.

This will be the 11th edition of the Muskoka Rocks Road Race. Featuring a 10-kilometre run, a five-kilometre run/walk and a one-kilometre kids’ run, this is an event for the whole family to enjoy!

Tour Ooch Muskoka and experience the wonder and magic it offers 450 children with and affected by childhood cancer each summer. See our facility upgrades, take a guided tour with one of our Leaders in Training, sing songs, sit by the campfire, meet some of our summer camp staff, incredible volunteers and campers.This event only happens once a year so be sure to attend.

When: Sunday, August 3, 2014 Where: Minnett, Ontario

When: Saturday, August 23, 2014 Where: Albion Hills 16500 Hwy 50 Palgrave, ON L7E 3C1

When: Sunday July 27, 2014 Where: 4256 Highway 141 Rosseau ON P0C 1J0 RSVP:


Work Camp Opportunities Engage and Inspire Corporate Employees. For four days each spring, committed corporate partners and Ooch supporters are given the opportunity to refresh and revitalize Camp Ooch Muskoka in preparation for over 450 residential summer campers. After a long winter, the site needs some elbow grease and corporate partners and their employees love that they can connect with the space and place that will change kids lives forever. “Since 2003, the Rexall Foundation has been helping to build strong and vibrant communities by giving back to the communities where our employees work and live. We’re especially proud of the contributions we’ve made and the work we’ve done, helping to give some of Canada’s most courageous kids a chance to be kids. Camp Ooch gives our employees the unique opportunity to link the activities of the Rexall Foundation with the children who benefit from our financial donations. We all look forward to Camp Work Day every year and our employees leave feeling inspired and enriched,” says Brian McLaughlin EVP Human Resources and Corporate Services of the Rexall Foundation.


To learn more about how your company can get involved with Camp Ooch email or phone 416.961.6624

Become a Monthly Giving Dream Catcher Regular monthly gifts provide Ooch with a reliable source of funding that gives kids with and affected by childhood cancer what they deserve - the chance to be a kid. For as little as $10 a month, making a difference in the life of a child is simple and affordable. By joining the Dream Catchers Monthly Giving Club, you ensure a child diagnosed with cancer today will receive the same specialized care and Camp Ooch experience in two, five or ten years time. Please find inserted in this newsletter a Dream Catcher response card. Fill it out today or share it with a friend. Most importantly make a child’s dreams of friendship, fun and Camp come true.

Yes I want to give the gift of Camp to a child with or affected by childhood cancer. When you make a donation, you have the option to send an acknowledgment card or an eCard to someone letting them know you’ve made a gift on their behalf. Visit to donate online.

Enclosed is my donation: $3,500


$_________ Other





$_________ A monthly gift to be charged to my credit card

$125 Mr.



*Tax receipts will be provided for donations over $25

This gift is to honour or celebrate (optional) Name: _________________________________ Address:________________________________ _______________________________________ City: ___________________________________ Province: ________ Postal Code:____________

Other ___________________________________________________

Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________________ City: _________________________ Province: _____________________ Postal Code: __________________ Phone Number: (_____)_________________________ Email:_______________________________________ Visa/MC/Amex #:____________________________________________________ Expiry Date: ____________ Name of Card Holder: ______________________________________________________________________ Signature of Card Holder: ____________________________________________________________________ Note: all donations made contribute to the operating fund rather than to a specific item. Your donation will be used where it is needed most, to help send kids affected by childhood cancer to Camp.

Please make cheques payable to: Camp Oochigeas 464 Bathurst Street Toronto, ON M5T 2S6 T: 416.961.6624 F: 416.961.2267 Charitable Business #13111 6022 RR0001


Alumni of Oochigeas Spring Summer 2014  
Alumni of Oochigeas Spring Summer 2014