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Friends of Oochigeas A camp supporting children affected by childhood cancer Issue 3


Volume 17 •

Winter 2013

A place where kids explore ...

the undiscovered

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer with a unique opportunity 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

Ooch Programs Ooch Downtown




This past summer Ooch Downtown has had a record number of campers, siblings and families participate in various programs. Visits to the zoo, excursions with the Toronto Police Marine Unit, movie nights and other themes are just a few of the foundations that promote the exploration of new experiences and opportunities. Conquering these new horizons builds confidence, creates meaningful friendships and most importantly temporarily frees a child with cancer from the constraints of being sick as they focus on having fun.

In-Hospital Program

We create memories

Ooch is privileged to work alongside The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in the execution of Ooch on the 8th. Meeting every child and family who steps into the oncology ward at SickKids provides Ooch staff and volunteers an opportunity to do what they do best – friendship and fun! At a time when families are engaged in a battle to simply understand and cope with a cancer diagnosis, Ooch steps in to provide some normalcy. “Sitting with the kids, playing a game, doing a craft, laughing about a silly skit, all these things provoke laughter and joy during what is often a dark and confusing time,” says Jordi Friese In-Hospital Program Manager “We create memories with kids and families that last a life-time it’s the best job in the world.”

Ooch in Muskoka



Friendship, Fishing & Fun


This past summer there were a record number of campers who experienced the magic of Ooch. As we seek to retain a rapport and relationship with all campers year-round, we launched a new program in September called the Teen Leadership and Social Club (TLSC). During this seasonal change 26 campers enrolled in this exciting new program. As the name would suggest, the program is for 15-18 year old teens who want to learn about and explore the concept of leadership while connecting with other teens and having fun. Leadership opportunities pursued this fall included helping out with an Ooch Downtown program called Camp-A-Thon, first aid training, and a “What to do After High School?� fair. There was also an opportunity to explore leadership opportunities in the community, attain certifications and acquire volunteer hours for high school. As the club grows it will become self-directed with support from Ooch staff and volunteers - the members will choose and plan what leadership skills they would like to explore, develop and refine.

Life-changing experiences. Personal reflection from former Ooch camper and volunteer Natalie

Dear Camp Ooch, Attending Camp Oochigeas for the first time, I was a shy, timid young girl with a broken spirit who could not see a world beyond the hospital and chemo treatments. As a camper, the magic of Ooch mended my broken spirit by connecting me with other kids who understood. It gently pushed my comfort levels to achieve goals beyond what I thought was possible and provided opportunities for fun and laughter that I needed to be transformed from a cancer patient back into a child. This was largely due to supportive counsellors who enabled me to feel like I was flying when I could barely walk. Although a cancer diagnosis does its best to steal a child’s innocence, Ooch has the ability to bring much of it back. Although I “left” Ooch for ten years after finishing my time as a camper, Ooch never really left me.

Natalie as an Ooch Camper in the 90’s

Cabin mates become life-long friends

It instilled in me the confidence and “brave spirit” that would guide me through life’s obstacles and to achieve many academic and personal goals. My childhood cancer experience and the inspiration I received from Ooch also helped guide me in the career field where I now work with kids in need of extra support, and my overall perspective on life to live each day to the fullest.

“As a camper, the magic of Ooch mended my broken spirit by connecting me with other kids who understood.”

Memories that last a lifetime

In 2010 I returned to Ooch as a volunteer and after four summers in Muskoka, my time spent in the hospital with Ooch on the 8th, and time spent at Ooch Downtown, I continue to be inspired by the magic that Ooch provides and the brave spirit that each camper holds. I feel honoured and privileged to be a part of the volunteer team and a small part of these remarkable children’s journeys. To know that I may be helping provide the kind of life-changing experiences that I received, in children who may not yet be seeing life beyond their cancer, humbles me and makes me grateful to be part of an organization that continues to inspire and add meaning in my life. Thank you for the work you do to make Ooch possible. In Camp Friendship, Natalie

Natalie as a volunteer counsellor

CALLING ALL ALUMNI Are you an Alumni Camper or Alumni Volunteer? Please be sure to update your contact details by emailing:

“What I learned at Camp Ooch” “I learned that I have skills I didn’t think I had.” Age 14

“I learned to waterski with a rope.” Age 10

“That you don’t have to be afraid and to keep trying.” Age 10 “I learned that it’s okay to be silly with your friends and laugh and enjoy yourself.” Age 14

“Ooch is the only place I feel free and I love that!” Age 13 “I learned that I was good at making friends.” Age 8 “I learned that I am determined.” Age 7

“That I have a positive attitude (I even got a special award for it) and that I’m ‘fearless’.” Age 13 “I learned that I can live in the forest for three days if everyone cooperates and stays positive.” Age 13

“How brave I am.” Age 12 “That my life jacket has a whistle on it in case I am in danger.” Age 7

“Sometimes superheroes reside in the hearts of children fighting big battles. Your support provides opportunities for kids with cancer to grow and learn through their experiences at camp.”

Get Involved. Monthly Giving

is an easy and affordable giving program that makes a BIG difference.


Regular monthly gifts provide Ooch with a reliable source of funding that provides more Ooch, more often for more kids. As a monthly donor, you are ensuring children with and affected by childhood cancer receive what is rightfully theirs - the opportunity to be a kid. BECOME A MONTHLY DONOR TODAY.

Sporting Life 10k Sunday May 11, 2014

Register before January 15th & receive a $35 Sporting Life Promotional Gift Card & Nike Dry Fit Shirt

We need YOU to Help raise $2.2M to create more Ooch, more often for more kids with cancer. When you raise $100 or more online by 5 p.m. EST on Monday, May 12th, 2014 you will receive a full reimbursement for your race registration.* For more information on how you or your company can get involved, please contact Kristyna Petrollini or 416.961.6624 x251 *The registration reimbursement does not include HST or processing fees.

Save the Date - An Evening of Winter Dreams Thursday November 6, 2014

Ooch’s Summer Dreams are about to get cooler. Save the date for our bienniel Gala. For more information on how you or your company can get involved, please contact Diana Gourley or 416.961.6624 ext. 238

aN eVeNinG oF WInTer dReAms nOvEmbEr, 2014

Workplace Giving

is a great way to support Camp Ooch while building team spirit, morale and camaraderie at your office! Corporate Matching Gifts Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match any charitable contributions made by their employees to charity organizations. To find out if your company has a matching gift program, please speak with your HR department. For more information please contact Diana Gourley at or 416-961-6624 x238

A Brave Spirit Makes All Things Possible 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!

Presented By:

Ooch ambassadors Shantelle Craig & Yannick Bisson

Board Chair Andrew Irvine, Board Member Jim Bunting

Former campers Brandon McPherson, Raymond Hardisty

Emcee Jennifer Valentyne, Caitlin Brenchley, Michelle Afinec

Pat Davidson, Honourary Chair Hugh Rennie, Janice Rennie, Judy Tripp

Long-time volunteers Bev Rosser, Jeff Harris

On October 26th a gathering of over 650 friends of Ooch came together to celebrate Ooch’s Big Three-OH! Celebrating thirty years of impact, inspiration, dedication and passion. All who attended, raised a glass to honour Ooch’s steadfast mission of providing kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer the friendship, fun, joy and magic of Camp Ooch.

Executive Director Alex Robertson

Yes I want to give the gift of _______




Laughter $100 $125

Confidence Friendship Memories $250 a full day of camp

$3500 two weeks at camp

$1750 a full week at camp

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: _______________________________________________________________________ Note: all donations made through the symbolic giving program 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 W17

Become a monthly donor today.  

Give the gift of Camp Ooch and make a meaningful difference in the life of a child affected by childhood cancer.

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