Six Niagara-on-the-Lake girls are LEAP-ing for joy these days, as they see their dreams of going to a leadership camp this summer get closer and closer to becoming a reality.
Bob Forbes, president of the NOTL Kinsmen Club, says the association likes to donate to groups in need. When the local Girl Guides leaders asked for some support to help girls attend the camp, Forbes said they met and agreed it was a worthwhile cause. “We look for local groups of young people, groups that may not have access to a lot of money,” says Forbes. They tend to lean toward athletic pursuits, sponsoring things like the Crossroads basketball team, and the Niagara Thunder lacrosse team.
The Kinsmen also donate their hall to all the levels of Girl Guides, from Sparks to Pathfinders. “It’s free. We take care of that,” says Forbes.
LEAP 2019 is a girls’ leadership camp at Doe Lake Camp, near Huntsville. It’s a week-long “large-scale event,” according to Guides patrol leader Megan Gilchrist — attracting between 2,000 and 2,500 young ladies from all over Ontario and Nunavut.
The camp features traditional activities such as archery, canoeing and rock-climbing; plus STEM activities, such as robotics. “There will also be a service component,” says Gilchrist. “The girls will have a choice between several activities such as helping out at an animal shelter, or making kits for residents of a women’s shelter or for people experiencing homelessness.”
The Guides will continue to raise funds for the campers by selling cookies, and making and selling tea light holders. Each camper’s fee is $900 for the week, so they’re eager for you to keep buying the Chocolatey Mint cookies until the end of February. In March they will bring out the traditional chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies.
Gilchrist points out that you can donate even if you don’t want cookies, and the boxes you pay for will be given to Newark Neighbours.
She also says most units of Sparks, Brownies, Girl Guides and Pathfinders are still accepting new recruits, and there’s a new program in place called Girls First, which is “an exceptional program because the impetuses are coming from kids, they’re skills-based, and they’re really fun.”
Madison, 10, is “really excited” to go to LEAP 2019, and not at all nervous to go to overnight camp, because she’s been before. Brooke, nine, is equally excited and confident. Also attending will be Sophie, Josie, Amara and Hannah.