Camp Barnard, near Sooke, has launched a fundraising challenge to support two projects that will enhance its overall accessibility.
The camp hopes to raise $100,000 through the I Care ‘Bout Camp challenge to build the new Chil Lodge and replace its existing Mor Kitchen.
In non-pandemic times, the year-round camp is used by Scouts Canada, Girl Guides and around 80 different school and non-profit groups.
The project has two phases.
Phase one will see the Chil Lodge facility built where one of the camp’s four cabin circles is currently located, which will form a campsite with the existing Mang cabin circle. The four-season Chil Lodge will have two indoor washrooms, 20 beds, electric stoves and a 36-person indoor dining area.
Penny Hill, of Camp Barnard’s management committee, said the lodge will be fully accessible for people living with physical disabilities. She added it’ll also make for a more comfortable experience for younger campers.
“If we have beds that are proper beds, that they can get in and out of, and bathrooms that are more easily accessible, that will work for more people,” she said.
Other accessible elements of Chil Lodge will include several amenities for campers who have a visual impairment, textured flooring and acoustic treatments for those with noise sensitivities.
“We’re trying to do a number of things here and meet more needs of people who may be challenged to come out to the camp at the moment, while supporting everybody who already does use the camp,” Hill said, noting that improving accessibility has been a camp priority for the last 15 years.
Phase two will replace the aging Mor Kitchen, which was built as a temporary shelter around 45 years ago.
“It’s just about impossible to heat and it doesn’t really meet the needs of our users anymore,” Hill said.
Cabins from Chil Lodge’s build site will be moved closer to Mor Kitchen, which will go from a kitchen and dining hall, to just a kitchen with an outdoor, sheltered dining space. The Mor renovation will help create separate areas for scout and non-scout groups, Hill said. She added that COVID-19 made the camp realize having multiple groups sharing facilities isn’t ideal.
“We’ll actually increase how many people we can accommodate in the camp, while not requiring groups to share space,” Hill said. “We think it’ll get more people out there.”
The Chil Lodge and Mor Kitchen project aims to have both buildings completed by 2025. Camp Barnard said the project schedule will be driven by the funds they have available.
Information on how to donate is available at campbarnard.ca.