LWFRA funding vital to successful summer camps at WJCC

The LWFRA presented some funding support to the WJCC on Aug. 27 at the Windsor Junction Community Centre. (Healey photo)

WINDSOR JUNCTION: Until early June, it looked like the popular summer day camps at the Windsor Junction Community Centre may be another casualty to COVID19.

However, the volunteer board came up with a plan that would allow them to hold camps and were beginning to implement it when the province eased restrictions allowing it to do more.

With that in mind, all that was needed was to secure funding for the 40-plus youth who would be the camp day staff and lifeguards at the facility, dubbed as a community gem by many in the LWF area.

Recently, the LWF Ratepayers Association (LWFRA), represented by chair Marni Tuttle and Secretary Cathy Deagle-Gammons and Barry Dalrymple, visited the WJCC to present funding for the summer camps. WJCC chairwoman Andrea Forrest and youth camp staffers Mackenzie Parker and Hannah Rooney accepted the cheque.

Both Tuttle and Deagle-Gammon, who is seeking the District 1 council seat in the Oct. 17 municipal election, have finished their term with the LWFRA and are no longer board members. New blood is an exciting thought for the organization, said Tuttle.

“The investments this year from the monies from the LWFRA have gone to the WJCC; Lakeview Park; and the senior’s group,” said Tuttle. “This summer was an investment of $170,000 to the WJCC which allowed the board to plan for the summer despite COVID19. They built a COVID resistant plan and there are more than 40 youth from the community hired on as staff.

“They were able to have four sessions with 40 kids in each one.”

It looked like there might not be any camps this year due to COVID, but when restrictions eased the WJCC put their plan to work.

“When it was coming to May and it looked like there wouldn’t be any summer camps and parents were desperate for child-care, we’ve come along way here at the WJCC and it took a lot of people.”

Forrest agreed.

“Without the funding from the LWFRA this year, the WJCC would not have been able to operate this year,” she said.

She spoke about what the funds from the LWFRA were directed too.

“We had 12 lifeguards here for eight weeks, seven days a week, and all the other camp staff. It was employment opportunities for these youth,” she said. “It also gave 160 kids an opportunity to come to camp during the summer over an eight-week span.”

Forrest said it was a roller-coaster in planning for summer camps with not knowing what they could or couldn’t do initially.

“The board voted on June 9 to operate camp, but the guidelines didn’t come until a couple days later from the province,” she said. “Once we had those we could know what we had to do and then figure out how to make it work.

“Our staff has been great at working on the fly this summer and dealing with all the changes.”

Tuttle said it’s been a rough four years and there was concern the area rate wouldn’t be around to support such community gems like the WJCC.

“It’s been a challenging few years, and by the attachment of the location it had a chance to affect LWF Baseball,” said Tuttle. “To know that those programs can continue to exist over the past four years because of the hard work of volunteers in the community is great.

“We’re looking forward to the next four years to see what can happen here at the WJCC; at Lakeview; through baseball; through the seniors; and in the community. We’re always looking for great projects.”