MacKenzie Camp, on Mabel Lake, has cancelled its overnight camping due to COVID-19, but is transitioning online. This is the first summer in its 75 years it won’t be hosting youth from the North Okanagan and Shuswap. (Photo contributed)

MacKenzie Camp, on Mabel Lake, has cancelled its overnight camping due to COVID-19, but is transitioning online. This is the first summer in its 75 years it won’t be hosting youth from the North Okanagan and Shuswap. (Photo contributed)

North Okanagan summer camp moves online amid COVID-19

For first season in 75 years, long-standing camp in North Okanagan pulls plug

For the first time in 75 years, there will be no overnight camping at MacKenzie Camp’s Mabel Lake site.

The Board of MacKenzie Camp made the tough decision to cancel the camping season May 13.

“We are all disappointed,” camp director Lana O’Brien said. “Our camp, tucked away on Mabel Lake near Kingfisher is such a magical place. We desperately wanted to welcome area youth there again, but we simply can’t move forward at this time.”

Instead, MacKenzie Camp is going online.

“Shifting to an online format is the responsible thing to do given the province’s current COVID-19 situation,” O’Brien said.

MacKenzie Camp is developing a web version to bring camp to the kids through Zoom, while a collection of activities and challenges are being built to challenge and support youth in the North Okanagan.

“Camp is such an important part of so many kids’ summers,” O’Brien said. “So, we are working hard to find ways to replace at least some of that experience for them.”

The camp is even looking to maintain some of its themed camps, such as science or arts camp.

“Another possibility that we are considering is to do a few in-person gatherings in church parking lots or other outdoor venues, so that ‘campers’ can get to know each other and their counsellors a bit better,” O’Brien said.

Moving a summer camp online doesn’t come without its obstacles.

“Online camp is brand new to us, so we are jumping into the programming side of things already,” O’Brien said. “I and three counsellors returning from last year have been hard at work putting a plan together. It’s exciting to see all the resources that are available as camps across the country and beyond respond to this COVID-19 health emergency challenge.”

Funding is another obstacle.

Weekly camps will be reduced to $15 for the online version. The fee is only enough to cover the registration costs, all other costs associated will have to be covered through other means.

MacKenzie Camp has long counted on the support of dedicated corps of volunteers and patrons and the camp association treasurer and long-time camp booster, Lorraine Powell, is hopeful that support will continue and perhaps even expand this summer.

“Every year, our supporters give generously so that kids who can’t afford it can attend camp,” she said. “We anticipate that this will happen again this season. We are also hoping that individuals and businesses in the North Okanagan and Shuswap will consider helping out.”

Every week, registered campers will receive a MacKenzie Camp care package filled will craft supplies and other materials needed for projects and activities and the camp is accepting any cash or in-kind donations from local individuals or businesses for the programming materials.

Charity donation tax receipts will be provided for supporters as the camp is a registered charity.

For more information regarding registration or donations, contact maccamp@shaw.ca or call 250-838-6293.

READ MORE: GALLERY: Vernon pair raise their glass and funds for SPCA

READ MORE: Okanagan farm continues to offer natural, safe space during pandemic


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Stolen Grinch ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

An Enderby restaurant and pub was shut down Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
North Okanagan pub reopens after COVID-19 scare

After a guest reportedly tested positive for the virus, staff test results came back negative

Alix Longland
Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Revelstoke COVID-19 cluster linked to non-essential travel: Horgan

There have been 46 cases of COVID-19 in the community

Students at Lavington Elementary crammed a car full of non-perishables for those in the community facing food insecurity. Spearheaded by teacher January Peebles (left), the donations were picked up by Give LUCK founder Myrika Godard, who works to connect donors with donees in the North Okanagan. (Give LUCK photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Most Read