Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation announces $250,000 commitment to send hundreds of vulnerable young people, within the National Capital Region, to summer camp.

April 29, 2021

Writen by the Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation


The Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation (OGYF) announced today a $250,000 commitment to provide more than 1,650 vulnerable young people with a camp experience this summer.

The data is overwhelming. The needs of young people in our community are pervasive and ever-changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Investments in critical youth programs that address the social, physical, educational, and mental health impacts of the pandemic are needed now more than ever.

Supporting and engaging young people now will be crucial to ensuring the long-term success of this generation. Experts say that for many young people ages 8-18 years, summer camp will be an opportunity to experience safe, outdoor, physically active, mentally engaged, emotionally connected learning of lifelong skills, among peers, away from screens, in over a year!

The OGYF, between 2015 to 2020, granted more than $1.6 million to charitable organizations who offered summer camp opportunities. The funding provided was used by camps to provide subsidies to mitigate any diversity, inclusion, and equality barriers a young person might be facing in terms of accessing a summer camp opportunity.

“The Foundation is being told that demand for summer camp registration and subsidy support has dramatically increased because of the pandemic” said Brendan Bell, retired NHL player and OGYF volunteer board member. “More families are seeking financial supports to provide opportunities for their children while the charitable organizations that deliver camps are having to do more, with less, because of pandemic pressures on their operations – the OGYF can help”.

“The positive benefits of a summer camp opportunity are very well documented”, said Kimberly Biggs, CEO of Agence POP Inc. and OGYF volunteer board member.Young people gain opportunities for improved self-esteem, independence, health and well-being, adventure and exploration and new friendships when attending summer camp”.

Bell and Biggs are helping to lead Foundation efforts to increase its capacity to support charities offering Summer Camps. To date, $100,000 has been raised towards these efforts thanks to its Celebrity Cup Tournament participants, the Danbe Foundation, Canada Life, and individual donors. Beginning today, Aries Contracting, a highly reputable industry leader in both Ottawa and Gatineau, will match, dollar-for-dollar, the next $15,000 in donations to the Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation to support summer camps.

“We are delighted to partner with the Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation to offer a brighter summer to more young people across the region during these tough times. By offering a match, we hope to inspire others to give, and we encourage other businesses who can, to do the same”, Keith Kennedy, President, Aries Contracting.

The OGYF will accept applications from registered charitable organizations who have a history of delivering summer camps to young people living in the National Capital Region through their website from April 27 until May 23. A committee of OGYF youth ambassadors, staff, and board members will evaluate applications and make final funding decisions by June 14.