RKY Camp refurbishes with a little help from their friends

Written by  Thursday, 06 May 2010 08:44
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Members of the Wednesday Breakfast group of Verona offer their assistance at RKY Camp. Photo courtesy of Peter Bedoukian.

The RKY Camp, located on the shore of Eagle Lake near Parham and operated by the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs of Kingston and the Kingston Family YMCA, happily received a little help from a group of gentlemen well known for their generous community support and service.

On a recent sunny Wednesday and with summer camp season fast approaching, 11 members of the Wednesday Breakfast Group of Verona, a.k.a. the Romeos, donned hard hats and proceeded to demolish “Scotty’s cabin”, one of the old camper cabins that is being replaced as part of the RKY’s new refurbishment program.

Denny Buchanan, one of the Verona group’s members who is also a Rotarian, was approached by fellow Rotarian Mary Kloosterman who is also the executive director of the Kingston YMCA. Denny recalled, “Mary told us about the project and we thought we could help out.” He joked, “and because 80% of us are nice guys-we offered our services.”

The job took less time than expected; by noon the 11 members had accomplished their mission and what remained of Scotty’s cabin was just a pile of rubble.

Camp director Ryan Underhill described the camp’s refurbishment plan, which hopes to engage local community groups (like the Verona gentlemen) and other associations to assist with the refurbishment project, which is still in its early developmental stages. The 3 to 5-year project is aiming to replace many of the older, original camper cabins, some of which were built in the 1930s. The 80-year-old camp is replacing them with new, pre-fabricated wheelchair accessible cabins, which the Verona group and others plan to help assemble.

Ryan explained, “We have added new cabins in the past and now have reached our maximum capacity for new buildings. So now we are in the process of starting to replace the older ones.” He continued, “The plan will also include redeveloping our programs and is also looking to engage the community and local groups in all aspects of the project and create new community partnerships, which is how the Verona group of gentlemen ended up here helping out."

The camp has 29 buildings which include 13 camper cabins, 7 staff cabins, an infirmary, a number of programming cabins and the Churchill Centre, which was built in 1935 and was the original dining hall. It now acts as the main arts and crafts building.

The camp, which serves 145 campers throughout their regular summer camp, also runs programs for local school students and other groups.

For more information please contact Ryan Underhill at 613-546-2647 ext. 236

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