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)

MacKenzie Camp on Mabel Lake 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

Salmon Arm RCMP officers responded to two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28. (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Salmon Arm RCMP say patrons are harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

The video was used for (KGH Foundation - YouTube)
Okanagan filmmaker, poet win at L.A. Film Awards

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan wrote and filmmaker David Nault produced the commercial

The Salmon Arm Observer’s annual food drive is underway. For donations of one or two bags of non-perishable items, donors receive a gift certificate from one of several participating local merchants. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm merchants, Observer team up for food drive

Gift cards and certificates available for donations of non-perishable items

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Sunny the cat, who jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month, was quickly reunited with his owners. (Contributed)
Cat returns home with the help of two landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Most Read