Bar Harbour Camp appeal attracts healthy support

An appeal from the board of Bar Harbour Camp has raised thousands in donations from former campers and other supporters since last fall.

Keith Haustein

Keith Haustein

An appeal from the board of Bar Harbour Camp has raised thousands in donations from former campers and other supporters since last fall.

“We are just overwhelmed right now,” Verna Rock, a member of the camp’s board of directors, told the Independent recently. “Every day we’re getting more money.”

For years, the camp, located on the southeast shore of Buffalo Lake, had struggled with declining numbers of volunteers, deteriorating infrastructure and limited resources.

In September, the camp launched a fundraising campaign called “Grow or Go,” welcoming more than 60 people to an open house on Sept. 15, and explaining the camp’s situation and its need.

Rock said that the contributions have steadily continued since then, including about $15,000 in donations and even more in pledges.

“Every time I talk about it, I still cry,” she said.

The Tail Creek Snowbirds, a snowmobile club based in Erskine, recently made a donation in the amount of $800 to the camp. Member Keith Haustein presented the cheque to Rock at Stettler Funeral Home on Dec. 30.

Haustein said the club, active for more than 40 years and a membership of around 100, has supported other causes, including Erskine School, over the decades, but decided to help the camp this year.

The club recognizes its donors with plaques on display at the Erskine general store.

Haustein also said his daughter Amber had attended Bar Harbour as a camper for several years and later returned to work there.

Another notable benefactor for Bar Harbour is the Alberta Prairie Railway, whose co-founder, Don Gillespie, pledged in September to contribute funds raised through “train robberies” toward the camp.

The funds, collected from tourists who ride the steam train from Stettler to Big Valley, could total as much as $10,000 annually.

Rock said the camp will hold its annual general meeting later in January.

She added that the first project to move forward will likely be the construction of new washrooms, identified last year as a major need.

Around 200 children attended Bar Harbour’s summer program last year, with another 20 to 25 teens joining the senior high camp in the fall.

For more information, visit www.barharbourcamp.com or phone 403-742-4887.