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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 15, 2024
NOTL Guides head to camp

Four Niagara-on-the-Lake girls are en route to “life-changing” experiences at the provincewide LEAP camp for Girl Guides Canada at Doe Lake Camp near Huntsville this week.

Megan Gilchrist, contact guider for the 136th LEAP Patrol, said the camp builds leadership skills while introducing new experiences and activities.

“It’s a chance for them to do things they wouldn’t normally get to do, like a drone academy. There’s axe throwing, there’s a whole bunch of different out-trips that they get to go on just to explore the area,” she said.

The group set off early Sunday morning for the weeklong excursion, which cost each girl about $1,000, Gilchrist said.

Fundraising played a large role in camp preparation leading up to the trip, she said. While each girl is required to cover 10 per cent of the cost, they are encouraged to raise money for the remaining 90 per cent.

She said the girls have worked “incredibly hard” to raise as much as possible for the trip. They brought in $1,400 through Girl Guide cookie sales and decorated tea light holders. Various individuals and community organizations stepped in with donations totalling $1,800.

The camp hosts up to 2,500 campers from nine to 17 years old, and adult volunteers and rangers, from Ontario and Nunavut each year.

Gilchrist said when she was a young guide, she attended a similar camp.

“It was truly a life-changing experience,” she said.

Gilchrist said a big takeaway for the girls is opening them up to a host of experiences.

“Going through something like this sort of opens up your window for what’s available and what’s possible, and you get to meet with girls from all over the world,” she said.

“It opens up their horizons, and when they come back, they’re able to show those experiences.”

“They take that energy and bring it home, and then apply it to their group or to their school and to their communities, and to see other people volunteering. It really has long-term impacts on them and what they carry into adulthood,” she said.

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