Going to summer camp is one of the idyllic events of childhood — time outdoors with friends, learning skills, laughing as the sun goes down and sleeping in tents.
But many kids aren’t fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of summer camps.
Enter Mountainview Building Group and the Family and Children's Services Niagara Foundation. The two organizations are working together to raise money to provide camp for Niagara’s youth this summer.
“We're looking for teams from across the entire region to set up lemonade stands and basically ask for donations,” Caroline Polgrabia, a Niagara-on-the-Lake realtor and president of the Family and Children's Services Foundation board, told town council during a committee of the whole meeting on Monday.
“That money will go 100 per cent towards sending our kids and our families in need to summer camp,” Polgrabia said.
On June 12, the foundation is planning on hosting 100 lemonade stands across the region and hopes to raise $1,000 at each one.
“$100,000 is going to create 400-plus big smiles next summer,” Polgrabia said.
She is leading presentations to every municipality in Niagara asking for their support and declaration of June 12 as Mountainview LemonAID Day.
Mountainview has provided money to purchase supplies for 100 stands, banners, T-shirts, hats, lemonade concentrate, pitchers and cups. Therefore, everything is already organized for volunteers.
But volunteers are still needed.
Any interested volunteers can go to facsniagarafoundation.org/mountainviewlemonaidday and register for a stand.
Stands will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and will be limited to 100 across the region with about six in Niagara-on-the-Lake, she said..
“But that doesn't preclude anybody from going on and registering and running their own campaign and running their own lemonade stand at the end of their driveway, if that’s what they want to do,” she said.
Polgrabia is hoping families with kids will sign up. Any child who wants to register needs the permission of a guardian or parent.
Though the stands will be premade, Polgrabia wants teams to get creative.
“We still really encourage the kids to take the base stand that they're getting and decorate it and maybe dress up,” she said in an interview with The Lake Report.
“That’s where I think the parents can step back and the kids can step up and really decide what their stand’s going to look like.”
There will be prizes for best decorated stand and most money raised, among others.
This is the first year for the project, which was originally conceived pre-pandemic.
“We've been spending the last two years planning for it and waiting to see whether this was our year and it just seems like the perfect time to launch this type of event. I think people need it,” she said.
The idea got unanimous support from town council, with a motion passing to proclaim June 12 as Mountainview LemonAID Day and pledging the town’s assistance with the project in any way possible.
“I’m very supportive of this,” Lord Mayor Betty Disero told Polgrabia.
She said she will contact the outlet mall in Glendale for Polgrabia to see if a stand can be set up there and offered her help to contact other interested parties in NOTL.
Money raised will help the foundation set up summer camps for families it works with across the region. Specific camps will be determined on an individual basis by the agency, Polgrabia said.
“It's our first year and we just encourage everyone to get involved,” she said.
“One of the tag lines we were toying around with was, ‘Helping to make a kid's summer a little sweeter.’ ”
“I think that works for both kids — the kids that are running the stands can have some fun as well as the kids that are gonna benefit on the back end.”