On Saturday morning, a hundred volunteers with hammers and nails in hand filed into Camp Barnard for some serious roofing.
They will be outfitting 22 sleeping cabins, a barn, two shelters and the boathouse with all new metal roofs.
“About two years ago, we saw that the need was coming at us to get all these roofs done. They were all (originally) built about the same time in the early 90s,” said Grace Seabrook, Camp Barnard Committee chairwoman. She added a couple of roofs have already been converted thanks to trees falling on top of them.
The project was intended to be an expensive long term project taking place over four or five years, but chance has changed all that.
“We had this Latter-day Saints group that wanted to do this huge camp for their kids who are in scouting,” she said.
The group of 600 kids wanted to do a week-long stay in August that would have cost $15,000. The organizers from the church, some of whom just happened to be professional roofers, asked if there were any other services they could provide instead for payment. Seabrook and the rest of the committee leapt at the opportunity.
“It’s so serendipitous sometimes the things that happen at Camp Barnard.”
The church reached out to its congregation and rounded up 50 to 60 contractors and roofers by trade to help. Being in the business, the tradesmen are also bringing tools and all the required materials that they were able to secure at half the regular cost from a Mainland contractor.
“They figure they can do all they set out to do in one day.”
In return, the volunteers are fed and the kids can stay at no extra charge.
To pay for everything, Camp Barnard reached out to the community.
“We applied to the Sooke Community Fund — we asked them for $2,000 and they ended up giving us almost $7,000 last spring which was great,” said Seabrook.
The Victoria Rotary club donated another $2,000, and the Shawnigan Lake Knights of Columbus gave $7,500. She said the organizer of the Knights also look after another group that have stayed at Camp Barnard for the last 15 to 20 summers.
“It’s a pretty highly developed camp so maintenance is never far from the top of the list,” she said.
“To get this many of those kinds of big jobs done in one fell swoop is very significant.”