Camp Barnard has always been an adventuresome place for young people. The 251-acre property belongs to Scouts Canada – Greater Victoria Area and many a scout has enjoyed the lake, camping, camaraderie and programs offered at Camp Barnard on Young Lake Road.
In 2015 the camp is expecting 3,000 scouts for the Pacific Jamboree, a week-long gathering of scouts of all ages. Camp Barnard is getting spruced up and readied for the event and seeking accreditation from the World Organization of the Scout Movement. In Canada there are only two accredited camps, both located in Ontario. Camp Barnard would become the only camp in Western Canada.
What this accreditation will mean is that the camp would be able to hold adventure camps which would provide more structured and challenging events than they can presently do. These programs would be available to youth from the general public, not just Scouts.
The improvements, which are now ongoing, will bring the camp up to a level where other groups can rent it for their own use. Schools, church groups and any other youth-oriented group can use the facility.
“Some schools can only go to an accredited camp,” said Denyse Koo, speaking for Scouts Canada and Camp Barnard. “A lot of what we do is leadership skills training, teaching you to be in charge.”
With improvements the camp could also be designated as a safe place or receiving shelter if there was ever a tsunami or an earthquake in the area.
“We have it in place and we can help other people,” said Koo. A precedent had already been set when Koo used the skills and equipment to help neighbours who had nothing during the storm of 2006.
The funding for the improvements will, in part, hopefully come from the Aviva Community Fund competition. The proposal, called the Scouts Adventure Camp Development, is seeking $50,000 from Aviva. The way to secure funding is through an online voting process which is in three stages. The funding will help establish core educational and challenge programs for all age groups. The voting has already started but if Scouts Canada gets the first nod, there are more opportunities to vote.
Scouts Canada got funding years ago for families that couldn’t afford to enroll their children in scouts. The cost is $150 per year for the weekly program.
Scout programs are available for all age groups, ranging from five years of age to 26. Kids can join at any time and all of the groups are for both boys and girls.
Of interest, said Koo, is that “man tracker” Terry Grant is now the Chief Scout and meets with youth as an inspiration.
For more information go to: www.scouts.ca.