A summer camp near Nelson lost a key building when a stand of trees fell through the roof of Camp Koolaree’s washrooms. The January windstorms, which caused widespread damage across the region, are being blamed as the culprit by camp volunteers.
Several large trees came down and destroyed a part of the building that houses the camp’s showers and boy’s washroom. While the damage is severe, the camp may have narrowly escaped the worst of it. Over the summer of 2020, Koolaree began construction of a new wash house, which remains half-finished until sufficient funds are raised to install the interior walls, floor, and plumbing.
“We are extremely fortunate these trees came down now instead of a year ago. The camp hopes to complete the new wash house before June, but that all depends on if we can fundraise enough money by then,” said Peter Herd, chair of the Camp Koolaree Society.
“We will recover from this,” Herd said. “Our camp has run every summer for 90 years. Even with the ongoing pandemic, we adapted to run small day-camps in 2020. Koolaree is a resilient place, and we are dedicated to finding a way through this.”
The Camp Koolaree Society, which is a registered charity affiliated with the United Church of Canada, has served generations of Kootenay families since 1931 as the Nelson area’s longest running children’s summer camp. The camp, which is mainly run by volunteers, hosts about 130-150 young campers in a non-COVID summer. Koolaree’s mission is to provide a camp experience in a safe, sustainable, and natural setting, and to foster a deeper individual connection to community, creation, and the creator among campers and staff.
Insurance from the old building may be able to cover some or all of the costs in finishing the new wash house, the camp hopes. However, given the urgent timeline, the camp is appealing for donors from the public to help. All surplus funds raised will go to the camp’s ongoing building projects to replace certain aging facilities.
To help the camp rebuild from this loss, please consider donating to Koolaree’s “General” fund, with “building project” in the description at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/camp-koolaree/ or mail a cheque to the office at 1300 Pine Ave. Trail, BC V1R 4E6.