The transformation of St. Pat’s camp in Stoke is moving forward. Though it will still be nearly a year before construction breaks ground at the site, representatives of the St. Pats Old Boys Association and the Quebec Society for Disabled Children shared on Wednesday morning that they look forward to a grand opening of what will be known as the Auberge Camp St Pat’s in September of 2017.
The announcement was made at the Delta Hotel in Sherbrooke in the context of a simultaneous announcement that Olympic and Paralympic champion and Canadian Senator Chantal Petitclerc has agreed to serve as spokesperson for the Society for Disabled Children.
“This is an important milestone,” said Larry Pye, President of the St. Pats Old Boys, referring to the pland for the camp as an exciting vision that maintains the focus on underprivileged youth that the camp has had since its beginnings. “(The Society) has the same vocation as we did, that made it so much easier to pass the torch.”
The St. Pats Old Boys Association and the Quebec Society for Disabled Children underwent a merger last year based on their mutual interest in supporting underprivileged children in the province. Though Pye said that there have been a few occasions over the time since when members of the association felt like the process of getting the camp back up and running was moving too slowly, the plan that has now been put forward has satisfied all concerns.
“Once we got a newsletter out and explained exactly what was going to happen, that changed things,” the President said. “We got people emailing us congratulations.”
Jean Fabi, principal fundraiser for the project, explained that the five million dollar vision for the 200 acre site on the shores of Lake Stoke is not so much of a camp as an outdoor recreation centre.
“Traditional summer camp begins with a group of cabins, but we said no,” Fabi explained. “We’re going to build an auberge; everyone under one roof to make it easy for all the children to move around.”
The plan for the centre is one focused on providing an engaging environment for children with reduced mobility within a fully-accessible three story structure with a capacity of 70. In addition, the site will be renovated to be able to serve as a Paralympic training centre.
“A project like this doesn’t work with one person, It doesn’t work with two people; it needs an army,” Fabi said, noting that an increasingly large number of partners are engaging in the initiative.
Wednesday’s meeting also served as an opportunity to unveil the new logo of the camp, a four leafed clover with one leaf formed of multicoloured waves. Ronald Davidson, executive director of the Quebec Society for Disabled Children, explained that the logo maintains links to the camp’s history while also adding new layers of meaning in that the four leaf clover is just as exceptional as the children that the organizations hope to assist.
The camp plans are currently awaiting a certificate of authorization from the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and the Fight against Climate Change. A groundbreaking is planned for March of 2017, with the expected opening to follow in the fall of that same year.