Kiwanis Sunshine Camp Manager Devastated Overnight Camps Cancelled


The manager of a popular overnight summer camp in Essex County is devastated the camp can not open this summer due to COVID-19.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday that in order to keep kids safe, overnight camps will not take place over the summer, but summer day camps may re-open in July and August, if key public health indicators continue to improve.

The Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp in Colchester has been offering overnight camps for kids for 80 years.

Camp Manager, past president and fundraising chair, Dan InVerarity, disagrees with the decision.

"I'm devastated, there will be a lot of kids devastated, there is going to be a lot of parents devastated. I think it is too early to make that decision," he says.

InVerarity points to Quebec and some states in the U.S. which have opened schools and camps for kids, so why not Ontario?

"The facts will come out in 6 months on the truth about this, whether this was an over-reaction or was it the correction reaction, only time will tell," he says.

InVerarity believes this is the time when overnight camps are desperately needed.

"A lot of kids have been locked up for two to three months, who need to get away from the parents and the parents need to get away from the kids, and it will be the first time in 80 years that this camp hasn't been opened," he adds.

InVerarity says the board of directors is looking at whether it can hold a day camp instead, but notes there would be added costs for daily busing. 

The camp along County Road 50 includes several camps, a pool, new playground equipment and outdoor space for kids to be kids.

It had been in danger five years ago of shutting down because of a lack of funding, but donations helped to turn things around.