Lake Community Makes Waves to Support Nonprofit Wilderness Camp



Old Mill Marina rallies support of Kawagama Lake community to make First Annual Starry Summer Night Bash benefiting Moorelands Wilderness Camp a smashing success.  

Over 100 people attended the 1st annual “Starry Summer Night Bash” on August 22, 2015 in support of Moorelands Community Services (MCS) – and more specifically their Moorelands Wilderness Camp.  The camp provides a sleep-away wilderness opportunity for kids from low-income neighbourhoods in the GTA who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford one. The gala and auction, which was held on Kawagama Lake in the Governor General’s Architectural Award winning Moorelands Camp Dining Hall, grossed just under $40,000 through ticket sales, auction item sales, and generous donations from the lake community.  

The live auction was a huge success made possible by the contributions of sponsors in the area and included private plane rides from Kawagama Lake cottagers, a deluxe canoe trip package from Algonquin Outfitters, generators from Mountain Trout House Marina, and a top of the line wake surf package donated by a Kawagama cottager. Bidding wars were had! Brenda Norfolk, a cottager on Kawagama Lake, ended up with the winning bid on a hot ticket item – the 16’ Princecraft aluminum boat donated by Old Mill Marina. For the grand finale, many cottagers came together to bid on “Sending a Kid to Camp”, resulting in funding for 4 complete camp packages. All together, the live and silent auctions raised just under $20,000.   “Someone patted me on the back last night and whispered in my ear that we should be proud of pulling this event together,” said Rob Walisser, owner of Old Mill Marina and organizer of the event.

Weeks earlier Rob heard about the large deficit MCS was facing and knew something needed to be done. He decided, despite the tight time frame, that a fundraising event should be thrown.

“We were happy to play our part, but what I was really proud of was what the lake accomplished – we started planning this event less than six weeks ago.”   Rob continues, “I sent an initial email out to a dozen people asking for support in early July – I instantly had the owners (who each happen to be Kawagama cottagers) of Muskoka Brewery, Flat Rock Cellars, and Il Fornello restaurants put their hands up and say “I’m in – what do you need?” That gave us the confidence to say let’s do it, despite the short timelines!” Special thanks go out to Kawagama cottagers who opted to give family sponsorships and those who donated despite being unable to attend. Based on the widespread success of the evening, Rob also vowed, “This will become an annual event.”

Lynda Tilley, Camp Director/Acting Executive Director of Moorelands shared some videos and stories of how uplifting the camp experience is in the campers’ lives and said, “We are overwhelmed by the community spirit found here on Lake Kawagama. We’re delighted that you came out to explore all that Moorelands has to offer our children, and to celebrate your own sense of adventure and joy in community.”  Moorelands Wilderness Camp – Old Mill Marina – 

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