Christie Lake Kids
400 Coventry Road
Ottawa, ON K1K2C7
Phone: (613) 742-6922
Fax: (613) 742-6944
Christie Lake Camp was started in 1922 by a young Juvenile Court judge who wanted to take a new approach with youth in trouble with the law. Judge Jack McKinley first called his venture the Ottawa Boys’ Camp. He felt that many boys he saw in court needed “adjustment and reclaiming” rather than punishment, and wanted to create a place that would focus on “giving the boy responsibility, handling him with friendship, teaching him the general principles of good citizenship and doing so with the help of the open air.”
Soon after purchasing the property on Christie Lake in 1923, the name changed to Christie Lake Boys’ Camp. Within a few years, the camp expanded its mandate to include boys from low-income families, who were not involved with the Juvenile Court.
The S.T.A.R. Program
The founders of Christie Lake Kids always intended to keep in touch with campers throughout the year. But winter get-togethers were sporadic through the 1940s and ’50s. In the ’60s and ’70s, a modestly-funded Winter Program was formalized, and began to incorporate Dr. Dan Offord’s structured skill-development that was becoming the basis of the camp program. Brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbours of our summer campers became involved.
In 1985, the Winter Program became the S.T.A.R. program (Skills Through Activity and Recreation). A co-ordinator was hired, and S.T.A.R. expanded to offer community-based skill development programs from the early fall to late spring. The variety of the programs and the number of children served increased substantially. Summer campers and other children from low-income housing projects were invited to attend, and their acquisition of skills was carefully tracked.
Today, S.T.A.R. offers almost 50 different programs per year to more than 250 children. Most participate in more than one program over two program sessions, so the total number of youth program opportunities (one child / one program session) is over 1000.
Girls Come to Camp
Though S.T.A.R. was always open to both boys and girls, the summer camp served only boys until 1991. In the exciting summer of 1991, the first female campers arrived at Christie Lake Camp. Today, the camp has equal numbers of boys and girls in all programs.
To reflect the integration of girls in 1991, the camp name changed from Christie Lake Boys’ Camp to Christie Lake Camp for Boys and Girls, and now is simply Christie Lake Camp.
Our organizational name changed from “Christie Lake Community Centres” to “Christie Lake Kids” in 2002.
Today Christie Lake Kids operates two main programs: Christie Lake Camp and Christie Lake S.T.A.R. Our Executive Director is Dan Wiseman. The camp is directed by Brian Gerrard, S.T.A.R. is directed by Tammy Hogan. At 83 years old, we have a long history of unswerving commitment to social justice, and a distinguished reputation as a centre of excellence and leader in our field. Our strong community of staff, children and parents,, volunteers, and supporters is committed to ensuring that Christie Lake will continue to thrive far into the future.
Christie Lake programs are based on the following basic principles:
- All kids deserve a safe, healthy childhood.
- All kids deserve the opportunity to learn, to achieve, and to succeed.
- Teaching skills of all kinds not only builds those particular skills, it also builds self-esteem, social skills, and other positive qualities.
- Children from low-income families deserve the same recreational and skill development opportunities as other children.
- Caring for children and youth is not just a private issue, it is our collective responsibility.
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