Camp closes due to de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of build­ings

Cape Breton Post - - NORTHSIDE/VICTORIA -

BAR­RA­CHOIS — The YMCA of Cape Bre­ton will not op­er­ate Camp Bar­ra­chois this year due to the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of a num­ber of build­ings.

The camp is lo­cated on the shore of the Bras d’Or Lakes at Ironville, along pro­vin­cial trunk route 223.

An­dre Gal­lant, CEO of the YMCA of Cape Bre­ton, said a thor­ough in­spec­tion re­cently ex­posed a num­ber of risks that re­quired a long-term ap­proach to re­solv­ing.

“Most of the build­ings are 70 years old. We re­gret we have to take this step, but rot has set into struc­tural el­e­ments of the cabins and main lodge, and the safety of our chil­dren and staff is our first pri­or­ity.”

Built in the 1940s by the Syd­ney Y's Men club, and do­nated to the YMCA in the 1970s, Camp Bar­ra­chois has pro­vided overnight camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for thou­sands of chil­dren and youth from across Cape Bre­ton. Swim­ming, kayak­ing, and learn­ing about the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment have been main­stays of the camp’s pro­gram­ming over the years.

Hugh Tweedie, co-chair of the board of the Y, at­tended camp for sev­eral sum­mers as a child.

“ What I re­mem­ber most was the feel­ing of ad­ven­ture, be­ing away from my par­ents and the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the woods. Of course, I re­mem­ber the peo­ple I met. Many of the friends I have to­day date back to when I at­tended camp as a seven-year-old.”

The YMCA will take the next year to con­duct a study on the long-term camp­ing mar­ket in Cape Bre­ton in or­der to eval­u­ate the type of camp the Y should of­fer in the fu­ture. From that study, a strate­gic plan will be cre­ated.

“ We are for­tu­nate that we can still of­fer a YMCA overnight camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in 2010, al­though not on Cape Bre­ton Is­land,” Gal­lant said. “Big Cove YMCA Camp, op­er­ated by the YMCA of Greater Hal­i­fax/Dart­mouth, has in­vited campers from Cape Bre­ton.” Founded in 1889, Big Cove YMCA Camp is the old­est res­i­den­tial camp in Canada. It is lo­cated on Merigomish Har­bour in Pic­tou County.

Michael Le­Duc, di­rec­tor of Big Cove YMCA Camp, will be in Syd­ney, Wed­nes­day, from 11 a.m.. to 1 p.m. Fam­i­lies can visit the Syd­ney Branch (en­ter­ing via the Went­worth Street door) be­tween 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Le­Duc will be will be at the YMCA lo­cated within the Civic Cen­tre, 600 Reeves Street, Port Hawkes­bury, Thurs­day, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to dis­trib­ute pro­gram in­for­ma­tion and an­swer ques­tions re­gard­ing the pro­gram.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at www.big­cove.org and from the YMCA of Greater Hal­i­fax/Dart­mouth web­site at www.ym­c­a­hal­i­fax.ca by click­ing pro­grams & ser­vices. As with Camp Bar­ra­chois, Big Cove YMCA Camp of­fers fi­nan­cial sup­port to those fam­i­lies who are will­ing but un­able to pay the full fees.

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