Rainbow Camp was presented a cheque for $50,000 at the Cambrian Mall TD Canada Trust branch Thursday as part of the bank’s #TDThanksYou customer appreciation day.
Located on the outskirts of Echo Bay at Camp Wakonda, Rainbow Camp is a three-week LGBTQ2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning and two-spirited plus) camp for youth ages 12 to 17.
Rainbow Camp co-founders Harry Stewart and Chris Southin were joined by representatives from TD Canada Trust for the cheque presentation.
“Sometimes, a camper may come in as ‘Gloria,’ and somewhere along the line may want to try on a different gender, or a way to express themselves - so they may become ‘Bobby,’” Stewart said. “We give them that opportunity to be who they are - no judgment - and the kids are supportive of each other.”
The donation will allow Rainbow Camp - which is hosting a total of 105 youth from across Canada this summer - to extend its programming from three weeks to four weeks next summer.
It costs about $50,000 in order to run one week of camp.
Stewart says that camp costs $350 per person, and if participants can’t pay for it, Rainbow Camp pays for registration and travel.
The camp was originally based at Camp McDougall in Thessalon, relocating to Camp Wakonda in 2018.
Stewart says that Rainbow Camp began in 2012 with around 12 to 14 participants.
Branch manager Laura Newman told SooToday that 49 TD Canada Trust customers were recognized for their community work across Canada, with seven of those customers selected for further recognition.
“Chris and Harry do amazing work in the community,” Newman said. “Rainbow Camp is something that is needed.”
“It’s a very special place, and they’re very special people.”
Thursday’s $50,000 cheque presentation marks the largest single donation to Rainbow Camp to date.