Camp Winfield will be celebrating 50 years of operation Saturday at its location on Davidson Road. - Contributed

Lake Country camp for kids with disabilities celebrates 50 years

Camp Winfield started in 1968, thanks to the local Lions Clubs

Camp Winfield is celebrating its birthday, 50 years after opening its doors to kids with disabilities in and around Lake Country.

Charlene Krepiakevich, president and CEO with BC Easter Seals Camp, said it’s the longest running operation the nonprofit has in B.C.

Lions Club of Lake Country was a big driver in the camp’s creation, she said, and estimated at least 10,000 kids have been through the door since its inception.

“Lots has happened over the years,” she said.

READ MORE: Camp Winfield makes dreams come true

The week-long programs allow kids to get a unique experience, as well as provide a bit of downtime for parents.

“It’s inspiring to see what these kids can do when they’re in an environment that is encouraging and supportive and inspirational,” she said.

On Saturday, Sept. 15, a benefit concert will be held, featuring local acts like Tiger Moon, followed by a $5 family celebration on Sunday, with entertainment, music and food trucks.

The Easter Seals Camps have two other camps, in Squamish and Shawnigan Lake, but they were put on hold this year due to the lack of funding, Krepiakevich said.

READ MORE: Easter Seals Camp Winfield finds support

She explained that operating a camp costs about $700,000 per year, or roughly $3,500 per camper. The cost to parents and guardians is $550 for younger children and $750 for youth.

“This summer we had 240 kids go through the doors,” Krepiakevich said.

But Camp Winfield has remained strong, in part because of community support.

“When you think of the last 50 years and how things have changed in general, it’s really a really a testament to the wonderful support we have in the Okanagan.“

There’s also been a growing demand for camps for adults from ages 18 to 29.

Disabilities don’t stop at 18,Krepiakevich said. “There’s a growing demand for the older demographic.”

The benefit concert starts at 4 p.m. Saturday followed by the family festival at 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for the benefit concert are $30 and available online though www.50yearsofcamp.ca.

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carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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