Kids will be enjoying the wilderness northeast of Cold Lake this summer as a new children's camp is being built.
The Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (LCFASD) is moving forward with plans to build a summer camp out at French Bay in order to better service children in the region.
“We have decided to scale the very large project back to a manageable phase,” said Audrey McFarlane, Executive Director of LCFASD.
The project has been downsized and will now see a small log cabin, fit for eight to 10 children and four staff members, built out on the land they have secured at French Bay.
“It is not fancy by any means, but it will get the job done,” said McFarlane.
The new log cabin will host a series of summer camps specialized for kids who have been diagnosed with FASD. The camps offer children from across the province a chance to come out and enjoy a summer camp experience in a controlled, well-monitored atmosphere.
“Our camps are very specifically designed. We have a high staff to (child) ratio to ensure they are run successfully,” said McFarlane.
The Centre for FASD will run six one-week overnight camps throughout the summer at the new cabin, marking the end of their run using the Girl Guides facility at Ethel Lake.
“The Girl Guides camp is just not all that practical for us to use anymore. It (came down to) trying to find something usable this year or cancel (the camps) and we just really didn't want to cancel for the kids that depend on that time,” said McFarlane.
Original plans for the summer camp were introduced back in 2014 and called for a large 3,500-square foot log cabin, which could accommodate 70 people. The sleeping arrangements would have seen a series of bunk beds created to sleep up to 24 people. In early 2015, the group decided to pause plans for the camp as funding for the project became difficult to obtain.
“In this economic time we don't want to go out asking a bunch of people for money, so we scaled the project back,” said McFarlane.
The LCFASD will be taking out a small mortgage in order to fund the construction of the log cabin. They will also be seeking $5,000 donations from local municipalities and $1,000 donations from local service clubs to help cover other associated costs such as bunk beds, mattresses and appliances.
“We are excited, but also a little bit nervous that everything will happen on time,” said McFarlane.
The cabin is expected to be hosting camps this summer.