Once again the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) has provided the trip of a lifetime to 20 southern Ontario youth. From July 15 to 19, 2008, Horwood Lake Lodge (www.horwoodlakelodge.com), located approximately 100 km west of Timmins, played host to the kids from The Boys and Girls Club of London (www.bgclondon.org).
The owners of Horwood Lake Lodge went above and beyond the call, providing free use of the lodge and cabins, including the boats, motors, and fuel. The lodge staff ensured that there was no shortage of delicious “kid friendly” food to satisfy appetites fuelled by long days in the great outdoors.
The OCOA would like to thank the following private and corporate sponsors, whose generosity ensured that each child received all of the gear needed for the trip, which included personal supplies, fishing equipment, and sleeping bags – and it was all theirs to keep so that they could have their own adventures when they got home.
- Ontario Public Service Employees Union
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
- Bass Pro Shops
- Ontario Out of Doors Magazine
- Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
- WalMart, London
- WalMart, North Bay
- McDonald’s Restaurant, Chelmsford
- Big Bear Lodge, Horwood Lake
- Johnson Outdoors Canada
- Dents Camera Centre, North Bay
- Badder Bus Service Ltd., Thamesville
- Dr. Fuzy, Corbeil
- Tim Neidenbach & Barbi Baker
- Shoppers Drug Mart, London
Throughout the week the kids were exposed to many facets of outdoor life in the north, including a wilderness survival presentation from an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Conservation Officer, a fire safety demonstration from an MNR forest fire crew complete with Smokey the Bear, an appearance by MNR canine units, and canoeing lessons provided by Missinaibi Headwaters, a local outfitter.
In addition to organizing the trip, OCOA members were at the camp all week volunteering their time to teach the kids about responsible use of the great outdoors, which of course included how to catch fish and have fun doing it! Every child present was able to catch walleye. Just enough fish were kept for a fabulous fish fry on the last night, the rest were released for others to enjoy.
Following the fish fry, everyone enjoyed a huge bonfire, complete with “smores” – the perfect end to an amazing experience that neither the kids nor the adults will soon forget.
“Providing opportunities like this to our youth is one of the mandates of the OCOA”, said President Dan VanExan. “By exposing these young people to the wonders of our outdoors, we hope to instill a sense of ownership of and responsibility for natural resources that will carry on into their adult lives.”
For more information contact:
Ontario Conservation Officers Association