The PMC board was notified near the end of October that Camp Tamarack was considering renting their facility to a different group during the week we traditionally rent. They confirmed this decision on the 19th of November.
On hearing the initial news, the PMC board struck a subcommittee to start a new site search. In the weeks between learning Camp Tamarack’s intentions and their ultimate decision, the subcommittee reviewed the Ontario Camp Association list of camps that rent their facility and screened out the ones that clearly wouldn’t work. From that list of almost 100 camps, the subcommittee identified 22 camps that looked like they might be able to accommodate our program and that didn’t have an obvious conflict with dates. After getting the confirmation that Camp Tamarack would not be available to us, the subcommittee members split up the list and held phone interviews with each camp. From that list of 22, only two camps were viable candidates.
The two sites were Camp Gesher near Bon Echo Provincial Park, just outside of Cloyne Ontario and Camp Kintail, the Presbyterian Church camp on the shores of Lake Huron, between Kincardine and Goderich. Both of these sites were visited by subcommittee members and a few local camp community members in the first two weeks of December.
Camp Gesher (Hebrew for “Bridge”) is a well-established Jewish youth camp, with a proud history. The camp’s executive director, Shoshana Lipshultz, was very welcoming, engaging, excited to share the philosophy of the camp, and open about the strengths and short-comings of the site. She was clearly very open to meeting our camps’ needs as much as possible. The subcommittee visiting the site were all very sure that Shoshana would be very easy to work with.
Camp Gesher has adequate facilities to meet our needs and support our programs. However, in short, the facilities are not up to the standard we’ve become accustomed to at Camp Tamarack. Of particular concern was that the landscape is not very accessible for people with mobility challenges.
Camp Kintail is a very active camp and conference facility that operates 10 months of the year, focusing on children’s and family camps in the summer and hosting groups with diverse interests throughout the year. The camp executive director, Johnathon Lee, is very familiar with PMC through his Presbyterian Church connections and through personal connections to current and former campers. The Camp Kintail organization is very interested in hosting PMC and building a long-term relationship. The site is beautiful, the buildings are updated and well-kept. The chef at Camp Kintail has an excellent reputation. There are excellent accommodations, workshop facilities and outdoor gathering places that will support our camp’s program and community needs. Great care has been taken to make every area of the site and buildings accessible. It’s also important to acknowledge that Camp Kintail’s connection to the Presbyterian Church, and the obvious support that it receives from its community and Synod will be a strong foundation for a long-term relationship.
After visiting both sites and carefully considering their abilities to meet our needs and support our program, the subcommittee put forward a recommendation to pursue contracting with Camp Kintail for 2023. On Saturday December 17, the PMC Board met and voted to accept that recommendation, and we have started a discussion with Kintail about a contract for PMC in 2023.
The decision in choosing Camp Kintail over Camp Gesher was very difficult for one important reason. Camp Gesher is more centrally located and would be a shorter distance for travel for a larger proportion of our camp community. However, in every other important criterion, Camp Kintail was superior.
Ian MacCready has prepared a really good pictorial tour of Camp Kintail which you can see by clicking the link. Ian has organized the photos in folders that identify the pictures with the landmarks on the site map that’s in the root directory. Please note that the map is more of an artist’s rendition, but it certainly gives you a good sense of the features of the site.
The PMC board is confident that the choice of Kintail is the right one and is determined to help mitigate the inconvenience for those that have to travel a longer distance to get to camp. We will share more information in the coming months.