At Christie Lake Kids, our mission is to enrich the lives and prospects of economically disadvantaged children by providing quality year-round community and camp programs to develop physical, social and character skills.


All children should have the chance to experience the beauty of the natural world – to swim in a lake, paddle a canoe, sit by a campfire. Every year, almost 400 children and youth aged 9 - 16 attend two weeks of summer camp at the picturesque 88-acre camp near Perth. The skills learned year after year help build confidence, resilience and optimism.


Skills Through Arts and Recreation (STAR) programs engage children and youth aged 6-17 in activities that include opportunities to participate in a variety of experiences. After-school and weekend programs like art, soccer, cooking and music are offered at three local community centres.


Our Leaders in Training (LIT) program offers opportunities for youth aged 13-18 to meet in a safe space that promotes positive social learning with trained mentors, and encourages meaningful goal setting to help each participant realize personal success.


Transformative Recreation® is our unique way to engage kids in having fun, but also a powerful way to help them develop the values & skills that will help them to change the way they look at themselves, their relationships & the world around them.

IN 1922

A young Ottawa judge believed that the direction of a boy’s life could be diverted through a positive camp experience. Instead of punishing delinquent boys, he offered them an escape from the city and a chance to learn about the outdoors, friendship and responsibility. Judge John F. McKinley envisioned a retreat for these boys, away from the hot city streets, whose secret of success would be in “giving the boy responsibility, handling him with friendship, teaching him the general principles of good citizenship and doing so with the help of the open air.”

IN 1958

Dr. Dan Offord became Camp Director. Christie Lake Kids programs were largely developed under the guidance and direction of the late Dr. Dan Offord, renowned child psychiatrist and founding Director of the internationally recognized Offord Centre for Child Studies located at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Before his passing in 2004, Dr. Dan, as he was affectionately known, was volunteer summer camp Director for 47 years and co-director of the pilot PALS program in Ottawa that led to the development of the Christie Lake STAR program. In 2001, Dr. Dan’s work in research, at Christie Lake Camp, and as an advocate for all Canadian children earned him the Order of Canada.

IN 1985

A STAR was born. The STAR (Skills Through Activity and Recreation) program offered skill development opportunities at inner-city community centres to both boys and girls from low income families. The founders of Christie Lake Kids always intended to keep in touch with campers throughout the year. But winter get-togethers were sporadic through the 1940s and ’50s. In the ’60s and ’70s, a modestly funded Winter Program was formalized, and began to incorporate Dr. Dan Offord’s structured skill development that was becoming the basis of the camp program. Brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbours of our summer campers became involved.

↑ Back to top


Our Board of Directors

Christie Lake Kids is delighted to benefit from the professional and personal contributions of a dedicated and hard-working Board of Directors. These committed community leaders bring wisdom, business acumen, contacts, vision, and hard work to the table. Thank you to our Board and committee members. You make us immeasurably stronger.


Claudio Silvestri
Vice-President and Chief Information Officer, NAV CANADA

Claudio has an extensive background in the high-tech industry and diverse experience developing and implementing strategic initiatives to increase the effectiveness and contribution of IT solutions within a variety of organizations. At NAV CANADA, Mr. Silvestri oversees all IT functional services, business applications, infrastructure and data communications networks, as well as information technology security and IT governance. In addition to his role as Chair of the Board of Directors, Claudio serves on the Ottawa Hospital Board of Governors.

Owen Mahaffy

Until his retirement in 2017, Owen was Director, Engineering and Asset Management, Hydro Ottawa. His professional life as an engineer in the electrical utility industry spanned more than three decades and many technical and management roles but none more rewarding than his contributions to building Hydro Ottawa's award-winning community investment programs, especially its partnership with Christie Lake Kids. Owen is currently the Chair of Christie Lake Kids' Communications Committee.

Carla Pellizzari
Controller, La Fromagerie Coopérative St. Albert Inc.

Carla completed her Bachelor of Commerce at Concordia University with a major in Accounting, and she has been a member of CGA Canada since 2012. Over the past decade, she has gone from being General Accountant / Assistant to the CFO at Utex Fashion Group, to Staff Accountant and then Manager, Acohar Business Management Services and Bookkeeping, both at Andrews & Co. Chartered Accountants.

Chris Hughes
Past President

Chris has 35 years' experience in the high tech industry and is the former President and CEO at Vangent Canada Inc. Chris has served on many private and public sector boards, including Ottawa Youth Justice Services Network, United Way Impact Council on Children and Youth, and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Allocation Group. Chris's other accomplishments include co-founding the Terry Fox Run in Ottawa. He is a recipient of the United Way/Centraide Volunteer Services Award, Caduceus from the Canadian Cancer Society, the City of Ottawa's Civic Appreciation Award, and the Mayor's Volunteer Service Award.


Eileen Boyd

Eileen is a native of Ottawa with 33 years of experience in the Public Service of Canada. Prior to her retirement in 2014, Ms. Boyd held the position of Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Senior Personnel) in the Privy Council Office, responsible for supporting the government in the recruitment, retention and development of senior personnel. Her public service career also included positions in the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Office of the Auditor General, the Treasury Board Secretariat, and the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

Jennifer Burns
Vice-President Operations, David Burns & Associates

Jennifer brings 15 years of progressive experience in education, financial operations and business management. She is currently responsible for overseeing all the firm's operations, securing numerous key clients in a variety of sectors. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Dalhousie University. Jennifer's outside interests have focused on supporting children. Jennifer is currently the Chair of Christie Lake Kids' Human Resources Committee.

Tim Hodgins
Inspector in the Criminal Investigations Directorate, Ottawa Police Service

Tim has been a member of the Ottawa Police Service for 30 years. Tim is a results-driven leader with a strong background in organizational change, police operations and investigations, and strategy development. Tim's community engagement and volunteer work have included coaching youth sports, working with Candlelighters, the Snow Suit fund and the Union Mission. Tim is currently Chair of Christie Lake Kids' Program Committee.

Dan Borris
Field Supervisor Eastern Region 

Dan has been a longtime supporter and volunteer of Christie Lake Kids. In 2016-2017, Dan served on the Board of Directors, as the Executive Secretary for Options Bytown, a not-for-profit housing corporation that helps transition homeless people into permanent housing. Dan has volunteered for the City of Ottawa and Habitat for Humanity. 

Mike McGann
Senior Vice President, PCG, Financial Advisor, McGann Financial Group, Raymond James

Mike has worked in the financial industry since 1991. He takes great pride in looking after his long-standing clientele. Mike was born and raised in Ottawa and has never dreamed of calling anywhere else home. He has always been a generous donor to various programs that help change the lives of people in this community.

Sandra Catana
Past Vice President Sales & Marketing, Rewind Cloud Backups 

Sandra has over 25 years of experience in the high tech sector. Previously to Rewind Sandra worked at TITUS where she was Vice President of Marketing. She also held senior leadership positions at Chrysalis-ITS and Corel Corporation. At Rewind, Sandra leads the company’s charity and volunteer programs. For over 15 years she has fostered girls in Uganda, Africa.  


Scott Parkes
Vice President, Tamarack Homes

Scott is Vice-President of Tamarack Homes, part of the Taggart Group of Companies, a family business started by his grandfather in the 1940s. Scott is proud to continue the Taggart Family tradition of dedication to community building through his work with Christie Lake Kids. Scott studied engineering at Queen's University and after graduation moved back to Ottawa to join the family business. Since its inception in 2012, Scott has served as Chair of the annual Gala "An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks and Fine Wines".

Cliff Youdale
Chief Development Officer, Ottawa Community Housing

Cliff has been involved in the housing and construction industry for over 30 years. At OCHC he is responsible for the preservation and capital repair of the 15,000 existing housing units as well as the revitalization of the housing portfolio through a strategy of redevelopment and new construction. Cliff was drawn to CLK by seeing first-hand the direct and significant impact that agency had had on the children and families within OCHC communities.

Deborah Scott-Douglas
Vice-President, Innovation at the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) 

Deborah leads the design and implementation of innovation strategies and projects.  She has held a number of leadership roles with CMA and its subsidiary company Joule that included publishing, leadership training for physicians, health science accreditation and a clinical reference service for physicians. During her career, she has worked at the University of Cambridge, University of Alberta and at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. Deborah has been a mentor in CLK’s Leadership in Training (LIT) program since 2016.

Peter Melanson
Director Federal Sales, Microsoft

Peter brings 35+ years’ experience in sales management, operations and marketing. He is the Past President of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in Canada, with 13 years of service with the organization in various capacities.  His community service was recognized by HRH Prince Edward in 2012 with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for volunteerism.

Ted Charette
Assistant Director, Mental Health Services, Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa

Ted has been supporting youth and their families in Ottawa for more than 30 years.  Currently he manages mental health services providing counselling and crisis supports in our community.  A former Christie Lake staff for 5 summers, Ted is excited to give back to the organization that helped him get his start in the helping profession.

Anthony Rasoulis 
Anthony has over 15 years of legal experience. He is currently the Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at NAV CANADA. In addition to providing general day-to-day legal advice, he is the lead counsel for the Company’s Finance, Pension Investments and Treasury Departments. He is also a member of the Board Secretariat Department. Prior to joining NAV CANADA, Anthony worked at two national law firms and at one of Bermuda’s leading law firms where he had a general commercial and securities practice with an emphasis on corporate finance and M&A. He also advised clients on corporate governance, regulatory and stock exchange compliance matters.



↑ Back to top

Annual Reports

  • 2018 Annual Report

  • 2017 Annual Report

  • 2016 Annual Report

  • 2015 Annual Report

  • 2014 Annual Report  
  • 2013 Annual Report  
  • 2012 Annual Report  
  • 2011 Annual Report  
  • 2010 Annual Report  
  • 2009 Annual Report  
↑ Back to top


Current research shows that 15% of children and youth in Ottawa live in a low income household, which amounts to over 32,000 young people across the city. Registration fees, equipment costs and transportation needs make recreational programs and services inaccessible. Children and youth from these families miss the benefits of developing strong physical, social and character skill sets. We want to help these young people build essential skills and become more resilient - capable of coping and learning despite adversity in their lives.

Transformative Recreation® (T-REC®) is our program model, guiding all of our efforts as we encourage our children and youth to build resiliency and realize success on their own terms. T-REC® is founded on a mixture of best practices in the field of social recreation, as well as the lessons of success derived from over 95 years of serving the Ottawa community. Our programs focus on developing physical, social and character skills, with the intent of developing four key outcomes:

  • Positive Peer & Adult Relationships
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Self-Regulation
  • Positive Future Outlook

Building Skills:
unique approach

Program and equipment costs are free to our participants, and programs are offered in their neighbourhoods or transportation is provided.

Program staff are actively in contact with each family prior to every program, and take any action needed to ensure that children and youth return to our programs week after week, and year after year.

In addition to promoting physical skill development, program staff and volunteers act as positive mentors to assist children and youth in building strong social and emotional capabilities.

Transforming Lives:
impactful programs

We evaluate our programs after each term to establish program quality, program engagement and accomplished skill development. We use multiple evaluation tools to engage children, youth, program volunteers and staff to elicit meaningful feedback. The results demonstrate that our T-REC® programs are operating at a high level of quality and creating opportunities for long-term, transformative skill development.

↑ Back to top



Christie Lake Kids collects in-depth household data, to better understand and support the individual needs and strengths of children in CLK programs.

76% of CLK families have an annual household income of less than $25,000

Average family annual household income in Ottawa - $86,000

90% of children attending STAR programs live in subsidized housing


324 children in STAR programs

360 children in summer camp program

200 children in weekend camp programs

+40 youth in Leaders in Training Program

924 children & youth served

Many participants are enrolled in several programs
↑ Back to top


Christie Lake Kids is fortunate to have two exceptional role models who inspire our children and youth. Segun and Alex bring their STAR power, their motivational stories and their profile to the CLK community and beyond.

Segun Makinde - Olympic Track and Field Athlete
Segun is a Nigerian-born Canadian Track & Field athlete competing in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m events, and is the oldest brother of three. He is a 2012 Olympian, 2013 IAAF World Champion Bronze Medalist, 2-time World University Games competitor, and 2013 Francophone Games double gold Medalist.

Segun currently lives and trains in Ottawa and while away from the track gives back through volunteer work and speaking at local schools and events. His aim is to inspire and influence the next generation to be great in all they do and say.

Alex Mateas - Offensive Lineman for the Ottawa RedBlacks
Alex Mateas was the first overall 2015 CFL draft pick, and currently an offensive lineman for the Ottawa Redblacks. Originally from Ottawa, Alex grew up playing every sport he could, soccer, basketball, volleyball, judo, weightlifting and eventually football.

"I attribute a lot of my success to the role models I had as a young kid in sports. The after-school, weekend and summer opportunities that I had taught me how to work in a team, set goals, and work hard to accomplish those goals.”

↑ Back to top



At 12 years old, I came to Christie Lake Camp for the first time at the urging of my mom, a single parent of 6 children. I stayed involved at camp as a Junior Staff member, then counsellor, leading to several Senior Camp Staff positions.

Eager to stay connected with some of my campers, I then began volunteering in CLK's Leaders In Training Program in the city, where I had a chance to mentor many of my former campers through their teenage years. I am now a College & University graduate and continue my involvement with Christie Lake Kids as a volunteer in the STAR Art program.

Christie Lake Kids programs give kids a chance to try things they otherwise would not know existed, to be inspired by people they otherwise would not meet, and to dream of things they otherwise thought would be impossible.

Shannel – Former Christie Lake Kid



Join our email list! Stay up to date on our latest research and impact in our community.