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 our 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.
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.”
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 CLK 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.
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’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, vision, and hard work to the table. Thank you to our Board and committee members. You make us immeasurably stronger.
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.
1st Vice Chair
Until his retirement in 2019, Peter was Director, of Federal Sales for 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.
2nd Vice Chair
Inspector- 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.
Director of Finance, Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa
Wes has more than 30 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector. He brings extension experience in financial reporting, internal controls, strategic planning, property acquisition, construction, management, and pensions. Wes has overseen the growth of Youth Services Bureau’s budget to $30 million. In his spare time, Wes has volunteered with his children at Scouts Canada, as well as Kanata Youth Basketball. Wes is currently Chair of Christie Lake Kids' Audit & Finance Committee.
Sr Human Resources Executive & Consultant, Ahronson & Associates People Solutions Inc.
Arni is driven by the opportunity to positively impact the life of employees at work, and is motivated by opportunities to create innovative HR programs that enhance employee engagement and performance. Successfully implementing organization change initiatives in national and global organizations spanning sectors such as energy, health, retail, education, policing, and aviation. Arni has been recognized as a Transformational Leader with an ability to simplify HR strategy, bring the consistent value needed from HR programs to enable business strategy. He enjoys spending time with his young family at his cottage, as well as coaching and watching his children in numerous sporting activities. Arni is active in his community and prides himself on volunteering in coaching sports. Arnie is currently Chair of the HR and Governance Committee.
Sr Advisor - Community & Indigenous Engagement, Enbridge
A native of Quebec’s Lower North shore, Melanie started her career in the natural gas industry in the greater Toronto area 2004, now currently working in Ottawa. Melanie holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Sheridan college and an advanced diploma in Civil Engineering from Algonquin College. Melanie is an advocate for women in engineering and member of FEMINEN committee at Enbridge Gas. Melanie is excited to be a part of helping kids gain the best childhood experiences that CLK has to offer. Melanie also volunteers her time with CLK events.
Policy Analyst, Government of Canada
Adeola has a degree in Political Science from the University of Windsor. He offers experience in community liaison, youth development programing, and human resources. In his experience working in development programming to improve the trajectory of youths in his community, Adeola appreciates the values of mutual respect, strong community, and equity of opportunity. Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeola has also lived in other countries which has provided an abundance of experience in appreciating and adapting to cultural perspectives and challenges. When we appreciate that the sky is big enough for everyone to fly, collaboration becomes a culture.
Policy Analyst, Government of Canada
Hatav is a Master of Social Work graduate with over 15 years of experience in local not-for-profit organizations and public sectors. As a first generation immigrant and racialized person; Hatav, through her and her family’s experiences, was naturally inclined to adopt a critical perspective in societal processes of marginalization. Leveraging her love for camp, and programming to produce positive, long-lasting outcomes for children and youth, her social Work background in exploring supports, opportunities, and the overarching context Christie Lake kids and service-users find themselves in, she will draw on personal and professional skills, interests and experiences to support Christie Lake Kids’ capacity to make meaningful change in children and youths’ lives.
Assistant General Counsel & Assistant Corporate Secretary, NAV Canada
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.
VP Operations, Taggart Realty Management
Julie is part of the Taggart Group of Companies; a family business stared in 1940’s. Julie holds a Business degree from Bishop’s University. She joined the Taggart Group in 2000 and has over 15 years of Real Estate experiences. Julie oversees the operations and leasing of the retail, residential and office portfolio, as well as all new development projects for Taggart Realty.
Until his retirement in 2020, Ted was Assistant Director for Mental Health Services, Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa. Ted has been supporting youth and their families in Ottawa for more than 30 years. He managed 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.↑ 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:
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.
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.
BY THE NUMBERS
Christie Lake Kids collects in-depth household data, to better understand and support the individual needs and strengths of children in CLK programs.
80% 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
Christie Lake Kids is fortunate to have two exceptional role models who inspire our children and youth. Segun and Kene 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.
Kene Onyeka - Defensive Lineman for the Ottawa RedBlacks
Kene’s family moved from Lagos Nigeria to Brampton Ontario when he was 9 years old. As a child, Kene was an avid soccer and football player, who also had a love for math and science. He decided to pursue both of his passions at Carleton University, where he graduated with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering, while playing for the Ravens football team. His journey to the CFL began in 2019, getting drafted to play for the city he grew to love.
Now, Kene has found a new passion of giving back to the kids in his community, and will be getting out into our programs and sharing his story with our children and youth. We plan to make Kene a big part of our STEM programs, using his background in engineering to educate the next generation.
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.
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