NEWS

Wa-Thik-Ane Girl Guides camp vandalism spurs community support

10/03/2014 10:18 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST
In only a few days, Quebec Girl Guides have received more than $6,000 in donations to help replace equipment and repair damage caused to their camp by vandals last week. 

The Guides said the donations have been coming in non-stop since thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies locked in a cabin at the Wa-Thik-Ane campground was stolen last weekend, including $4,000 in new tents alone.

It’s good news for the Guides, who are planning to host hundreds of young girls at Wa-Thik-Ane the first week of October.

Thousands of girls have camped at Wa-Thik-Ane​ over the years, many of them from Montreal's West Island.

Sara Grant, a Girl Guides leader, told CBC her niece and her sister experienced Wa-Thik-Ane together for the first time last year.

“They were heartbroken that a place they were learning to love had been damaged by people who didn’t seem to care as much as we did," she said. 

 "So we felt we needed to reach out to help make that come back together because there’s not enough places for girls to go and learn to do things to be their best self.”

Susan Welsh, the Quebec Girl Guides' director of operations, said her office has been flooded by support.

She said she’s received many anonymous donations that include personal notes about time spent at Wa-Thik-Ane.

“Some of the notes bring me to tears because they just pull at your heartstrings,” said Walsh.

“Somebody wrote, ‘Let’s hope the silver lining on this one shines especially brightly. I’m sorry about the vandalism. Wa-Thik-Ane was an important part of my childhood.'”

The Pointe-Claire Scouts group has offered up equipment and a Girl Scouts group from Poughkeepsie, NY got in touch with the Guides to provide support.

Montreal lawyer David Freiheit has started his own fundraising campaign online through GoFundMe. He’s doing an obstacle race near Morin Heights, and is turning that into a fundraiser.

He says he wanted to show the girls that strangers can be good people.

“And so I thought it would be nice to show the people, at least the kids at the camp, that there are bad people out there and there are good people out there who do care.”

The guides are offering tax receipts for any donations.

They have created a wish list for specific items that were ruined.

The organization is also asking people to be generous during their annual cookie drive, which is taking place now.

Wa-Thik-Ane wish list:

- Chainsaw

- Air compressor for pipes

- Gas powered weed whacker

- Canoes

- Rowboats

- Materials to replace sections of the dock

- Cash donations

To contact the Quebec Girl Guides, call 514-933-5839. 

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