NEWS

Punky Lake Wilderness Camp for at-risk youth faces cancellation after vandalization

07/06/2015 06:59 EDT | Updated 07/06/2016 05:59 EDT
A free summer camp for at-risk youth in B.C.'s Chilcotin region might not be able to open in time after it was vandalized on Friday.

The Punky Lake Wilderness Camp is located in a remote region west of Williams Lake. It's because of the remoteness that the camp's executive director Sarah Jackman says it will be very difficult for the repairs to be made in time for their usual July opening.

"From the damage that was done and what was taken, it looks like it was broken into just for the sake of vandalism and destruction," she says.

"Quite a mess was left behind for us to deal with but we are in the process of lining up repairs and getting it moving as fast as we can."

Jackman says the damage appears to have been done with the use of axes and the vandals were able to break through steel doors. She says there was nothing of value to be taken from the site and most of the looting came from kitchen instruments. Repairs will cost around $5,000. 

"I honestly think that by the time we are done dealing with the insurance companies and getting the contractors out there … I doubt very highly we'll be using that facility this year."

Organizers still optimistic

Punky Lake Wilderness Camp is run for children aged 12  to 17. Jackman says the annual events provided at the camp are a highlight for kids who need it most.

"It provides a free, healthy, cultural, fun experience for these kids," she says. 

"They can go to camp without costing their family a cent and it's been something that's been really valuable in this community for a long time."

Despite the setback, Jackman says the organizers will do what they can to salvage this year's camp session. She says she's determined to keep the activities available for the children.

"All of our programs will continue to run. We'll just have to find other places to run them."

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Vandalized summer camp for at-risk youth facing cancellation.

MORE:cbcNews