Sending kids to Camp Chestermere 0
Special to the Standard For Beryl Ascott turning 70 wasn't just a milestone, it was an opportunity to raise funds for her favourite charity. She biked three times around Chestermere Lake to raise funds for Camp Chestermere.
Turning 70 is sometimes a chance to reflect on one's accomplishments. Other times it's an opportunity to celebrate a huge milestone with friends and family. For Strathmore resident Beryl Ascott, it was a chance to bike around Lake Chestermere, three times.
"For my 70th birthday I didn't want anything other than for people to sponsor me to help kids go to camp," said Ascott, refferring to Camp Chestermere where she volunteers. "At 70 I took my bicycle and I cycled around Lake Chestermere. That's a total of 31 kilometers."
The trek wasn't a typical goal for someone turning 70, but for Ascott it was the only way she could properly celebrate. She explained that Camp Chestermere is an organization that she has felt passionately about for many years, and she felt having people just give her donations wasn't right, she had to work for those funds.
"I was just excited to do it, and that's why I did it," said Ascott. "I'm on the board at Camp Chestermere and I'm very passionate about this camp. I've seen it grow and grow."
Ascott's first interaction with the camp was 37-years-ago when she and her family moved to Canada from Zimbabwe, and she searched out a place to send her children to learn a little more about Canadian life.
"I have seen kids go and learn anger management and they're just given tools to get on with life in this world today and I think that's very important to children," said Ascott.
"My own kid went through this camp and loved every minute of it. I could help get other kids into those kind of atmosphere where they just feel loved.. Sending our kids was the best ting we could have done, and we're just paying it forward."
For one child to go to the camp for five days in the summer the cost is $345, and Ascott was able to raise enough for almost 11 children to go this year.
"That cost is beyond a lot of single parents," said Ascott. "The price is a little pricey, but when we compare to other camps it's not too bad at all. If anybody wants to send their kid to camp and they don't feel they can afford it, please apply. No child is ever turned away and we would willingly sponsor kids who cannot afford to come."
Giving children that experience is something she has done in the past, as over the years she has personally sponsored about two children per year. This year, when her family started talking about how to celebrate the milestone of 70 years Ascott said she didn't want, or need anything.
"My family, they spoil me. I started by saying, 'Please family, I don't want anything,'" said Ascott. "I thought then, I could get my family involved with sending kids to camp.
"This is my birthday gift, the fact that there will be children at camp who are benefitting from it."
If you're interested in sponsoring a child to go to camp, or signing your kids up, call Camp Chestermere at 403-272-6030.