Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, and work has already begun to prepare for the relaunch of camps this summer. Although Our Lady of Victory Camp is now open, we are always on the lookout for extra hands to help with ongoing maintenance. If you would like to get involved, please email camps@caedm.ca to see how you can help out. If you can’t give time directly to the camp, you can make a one-time or ongoing donation to help cover the ongoing maintenance and operations costs of OLVC.

It’s been a little more than two months since it was announced that Our Lady of Victory Camp would be reopening in July. The flurry of activity that has followed has included a new camp website, the opening of registrations for next summer, ongoing volunteer recruitment, and plans for a reunion and farewell event at Camp Encounter on Saturday, May 27.

For Deacon Claude Baril, the work is just beginning. While Deacon Claude has served as maintenance coordinator for Our Lady of Victory Camp since 2011, his role changed in the fall of 2018 when the camp was closed. Over the past four-and-a-half years, he and former program director Cassandra Dietrich have made regular visits to the camp doing security checks, cutting grass, and shoveling snow. But now that the decision has been made to reopen the camp, Deacon Claude’s role is changing.

Anyone who owns a home – especially an older one – knows there’s a certain amount of work to be done on the basic needs of the building each year. One year you might work on the deck, another year replace some flooring, and on the third year it might be time to paint. With a seasonal facility like Our Lady of Victory Camp, most of this work is done in the spring in the leadup to summer camp. Because OLVC hasn’t hosted camps since 2018 we are looking at five years of spring maintenance – plus some significant projects and improvements – over the course of a single spring. But although there’s a lot of work to be done, we have a clear goal in mind.

This is where we need your help!

Deacon Claude has broken things down into a list of projects and tasks we need to complete before we reopen in July. We’re going to host work bees on Saturday, May 6th and Saturday, June 10th. We need people to volunteer their time and their talents on both of those Saturdays to work through many of these tasks. But we could also use people who want to adopt a task by bringing their specific trade or skill to the camp. Deacon Claude says “I encourage those of you who have assisted with Work Bees at camp or those who feel a calling to it to please come forward. The need is great. We have organized projects for all skill levels. Feel free to call us to discuss and be part of the plan.”