BRACEBRIDGE, ON – A dozen Muskoka girls will get to experience camp for the first time thanks to a donation from a local organization.

The YWCA provides camps for identified females allowing them a safe space to learn and grow on a  personal level.

Stacey Schat is the youth programs coordinator with the organization. She said there were 12 girls on the group’s list needing subsidies in order to go to camp and that’s when she got the call.

“The donation came from the Rotary Club of Bracebridge and we were just delighted,” Schat said.

“Keith Montgomery heard we were looking to subsidize some girls and he asked how much it costs. Two days later a cheque was delivered and that meant 12 girls who had never been to camp before were able to now.”

Schat added the girls would have been able to go to camp regardless. It is the YWCA’s policy that if anyone requests to be subsidized, the organization will oblige with no questions asked.

But without the donation, funds would have been pulled from other areas.

“We would have taken money that we would normally use to fund our in-programs,” Schat said. “By making the donation, it helps us increase our reach and ability to do more programming. For the girls themselves its a chance for them to spend a week in a safe space.”

Schat added the camps always have a focus and this year it is “finding your personal compass.”

“So what are the tools you need to find your way in life?’ Schat said. “It helps decide what direction you want to take and how to get there.”

The coordinator added the week-long camp helps girls figure out what they are really passionate about and how to make it a part of their lives, as well as beach time, crafts and other activities to allow campers to relax and have fun.

Schat said she is grateful for all the support from the community and local organizations.

She added it is really important for people outside of Muskoka, who just come here during cottage season, to know that local kids don’t necessarily get the typical Muskoka experience their’s might.

“It is wonderful that we are able to give these kids this wonderful opportunity,” Schat said. “For some of these kids, it’s their first experience with camp. We are just really grateful for our community.”