Let’s Get More Kids To Camp!

  • June 12, 2023
  • Miriam

Let’s Get More Kids To Camp!

There are a few highlights in the CampBrain calendar that are extra special to us – but none are quite like Canoe Heads For Kids, the annual fundraiser for Amici Children’s Camp Charity.

As per the name, “Canoe Heads”, this event challenges participants to tackle a 7.5 km (4.6 m) portage across Toronto’s waterfront trail, and a 7.5 km paddle back along the shore of Lake Ontario! The result? The unique sight of portagers downtown!

Why we support Amici

Amici has been sending children (ages 7-17) from low-income households to overnight summer camps across Ontario since 1966. They partner with Ontario Camps Association accredited camps across the province to provide multi-year support to campers – bringing together the power of individual camps and donors to make a meaningful difference for campers facing social and financial barriers. Once a camper joins the program, Amici will send them back to the same camp for as many summers as they wish to go. 

Like Amici, we believe in the power and magic of the camp experience; that it can be life-changing. This shared belief is why we sponsor Canoe Heads For Kids, participate as a fundraising team, and volunteer on event day to help things run smoothly – we are ALL IN! 


The Return of Canoe Heads Trivia Night!

When there was still snow on the ground, we started recruiting volunteers & participants and preparing for the big event day. We decided to bring back our popular Trivia Night as an extra fundraiser for the team – not only did this give our fundraising a boost, it gave Brainers and our friends and family the chance to gather, share our Canoe Heads spirit, and get excited for summer! 

Goran, Hayley, Rachel, Vicky, Kurt, and trivia host Jared got together to plan the event, get ready to sell some 50/50 tickets, and coordinate a mind-bending night of trivia questions.

After months of anticipation, Saturday, May 27 finally arrived. It was a beautiful day in Toronto, warm and sunny, with very low winds – helpful for paddling Lake Ontario! 

Miriam’s Day (Paddling & Portaging Team) 

This year’s team brought together some of the longest-tenured and shortest-tenured Brainers + friends, for an unbeatable combination of energy and grit! Rachel & I served as Co-Captains for an all-star crew: Annabelle, Rob C., Saidbh, Aidan, Shane, and Emma. Some highlights of the day: 

Hayley’s Day (Volunteer Team) 

Having heard stories of past Canoe Heads I knew I wanted to volunteer and see firsthand what makes this charity event so special. This year I joined forces with Naoe, our volunteer coordinator, Alison, Goran, Aderinola, and Witold to help keep the Canoe Heads teams hydrated along their portage journey. 

  • Opening Ceremonies: Hearing directly from a camper about all the joy summer camp and Amici has brought them has everyone in high spirits. The sun is shining and we are ready to go! 
  • Water Station Welcome: Toronto comes alive in the warmer weather! It seems like everyone is down by the lake or stuck in traffic trying to get there so they can enjoy the beautiful day. We arrive and set up our water station no more than 5 minutes before the first Canoe Heads team passes through. Having just made it halfway the teams are incredibly excited for some snacks and refreshments before tackling the second half of the portage. 
  • Tear Down: After the last team passes through and we are cleaned out of complimentary Cliff bars we pack up our station and make the trek back across town. While we are stuck in traffic we joke about how much faster it must be canoeing across the lakeshore and talk about how inspired we are by everyone partaking in Canoe Heads.  

Being In Community 

Canoe Heads For Kids means we get to spend a day outside in Toronto, surrounded by people who are as passionate about camp as we are. You really feel the dedication of the Ontario camping community, seeing the parade of canoes head out from the base of the CN Tower!  

The event has raised $272,278 to date, to send campers facing financial and social barriers to camp this summer, and for all the summers to come. CampBrain has sponsored & raised over $12,500 this season. (Click the link – Donations are open until the end of June!)  

Last year, 251 campers attended camp thanks to the support of Amici & their partner camps. 251 campers had the chance to make new friends, experience the fun and happiness of camp, and just be themselves. Amici says it best: Camp is in you for life. 

We are thankful for the chance to be a part of their work to make our camps better, by making sure they are for every kid. Let the countdown to Canoe Heads For Kids 2024 begin! 

Love Your Software + Your Camping Community, 

Hayley & Miriam