Camp Changed My Life – A profile of legendary CBC host Andy Barrie
If you ever went to camp as a child, you know of its transformative power. Free from everyday stress in the city, camp can be a life-changing experience for a child. And so it was for beloved CBC broadcaster Andy Barrie.
Andy’s broadcast career began at summer camp. The legendary CBC radio host was no athlete growing up. He was into puppetry and magic – interests that didn’t help him fit in with the popular kids. But he was lucky enough to end up at a camp where everyone was given a chance to feel empowered. At this camp, he was offered his first broadcast opportunity – a morning show on the camp’s public-address system.
So when he heard about Moorelands in 1998, he became an immediate donor. “I didn’t need much convincing,” he says. “It seemed like a perfect place.”
One of the things that impressed him was the dining hall – designed by award-winning architects Howard Sutcliffe and Brigitte Shim. “It was clear to me that there were a lot of folks determined these kids were not going to be in any way compromised,” he says. A visit to the site solidified his support. “I was impressed with the counselors as well, many of whom had been campers and were determined to give back,” he says.
Now a long-time and regular supporter, Andy’s made Moorelands a beneficiary in his estate. He knows that opportunities kids have are largely determined by the environment in which they grow up. “Summer camp is one of those experiences that can reverse a child’s trajectory,” he says. “I don’t know many other experiences that can do that for them so quickly.
At a camp, everyone is equal from day one,” he says. “Maybe kids have to be tough or are being picked on. They go to camp and no one knows about that stuff.”
“Summer camp basically changed my life.”
–Barbara Turnbull, Journalist Toronto Star,
for echo Holiday 2014