Cheryle Pollock

Cheryle Pollock

“At Camp, I get to interact with all of the children and staff. I see miracles happen at Camp. I watch the kids learn and develop and gain independence and grow. Little things matter like kids making friends, dealing with being away from home. I see the kids connecting with others in a safe place, and to see them grow is phenomenal”

It was 32 years ago when Cheryle first stepped off the dock and onto the shores of Moorelands Camp on Lake Kawagama. She came in response to a plea for volunteers which she saw in her church newsletter. Simply stated, the ad requested volunteers to “work with kids at a camp for economically disadvantaged kids.”

Back in 1979, the camp was comprised of only 80 campers and run by the Downtown Churchworker’s Association. She had no idea that it was on an island or what she would be doing during her two-week stint as a volunteer, for which she used her 2 weeks of vacation.

Although a Registered Nurse by profession, Cheryle requested a non-nursing role as she hadn’t had any camp experience. Instead she was told by Doug Varey (the Camp Director) that she would be the Cabin Leader for 8 & 9-year old girls. Even though there was lots of rain, and Cheryle had to deal with a skirmish that resulted in a bloody lip, she says it was “the best 2 weeks I’ve ever spent.” The following year, Cheryle went back for two 2-week sessions (nursing and helping in the bakeshop), and then the next summer, began a full month-long commitment volunteering as the Camp Nurse. In the early 1980’s, Cheryle’s experience with the camp, coupled with her skills as a RN, past work with Girl Guides and Cubs, and professional association membership with the American Camp Nurses Association, saw her hired for summers as the full-time nurse. She also began some administrative duties, and in 1997 became a full-time employee at Moorelands.Her camp name ‘Sparkles’ was given to her by the children at Moorelands Day Camp when she did training for counsellors in first aid and safety, because she “always has a smile on her face.” It was probably her love of the kids that made her smile. She says, “There’s something special about all of them, even the most challenging ones.” Cheryle tells us how camp nursing has changed over the years. Back when she started, “the ‘Infirmary’ was a place to go when you were sick…a place where band-aids and medication were handed out. “Now, we make an effort to be out and seen by the campers”, says Cheryle. “Our ‘Health Centre’ promotes public health, community health and safety through several different programs such as Handwashing Clinics, Word of the Day (e.g. caring, respect), Attack the Plaque, cabin checks, kitchen checks, and many more. We are out-and-about, checking up on the kids in their environment. Nursing is about so much more than treating sick people.”Moorelands Logo - help us help kidsGot a Moorelands story to share? We’d love to hear it! To share your story, contact Helen – (416) 466-9987 ext. 312 or click the link below.


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An Update from Lynda on COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and public health advice to stay at home, Moorelands Kids’ office staff are working remotely and our office will be virtual until June 8th. Staff members are available by email or phone. Please visit our contact page to get in touch via email or our staff directory for a list of phone numbers.

On Tuesday, May 19th, the Government of Ontario announced that overnight camps must remain closed throughout the summer. While we are so sad that Moorelands Camp will not be able to run as usual this year, this news was not unexpected and we understand this decision: the safety of our campers and staff is always our first priority. We are refunding all camp deposits/fees already paid. Details have been emailed to registered camper families.

But we do have some good news! In anticipation of this announcement, we had already made extensive plans for a fun virtual camp experience and we’ll be Sending Camp to Kids this summer! More details coming soon including how to apply starting May 25th!

We commit to maintaining our beautiful camp property. We will continue to do everything we need to do to make sure that we can be at camp next year and for many more years to come! That’s why we need your support now more than ever. If you would like to make a donation, please click here or call: 416-466-9987 ext. 309.

New Virtual Programs Launch!

We're excited to launch virtual leadership programs while TDSB schools are closed. Check them out here: Virtual Programs. We'll be making announcements soon about our new Virtual Camp for summer 2020. Stay tuned!

If you need information on COVID-19 or health advice, please visit Toronto Public Health’s website. Moorelands Kids will continue to post updates about our services as the situation evolves.

Stay safe and healthy,

Lynda Tilley, Executive Director | Moorelands Kids