“My love affair with Moorelands began at age six and continues to this day – 60 years later – amazing!”
It was 1956 at the end of the polio scare when Sandy Allin was whisked out of the city with her grandmother to attend Moorelands Camp for the first time.
“There was a push to get children out of the city and away from the heat and the humidity,” Sandy explains, “I was so excited as we met all the other mothers and children at Union station – I’d never been on a train before!”
Moorelands Camp is Freedom to Kids
The Mothers and Children program, at Moorelands’ original site at Beaverton, gave relief to Toronto’s low-income families. Just like today, campers were given the chance to enjoy a break from the city and grow in character and confidence.
Sandy is enthusiastic as she describes why Moorelands Camp is of such benefit to low-income children:
“It’s the appreciation of fresh air, water and nature. Moorelands Camp is freedom to kids… The chance to just be free, that’s what’s stayed with me all this time.”
Sandy returns to Moorelands at Kawagama
Sandy returned to Moorelands year after year until, aged 16, she came back as a counsellor. Her growth continued even as the camp moved to the new site on Kawagama Lake:
“As the years went by, I was so happy to be able to return to Moorelands as the camp nurse. I worked as the nurse for three years; this time bringing my children with me!”
As she describes her memories, it’s evident that Sandy learned much from her time at Moorelands. “I really learned about teamwork and how to deal with other people… Camp gave me the chance to learn how to get along with others.”
Building Memories and Leadership Skills
Sandy recounts one particular memory that really put her teamwork and leadership skills to the test. “There was an accident on the lake in the middle of the night. I rushed to the marina with Cathy Lepper-Hitchcock and a group of other first aiders.
“The leadership skills I’d learned at Moorelands kicked in. I was able to think on my feet and take charge of the situation. We all worked together to get everyone the help they needed.”
What continues to inspire Sandy to support the camp after so many years? “I believe that if somebody wants to do something good for someone else they should offer them a hand. That’s what Moorelands Camp is: it’s a hand up – not a hand out.”
Thank you, Sandy! We’re so grateful for your enduring support!Why not connect with Sandy, along with Moorelands Alumni of all generations, up at camp for the Alumni Day on July 15th? Learn more and buy tickets: moorelands.ca/alumni-day