Sharing the Lake: Riley’s Fundraising Story

Seven-year-old Riley is a fifth-generation cottager on Kawagama Lake. He spends time each summer with his family at a cottage built by his ancestors in 1946, and enjoys outdoor activities. “I like kneeboarding, boating, fishing, swimming and having campfires,” says Riley.

But a few summers ago, Riley realized not every child gets to have these same experiences. One day, while packing up the car to head up to the cottage, a classmate of Riley’s stopped by and asked where he was going. Riley said, “I’m getting ready to go to the cottage.” 

His friend replied, “What’s a cottage?”

Riley’s parents made this a teaching moment, explaining that having a cottage and going to the lake is a privilege some people don’t have access to. Since then, Riley has fundraised to send kids to camp at Moorelands—an opportunity to help other children experience the excitement and fun of Kawagama Lake. 

In 2021, Riley participated in AquaHug, swimming 250 metres and raising just over $1,000. The following summer, he wanted to double his swimming distance and up his fundraising goal by an extra $50. 

During a family trip to Canada’s Wonderland in 2022, seven-year-old Riley thought about what he could do to raise money for Moorelands Kids Send a Kid to Camp (SAK) campaign. As he waited in line for a rollercoaster, the idea came to him. Riley jumped up and shouted, “Let’s do a lemonade stand!”

So, together with his parents, Riley went to the grocery store, purchased and squeezed 25 pounds of lemons, and set up a lemonade stand. 

They began by canvassing at a local farmer’s market where Riley told people about Moorelands Kids and what he was raising money for. By the end of the day, he had received almost $500 in donations. It was such a success, they decided to fundraise again the next day, setting up the neighbourhood lemonade stand, wearing Moorelands Kids t-shirts and holding signs asking if people would help Riley send underprivileged kids to camp. 

“Well, we’ve got one. Let’s go get another!”

– Riley, SAK fundraiser

 At first, the family thought they would run the lemonade stand for two hours in the afternoon. “It was supposed to start at 11 AM and go until 1 PM,” explains Riley. 

“It turned into a five-hour event because people kept showing up,” says Riley’s father, James.

Riley’s goal was to raise enough money to send one kid to camp. But once he reached his goal, he said, “Well, we’ve got one. Let’s go get another!”

“Hopefully together we can send more kids to camp every year.”

– James, SAK fundraiser

Through his canvassing, lemonade stand and participation in AquaHug 2022, Riley raised $3,400 — more than enough to send two kids to Moorelands Camp. Riley hopes that his fundraiser will give more kids the opportunity to experience all of his favourite summer activities. 

“Riley started the lemonade stand initiative and it’s nice to see that by giving back, other kids have been inspired by it. Two other families have started this now, and hopefully together we can send more kids to camp every year,” says James.

From Riley to all the kids attending Moorelands Camp this summer, “Have fun!”

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