Birdies Fore Love Impact: Camp Oochigeas
Since the Birdies Fore Love program started over 10 years ago, RSM has supported hundreds of charities in local communities around Canada and the United States, with the grand total of donations amounting to more than $17 million. Read about one of these deserving charitable organizations below to better understand the impact Birdies Fore Love has on the communities where RSM’s people live and work.
Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides kids with and affected by childhood cancer with a unique opportunity for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences. Their main goal is to ensure that every child diagnosed with cancer, or affected by childhood cancer, in Ontario, will have the chance to experience the challenges, fun, friendship and magic of camp.
Camp Ooch offers a variety of programs that aim to reach children affected by childhood cancer and their families close to home. The In-Hospital programs are at five paediatric oncology centres, and community programs stretch across Ontario. Ooch also provides year-round programming at Ooch Muskoka, a fully accessible camp facility with on-site medical care team. Through these programs, Ooch offers a year-round social support system provided at no cost to the children and families.
Camp Ooch is often referred to as the “social cure for cancer”. It is a place where kids play, grow and enjoy new experiences in a safe, welcoming environment. Their programs celebrate kids for who they are – not what they have.
RSM’s Toronto office supported Camp Ooch as their Birdies Fore Love charity in 2018. They were able to raise over $84,000 and donate nearly 330 hours through RSM’s annual Volunteer Day to support Camp Ooch’s efforts. Karen Donaldson, senior development officer, events at Camp Ooch said, “RSM’s gift is the healing power of Camp, which gives our Campers experiences of fun, friendship, adventure and self-confidence after having spent many hours, days and nights in hospital for treatment or surgery or chemotherapy. Camp Ooch opens the door back in to childhood and lets kids affected by childhood cancer just be kids.”
The immediate impact of this Birdies Fore Love donation will support current program expansions into more communities across Ontario and enable Camp Ooch to bring more children to Ooch Muskoka Camp this year. One of the long-term impacts that these funds will provide is the resources to deepen and extend family and youth supports. Donaldson stated, “Cancer shatters a family. Our In-Hospital and Community programs let families interact in ways that are not just about treatment, but bring levity, laughter and joy to the whole family. For youth, cancer often brings social isolation, and our teen Campers greatly benefit from further programming that develops the critical skills they need to succeed as students, employees and community members delivered through social, skill-building and leadership development programs.”
In early 2019, the Toronto office entered a large corporate running team of 46 members who participated in the Sporting Life 10K, raising an additional $2,100 towards Camp Ooch’s $2 million total, which supports giving kids affected by childhood cancer the chance to just be kids. Toronto’s SL10K contribution will provide seven life-changing days of Camp Ooch for kids affected by childhood cancer.
Camp Ooch shares the RSM and Birdies Fore Love commitment to helping children and families enhance their quality of life. In 2018, Toronto’s Birdies Fore Love donation made 280 days of Camp Ooch possible for kids affected by childhood cancer thanks to the generosity, creativity and leadership of the office and local community! “RSM and Birdies Fore Love are helping bring the gifts of joy, independence, confidence and resilience into the lives of children affected by childhood cancer across Ontario. These are life-changing gifts, thank you.”