More than 2,200 Boy Scouts descended on Camp Barnard last summer for the Pacific Jamboree. (KevIn Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

More than 2,200 Boy Scouts descended on Camp Barnard last summer for the Pacific Jamboree. (KevIn Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Coronavirus restrictions prolongs Camp Barnard closure

Thousands of scouts won’t be going to summer camp in Sooke this summer

Camp Barnard will remain closed until at least Aug. 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And it’s a devastation blow to outdoor recreation in the area as all camping events, scouting and non-scouting, along with the week-long Francophone Scout Jamboree and Girl Guide’s SOAR camp are cancelled.

The SOAR 2020 camp event was scheduled for July and would have welcomed more over 2,000 guides and women from across B.C. and other parts of Canada to Sooke. The Francophone Scout Jamboree expected more than 500 campers.

“While we want nothing more than to have a camp filled with the sights and sounds of happy campers, the health situation is such that we need to keep social distancing and do our part to keep COVID-19 under control,” Camp Barnard officials wrote in Facebook post.

“Sadly, although safety comes first, many youth will miss out on the life-affirming experience of a summer camp this year.”

The camp has lost about 95 per cent of its annual revenue, according to the Facebook post, and camp managers are hosting online meetings to try and figure out how to move forward.

“We are looking at over $100,000 in lost revenue, and speculate it could be closer to $200,000 lost by the time everything is said and done,” said Ron Planden, chair of the Camp Barnard management committee, adding the camp has cut back costs as much as possible, but still faces significant financial trouble.

“We are not for profit, and the way Scouts Canada is structured, we haven’t been able to qualify for any relief or government assistance.”

Most of Camp Barnard’s funds come from rentals, donations, or from fundraisers such as selling Christmas trees each year through View Royal Canadian Tire. Around 12,000 youth use the camp annually.

“We are working with Scouts Canada to see what we can do moving forward, following the lead of health authorities,” said Planden. “We are looking at grants, and have applied for B.C. Hydro relief to help out with our hefty hydro bill.”

Other organizations will also not be able to hold events at the facility, and the Bernard Corporate Breakfast fundraiser was also cancelled.

Though the camp may be able to reopen on Sept. 1, Planden is unsure of what operations would look like.

“I can see it’s not going to be business as usual. It’s a lot of unknowns, and we are just going to have to figure out how to weather the storm.”

RELATED: Girl Guides cancel summer gathering at Camp Bernard in Sooke

The managing committee is scrambling to find ways of raising funds, but because the managing committee is comprised of volunteers, there are limited resources and time to spend.

“We are looking at every option, and there are several irons in the fire. I think it is going to be a difficult year in 2021 because of the loss of revenue. It’s going to take some time for things to get going again. But that is the reality of where we are with this pandemic,” said Planden.

“We are doing our darnedest to make sure we take care of business and make sure the camp continues to function. Basically, we are working our butts off to cover our bills.”

Camp Barnard has a long history in Sooke, dating back 76 years. What started out as just an area of wilderness where intrepid Scouts would bring everything they needed to build a campsite and look after themselves, has grown into a more developed camp facility.

Now, it’s a 250-acre facility filled with campsites, buildings, trails and recreation areas, and welcomes thousands of campers every year.

“It’s magical place for youth and anyone who has come through organization and spent time at camp would probably say same thing,” said Planden.

“Camp Barnard is a fabulous place that is held very dear to peoples hearts. It’s priceless.”



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CampingCoronavirusSooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

West Shore RCMP pulled over a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Nov. 23 after noting that it didn’t appear safe for the road. (West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP pull over vehicle held together by tape and cargo strap

RCMP deemed the vehicle unsafe for the road and had it towed away

Salon owner Philip Ferreira with the PPE collection box at The Natural Hair Salon, 618 View St. (Mariah Johal photo)
Victoria salon inspires more mask recycling

Anyone welcome to drop disposable masks in bin outside View Street shop

(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria dine and dash brings $230 fine

Group paid the bill, police locate suspect who violated provincial restrictions, mistreated staff

Sidney and Central Saanich fire crews responded to a small fire at Eurosa Farms Tuesday evening. (Courtesy of Ryan Worsfold)
Small fire extinguished at Brentwood Bay flower farm

Family-run business sprang into action after smelling smoke at Eurosa Farms

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

Most Read