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

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read