Thirty-five campers braved the outdoors and slept in tents in their own backyards last Thursday to show support for the Roughin’ it for a Reason campaign to raise money for the new nature centre at Scanlon Creek in Bradford.
The event, which was organized by Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) spokesperson Joanne Doyley and Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation (LSCF) board members, encouraged campers to collect donations for the new facility and sleep outside – with or without camping amenities, depending on personal amounts raised.
Campers posted their adventures on social media, using the hashtag #roughinitforareason, and shared pictures and videos of their outdoor experience.
Bradford town councillor Peter Ferragine and his cousin, Frank Ferragine (known to legions of fans on television as Frankie Flowers) were virtual hosts and celebrity campers who participated in the campout live from Peter’s backyard where they roasted marshmallows and “glamped” under the stars. (Glamping is a portmanteau combining the words 'glamour' and 'camping.')
The Ferragine team was able to raise $6,135 and successfully earned their “stuffies” back.
“It was a great night! The temperature was perfect,” said Peter. “We set a goal of $2K, with targets to be met that would make us lose some of our comforts. We hit that goal rather quickly, so to ask for more donations, we flipped it around and set targets to get some of our comforts back."
Overall, the LSRCA’s goal was to raise $50,000 from the event, and although donations are still trickling in, all indications are they have raised almost $40,000 so far.
“We were very lucky to get everything back – the tent, our pillows, sleeping bags, stuffed toys,” said Peter. “There also happened to be a hot tub in the vicinity, so we took advantage of that as well.”
Campers enjoyed camp fires while tuning into a live stream provided by the LSRCA where campers were treated to cookout demos with Cabela’s, storytime with Tiny Seedlings, a community organization that runs programs for children, and special campfire music by Dead Mechanics.
“I think the best part for me was making S'mores with my kids,” said Peter. “They loved it so much that we went out the next night to make S'mores again."
“It’s events like this that bring us all together in purpose and fun,” said Cheryl Taylor, LCSF executive director. “We are all part of this amazing and much-needed project. Let’s keep up the momentum and get it built by 2022."
The money raised will be used to build a new nature centre at the 9th Line conservation area.
The original 30-year-old nature centre at Scanlon Creek was constructed with three repurposed portables and currently has insufficient washroom and storage facilities and is at the end of its life cycle.
The new nature centre will have 8,000 square feet of space to host schools and educate children about wildlife, plants, and environmental sustainability. It will also offer summer camps, new trails, and other community-driven events.
To learn more about the event and the campers who participated, click here.