What we stand for
The belief that no matter what a person's circumstance may be, they are able to exceed expectations.
The worth and potential of youth experiencing social, behavioural economic or other challenges.
The therapeutic value of wilderness tripping.
The encouragement of individual ability and self-esteem in a unique environment.
The valuable contribution of volunteers to society through work with youth.
WHO ARE WE?
Camp Outlook is a registered Ontario charity based in Kingston, Ontario, which encourages young people from 13 to 17 years old to develop their inner strength, self-worth, and capacity to succeed. We do this by by giving them the opportunity to participate in extended backcountry canoe expeditions free of charge. Campers go on trips for free, but we ask that all of our campers are referred to us by a social agency or school so we can be sure that we are offering our trips to youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity to go to camp. This might be because of barriers faced at home or at school, or simply because they could not otherwise afford to go on such a trip, and many campers qualify under more than one criterion. We are an entirely volunteer run organization, and nobody, from our program directors to our trip leaders, are paid. This is the way we've operated since we were founded in 1970.
WHAT ARE OUR PROGRAMS?
Camp Outlook runs five, nine, and fourteen day canoe trips in Algonquin Provincial Park and Frontenac Provincial Park during the summer, with up to 140 campers each season. Full-time volunteer staff members take groups of four to six youths on routes that can inspire an appreciation of the outdoors and a sense of accomplishment in learning camping and social skills. Over the years we have also developed a fall & winter program. From late September to early April, Outlook conducts weekend trips as well as in-city group activities, to keep campers engaged with the program and with one another through the winter months.
WHERE ARE WE?
Camp Outlook’s Kingston headquarters is situated on the territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek. There is also a significant Métis community as well as First Peoples from other Nations across Turtle Island present here today. Many of our canoe trips take place in Algonquin Park which, specifically, is the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabek. Not only have Algonquin people been canoeing in the park’s lakes and rivers long before the beginning of Camp Outlook, but they also have a legal claim to the land that is currently being negotiated today. Through acknowledging this land we recognize our collective responsibility to invest in respectful and caring relations with the land, Indigenous peoples, and our joint histories.
HOW DID OUTLOOK GET STARTED?
Camp Outlook was started in 1970 by Ron Kimberley, a medical student who attended Queen's University. Kimberley was a camping enthusiast and a firm believer in the therapeutic value of the wilderness. For almost 50 years, Outlook has provided summer and winter camping services to youth free of charge through the generosity of volunteer staff, private donors, and fundraising drives.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?
Outlook is a non-governmental, non-profit organization. As such, we are funded almost entirely by fundraising efforts, community partnerships and grants, as well as the generosity of donors, who year after year, keep the program running. In addition to the kindness of folks who contribute monetarily, we are also grateful to a number of small-businesses and organization with whom we partner, who contribute invaluable space, training and program needs to us year after year. Check out our donations page for more info!
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Every dollar we receive is put back into running the program, from paddles to peanut butter.
WHAT IS CAMP OUTLOOK COMMITTED TO?
We recognize that outdoor recreation and education have become privileged and predominantly white spaces through colonialism. Camp Outlook is no exception, and we acknowledge a lack of diversity in our governance, volunteers, and youth. As an organization, we are committed to increasing the accessibility of outdoor programming and the outdoor industry. Since its inception, Outlook has been addressing questions of inequity and inaccessibility of the outdoors by eliminating the financial barriers for youth, and providing free training for volunteers. However, we still have a long way to go, particularly in cultivating safer and more accessible spaces for Black, Indigenous, people of colour, 2SLGBTQ+ folks, and people from other groups that have historically been excluded from outdoor recreation spaces. We also have work to do in addressing colonial histories and ongoing colonialism in the outdoors. Through reflection, education, and accountability, we are committed to making well-researched changes to continuously work toward becoming a more diverse, anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization.