It was a transformation beyond expectations.

It was the year 2013 and Camp Winfield had started to show signs of an aging infrastructure. New roofs on cabins were needed, appliances in the kitchen were old, paint was peeling… renovations were needed in every corner of the camp. So, in a special surprise that was kept secret for more than a year, over 300 volunteers put their heart, soul, sweat and tears into an extreme makeover event.

The planning began in the spring of 2013 when Rellish Transport Services (Armstrong, B.C.) owner, Rob Ellis and his wife Lisa, happened to tour the property and noticed the aging infrastructure. “Throwing money at it wasn’t a solution but getting a group of people together to renovate the camp would be a better use of time and money,” said Lisa Ellis.

From there, Rob enlisted members of his men’s baseball team (The Bees) along with a marathon runner and a female ball player, and the planning moved ahead — including approaching friends and businesses from throughout the Okanagan and as far away as Vancouver and Quebec.

Those involved included contractors, electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, painters, tile guys, donators, labourers, pool pump installers, carpet layers, computer installers, printer installers, sound system and entertainment installers, landscapers, heavy equipment operators, safety personal, truck drivers, tent crews, door installers, fire crews, the community, fire department, RCMP, Department of National Defense, food and beverage providers, District of Lake Country, bylaw enforcement, equipment rental companies, transport companies, irrigation companies and neighbours.

Renovations took place in September 2014 in what is now the largest community event in Easter Seals BC & Yukon history and the largest single donation from a community as a whole. Between donated products and volunteer labour, nearly $1.5 million was invested in the camp.

Renovations included a new outdoor barbecue area, irrigation, a fire break, a new outdoor amphitheater, cabinets, appliances, furniture, a tarp for the waterslide, painting, landscaping, handicapped doors and new air conditioning in the dorms, new art room cabinets and supplies, new toilets throughout, new bone yard, new wheel chair accessible sand box, new amphitheatre, new surround sound entertainment centre and furniture, new computers, new printers, new pool equipment, complete overhaul of tool room and shop, paving, new gates, new irrigation systems, a memorial garden, and so much more.

Built in 1968, Camp Winfield was the first overnight summer camping experience developed by the BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities. Over the years, the camp has had thousands of children and teens with physical and/or mental disabilities stay for a weekend or week-long summer camp experience. Easter Seals Camp Winfield is a place where campers can explore and develop their abilities in a safe, warm, fun and supportive environment.