CAMP FOR THE DEAF
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The Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf
The Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf is a place of opportunity for Deaf, hard of hearing and multiply challenged young people. The Camp functions as an inclusive environment where a Deaf child can enjoy everything that a summer camp can offer, but in an environment without any communication barriers. The Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf is not an extra in the life of a Deaf child or Deaf adult with special needs. It is about changing lives, promoting self esteem and providing opportunities. It is about creating memories that last a life time.
1960s-1970s  

Service Clubs Help Us Renovate

The uniqueness of the camp along with the notoriety of having a professional football player associated with it raised the awareness of the camp in the community and with many service clubs. Rev. Rumball was on the road to inform as many people as possible about this incredible work and the potential it held. In 1967 the doors of the “Rotary Hall” were opened. It served as the dining hall. A complete kitchen and comfortable seating for about 80 people were provided by the Rotary Club of West Toronto. This project not only provided the camp with what was needed, it brought in the outside help from the services clubs of the province that have proved to be our best resource. At a multiple district conference of the Lions Clubs of Ontario and Quebec, Rev. Rumball was invited to speak. The Lions were captivated. Rev. Rumball had won them over. Immediately the Lions provided the resources for the Milton Farm Home. Rev. Rumball was invited to speak to the Lions of Parry Sound. One Lion was especially impressed. In the early 1970’s Lion George Green, from the Parry Sound Club became one of the camp’s truest friends.
 
The day after Rumball Spoke, Lions Bert Federico, Henry Butler and Lion George visited the camp and led the Lions Clubs of the Zones, then the Regions, then the entire District A-12 to adopt the camp as their district project. What this meant to the camp was over $300,000 invested by the Lions of A-12. Dormitories, The Boathouse, water system improvements, docks, washrooms, the tennis court and the Lions Recreation Hall were all completed during this district wide project.
 
The Lions motto is “ WE SERVE”. How true that has turned out to be for the camp. Over the years the Lions of A-12 have renovated the Boathouse under Governor Brian Overbeek. Each Governor selects an exceptional Lion to take the Camp under their wing. Over the years Lion Bob Howes and Lion Louis Poitris have raised the money needed for much of our program equipment. Most of the “toys” the camp has have been provide through the efforts of the Lions. The Parry Sound Lions Club has been a true and faithful supporter. The Lions of Parry Sound provided the camp’s ATV, rowboats and canoes. A high light of our summer is our Tuesday afternoon visits from the Lions of Parry Sound . They bring their crew, all the food and provide the campers with a picnic like no other. The Parry Sound Club has always been willing to lend their knowledge, connections, expertise and their hands to the work at the camp.
Most of all, many Lions, as clubs and as individuals send countless numbers of children to camp each summer. So many of the children who have attended camp over the years have done so because there has been a Lion there to pay their way.
 
In the late 60’s the Lions had already provided the Ontario Mission of the Deaf with the Milton farm home. Years later a similar provision was made for a farm in the Belleville area. In 1994 the Lions Homes for Deaf People were able to make a contribution of $175,000 to construct a modern Infirmary and nurses quarters. Over the years one of the original houses was used as our infirmary. It had become unfit and was due to be demolished and replaced. The new infirmary was completed and has become invaluable. In 1997 the Lions Homes for Deaf People provided the camp with an additional $25,000 to complete renovations to the Progress Inn. In 1973 Progress Clubs had erected the Inn, which served as our general-purpose room for many years. It was due for a total renovation and the Lions again, provided what we needed.
 
“Go forth and build and you shall overcome indifference and distrust.”
The National Fraternal Society of the Deaf (N.F.S.D.) combined their efforts with the Toronto Division 98 and built a fully serviced cottage. It was a project by the Deaf, for the Deaf. The N.F.S.D. built the “FRAT Cottage” as their Golden Anniversary project in 1974. It was the third such project by a deaf organization. The Ontario Mission of the Deaf had already built two staff cottages. An Ontario Mission Board Member and Camp Director was also the President of Toronto Division 98 N.F.S.D. John Potts served the N.F.S.D., the Ontario Mission of the Deaf, and the camp during the time of the 23 rd Quadrennial Convention. Direction from John Potts, Doris MacKillop who went on to be the first woman chair of a National Convention for the N.F.S.D. and the late Roger McAuley lead the N.F.S.D. to the decision to make such a major contribution to the camp.

On to 1980s and 1990s

 
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