Tim Hortons Camp Day important to local owner for supporting youth in Prince Albert

Tim Hortons Photo Camp Whiteshell in southeastern Manitoba is the newest of Tim Hortons’ youth camps.

Tim Hortons Camp Day is returning on Wednesday, July 19 and Prince Albert franchise owner Cheryl Sander said supporting children to attend camps is important to her personally.

Sander who was a teacher in a previous life sees the importance of Camp Day.

“I just love that it can send kids from disadvantaged families to a summer camp,” Sander said. “That’s most important for me.”

In Canada, camp day has allowed more than 300,000 underprivileged youth to attend summer camp. Sander said all of the proceeds from every hot coffee and iced coffee sold at Tim Hortons restaurants across Canada are donated to Tim Hortons Foundation Camps to help underserved youth reach their full potential. Tim Hortons, its restaurant owners and guests collectively raised over $12 million on Camp Day last year and a total of over $236 million has been raised since 1991.

“For me, it’s important that these kids can have an awesome experience during the summer,” Sander said. “We used to drive them there and pick them up from the airports and they were just so shy going in. By the time they leave, they’re just a whole new person, and that’s pretty cool to see.

“For 10 days or sometimes it’s two weeks or even one week, (camp) just changes the lives of these kids, and for me, that’s important.”

Sander said local youth will get to experience camp activities like horseback riding and rafting thanks to Camp Day. She described them as camps on steroids.

“They’re literally phenomenal,” she said.

“I think we know there are a lot of kids in our city that could very much benefit from an experience like this. If we can make a week or two of their summer better, let’s do it.”

Parents have even approached Sander and told her the experience has changed their children’s lives.

“We never know which road they’re headed towards and if sending them to camp for a week or two can change their life, let’s do it,” she added.

The money staying in Prince Albert is also important to Sander.

“Let’s support our youth locally,” she said. “All you have to do is buy a coffee, and if it’s really hot, get an iced coffee, right? It’s July 19 and we do take cash donations and all this. It’s a fun day for everyone.”

Sander added that attending camps also helps to shape youth and make them into productive adults. Sander said she didn’t even think about that aspect until she became an owner.

“Because they know that, when they go home, they have to have these skills to do this independently,” she explained. “We do know that a lot of kids are kind of raising themselves sometimes.

Giving them these skills is an amazing aspect for Sander.

“I just get so emotional and all into it. I just think it’s not just a fundraiser it’s (being) here for the youth. Our youth need our support,” she said.

Since 1974, Tim Hortons Foundation Camps has supported youth through its multi-year development programs at its seven Tims Camps – at no cost to the youth or their families – along with providing school-based and community-based programming.