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Tim Horton Children’s Foundation (the Foundation) was established in 1974 in memory of the great hockey player and company founder Tim Horton. Created as a way to honour Tim’s memory and to keep alive his love for helping those less fortunate, the Foundation provides an enriching and memorable camp experience for children and youth living in economically disadvantaged homes. The first camp was opened in 1975 in Parry Sound, Ontario, and hosted 200 campers in its first summer. Since then, we have grown to five camps in Canada and one in the United States, hosting over 17,000 children and youth in 2014. For further information on the Foundation visit www.thcf.com.
The Foundation camp programs are designed to change the way young people from economically disadvantaged homes think about themselves and the opportunities that exist for them. When they return home from camp, they bring with them a more positive attitude about their future and confidence to achieve the goals they learned to set for themselves at camp. When asked by the Foundation if their child talks more positively about the future after returning from camp, one parent responded: “I am grateful that my son had this life changing experience. The belief in himself and his confidence to step outside the box and try new things is huge!”
To hear more success stories from the Foundation campers themselves, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
The Foundation operates year-round, and has three program formats serving children and youth.
Tim Hortons Restaurant Owners work closely with community organizations and schools to select economically disadvantaged children between the ages of nine and 12 for a once-in-a-lifetime camp experience. These campers attend either a seven-day March Break camp session or a 10-day summer camp session. To learn about the Summer Camp Program, watch the five-part “Small Change for Big Change” series produced by CityTV at the Tim Horton Memorial Camp in Parry Sound. For more information on our Summer Camp Program, please click here.
Throughout the fall, winter and spring, the Foundation invites schools and youth organizations serving children and youth from economically disadvantaged families to attend camp. These groups attend a three-day to seven-day residential camping adventure and take part in all aspects of the Foundation camp activities. Watch the video to see how just 50 hours at camp helps children discover their true potential. “50 Hours to Discover: Devrell’s personal story”. For more information on the Foundation serving community groups, click here.
The Youth Leadership Program is a successive program that takes place over five summers for former summer campers, ages 13 to 17, who have an interest in developing lifelong leadership skills. Participants attend a 10 or 12-day session each summer, and once they complete their fifth year in the program, participants are eligible for our Carolee House Youth Leadership Program Bursary for their post-secondary education. Watch the video to hear our Youth Leadership Program graduates describe their journey through this program. Youth Leadership Program video: "I'm the person that I wanted to be."
For more information on our Youth Leadership Program, please click here.
The year 2015 marks an exciting time for the Foundation as we will be opening the seventh camp. Located on the shores of Sylvia Lake within the Whiteshell Provincial Park, Tim Horton Camp Whiteshell has been designed specifically for the Youth Leadership Program.
Youth Leadership Program participants will enjoy an off-site backcountry trip during each level of the Youth Leadership Program. These trips are a unique way for the Foundation to teach the core values of teamwork and leadership. These camping trips provide the opportunity for an intimate, remote, and nature-based experience. Participants gain confidence in themselves and their team as they negotiate and navigate through challenging personal and group experiences. They also gain confidence in their abilities as they look to future challenges and build awareness of the sensitivity and delicate balance of the natural environment.
Funding for the Foundation comes primarily from donations from our Restaurant Owners, suppliers and the public through our counter coin boxes located year-round at our restaurants. Throughout the year, a number of fundraising events are also held such as annual golf tournaments and banquet dinners.
The largest single fundraising event is our Camp Day, held annually on the first Wednesday in June. On Camp Day, our Restaurant Owners donate 100% of their coffee proceeds, plus other funds raised throughout the 24-hour period, to the Foundation. In 2014, Camp Day raised an incredible $11.8 million. This is an increase over 2013, when we raised a total of $11.5 million.
More financial information on the Foundation can be found here.
Environmental programming is a key part of a camper’s experience with the Foundation. Each camp infuses the environment into their programs in their own way, by exploring and discovering the unique natural regions which surround each camp. Below are details of some of the environmental programming found at the Foundation camps.
Tim Horton Children’s Camp Adventure Trail
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia
The goal of the Adventure Trail is for campers to get in touch with the wildlife and ecosystems in Nova Scotia. Through interpretive signage the campers can learn about the animals they may meet while at camp including frogs, beaver and deer. The trail system explores some of the 245 acres and has been developed to include hiking, biking and snow shoeing opportunities for campers. A geocache trail allows the campers to explore and learn more about the trees and plants that they see in Tata Pines. Campers leave the Adventure Trail with a new understanding of how many living things can be found in the forest and the role that they play in protecting their environment.
Camp des Voyageurs Tim Horton’s Nature Classroom
The Nature Classroom is designed to inspire children to discover the natural environment that surrounds them at Camp des Voyageurs Tim Horton. Campers have the opportunity to care for live animals that live in the surrounding environment, such as fish and turtles. Campers also learn basic principles of environmental sustainability by participating in a craft that they create out of recycled and natural materials. The Nature Classroom leaves campers with a greater appreciation of the natural environment that surrounds them as well as the role they play in it. In addition, campers volunteer their time at camp and in the local community to maintain a variety of green spaces, including gardens and parks.
Tim Horton Children’s Ranch Environmental Discovery Centre and Responsible Energy Use Plan
At the Environmental Discovery Centre, campers learn more about the environment and discover how they can make their world a better place to live. Campers learn about environmental awareness and responsibility, community contribution (at camp and at home), discover local history, culture, and geography and develop an understanding of global environmental issues, while learning about alternative energy possibilities.
At the Ranch, campers learn about ways to lessen their impact on the environment and are encouraged to reduce their energy use. Water is conserved, lights and electronics are turned off when not in use, recycling is encouraged and water bottles are reused. Campers do their part and work together at being responsible for the environment.
Tim Horton Memorial Camp Hiking and Overnight Program
Parry Sound, Ontario
Within the Environmental Hiking Program, campers learn about the different types of plant and animal life that surround the camp. The solar system, stars and constellations are also discussed during the evening portion of the hike, to increase campers’ understanding of the wonders and opportunities that surround them.
Recently this program has been enhanced to include geocaching. Within the geocaching program, campers learn about species, plants or things of environmental interest in their immediate area. This program also encourages them to step outside their comfort zone and experience something new. During the summer months, campers participate in overnight trips where they use and learn about composting toilets, the principles of Leave No Trace® camping, and also explore the local flora and fauna.
Campers also learn about ways to be aware of and lessen their impact on the environment and are encouraged to reduce their energy use while at camp as well as at home.
Tim Horton Camp Kentahten’s “Think Green” Program
In Camp Kentahten’s Nature Centre the focus is on allowing campers to experience nature in a fun and educational way. Campers participate in a variety of activities that focus on animal adaptation, behaviour, conservation, and education on Leave No Trace® principles. The goal of the program is to help campers develop an understanding of the balance in nature and increase their appreciation of the beauty and adventure that can be found in their backyard and neighborhoods through fun and educational interactions with the outdoors. Campers enjoy learning about the flora and fauna native to Kentucky, and to the Camp’s own Green River Lake.
Tim Horton Onondaga Farms Environmental Programming
St. George, Ontario
Campers at the Farm participate in a wide variety of environmental programming focused around agriculture, sustainability and conservation. Campers have the opportunity to explore the “Living Lab” with a large variety of animal and plant life, and take part in a pond study on one of the many wetlands that share the camp property. Campers also spend time in the Barn interacting with the variety of farm animals or help to grow fruits and vegetables in the greenhouse and organic garden. All departments at the Farm are committed to responsible energy use. This is a part of everyday life at the camp so participating youth can set environmental goals for themselves and take back ideas to implement at home.
In 2014, during each session of summer camp, campers planted trees. In total over 500 trees were planted on the property to help offset the carbon footprint from the Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary Convention.