By Robert Mackenzie
Published July 18 2017
After hosting generations of Girl Guides for more than 50 years Haliburton’s Camp Adelaide may be closed and put up for sale in the coming months.
This June the Ontario Girl Guides announced their plans to sell off the 17 camps they own across the province including Camp Adelaide within the next three years.
Only one camp – Pipers Hill in Tottenham – has closed thus far.
In a letter announcing the decision to sell the camps Girl Guides of Canada’s Ontario provincial commissioner Susan Birnie said the guides can’t afford to keep the camps open any longer because of the financial cost of operating and maintaining them.
Their plan for the future includes using the proceeds of the camp sales towards new outdoor experiences and partnering with third-party facilities for future camping adventures.
Camp Adelaide was originally bought by the Girl Guides in 1959 thanks to a $3200 donation by Adelaide McLaughlin – the camp’s namesake – and her family. The camp which sits on 500 acres off of Highway 118 just before Kennaway Road has four building sites and a number of other campsites available to rent.
The fate of Adelaide will remain unknown until October when the Ontario Guides will announce when they plan to sell each property over the next three years. In an email to the Echo Birnie said that she can’t predict what the future holds for Adelaide specifically but the Guides would “only keep a camp open if there was a long-term plan for sustainability.”
Nancy Stinson who has been a part of the Guides for 37 years and did maintenance work on Camp Adelaide for 10 years doesn’t foresee any situation in which the Guides keep the camp.
“The people [in charge] now are not interested in saving the camp” Stinson said. “If they wanted to save it they would have.”
Stinson did maintenance work at Adelaide until 2007 when the organization underwent a transformation that among other changes saw the provincial Girl Guides take control of properties and their maintenance and operations which had previously been handled by local districts and divisions of Guides within the province.
Cathy Boake a former primary school teacher in Haliburton who has been involved with the Haliburton Girl Guides since 1976 believes that since that transformation the upkeep of Adelaide has gone south.
“Unfortunately since [the transformation] happened the camp has really been kind of let go” Boake said. “You could just see each time you went that things hadn’t really been cared for well and there didn’t seem the care put into it that there was at one time.”
Boake remembers spending 10 years of summer camp at Adelaide along with countless other weekend getaways. She says that the camp was a place where she and the other guides learned a lot of life skills and was booked all year round as a result.
Boake believes now the camp doesn’t have as many visitors throughout the year as it used to. “Guiding never was for everybody” Boake said. “I think that some of the changes [the Ontario Girl Guides] made were good but it seemed that a lot of people got out of guiding because there just seemed to be a lot more paperwork mind you that’s the same with everything now.”
As of now Camp Adelaide’s website shows various bookings from Aug. 6 through Aug. 30 . According to the Ontario Girl Guides all outdoor experiences currently planned for 2017 will continue to run at the locations they’re planned for except for Pipers Hill.
For those who spent so much of their lives at Adelaide like Stinson and Boake seeing the camp get sold would be a tough pill to swallow. “It’s a real shame” Stinson said. “Every time we went it was a memory.”