The Agur Lake Camp Society held its annual general meeting at the IOOF Hall on April 16. Supporters came out to hear reports, testimonials and to elect a new board of directors.
The new directors met following the AGM to elect the Board’s new officers from among their numbers. Those decisions have not yet been made.
Two guest speakers opened the evening’s proceedings.
Mirjana Komljenovic, the ALCS office manager in the society’s Summerland office described her experience of being born blind, but of regaining some use of her eyes through medicine and technology.
The most important experience, she said, was to get beyond the feeling of being different through meeting others at a camp who had disabilities similar to her own.
As a result she jumped at the opportunity to be involved with Agur Lake Camp.
Bonnar Dowler, founder of Agur Lake Camp, spoke with considerable emotion of the experiences in his life that led him to set in motion the creation of a wilderness camp for families with members who have special needs.
He described the anxiety and desolation he felt when his son was born with a deformed heart and was flown to Vancouver for surgery.
The doctors did their best to save the infant, but failed.
Dowler felt caught in a medical system that looked after patients well, but left parents feeling lost and unsupported.
He vowed to create a wilderness camp where a family in those circumstances could find a place to rest and be revitalized. It was many years before he set about making the dream real. When he did he was amazed at the support from individuals, organizations and governments that appeared when it was needed.
Retiring president Carla Ohmenzetter reviewed the progress the camp has made in the last year. The first campers used the cabins last summer, and she said even more are registered for this summer.
She said she was surprised to discover that there are more applications from groups who work with people with disabilities than from families.
The third cabin, which is still unfinished, will be needed very soon to deal with the demand. She explained the sponsorship program which will help families with financial restraints get to camp. Sponsors in the community provide funds for this purpose.
The president acknowledged the many partnerships with community groups or businesses which have raised funds to complete and maintain the camp. She also recognized the enormous amount of skill and time donated by volunteers, committee members and directors.
Four new directors were received on the board by acclamation. They were Ken Carlson, Gordon Hayman, Carol Blackmore and Karen Matheson.
Six directors were reinstated by acclamation. They were Beth Bonton, Jim Hewitt, David Mallory, Elizabeth Marion, Barbara Robson and Carla Ohmnezetter, past president.
Milton Orris and Keith Dixon have retired from the Board.
Dixon, retiring director, was presented with flowers and a gift certificate in recognition for his years of service on the board. Ohmenzetter asked him to speak about his experience with ALCS. He said when he first joined ALCS his skills with a camera, managing websites and writing made him a natural for developing an ALCS website.
He said the website, agurlakecamp.ca/, besides being an inter-face between ALCS and the public, now has a secure site where the officers and committee members can share agendas, reports and minutes.
In addition an ALCS Facebook page keeps the public aware of things happening at camp.