On Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015, over 75 friends, dignitaries, donors and implicated construction specialists gathered at the camp site in Frelighsburg to inaugurate the camp’s new administrative complex. This camp has served intellectually disabled and autistic people since the early 1970s. Thanks to a donation of $2.5 million from the Butters Foundation and a $750,000 long-term grant from the Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the new owner of the property, Butters Homes, was able to commission the construction in November of 2014, with a due date in mid-June.
Under sunny skies, late in the summer but still appreciated, visitors witnessed a ribbon-cutting from Me Guy Gilbert, Past President of the camp and Mme Louisette Hébert, representative of Brome-Missisquoi MNA and Minister of Agrculture, Fisheries and Food, Pierre Paradis, as well as speeches from the Presidents of the 3 organizations directly involved. Mme Louise Yelle, President of Butters Homes, thanked all parties that were implicated in the construction and the many donors local, regional and provincial that had made the project possible. Dr. Bill Barakett, President of the Butters Foundation, thanked the members of his campaign committee for their efforts in raising $2.5 million and cautioned that the campaign was not over, since an additional $500,000 is needed to complete the complex by adding a multi-faceted Arts Barn on site. Lastly, Mr. Jacques Yelle, President of Association Garagona, emphasized the economic impact of a rejuvenated and expanded camp that would run throughout the year, providing valuable experiences to disabled campers and much-needed respite to parents.
Led by proud camp staff, participants toured the site while past camp officials marveled at the new facilities. The completion of this project will allow the camp to continue its mandate to serve disabled people with exciting arts-related activities throughout the year, and welcome campers who are experiencing physical frailty or exhibit behavioral issues that would normally exclude them from camp altogether. Alex Elder, a past camp director, stated that the visit brought back many great memories, but that this important upgrade would allow the camp to continue its important work well into the future.