THCF Business Partner Appreciation Day 2014
Tim Horton Children’s Foundation
On April 15, Bcreative attended the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation (THCF) Business Partner Appreciation Day for the fifth year in a row. The event was held at the beautiful Onondaga Farm in St. George, Ontario.
The THCF is a non-profit, charitable organization that is dedicated to bring out the best in each child that attends their camps. They are committed to bring a positive camp experience to children and youth living in economically disadvantaged homes through daily activities to help them become more responsible, caring and motivated. The foundation this year alone will host more than 17,000 children at their five camps across Canada (two in Ontario, one in Quebec, one in Nova Scotia and one in Alberta) and one in the United States (Kentucky).
Despite the surprising snow that was falling and the low temperatures in the morning, we decided to stick to the plan and make the trip out to St. George. Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by the THCF staff and guided into the Main Lodge where the registration and a continental breakfast was served. After everyone was settled in, some of the THCF staff made welcoming remarks along with an update on the status of the foundation and their future plans. Four students from a Hamilton elementary school bravely stood up in front of the audience and explained to everyone what the camp program had done for them and how their lives had been positively influenced. After the speeches, the Business Partners were split into three groups for breakout activities across the farm.
First our group made the tractor ride up to The Barn where we saw various farm animals including cows (one weighing close to 2,300 pounds!), horses, goats, rabbits and even a few cats. They gave us the opportunity to pet the animals and even hold the rabbits including a baby that was only around a month old. Information and diagrams were posted in the first room of the barn to give an educational background of the animals. There were posters which taught children the different names for male/female animals, a puzzle of a cow with labels for the different cuts of meat and even a molding of a cows 4 stomach’s. The staff said they place an emphasis on proper treatment and respect towards all of the animals.
The second location was the impressive Eco-Centre. This building included a Creative Arts Studio, Computer Lab, Living Lab and the Ronald V. Joyce Observatory. We walked up the stairs to see the Observatory and the 16″ aperture lens telescope was an impressive sight. Unfortunately it was around noon when we were at the event so we didn’t get the chance to use the telescope, but it would be a beautiful sight on a clear night. Next up we decided to make some crafts to take home which consisted of decorating plastic cups that were cut in half then placed into a toaster for a short period of time to create a flat colourful disk with our designs. Finally we made our way to the Living Lab which was a large room that included many different reptiles, insects and water animals such as fish, turtles and snakes. One of the walls in the room was dedicated to framed insects like spiders, beetles and butterflies. The staff member in the room even gave us the chance to hold one of snakes!
The Bunkhouse and Greenhouse
The third and final stop was the bunkhouse and greenhouse. As we walked into the bunkhouse entrance there was a common room with some couches, chairs and a fireplace for campers to relax. The staff said we could walk around the bunkhouse and check out the rooms which had log bunk beds that matched the same style as the interior. After the tour of the bunkhouse we made our way over to the greenhouse which was a nice break from the cold temperatures outside. The staff said most of the plants would be moved outside for the warm summer months, but the tropical plants would remain in the greenhouse for obvious reasons. The greenhouse was constructed to adjust to climate in order to remain at a set temperature for the plants to survive. When the temperature was too warm the windows on the roof would open or the shading system would move into place to cool the interior back to the desired temperature. The staff also mentioned the children would help out with watering, planting and moving the plants outside when the time was right. There were various plants that were grown to be used in meals including tomatoes and raspberries, but one that stood out was a chocolate mint plant that you could scratch and sniff!
After all three groups had been to each location we met back at the main lodge for lunch and closing remarks. The food they served was excellent and one child at each table took care of bringing food to the table and tidying the table at the end of the meal. The entire team of THCF staff was very welcoming and thankful throughout the entire day and said to come back any time for a visit, but preferably on a warmer day!
The day was a great experience for all of us and really opened our eyes as to what our donations go towards. Every donation makes a difference no matter what the amount is, make sure on June 4th, 2014 you make a trip to your local Tim Hortons and buy a coffee for Camp Day. On this day the restaurant owners donate 100 percent of the proceeds from coffee sales to make it the largest fundraiser event for the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation (in 2013 Camp Day raised an incredible $11.8 million for the foundation) and a great way for you to directly impact the lives of many economically disadvantaged children.