Brigadoon Village has been in operation since 2011, however, the making of Brigadoon Village dates way back to 2001. To understand the long journey in which an ambitious idea evolved to an incredible reality, the progression of Brigadoon Children`s Camp Society will be categorized through three timelines.
The Lightbulb Moment
Brigadoon Village: Maintaining & Evolving
The Lightbulb Moment:
Founding Director, Dave McKeage was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11, which resulted in his summer being spent in the hospital undergoing a series of operations and chemotherapy. This experience led him to pursue a volunteer opportunity at The Canadian Cancer Society at the age of 15. This is when Dave had his `lightbulb moment,' in which he came to the realization that Brigadoon Village was needed.
Several years later, while working at Canadian Cancer Society's Camp Goodtime as Summer Director, McKeage had an epiphany. He explains, `I wanted to build a camp for people living with chronic illness and I knew it could be done`. Since then, his drive only grew stronger and McKeage set out to turn his large and complex dream of creating a camp that allows children leading extraordinary lives, to feel ordinary, a reality.
`I remember our first camper and how incredibly exciting it was to see them arriving at Brigadoon Village. I`ll never forget our inaugural week when we hosted Canada`s very first program for IBD called `Camp Guts and Glory."
One of the campers asked a counsellor if Crohn`s disease was genetic. He thought if it was, then his kids could go to Brigadoon and that would be okay by him. I couldn`t have asked for better validation. It`s all I had hoped for and more`.
- Dave McKeage
A few crucial steps had to be completed before breaking ground at Brigadoon Village was plausible. The process began by creating a founding board, feasibility studies, building plans and identifying the land, building awareness in the community, developing a brand and identifying seed money. The following timeline portrays the series of events in which Brigadoon Village was built.
· Research, investigation, and interviews get underway, as input for a formal business plan.
· The Founding Board is established, as well as Brigadoon Children`s Camp Society.
· The Founding Board Reaches a unanimous decision that Brigadoon is feasible and sustainable, and the decision to build Brigadoon is made.
· Building Brigadoon Village ensues.
· The first fundraising event for Brigadoon Village, Just Cause, is organized by Gillian Nycum and held on June 6th.
· The Canadian Cancer Society – Nova Scotia Division and the Canadian Diabetes Association – Atlantic Region, endorse Brigadoon.
· The IWK Health Centre features the Brigadoon project in their Annual Report.
· An eight person Board of Directors is established.
Founding Board Members
`From the beginning, we were determined to do something sustainable`. Todd Bethune, second member of the Founding Board.
· Investigating programming and facility design begins.
· Brigadoon signs partnership agreements with the following organizations:
- IWK Health Centre
- The Trail Shop
- NSCAD – Faculty of Design
- Dalhousie – Faculty of Management
· Great West Life and Sinclair Billar + Weld become Brigadoon`s first corporate donors.
· The first Capital Campaign development dinner is held and first major gifts are identified for the Capital Campaign
· The location of the future Brigadoon Village is announced.
· Brigadoon Village reveals its logo to the public.
· Brigadoon`s first staff member, Dayle McNabb, was hired as Project Coordinator.
· Third-party fundraising events continue.
2008 & 2009
· The Capital Campaign is actively underway.
Capital Campaign Cabinet:
- Roger Sinclair (CHAIR)
- Ruby Blois (VICE-CHAIR)
- Joanne Hames (MEMBER)
- Wally Jarvis (MEMBER)
· Brigadoon`s first commercial airs on CTV, attributing to Brigadoon`s growing awareness and donations.
· The Capital Campaign concludes, after raising $7.5 million in less than 32 months!
The Capital Campaign Cabinet attribute their success to 7 key factors:
Teamwork, passion, patience, Credibility, Clarity, Momentum, and Determination
· Construction of Brigadoon Village is ongoing. The first cabin starts to take shape!
· Mark Campbell ran the Cabot Trail Relay Race, solo – running a total of 267 kilometers to raise funds for Brigadoon Village. He was successful in doing so, collecting $43,000 for Brigadoon in addition to earning widespread media coverage.
· The first campers arrive at Brigadoon Village on August 27th for Camp Guts and Glory, Canada`s first camp program for children and youth living with inflammatory bowel disease.
· The Brigadoon Village open house was held on October 1st, in which 700 individuals attended (despite torrential rain!).
Brigadoon Village: Maintaining & Evolving
Today, Brigadoon Village offers twelve camps, each of which are designed to accommodate a specific chronic illness, condition, or special need. Our latest camp program is Camp BELIEVE, which is catered to children who have a parent(s) that live with a mental illness. Although Brigadoon has a long history comprised of growth and change, each new initiative taken on by Brigadoon is guided by the values and objectives that were established on day one. Through core values of sustainability, compassion, partnerships, empowerment, accountability, and innovation, Brigadoon continues to provide extraordinary kids with an amazing camp experience – one that all children should have a right to enjoy.