Camp Misquah having the campaign of a lifetime

Located just outside of Gracefield, Quebec, Camp Misquah is an annual summer haven for kids and adults with special needs. It’s a wonderful place for counsellors and campers alike. As a small organization with no paid fundraising staff and a minimal operating budget, the camp is getting a much-needed boost from the Scotiabank Charity Challenge for this year’s Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

In fact, board member and marathon pace bunny Mark Wigmore says it’s the largest fundraising event in the camp’s history. They set an ambitious goal of $15,000 and, with a month to go, are already at $15,000. With 18 runners including six pace bunnies, the Charity Challenge has really taken off, and they are moving the target up to $20,000.

Much of this success can be credited to Robert Jarecsni, a 24 year old man with autism and long-time camper who’s training for the 5km with his younger cousin Ross. Together, they are leading the fundraising charge with their campaign, Robert and Ross Run 4 Misquah.

Though this is their first-ever fundraising initiative, they are clearly nailing it: Race Weekend is still weeks away, and they have received support from more than 100 sponsors, totaling nearly $10,000. Robert and Ross initially set a goal of $6,600, then bumped it up to $9,000 (Robert’s favourite number) when they realized the momentum they’d created. Even more impressive, the duo currently leads all Scotiabank Charity Challenge fundraising teams by a long shot.

Indeed, everyone participating in the Challenge would be smart to take note of their creative tactics. With help from the folks at WindPath Media, Robert and Ross created amazing videos to promote their cause, and actively share updates and thank yous with their supporters through Facebook. Robert encouraged giving by promising to bake cookies for the 100th donor, and for anyone who donates $100 or more he sings a personalized version of “Down by the Bay” while playing the guitar (a skill he learned at Camp Misquah).

Susan Torrie, Robert’s mother, says it’s been a bonding experience for the guys and a chance for Robert to shine. His mission is to make sure Camp Misquah stays affordable for anyone who wants to attend – his way of giving back to a place that been an important part of his life for 15 years and counting.

You can help Robert and Ross by donating to their personal fundraising page, set up through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Remember, there is still time to choose a charity like Camp Misquah and make your Ottawa Race Weekend more meaningful.