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Bryerswood gets Save On Energy grant, taking advantage of other funding

Bryerswood Building

The Bryerswood Youth Camp Optimist Club is staying busy with upgrades and are planning more to come.

The club is upgrading the camp and the buildings that sit on it with one of the grants received being under the Save On Energy Small Business Program. The program covers lighting retrofits and replacements up to a $3,000 value.

Cathy Robertson, vice president of the Bryerswood Youth Camp Optimist Club (BYCOC), said the timing of their interest of the program pre-dated the club taking ownership of the grounds and re-opening the camp in 2021. Robertson said they re-established contact with the organization and received funding, with plans underway to finalize when the work can be completed.

“The Save on Energy program grant can’t do the entire lodge,” she said, “but it can do the majority of it.”

Lighting in the main building at the camp will be replaced and upgraded with new fixtures and bulbs. Work will be done in the activity room, dining room, kitchen and a main bathroom lighting. Other work that currently can’t be funded include upgrades to vanity lights in the bathrooms, the office and laundry room.

By switching to LED bulbs and fixtures, Robertson said it will not only be cheaper to operate the camp in the long run but aligns with the BYCOC’s mission of environmental sustainability.

The BYCOC is also working with $150,000 from an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grant to upgrade the activity building next to the main lodge. New windows and doors as well as a new waterline were put in, the latter with the aid of Extreme Drilling.

A second phase of the project will be to upgrade washrooms to make them not only accessible but also to be able to get into them from the interior of the building. The entrances are currently from the outside of the building. Upgrading a kitchen and workshop areas are also planned.

A third phase, which is not yet funded, would involve insulation, a heating source, and both exterior and interior finishes.

Robertson said they still have to pay off their mortgage as well as their municipal tax bill. They hope to add 39 new members to the “Founder’s Club” this year and that sees donors of $5,000 receive a square of the campground dedicated to them.

Bryerswood Youth Camp hosts PA Day camps, an upcoming March Break camp with another summer camp planned.

“The kids are coming. That’s the nice thing,” said Robertson.

For more information about the BYCOC, visit or call 519-726-6266.

By Ron Giofu

Bryerswood gets grant

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