Campfire Circle (formerly Camp Ooch & Camp Trillium) have served children and families affected by childhood cancer since 1983. Since 2002, the Wise Family Foundation has generously contributed $1.5M to this special cause delivering camp inspired fun and friendship in communities, in hospitals, and at overnight camp all across Ontario.
The Foundation’s leadership and investments during the last two decades have been instrumental in helping Campfire Circle become a leading paediatric oncology charity in Canada. Its contributions range from capital and program contributions to event support, the provision of Camper welcome backpacks, leadership volunteerism and so much more.
The Wise Family Foundation has focused its support at Campfire Circle in the following ways:
Virtual Summer Camp and Camp-in-a-Box Kits
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Wise Family Foundation provided critical funding to help Campfire Circle quickly pivot in 2020 to summer virtual camp, and provide 600 Camp-in-a-Box kits to families all across Ontario.
These kits put the magic and fun of camp in the hands of Campers isolated at home or in-hospitals, keeping children occupied and interacting with peers during the summer break, and giving parents respite. Each kit offered hours of fun crafts, art supplies, creative projects for indoors and out, a songbook, camp mementos like a hat, water bottle and special pin to put on their braid and more—everything our Campers needed for summertime camp magic.
Camp activities were offered all summer long, and Campers, ages 6-18, including bereaved siblings and leaders-in-training, were given the opportunity to participate in cabin chats, connect with peers, build friendships, learn new skills, build confidence and have fun.
Teomul is a program offered specifically for children who have had a sibling die from cancer, connecting them with others who share similar experiences. Bereaved siblings and family members can participate in year-round programming across the province, including overnight camp at Campfire Circle Muskoka. From 2017-2019, the Wise Family Foundation supported and helped grow the Teomul program, giving more bereaved siblings the transformational gift of camp. In the three years that the Foundation supported this program, 263 campers participated in our Teomul summer overnight camp. The Foundation’s compassionate support of this program meant that bereaved siblings and their families could share their grief and heal with others who understood their journey.
Susan Zikman Wise, a dedicated volunteer, also served as a volunteer camp counsellor in that program.
Jump for Ooch
Between 2006 and 2016, Susan Zikman Wise and Steven Wise organized and lead the annual Jump for Campfire Circle event raising over $300,000 to send Campers to overnight camp at Campfire Circle Muskoka. This important community event showcased waterskiing and fun activities for families in the Muskoka area, while also helping build awareness in the local community about Campfire Circle.
Over the years, the Foundation has helped to make challenge and adventure possible at overnight camp with their investments in a stateof- the-art high ropes course and a giant swing at Campfire Circle Muskoka—a highlight of Campers’ outdoors experiences while at camp.
The Foundation also funded indoor climbing and bouldering walls at Campfire Circle Downtown, an urban recreation centre in the heart of Toronto, and the first space of its kind in North America. These special features are fully accessible to Campers using mobility devices, and are hugely popular during the many March break, PD or many special family occasions hosted in this space.
These generous capital investments continue to provide Campers with challenging experiences that require them to work as a team—building trust, leadership skills, and confidence in themselves and one another!