With Thanksgiving weekend just around the corner, it’s important to sit back and focus on the positive. If you’re reading this, chances are you have a computer or a tablet, or at least have access to one. If you have a place to call home, you’re pretty lucky too, be it a physical structure or a sense of home discovered in a loved one. Home can be found in so many aspects: a smell or a memory, and for one hundred years (yes, you read that right) the Alexandra Neighbourhood House has been that place for many people who didn’t have place of their own to call home.
Camp Alexandra at the Alexandra Neighbourhood House is aptly named after Princess Alexandra, wife of the Prince of Wales, who was a great philanthropist, focusing on causes involving children. Camp Alexandra has dedicated an entire centennial to giving those less fortunate the experiences every child and family deserves to have: fresh air, sunshine, a summer in the sand, and a chance to gain health and strength.
Originally known as the Alexandra Orphanage Camp in 1916, Camp Alexandra would become home to about 80 orphaned children each and every summer. Children who had no home to call their own or parents to look after them would make the journey from Vancouver by train to the Alexandra House, located in Crescent Beach (where it still stands today).
The popularity and importance of Camp Alexandra grew, and in 1918, the camp was not only accommodating 80 orphaned children each summer, it expanded to three buildings and opened it’s doors to 270 mothers and their children in need, who would otherwise have very few chances of experiencing a vacation. In 1934, the name was changed to Alexandra Fresh Air Camp to better reflect the types of experiences those staying at the camp would have, only to be changed at a later date to Camp Alexandra, as it’s known today. By 1960, the camp had served over 45,000 people! As big events like wars and the Great Depression had shifted society, the needs and uses of Camp Alexandra evolved, eventually joining forces with United Way.
Today, Alexandra Neighbourhood House at Camp Alexandra provides social and recreational programs, services, community events and even childcare at its two different sites. The summer camping program has continued uninterrupted at Camp Alexandra since the early 1900’s, giving those a chance to connect and find a sense of ‘home’.
The Alexandra Neighbourhood House is celebrating one hundred years of being a beacon for the community with events all month long! Click here to see the full calendar of celebrations.