Peering through the forested landscape of Bolton Camp on a summer day, one can usually find local youth working on building and restoration projects. These projects are the efforts of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and local community members to revitalize the once-abandoned campsite.
Bolton Camp is a 294 acre property just outside Bolton, Ontario, which TRCA purchased in 2011. Over the past two summers, TRCA has worked with local Caledon youth to restore the site into a community hub. A snapshot of Bolton Camp’s future may include sit-down cafés, public hiking trails, and community recreation events for all ages. In addition to these community activities, the local youth of Caledon will be engaged by youth-led programming that aims to empower young individuals to become community leaders.
Girls Can Too started as a pilot project for Bolton Camp youth programming during the summer of 2015. The program provides construction and ecology experience that will enable female youth to gain hands-on skills, while learning about environmental sustainability and ecological restoration. This project is spearheaded and delivered by three female university students who grew up in Caledon.
For the summer of 2016, program participants will contribute to the revitalization of Bolton Camp through projects such as restoring a public trail, building a boardwalk, as well as designing and constructing a living fence. In addition, the summer program includes mentorship and training opportunities with females from a variety of professions. Through this part of the program, participants will benefit from practical instruction, positive leadership, skill workshops, and stories of first-hand experiences delivered by professional female mentors.