TORONTO — Camp culture has always been a big part of Josh Howard’s life.
His family owns Camp Tamarack in Muskoka, Ont., as well as the Zodiac summer day camp and swim school in Toronto.
Since Howard, 24, graduated from university in 2010, he’s assumed a role in the family business as Tamarack’s business development director throughout the year, and he returns to the camp each summer as its program director.
Three years ago, when Howard reflected on the positive influence camp life has had on him, he decided he wanted to give back.
“At camp you develop valuable social and physical skills, you build on things like self-esteem and confidence,” Howard said.
“I think giving back to the community is important. I think every kid should have the experience.”
On May 6, the third annual Intercamp Classic, held at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ont., will host more than 1,200 people who also believe in the benefits of going to camp.
The Intercamp Classic is a fundraising initiative organized by Howard, his sister Jennie Howard, Camp Walden alumnus Noah Sliwin, and Camp Manitou alumnus Spencer Hoffman.
The goal of the day-long sports tournament, including 68 teams and more than 700 players, is to raise money for Kids In Camp, a charitable organization established to financially assist families to send their kids to camp.
Howard said last year, the Intercamp Classic raised $90,000. This year, the goal is $100,000.
Howard added that they chose Kids In Camp – a charity founded by the late Ted Cole and his wife Elaine, former camp directors of Camp Walden – because it was personal to them.
“I’ve known Elaine for years. Ted and Elaine were friends with my parents for years and being a camp person myself, I think every kid should have the experience,” he said.
“I think a lot of people who entered the tournament feel the same way, which is why they’re participating and raising money for a great cause.”
Campers, staff and alumni from camps including Tamarack, Manitou, Timberlane, White Pine, Wahanowin, Walden, Ramah and Northland can decide whether they want to compete in men’s softball, men’s flag football or women’s handball. Other participating camps include New Moon, Winnebagoe, Glen Bernard, URJ George and Young Judaea camps, Solelim, Biluim, and Kadimah.
In addition to the tournaments, the event will also include food, music, inflatables and a silent auction.
“The minimum amount we ask for each team to raise is $1,200, so if you have 10 players on your team, it ends up being about $120 per player, but many teams go above and beyond and raise thousands,” he said.
To contact the organizing team, e-mail [email protected], or call 416-782-0736.