About 20 children who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend summer camp will now be able to do so.

A total of $5,624.85 was raised for a cause spearheaded by Cochranite Paul Singh. A total of $394.85 was raised from a bottle drive, and there were cash donations of $100 from Bow Ridge Wine and Spirit and $30 from the Sunday Hoops basketball group. Singh made a personal donation of $5,100.

Singh thanks Cochrane area residents for once again donating their bottles to help another worthy local cause.

"I always say, I don't do anything. I just put out the words and people contact us and ask us to pick up their bottles."

"It's really encouraging to see that people are always willing to help and Cochranites are known for their generosity."

The reason for his donation is two-fold.

"It's to honour my mom and the Boys and Girls Club," he says. "The Boys and Girls Club was the first volunteer organization I joined when I first moved here in 2014. It's really near and dear to me."

His mother has recently retired from a 30-year teaching career in India, and he was unable to visit to help celebrate her career.

Singh says many reasons prevent children from attending summer camps. He believes giving them access to the camps will have a positive impact on their mental health and psychological development.

"It's more about the impact it will have on kids' overall development. We are coming through the pandemic, and they need the outdoor space as much as adults need it.

"This community has given me personally a lot. Kids are our future and we need to lay some stepping stones for their future."

He believes it is something that some of these youth will pass forward in the future.

"So we create a cycle for the kids of the future generation."

Maureen Topp, BGC's licensed programs manager, says the donation came unexpectedly.

"It's always really wonderful when we get a surprise donation from community members," she says. "With a contribution like this, we're able to provide summer camps for about 20 children, which is pretty exciting."

BGC of Cochrane and Area is offering eight weeks of camps this summer.

Topp says there's a bit of everything for the children to enjoy.

With access to plenty of open space at their 5th Ave. clubhouse location, they do plenty of sports and games and two field trips a week, including nature hikes, and visits to petting zoos and farms.

"Our camp leaders get silly, they sing songs, and they challenge the kids, so it's really based on play."

She believes the experience they offer is relatively unique.

"It's not your typical toys. We use what's called loose parts and ramshackle materials and we let the children build a lot every single day with recycled materials, like wood, plastic piping, and fabric. It looks a little bit different, but it really engages the kids and their creativity."

For more on BGC summer camps and their other offerings, visit here