The legacy of Camp Otterdale continues with a grateful nod to its past and with enthusiasm to its present-day activities. It was founded in 1955 by Carman and Madeleine Harrison (Caesar and Lefty) at their family cottage on Otter Lake. The combination of the beautiful eastern shoreline and woodlands made an ideal setting for a children’s camp. Carmen taught school in Stoney Creek, Ontario. In the summers they welcomed a few students and friends to join their children at the cottage. From those humble beginnings, the Camp Otterdale community grew to host thousands of children from Ontario, and Quebec.
The cottage facilities needed to keep pace with the growing camper population each summer. Caesar and Lefty were able to acquire adjoining property and to expand the facilities and programs to host 150 campers and their counsellors. After 25 successful years, they passed the torch to Michael Southam in 1980.
Michael had a long camping history in Ontario and brought his energy and ideas to Otterdale. Over the next 15 years, Michael upgraded and modernized the camp facilities. He fine-tuned the camp programs and added additional programming such as a repelling (now the climbing wall). Mike’s signature project was the beautiful stone Lodge and kitchen facility.
In 1996 the camp transitioned to Jeff “Captain” Brown and his family. From the beginning, Captain’s vision has been to maintain the important traditions established by Caesar, Lefty and Michael, as well as to develop innovative programs and activities, to encourage staff training, and to improve the facilities.