Camp Otterdale 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 and in the summers they welcomed a few students and friends to join their children at the cottage. So grew the Camp Otterdale community, which has hosted thousands of children from Ontario, Quebec and well beyond since those humble beginnings.
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 years, theyn 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 “Capt” Brown and his family. Jeff came to Otterdale with an extensive camp experience at Camp Kawabi in Haliburton. He started as 6 year old “ankle biter” joining his older siblings Pam and Ross . He could never get enough of the Kawabi camp life and eventually became the Waterfront Director and key member of the Leadership Team. He taught school for several years and served in the Canadian Navy for 10 years at a Mars Officer and Clearance Diving Officer.
Capt’s vision was to maintain the important traditions established by Caesar, Lefty and Michael and to develop innovative programs and improve the facilities. His leadership and energy are focused on making Otterdale a place where every camper can be themselves, be challenged and enjoy the many activities and camp programs.