top of page

Keeping the Fun in Fundraising (during a pandemic)!

October 2020 – by Susy Picco

This month would have been PICCO’s 3rd Annual Volley for Camp Ooch—an open volleyball tournament for staff, clients, friends and family, but COVID-19 had other plans! If you live in Ontario, most of you will be familiar with Camp Oochigeas, affectionately known as “Camp Ooch”—a camp for kids affected by childhood cancer. The camp is privately-funded and has been offering these camps at no cost whatsoever to the families for over 35 years. Our goal for 2020 is to help send three kids to camp for a week, when summer camp hopefully re-opens next summer.

Camp Ooch, like many other physical camps, were forced to close this summer due to coronavirus. Above, kids from past years, shown canoeing in the Muskoka Lakes region.

The Power of Camp Camp Ooch—now known as Camp Ooch & Camp Trillium (merged together in January 2020), is a privately funded, non-profit camp for kids affected by childhood cancer. They hold overnight camp at their Muskoka location, day camps at their Toronto location—and even offer in-hospital camps for those kids who are too sick and/or unable to leave. Camp Ooch & Camp Trillium is often referred to as the social cure for cancer—celebrating kids for who they are—not what they have.

Our Drive to Make a Difference About 15 years ago, my husband and I got involved in an annual fundraiser called “Corvettes for Kids”. It was a day’s long car rally in which we raised money to send kids to camp. In 2017, PICCO celebrated its 25th year in business, so Mike and I wanted to make a donation to a charity to commemorate the milestone. We chose Camp Ooch because we were familiar with it through Corvettes for Kids.

A cabin up at Ooch Muskoka now bears PICCO’s name on it—an achievement we are very proud of!

In 2018, I started volunteering at Ooch’s downtown Toronto office twice a month. I did anything from folding and taking inventory of their t-shirts and hoodies, to making thank you phone calls to their donors, to making “bling” for their famous braids. The people at Ooch are amazing and so friendly; I was disappointed my volunteer activities were put on hold when COVID came into the picture...right now, I am missing it a lot!

Here is Susy Picco with fellow Camp Ooch staff and volunteers.

For the time being, I still wanted to find a way to give back during lockdown. Earlier this Spring, I hand-painted watercolour greeting cards and sold them on my Instagram account @stylingthenest. We raised over $1,000—enough to send one child to virtual camp! This initiative was so successful, I plan to do another “Cards for Camp Ooch” campaign for the upcoming holiday season.

Original watercolour cards, blank inside. Packaged in a bundle of 5 assorted cards, each card comes with an envelope.