Giving back to the next generation of environmentalists has been a labour of love for Carol and Ralph Ingleton. Amongst other philanthropic endeavours, it is what prompted them to establish the Camp Kawartha Kids Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation.

Camp Kawartha is an award winning, not-for profit charitable organization dedicated to fostering environmental stewardship. The Camp operates as a year-round camp, and environmental and outdoor learning centre for children of all ages.

For Ralph, growing up on a farm near Toronto in the 1940s meant life was about family and community. “I never thought that anything belonged to me except if I earned it outside the farm enterprise,” writes Ralph in his published memoirs The Memory Book. “When I worked for someone else and got paid, I was expected to share most of it… when farm families shared harvest time work, no money was exchanged.”

When it came to Camp Kawartha and kids, Ralph said, “Camp allows for direct learning in nature that engages kids with their peers. It’s learning through direct experience that fosters caring about our natural world and leads to activities that demonstrate this value. Recent youth action on climate change is a good example of this.”

“At Camp Kawartha, we believe we have an important role to play in providing children from financially challenged families an opportunity to experience the joy of a camp experience,” says executive director Jacob Rodenburg. “Each year, close to five percent of our 1,000 campers, and more than 300 students receive assistance.  We teach children to care for each other and the Earth we all share.”

For most of his career, Ralph was an outdoor educator with a deep knowledge and love of nature.  He taught literally thousands of children from all grades.  What made Ralph a special teacher was his ability to combine art with science and other subjects to make the outdoors come to life for students.  Ralph was a gifted artist, who had an eye for the flowing and organic natural forms around him; teaching children to see and appreciate nature in new ways.  He will be missed by many.

Please consider remembering Ralph by contributing to the Camp Kawartha Kids Endowment Fund.