Every season children and parents from The Salvation Army Bethany Hope Centre have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities in the Ottawa area, whether it’s feeding goats, learning about farm animals, splashing in the lake, riding a little train, exploring nature or playing in a pumpkin patch.
E. Neville Ward is a long time donor and supporter of The Bethany Hope Centre and he wanted to give children and parents at the Bethany Hope Centre the opportunity to enjoy outings in the Ottawa area.
Neville’s mother, who was a teacher, believed in supporting children and youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. After she passed, Neville used a charitable bequest from his mother’s estate and some of his own funds to create an endowment to support program and services at the Bethany Hope Centre.
“The outings give parents and children something to do outside of the centre which they might not be able to do on their own as a family. It’s a break from everyday life and an opportunity to have some fun and get out of the city,” said Neville.
Some of the places the families visit include the Experimental Farm, Lac Philippe in Gatineau, Stanley’s Old Maple Farm, Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugarbush, Valley View Little Animal Farm and some of the city’s museums. In the spring participants visit sugarbushes and in the fall they will either go apple picking or to a pumpkin patch.
“I don’t usually go on the trips but I did join a trip to a sugarbush once. They had animals for the children to see and space to run around. You could put taffy on a stick and lunch was included. We all had a great time,” said Neville.
“Thanks to Neville we are able to attend 2 to 3 offsite fieldtrips every year. Without his generous donation we couldn’t possibly be able to do this with our participants,” said Sandra Randall, Bethany Hope Centre’s Director of Child and Youth Development. “Neville also funds our family fun day every summer at Lac Philippe where we invite our staff to join as well. What’s great about Lac Philippe is that our participants get to experience the beaches and it’s nice to see parents swimming with their kids. We provide a big lunch and there is always a treat like ice cream.”
This April, The Bethany Hope Centre families will be invited to go back to Stanley’s Old Maple Farm.
“They have a great barn we can walk through, there is a tractor ride, a syrup cabin and a park,” said Sandra. “Our families are just forever grateful for all of Neville’s contributions.”