A Nelson group of young people living with cancer will be the first to benefit from an online auction which has raised just over $50,000 to help children attend camps at Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre at St Arnaud organised by Whakatu Rotary in Nelson and supported by Blenheim South Rotary.
The kids2camp auction attracted donations and bids from around the country. More than 150 goods, experiences, and services were donated by individuals and companies, predominantly from Nelson, Tasman Marlborough and Canterbury. They included art, a flight in a classic aircraft, e-bikes, a laptop computer, and wine.
The money raised has established a fund which will assist the payment of lodge camp fees for children whose families are in financial need or might not otherwise be able to attend camps. Following this month’s CanTeen camp, children and their adult mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters are set to stay at the lodge early in the New Year.
Trevor Marshall, auction organiser and project manager of the Whakatu Rotary-led $2 million lodge upgrade, is delighted with the community response to the auction.
He said a number of schools in the combined region used the lodge for class and subject camps and there were always children who got left behind because their families could not afford camp fees.”
“But Covid-19 has added additional financial pressure to many more families whose children may now also benefit from this fund, whether for a school or a community group camp,” he said.  “We firmly believe every child should have the opportunity to enjoy the kind of quality outdoor education experience offered by the team at Rotoiti Lodge.”
It is planned to continue fundraising to support and increase the kids2camp fund, which will be managed by the Rotoiti Lodge board of directors and open to participating schools and other qualifying organisations.
Meanwhile the two-year refurbishment and upgrade of the 52-year old lodge, organised by Whakatu Rotary and supported by Blenheim South Rotary, along with other local Rotary clubs, is drawing to a close. The final stages of the transformation include the current construction of a two-bay workshop and the repainting of the lodge’s roof.
A public open day to celebrate the new-look lodge is planned for Sunday 6 December, 10am-3pm. Supporters of the upgrade project and anyone who has stayed in the lodge are invited to come along to see the changes.
For further information please contact:
Trevor Marshall  :  Ph 027 222 4947  : Email tr.marshall@xtra.co.nz