Glendale Crossing team members and residents soak in the peace of nature
“It’s like a switch goes off,” says Glendale Crossing recreation team member Erin Seldon when she describes what it’s like to arrive at Camp Schlegel at Shady Pines outside of Ailsa Craig. “You just see everybody relax – you see the tension go away and it’s amazing.”
When the Schlegel family purchased the Shady Pines campground in the summer of 2016, the intention was always to groom the 110-acre site as a refuge not only for the countless families that have spent generations enjoying the natural landscape, but also for Schlegel Villages residents and seniors from neighbouring communities.
There is a sense of peace and serenity within the campground, which all three Schlegel brothers recall from youthful days spent trolling the site when their grandfather Wilfred owned the property. That same feeling is now part of the regular lives of the Glendale Crossing residents and team members who are fortunate to live a mere 40-minute drive away. Many may say the 2017 summer weather in Southern Ontario was far from ideal, but that hasn’t stopped the village from enjoying multiple excursions to the camp, where sometimes people are inclined to do little more than sit before a campfire and reminisce.
Resident Dorothy Herdman was once the owner of one of the largest campgrounds in Canada, and she was glad she decided to join the group on the latest visit to Shady Pines.
“I thought it was lovely there, with the beautiful walnut trees,” Dorothy says.
Another Glendale resident, Wayne Dewars, spent many a summer with his family at Shady Pines and was able to reconnect to that important part of his history. His wife Nanette was grateful this could happen.
"It was so wonderful to have Wayne back to nature and the beautiful setting of Shady Pines Campground,” Nanette says. “We were excited to share where our summer home is with all the residents and staff of the Village who were able to come."
Team members get as much from the experience as residents, for there’s a shared sense of peace and relaxation that comes to all when the van rolls into the site. “You know how sometimes in village life it can get busy? You have so much space within the campground and everybody just kind of does their own thing and you don’t worry as much,” Erin says.
Team members and residents can be seen walking the paths to the creek where trout swim in abundance and they cease to be team member and resident; they are simply two people enjoying the natural beauty together. Perhaps this is the true beauty of the Camp Schlegel experience. If people want to be alone for a time, they can easily find a safe place for solitude, and if they want to enjoy the sound of song and snap at the bonfire, there is always one crackling away.
“Seeing different people connect on different levels is really cool,” Erin says.
Fellow team member Maria Campbell says the simplicity of just being outdoors stands out in her mind as the greatest gift the campground offers. “It’s nice to see the residents in their own state of mind, just relaxing as they would on the patio or on their own campsite,” she says.
“They really love how quiet it was and how generous everyone was in helping us.”
Campground neighbours, Maria and Erin point out, are always eager to welcome the guests from Glendale Crossing and many are keen to stop by the fire to say hello.
“The whole campground has a Schlegel vibe to it,” Erin says. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Learn more about The Village of Glendale Crossing