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Meet the CNIB Lake Joe Community

Here you’ll find a collection of stories that highlight the voices of CNIB Lake Joe. From past and present campers to our dedicated volunteers, board members, and generous donors – discover why our community is so passionate about CNIB Lake Joe.

Shawn Dale, Bill Vastis and Derek Thompson sit together on a bench and pose for a group photo on the shoreline of Lake Joe. Their smiles are wide and radiate joy! 

Growing up with CNIB Lake Joe – meet Derek Thompson

“My parents say that Lake Joe saved me because I was angry and miserable when my vision changed," says Derek Thompson. "But once I was at Lake Joe, those feelings dissipated, and my maturity started to develop.” 

Nearly 35 years later, Derek Thompson still remembers his first visit to CNIB Lake Joe.
Stela sitting on a leather ottoman in front of a fireplace with her German Shepherd guide dog in front of her.

Meet Stela

An advocate, student, teacher, and music specialist, Stela Trudeau started volunteering with CNIB summer camps when her eye condition was formally diagnosed in 2015.
Mason (left) and Ollie (right) and Buddy Dog Hope pose for a picture at Lake Joe. They are wearing face masks and holding their white canes.

When Ollie met Mason

Ollie has a compromised immune system, and to keep him safe during the pandemic, he has not been able to spend time with friends. But that changed when Ollie arrived at CNIB Lake Joe with his sister and parents as part of Holiday Week, a new offering at CNIB Lake Joe. Ollie met Mason, an 11-year-old boy, and as Ollie’s mum puts it, “The two became fast friends, inspiring each other to try new things.” When Mason told Ollie he was going to try kayaking all by himself – without a parent, Ollie wanted to try, too.
Fred Arbour, District Governor A2, holding the District of the Year Award, 2020-21

CNIB Honours Lions’ Top Contributors

“I was totally surprised when I got the award. It never even crossed my mind,” says Fred. “I’m very thankful. I’ve been a Lion for over 50 years, and CNIB Lake Joe is one of the areas that I’ve most enjoyed in all my years of being in Lions.” 

Fred says that the love of CNIB Lake Joe runs in the family. 
The Knip family posing for the camera on the lakeshore at CNIB Lake Joe.

Summers at CNIB Lake Joe with the Knip Family

CNIB Lake Joe has become a family vacation destination for the Knip family: Sarah, Josh and their children Caleb, Keagan, Avery, Hudson, and Nora.

Three of their children live with sight loss. After learning about the camp from an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist in 2015, the family now visits every summer.
Susan Creasy smiles for a photograph.

Meet Susan

Susan Creasy and her family have been part of the Lake Joe journey since the beginning. Her grandfather and great aunt, Wilfred C. James and Elsinore C. Burns, were both members of the Lake Joseph Planning Committee in the early stages of development in the 1960s.
In 2015, Barb Ennis poses at a ribbon-cutting ceremony when she, as Lions District Governor for A12, purchased a brand new van to enhance client service. This van is now in service at CNIB Lake Joe!

Lion Barb Ennis: Kindness and Service in Action

Lion Barb Ennis grew up in Toronto close to CNIB's head office, and every day she saw people with white canes and guide dogs travelling to and from CNIB. And every summer, her family went to their cottage in Muskoka where her mom, a relief nurse at CNIB Lake Joe, would take her along.
Rob Froom (left) standing waterside at Lake Joe with his brother David Froom. Rob is holding his brother's hand.

Robert & David Froom: Renewing Relationships at CNIB Lake Joe

Everyone has their own reason for volunteering. I volunteer to repay, in some small way, the enormous debt of gratitude I feel for CNIB: for the services it has provided to my brother David and for the life-changing experiences I have shared with him at CNIB Lake Joe.
Bruce Roulston posing with a caught fish on a dock beside Eugene Chong at CNIB Lake Joe. They are both wearing life jackets and a ballcap.

Meet Bruce Roulston

Lion Bruce Roulston from Hagersville, Ontario, was a farmer for practically his entire life until he lost his vision to Retinitis Pigmentosa.

“I was 53 when I got off the farm because it was too dangerous for me to work. I realized I needed support and that’s when CNIB became a big part of my life,” says Bruce. 
Alicia smiles and sits outdoors on a large rock. Behind her are trees. She is wearing a summer floral dress. Her white cane rests on the rock to the right of her.

How CNIB Lake Joe Inspired a Young Advocate

When Alicia Chenier arrived at CNIB Lake Joe as a 12-year-old, she didn’t have to “hide being blind."

“I used to pretend I wasn’t blind because I was bullied for it. School was tough,” says Alicia.