Jordan Sheriko (W. Garfield Weston Loran Scholar ’03) co-founded Camp Triumph in 2005 with one goal in mind — to build Atlantic Canada’s first camp specifically for children who have a family member with a chronic illness or disability.
“There really wasn’t anything out there for kids in this situation,” says Jordan. “While they are often considered to be the ‘normal’ kids in the family, they have to deal with a lot of issues — guilt about being healthy, dealing with uncertainty and deaths in the family, even having friends over to the house.”
Jordan grew up in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and studied biology at Acadia University. As an undergraduate student, Jordan captained the men’s basketball team, coached a local high school track and field team, led the top fundraising team for the CIBC Run for the Cure and was a Big Brothers/Big Sisters volunteer.
Jordan co-founded the camp in his second year of university and devoted his summers to the project. In the first year, the organization provided one week-long camp for 40 kids and raised roughly $10,000. Building on the success of that first camp, they marked their 10th anniversary in 2014.
“I really owe a lot to the Loran Scholars Foundation and the Weston Foundation for the opportunities the award afforded me. It gave me the chance to get a top-notch education while giving me the flexibility to explore my dreams outside of school. Having my summers free to devote to Camp Triumph was one of the major benefits of being a scholar,” says Jordan. He credits long-time Loran Scholars Foundation volunteer Rod MacLennan, in particular, for giving him great advice over the years.
Recently, Camp Triumph’s board of directors made sustainability a key priority and focused on acquiring land and building a permanent facility. They made quick progress. In February 2009, the PEI government granted Camp Triumph a five-year lease of 15 acres of land near Cabot Beach Provincial Park. With the support of Holland College students who helped to build facilities and the Canadian Forces, which provided tents for the campers, the first camp at the new location was held last year.
In 2010, thanks to a coordinated effort of hundreds of community members, Camp Triumph won a $100,000 grant from the Aviva Community Fund’s online grant contest. The funds were used to fund the construction of a camp lodge, bringing the organization a huge step closer to sustainability.
With the help of a local building supply store, construction of the permanent facility will begin “as soon as the ground thaws.” With demand for the camp starting to exceed capacity, and families from outside the Atlantic provinces inquiring about the camp, more growth may lay in Camp Triumph’s future. For now, Jordan and his team are focused on establishing a firm, sustainable foundation.