With Amici’s fifty-seventh summer well underway, we wanted to reflect on Amici’s inaugural summer and those who were instrumental in turning the vision of Amici into a reality.
Two of those people are Bruce “Skip” Harris and his wife Doreen Harris who spent many years as the directors of Camp Kawabi. Through their leadership of Camp Kawabi they changed the lives of many children, inspiring them to discover their unique sense of self.
“Skip and Nish were a team whose identity became inseparable from what was to become their life’s work as owner/operators of Camp Kawabi. From the time they purchased the camp in their early twenties, they worked tirelessly to ensure every child entrusted to their care was both safe and included. Their priority was to create opportunities for adventure, responsibility, and individual growth, all packaged in the form of genuine fun and laughter. Most importantly, they believed strongly that these opportunities needed to be extended to children from all walks of life.” - Tom Quinn
Together, they saw the value in Amici’s mission and accepted the first Amici camper in the summer of 1966. As the first camp directors to place their trust in Amici, Bruce and Doreen were early believers that all children should be able to make lifelong memories and learn the lifelong skills that only camp can teach you, regardless of their financial position.
“We were on staff when the first Amici campers came to Camp Kawabi. While staff were informed of the concept we were never told who the actual Amici campers were. In a world today where equity, diversity and inclusion need to be institutionalized, remarkably, these values were the integral gifts of Bruce and Doreen Harris“ - Susan and Bob Busby
Since then, Amici has continued to grow. In summer 2023 we aim to support more than 260 children at 48 OCA-accredited partner camps. This not only means that 260 children will spend their summers having fun, it also means that they will come home more independent, confident, and optimistic.
When Bruce passed away in the summer of 2022, the Kawabi alumni community came together to raise funds for Amici in his honour. To date, more than $29,000 has been raised in support of Amici campers, providing them with the same life-changing experience that was enjoyed at Camp Kawabi fifty-seven years ago. Thanks to the generosity of the Kawabi community, Bruce and Doreen’s legacy will continue to live on in many Amici campers for years to come.
To learn more about the Camp Kawabi fundraiser in memory of Bruce Harris, please visit this link: https://amici.akaraisin.com/ui/BruceHarrisFundraiser