Paddling with a purpose

Pine Tree Camp event to sponsor kids this summer.

SOLON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- On Saturday, hundreds of people took to the Kennebec River for the annual Bath Savings Institution Paddle for Pine Tree Camp. It is a fundraiser to benefit campers with disabilities. Every year the event brings people in the community closer together.

15-year-old Tristan Bouchard was considered a miracle baby.

“Tristan was supposed to not be born at all then they told me he was going to be a vegetable and he walks and talks and he does everything that a normal child can do just a little bit slower,” said Amy Bouchard, his mother.

Despite his disabilities Tristan is still a happy camper because for the last eleven years, he has been sponsored to attend Pine Tree Camp.

99% of campers receive full or partial tuition assistance. But in order in to keep its Open-Door Policy for Tristan and other campers, the camp must raise $1 million dollars every year.

With camp starting just around the corner, fundraisers like Saturday’s kayaking event are crucial.   

“By going to Pine tree camp he gets to just be a child without mom's influence without mom pushing him to do things,” said Mrs. Bouchard.

It is a chance to experience freedom.

“It's awesome! I get to go swimming, kayaking, I do all kinds of stuff!” said Tristan Bouchard.

It’s also a chance for him and 650 other campers with disabilities to be independent.

More than 250 people showed up for the event which was followed by a barbeque. To donate, click here.

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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