Written by Karolina Hordowick.

The great outdoors have always mattered to Diane and Stan Gasner. They raised their sons, Dan and Wayne, to appreciate the physical and mental well-being benefits that nature provides. When their son Dan was a teen, he attended YMCA Camp Beausoleil located on Georgian Bay. This first camp experience was especially transformative for Dan, and he thoroughly enjoyed his time there.

After Camp Beausoleil closed in 1980, campers were transferred to YMCA Camp Pine Crest. “Dan ultimately became a counsellor at Camp Pine Crest,” explains Diane. His favourite activity was canoeing. “Dan was a godsend, because he taught me the basic handling of canoeing.”

Sadly, in the summer of 1988, the Gasners experienced the unthinkable — they lost Dan in a car accident. To honour the memory of their beloved son, the couple established the Dan Gasner Memorial Endowment Fund, which provides an annual gift to help youth who otherwise would not be able to attend Camp Pine Crest experience all it offers.

“We have, for some time, donated to the YMCA, but Dan’s memorial fund was the beginning of our giving to Camp Pine Crest,” explains Stan. “We didn’t know Camp Pine Crest before Dan started going there, but after we lost him, our involvement deepened. Since then, we’ve visited often.”

With a background in engineering, Stan offered his expertise and insight to the redevelopment of Camp Pine Crest’s spaces as part of the 100-year anniversary. “With the renovations, I reviewed designs for several areas of the camp and its facilities,” he explains.

Today, Diane and Stan continue to give generously every year, ensuring campers have the opportunity to explore the great outdoors, discover new skills and abilities, make lifelong friends, and experience the thrill of water sports. The couple recently made a significant gift to establish The Gasner Family Fund, which initially provided funds to make Camp Pine Crest’s refreshed sailing program a reality. The program is now successfully underway. “We hope the sailing program initiates in campers a lifelong interest in getting out on the water,” says Stan. “Sailing will normally lead to racing, and provide many lifelong skills, including decision making, teamwork, leadership, strategic thinking, and confidence.”

Thanks to the Gasners, more campers will have opportunities to develop these skills that will stay with them for life. “It feels great knowing that our gift will emphasize adventure, nature, and all the skills and abilities that come with sailing,” says Stan. “I remember how much our son Dan loved getting out on the water, and I love that other young people will have opportunities to do the same,” adds Diane.