Lona Gregersen Memorial Fund

Please donate to Project Canoe in loving memory of Lona Gregersen. Her friend and colleague prepared the following reflection on Lona's life and dedication to connecting youth to nature.  All funds received will go to providing youth who face a variety of barriers a chance to participate in a wilderness canoe program to develop life skills and connect with nature.

Lona Gregersen was a product of the first Child and Youth Worker training program in Ontario at Thistletown Regional Centre in the early 70’s. It was my extreme good fortune to have her apply for a summer job in 1977 to lead the first summer camp program at the fledgling children’s mental health center now called JD Griffin Adolescent Centre in North York. When I was able to witness her outdoor leadership gifts, her therapeutic skill set and her ability to engage challenging teens, I knew we simply had to create a job for her as a full-time staff. Thankfully she accepted and we began a rich seven year partnership bringing a range of summer camping programs as well as after school groups and specialty programs to the agency. It also began a life long friendship with one of the most inspiring and skilled workers I’ve known.

Lona was a firm and loving “mother” figure for many youth. She absolutely knew how to capture teens’ cooperation and to get them excited about being in nature. Her co-leaders loved working with Lona for her tremendous organizational skills and her wicked sense of humour. Most remarkable for me was Lona’s unflaggingly positive view of life and the power of nature. After suffering a devastating stroke that left her entire left side incapacitated Lona’s resilience was tested. She returned to school to get a B.Ed. and supply taught at a nearby high school. To the very end, even after the removal of her left leg, Lona’s resilience shone through. It was not surprising to me that on her return from her last trip to Denmark visiting relatives Lona was most excited to tell me that her family had found a way to get her back in a canoe so she could paddle once again. Lona inspired a generation of teens and co-workers about the power of the outdoors to bring about change.
— Eric King, Friend & Co-Worker

Click below to donate to the Lona Gregersen Memorial Fund. Please choose "Lona Gregersen Memorial Fund" under Fund/Designation during the donation process.