Camp Gesher started as a camp of the Dror Hachalutz Hatzair Zionist Youth Organization. Its membership was originally drawn from two other Dror Hachalutz Hatzair camps, namely, Camp Revivim, located in Huntsville, Ontario, serving the Southern Ontario area, and Camp Kissufim, located in the Laurentians, serving the Montréal area. Historically, Toronto, Montréal and Ottawa, had the largest Jewish communities in Eastern Canada and Camp Revivim and Kissufim both served those communities well for many years. Nevertheless in the early 1960’s, it was determined that amalgamating the two camps to a mid point between the three cities would best serve the needs of those Jewish communities. To that end, the current campsite was purchased in 1962 from “Clarkson Duck Lake Lodge”, a former commercial hunting and fishing camp. As the new location represented a geographical bridge between the three communities, the camp was named Gesher which means bridge in Hebrew.
The transition occurred in stages: Camp Revivim closed in 1961, and the membership moved to Camp Kissufim for the summer of 1962. Camp Kissufim closed after the summer of 1962 and the first summer at Camp Gesher occurred in 1963. The Hachalutz Hatzair name was dropped in 1963 and Camp Gesher was a Dror Zionist youth organization summer camp. In 1974, a historical joint meeting of parents, leadership and Shlichim of both Habonim and Dror local organizations took place in Ottawa, wherethey agreed to “operate as one Youth Movement which will combine the membership of both bodies.” Thus, in the summer of 1975. Camp Gesher was chosen to be the first camp to testthe merging of the Habonim and Dror Youth Movements. The noteworthy success of that experiment helped expedite the eventual full merging of those two organizations in 1980. Camp Gesher, today, is a proud member of both the Habonim Dror Labour Zionist Youth and the Ontario Camping Association. Camp Gesher continues to create the best possible environment for campers to grow as individuals and as part of the Habonim Dror movement, preparing them to become proud leaders in their respective communities. In the city and at camp, our campers participate in educational activities about Israel, both its history and its place in the world today, as well as focusing on Tikkun Olam and social justice projects. It is this meaningful camp experience and the strong Jewish values we impart, that our campers carry with them for years to come, as they actualize into the nextgeneration of young, Jewish adults.