Sometime before 1975 the idea of combining the various talents of club members, finding donor cars and securing some support from auto businesses in the community came together. Project cars were started to help raise extra money, over and above the revenues produced from the annual car shows, to go towards special capital projects for what was then the Saskatchewan Council for Crippled Children and Adults. This later became the Saskatchewan Abilities Council and the Draggins main focus became Camp Easter Seal. located at Manitou Beach, Sk.
This unique summer camp is operated by the Saskatchewan Abilities Council and runs from June through August. The camp is completely wheelchair accessible and specifically designed for adults and children with disabilities. The camp has a large heated indoor swimming pool, a recreation centre, archery range, a rustic camping site, picnic and cookout areas, a boat dock, patio and swimming area, a wheelchair accessible swing, horse stables, wheeling/walking paths and a beach.
The project cars have become a mainstay to supplement the car show revenues and allow the Draggins to continue their donations to their much-loved charity. Ideas, donor cars, and enthusiasm surface with no fixed timing and things start to take shape. It may be that a member has heard of a good car in the community to restore or a timely celebration is approaching such as club anniversaries. The plans are discussed, a member or two is placed in charge to oversee the project and the idea takes shape. Members share in the many jobs that are required to produce results. Donations of new parts, searching for specific vintage parts, disassembling the donor car and starting the frame-off restoration work. Along with the physical requirements, they tackle the preparation needed to secure raffle tickets and advertising, find time and spaces at the local malls to display the car, enlist their family members and public supporters for ticket shifts and plan the unveiling ceremony of the finished product. The time commitment and work necessary is huge but the Draggin members and their families have grown to work as a team and the success of the raffles bring an amazing feeling of accomplishment for all.
To mention a few of the capitol projects that the Draggins have completed at Camp Easter Seal, it must begin with the Recreation Facility where campers can come together for games and crafts. It would take the club two project cars and revenue from four car shows to complete the $350,000.00 Aquatic Centre. It is a fully wheelchair-accessible facility with state of the art mechanical equipment that will meet the needs of the campers for many years. It has been the model for special needs camps in the U.S.A. for similar facilities.
A new challenge arose at the camp. Each year the Abilities Council was seeing more children with high medical needs. The staff were qualified to meet the needs of the children, but the facilities were lacking to provide proper medical attention. It needed to be a fully wheelchair accessible facility, with bathrooms, treatment room, central heat and air conditioning and the cost would be around $110,000. The Draggins got busy doing what we do pretty well, raising money. The Medical facility is situated in the middle to allow programming to the campers who sometimes cannot get to the program areas and is done in a style that reflects the character of the Camp. It was officially opened July 16, 2000. As well, they have been building replacement cabins every few years. These are modern facilities that allow the campers to have their needs met and experience all the joys of summer camping.
The Draggins wish to acknowledge the support from our sponsors, our families, the general public and car enthusiasts everywhere for it is with their help that we continue to be able to give back to our community.