One game at a time, Bell Bank’s MOTM program is helping the MNUFC roster to make a difference in the community by giving to the causes in their hearts. For midfielder Ethan Finlay that means bringing courage, hope and love to the children at Camp CoHoLo.
Dedicated to bringing the magic of summer camp to children between the ages of six and 17 affected by cancer or blood disorders, Camp CoHoLo — for courage, hope and love — brings together both children who are actively undergoing therapy and those who have completed treatment.
Finlay was first introduced to and got involved with Camp CoHoLo in 2010 because his college roommate’s mother worked for the camp and had since its inception almost 30 years ago now.
“When I heard about it, honestly, [I knew] they needed hands, they needed people to help be counselors,” said Finlay. “I spent a summer there. I found out very quickly that everyone is a volunteer. And, I was thinking, how do you get all these people to volunteer? But they do. They’ve started to build out a huge volunteer list. If I can’t be there, I try to financially support them. A couple years ago I sent them all a bunch of Nike equipment in my Nike allotment so the kids can have soccer balls, footballs, basketballs for years to come since they started to lose some of those activities and goods and essentials that they needed.”
Just like everyone is a volunteer, everyone is part of the Camp CoHoLo family. Finlay’s relationship with his roommate and his family has been strong and beyond meaningful through the years.
“She was always kind of a mother away from college,” explained Finlay. “I just felt like I needed to be a part of it when I was there and after I left there. They did so much for me off the field and supported me when I was in college, that I always wanted to kind of stay connected to it. It felt like a very simple, easy thing.”
Summer camp means something different to all of us because we all have our own unique experiences. For some, summer camp has shaped them, for others it’s been an escape and for most it’s just something to do when school is out. Camp CoHoLo is giving children that wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make those memories the chance to. And every time Finlay steps on the field, he’s playing for his club and he’s playing for his charity.
“It’s interesting for us as players because we don’t determine [Man of the Match]. It’s a fan vote. I think I always view it as a bit of a privilege that fans are watching the 90 minutes and picking a player. Maybe they didn’t have two goals, but hopefully they made the biggest impact,” said Finlay.
“It’s absolutely an honor. The Hoy family, whether it be Brian or Anissa, they’ll always send a text. They’re following the games and they’ll always say, congratulations, great game, and we’re so excited because you got Man of the Match. So, I find it fun because now you have people who maybe have already been watching the games, maybe have been following on social media and what not, but they know if I’m listed as Man of the Match, it’s gonna go to this cause and it’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart.
“The $1,000 for Man of the Match, it’s incredible how far that goes,” continued Finlay. “People now will say if they do have money, they see how happy the children are with the opportunity. They’ll donate and want to be a part of it. Because you see some of these kids that are going through very tough, troubling times and they can’t go to a regular camp. The smiles you see at a regular summer camp [can’t compare] to what you see at Camp CoHoLo.”
For more information on Camp CoHoLo, head to https://www.campcoholo.com.