For content relevant to your community in Ontario, Please select your region

Jim (and his megawatt smile) sits in a Muskoka chair near the shores of CNIB Lake Joe.

Special thanks: Volunteer Jim Tokos, 23+ years of service

Do you remember what you were doing 23 years ago? Were you sitting in a packed movie theatre breathlessly watching Titanic? Humming along to Elton John’s Candle in the Wind? Enjoying the warm winter compliments of El Nino? For Jim Tokos, 1997 was the beginning of a prolific volunteer career at CNIB Lake Joe.

“My family and I were in the Muskoka Lakes area, and I discovered that there was a CNIB camp on Lake Joseph,” says Jim. “I went in, white cane in hand, eager to get involved.’"

Initially, Jim volunteered for a one-week stint, but that position grew into something more. A CNIB Lake Joe staff member approached Jim and asked if he would consider volunteering as a one-on-one guide for another camper with sight loss, who was also living with a brain injury. After a conversation with the camper's father, Jim signed on to volunteer as a guide and has been doing so ever since. 

“As long as I’m on the right side of the grass, I’ll be there to look out for him,” Jim jokes. “The special thing about volunteering at Lake Joe is that I’m able to offer someone the opportunity to come to camp.”

Jim looks forward to returning camp every summer and catching up with the many friends he has made over the years. He also loves meeting first-time campers. 

“Many people are new to Lake Joe, so I always spend time with them," says Jim. "They see that I also live with sight loss, and I think it encourages them."

In addition to his CNIB Lake Joe volunteer role, Jim also serves as a member of the CNIB Lake Joe Advisory Board, Vice President of the Canadian Council of the Blind, and a Canadian delegate on the World Blind Union. He credits his wife, Heather, for always encouraging him to go the extra mile and achieve success–something he believes defines him. 

“I like to get out and meet people, talk to people, and encourage people to keep pushing themselves to the limit," says Jim. "Sometimes, you get bruised and battered, but it’s always worth the effort.”

Jim's insights as a person with sight loss help him to support participants as they discover the magic of summer camp. 

“It’s incredible to see how much fun campers have when they get away from their normal routines and have the chance to let their hair down," says Jim. 

If Jim's story inspires you to consider volunteering for CNIB Lake Joe, apply online or contact us for more info at or 1-877-748-4028.