Remember your first time at summer camp? Learning how to build a fire, going on a hike or doing the ropes course? Making friends and trying new activities? Those yummy s’mores?!
We all know that summer camp can be one of the most rewarding, unforgettable experiences. We'd like to tell you about one child we know - Cole.
Cole was eight when he attended camp the first time. When he got off the bus, he confided to his counsellor that he was probably going to get in trouble at camp because he ALWAYS did at school.
Hearing the discouragement in his voice, the counsellor made a point of helping him have positive experiences. When she saw him getting frustrated with a project or other campers, she’d have him run to a certain tree and back to work off energy. Hikes in the woods helped calm him. Cole learned to swim and discovered a talent for wood-carving.
On the last day of camp he hugged that counsellor and said: “I didn’t know I could go a whole week without getting into trouble!”
Cole is one of 500 children from across Waterloo Region who had the opportunity to go to summer camp thanks to the generous support of our community.
This year, the Foundation urgently needs your help to support a child like Cole to attend camp. Camp expenses have risen from $250 per week to $300 in the last year.
Can we count on your support this spring with a gift of $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can?
Your donation will enable the Foundation to support children like Cole with the costs of summer camp.
Why camp is so important to a child’s development
Summer camps are known for providing a safe environment offering many learning benefits. Coming to camp means joining a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other. When they spend so much time with others, kids share activities, resolve disagreements, and see firsthand the importance of sincere communication. Camp builds teamwork.
But, for children who have experienced hardship or traumatic events, growing up can happen fast. It can also mean that they miss the opportunities like camp and the chance develop resilience.
What is resilience?
Resiliency theory is based on the ability to bounce back or move on from difficult experiences. It takes one spark to ignite a new skill in children who have faced adversity. While kids at camp are busy meeting friends, trying new activities, and making memories, something else happens. A spark is lit for a child to begin coping and making connections with new people who believe in them.
Research shows that experiences like summer camp build a child’s resilience so they not only bounce back, but bounce forward and thrive. And that the earlier a child has these opportunities, the better they will do. Noted experts in child development see summer camp as a life-changing chance for giving a child the value of belonging to a community of their own.
What else does camp really mean for a child?
They gain confidence through relationships with peers and trusted counsellors.
They see opportunity to conquer new things and feel pride.
They learn how to solve problems and can feel in control of their lives.
They smile, they laugh, they play with fair treatment among all kids.
They can just be a kid with physical activity, exercise, fresh air and good food.
And perhaps best of all, camp offer kids a chance to feel like they belong. All those goofy chants and team songs, the sense of common purpose and attachment that offers children a sense of being rooted. Just like Cole who expanded his abilities and where camp helped him develop who he is today and taught him “he can.”
In short, summer camp is a life-changing experience for a child.
At Family & Children’s Services Foundation we need to help 525 children to attend camp this summer. That’s a lot of smiles and giggles, new friendships and lifelong memories. It’s also a lot of kids whose lives will be transformed and you can help us make it happen!
Your gift today will help with life-enhancing enrichment for our kids, our future.
Be the spark for a child this summer.
Give memories. Give hope.
Please consider sending a child to camp and supporting the important work of building a caring community where children and their families can thrive.
and thank you. We couldn't do it without you and we are so grateful.