Archive for May, 2011

CAMP CHANGES LIVES

Posted on May 24, 2011 by spreston

Camp is a unique experience.  At camp, a random collection of children and young people, who are initially strangers, is placed together to live, learn, work and play for a period of time under the guidance and example of the counsellors and directors– most often in a natural setting and almost always away from home and parents.  This random collection evolves into a cooperative community as the individuals grow together.  This growth is evident as each camper becomes more helpful, patient, respectful, caring, tolerant, capable, confident, independent or skilled.

Campers describe their experience

“Camp has been the best experience.  I’ve learned life is about creating yourself.” – Brook

“Before camp I was an average kid who never did anything.  I never tried any new adventures.  Camp helped me experience things that every kid should do in their lifetime.” – Tabitha

“The relationships I made at camp will forever stay with me.” – Ryan

Change realized at camp is particularly inspiring in campers with special needs.

“Camp is the best and they have good food for us.  And good dances and I am having fun. And I am proud of myself.” – Nicole, a young woman with Spina Bifida

“I like it (camp) because I help the workers – it makes me feel important.  I love to swim in the pool…can go to camp without Mom and Dad.  I feel safe at camp…would be very sad if I could not go to camp every year.” – Chad, a young man with Down Syndrome

“Summer camp has always been awesome…over the years [15] I have met a lot of good people and made a lot of friends.” – Riel, an adult camper with severe and spastic cerebral palsy, is unable to speak.  He communicates by striking computer keys with a pointer attached to a band on his head.

“When I’m at camp people don’t judge me.  They treat me as an equal…camp changed my life because it taught me how to love other people and myself.” – Kim, a young adult with mild cognitive delay

“It (camp) is one of the biggest highlights of my summer/year…The camp counsellors are always fun and make the camp experience a great one.” – Paige, a young adult with Spina Bifida leads an active life despite dependence on her wheelchair

Parents describe the benefits of camp

“My daughters went to camp in July and came home with such a positive outlook on life.  They enjoyed it tremendously and learned how to overcome fears and try new tasks.” – Mrs. Neil

“Camp was the best experience of my son’s  life. It gave him more confidence…he felt like he was part of this big family.” – Mr. & Mrs. Gutierrez

“Since my son went to camp, he has a lot more confidence in himself and he is more helpful.  He has stepped up as a role model to his younger siblings and also his cousins.” – Mrs. Queen

Camp counsellors discover that camp is a formative experience.

“When I look back at pictures from my first two years of the Leadership program, I am so proud of what we accomplished.” – Darin

“My summer as a counsellor…I really learned who I was and what I want to do with my life…Camp taught me that challenging yourself is important and that it is OK if sometimes you fail and need to try again.  I learned how to work with my peers and voice my opinion and how to work independently or take direction from others.” – Andrea

“Whenever I have a rough day, I remember the lessons I learned at camp…There are no words to express the impact camp has had on my life.”  – Kimberley


Compiled by Catherine Ross, from letters submitted by several Canadian camps.