During World War II, Mary Edgar, Founding Director of Glen Bernard Camp for girls, organized a group of alumnae to offer a camp respite to girls from the UK to escape bombs and horrible air raids. The camp was called Shangri-La. To celebrate their 95th season in the spirit of May Edgar, the camp decided to invite twenty-four Syrian girls to enjoy a Canadian camping experience.
Throughout the winter of 2015/16, Director Joc Palm and Associate Director Kim Graydon began their research and preparations to launch GBC for Syria. After meeting with various organizations and agencies, they began to receive applications from several Syrian families new to Canada. With an album of camp photographs showing the site and the activities, they visited each of the applicants’ families across the province with one or more of their sponsors and when necessary with the assistance of a translator. They spent hours with each family, answering questions and building trust.
One incident was memorable. Kim had answered “no” to one girl’s question, “Is there electric?” because at GBC the girls do not have hydro in their cabins. All of a sudden, the two sisters looked at one another, began speaking quickly to their father in Arabic and rolling their eyes. The father then spoke to them somewhat sternly. When Joc and Kim asked the translator what he had said to his daughters, he replied, “He told them if they could survive a year and a half in a refugee camp in Jordan, they could survive a week at Glen Bernard without electricity!” Amused, Joc reassured the girls that yes, there was hydro to the main buildings around camp just not in the sleeping cabins.
Giving consideration to the language barrier, GBC decided it was not necessary to have translators at camp. Campers learn by seeing and doing. They knew that the Syrian campers with better English could help the girls with little English.
Swimming ability was a barrier. Of the twenty-six girls, only two could swim. Fortunately, the camp waterfront has a sandy beach and a long stretch of shallow water. The girls were advised that if they were concerned, all they had to do was stand up. The waterfront staff discussed how to help the newcomers feel safe. In some cases, everyone wore lifejackets to play in the water.
The Syrian campers lived for their week’s stay with GBC campers in various cabins during all sessions. The veteran campers discovered that the new campers were friendly and enjoyed camp as much as they did. However, one afternoon they were reminded that these girls had experiences foreign to them During a thunder storm, one Syrian camper remarked, “The thunder sounds just like bombs exploding.” Nevertheless, nobody dwelt on this graphic comparison, and the girls continued happily with their indoor play.
The experience was a great success for both the newcomers and GBC campers. It is the camp’s intention with support from alumnae to invite all the Syrian girls to return if they choose for the length of time appropriate to their age and also to bring a friend.
Kudos to GBC and the many camps across Canada that welcomed Syrian newcomers to their camps last summer!
Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students. It is designed to focus on local priorities, while helping both students and their communities.
Canada Summer Jobs:
Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 years who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year.
By way of five national priorities, CSJ also supports the following:
The deadline to apply is January 20, 2017.
In 2013 I was 20 years old, I had moved away from my home town of Millmerran (a small western Queensland country town of only 1500 people) and was dying for an adventure overseas. With very little convincing, I booked a one way ticket to Canada where I have spent the better half of the last four years. Summer Camp has changed my life. There are hundreds of reasons why I want to thank Summer Camp, but here are my top 5.
I have loved every minute of my travels and I am proud to say I don’t regret anything I have done in my life, basically because I rarely say no to an adventure. The motto ‘just do it’ is what I have learnt to live by since my first summer at camp. When an opportunity comes my way, I just do it. I believe that if I am happy, working hard and growing as a person then everything will work out just as it is meant to! I have summer camp to thank for teaching me to have an optimistic outlook on life and giving me the courage and spontaneity to go wherever the world takes me.
I want to thank summer camp for giving me the opportunity to become that person I am today. In 2013 I spent my first summer working at Canadian Adventure Camp. It was truly a life changing eleven weeks. From the first day I arrived I was surrounded by incredibly friendly, happy and outgoing people who quickly became lifelong friends. For the first time in my life I was able to be myself without judgement or criticism from a single person around me. I lived and worked in a world where differences were encouraged and speaking your mind was praised. Children were able to be children without the fear of being bullied because of the way they looked, their beliefs, religion, sexual orientation etc. There was no pressure from the technological world, because there was no technology; just good friends, mesmerising campfires, infectious laughs and beautiful Lake Temagami.
Thank you summer camp for teaching me so many life lessons and skills that have changed the way I act, how I interact with people and the way I strive to influence children’s lives. Being able to take a step back from a situation and see it from another’s perspective is one of the best lessons I was taught at camp. By not judging someone on the way they look, the amount of money they earn, where they are from or bad decisions they have made in the past can allow you to see people in a whole new way. Everyone deserves to be treated and respected equally; one of the core values of any summer camp. By Looking at all aspects of life in a positive way is a truly refreshing way to think. When everyone around you is thinking positively too… well, that is just a great place to live and work!
Thank you summer camp for my camp family. My camp family are the co-workers and bosses that I have had the pleasure of working with during my four summers at Canadian Adventure Camp. These are people that I have known for just a few weeks every summer but with the power of summer camp, have positively influenced my life in so many ways. Every day they push me to get out of my comfort zone, do things I never thought possible and allow me to make mistakes and learn from them. I have these people to thank for me becoming the person I am today.
Thank you summer camp for helping me change children’s lives. Summer camp is a truly magical place that is hard to explain to someone who has never experienced such a place. Of course camp is full of chances for self growth but the most amazing part about camp is seeing the change you can make in a child’s life. It is a feeling that you can only get once you have witnessed a child be part of a community where they feel like they belong, where their voice really matters and where they can make friends that last a lifetime. I have seen children in just two short weeks go from being shy, insecure and timid to being confident, outgoing and courageous. I witnessed one of my 9 year old campers arrive at camp on the first day without the self confidence to say hello to the person next to them and then just ten days later singing by herself in front of two hundred people at the talent show. It is such an unbelievably rewarding feeling to know that child’s life has now changed because of the love, care and kindness you have shared with them.
Thank you summer camp!
This site, surrounded by magnificent scenery, is only a short distance to the beautiful beaches of the Black Sea.
Learn from international camping leaders while living in reasonably priced, excellent accommodation.
On the day of and the day prior to the US Presidential election, the sixth annual National Leadership Forum of eighteen camping leaders convened at Camp Tawingo in Huntsville, Ontario.
Following Trump’s election, we witnessed protest marches on both sides of the US. On the contrary, guided through a packed agenda by CCA President Elect, Stephane Richard, we departed to our separate provinces committed to build bridges not walls and launch several, exciting, national initiatives.
Despite the limited time and the temptation to be outside by the lake in the glorious November sunshine rather than inside at a board table, we accomplished much:
President Jill Dundas has kept us on track for the past three years as we began to implement the vision identified for CCA. Thank you, Jill!
The Board Members, Committee Chairs, Provincial Presidents and Executive Directors departed from the 6th National Leadership Forum united and willing to give Stephane Richard their full co-operation and commitment when he begins in January 2017 to lead us to realize our ambitious dream for CCA. Good luck, Stephane!
Camp professionals and other staff may be interested in learning more about a new Masters of Education program called HOPE-ed offered by the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia.
This unique MEd. brings together Health, Outdoor and Physical Education “streams” considered through an experiential lens. The program begins in July 2017 and flows, in a part-time manner, over 7 terms. Application deadline is January 31, 2017.
This Society of Camp Directors’ program promotes professional development of camp leaders by assisting with the payment of fees and expenses for a speaker at a provincial educational event.
The deadline for applications is November 30, 2016 to enable the committee to determine the result by mid December.
** Please note that Alberta received the funding in 2015 and Ontario in 2016 and are therefore not eligible to apply for 2017.