I didn’t grow up going to overnight camp. My parents weren’t too familiar with the concept as they weren’t raised with such opportunities. The local city day camp and Vacation Bible School is where my sister and I were sent to each summer. I often wondered if I had missed out on some life experiences that overnight camps offer.
Now as a parent myself, I find myself facing the summer camp options each year. Both my boys have friends that go away for weeks…and some go for a month of overnight camp. We hear all about the benefits (and the fun) from their friends and the parents. Slowly my younger one is warming up to the idea. My older one goes away for a week of overnight camp and enjoys it. When he returns to the big city, he comes back with funny stories and seems just a tad bit older to me. Sniff.
Camps clearly give kids the opportunity to be a little more self-sufficient and confident. They come back appreciating what they have at home but they also learn that this world we live in goes beyond the backyard, the school yard, and the city streets.
About early February is when the real buzz of securing camps happen amongst my friends. It’s a little nutty but I guess that’s about when we clear our holiday bills, right? We wonder about what camp is right for our kids and we have many choices at varying price points.
But I was speaking to someone just the other day about how overnight camps can be financial unthinkable for some. Not all families who would love to send their kids to overnight camp can afford to do so.
There’s a 100 year old charity based in Toronto called Moorelands. Since 1912, Moorelands has been assisting kids in some of the under-served neighbourhoods. They focus on helping kids build the 4Cs: Confidence, Competence, Character and Connectedness – feeling like they belong and are part of something greater than themselves! The Moorelands Wilderness Camp has been hosting summer camps for the city’s kids who’s families cannot afford to send them away. The cost is $1000 per child for a week of Wilderness Camp and the charity relies on donations to raise funds.
I was surprised to hear that there are about 50 spaces that are still open for August and cannot be filled without sufficient funding. That’s 50 kids missing out on the overnight camp experience.
Most of us already know the importance of camps in shaping a child’s future. Every child should have the opportunity to experience the fireside stories, the s’mores, the canoe trips, and making new friends.
There are probably similar organizations across our wonderful and giving country. If you would like to help this particular one, it’s not too late! Visit www.moorelands.ca
What do your kids love about overnight camp?
After I saw this 3 minute YouTube clip about Moorelands Wilderness Camp, I now want to go too!