The smell of freshly cut grass; the feel of sunscreen on your skin; the cheering crowd when your ball hits the net . . . summer is all about the little things. But for many children and youth in Ottawa, particularly members of the LGBT community, those little joys have never been experienced.
Kids supported by the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa often go without the summer memories that make up our childhoods. Summer camp is no exception, despite the fact that these children are often those who could benefit the most from a carefree camp experience.
That’s where the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa (CAFO) comes in. The foundation has created the Camp for Kids Program, which offers kids the opportunity to attend summer camp. The program uses funds to give kids life-changing experiences, such as sending young members of the LGBT community to Camp Ten Oaks, Canada’s only summer camp designed for queer youth.
CAFO’s goal is to provide kids with the type of cheerful summer memories that many of us take for granted. It’s no secret that attending summer camp makes a lasting impression, and making a donation to CAFO allows them to send kids to camp.
Check out the many ways in which this small opportunity can make a big difference in a child’s life.
1. Become more physically active
Camp gives kids the opportunity to try out sports and activities that they otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to. Baseball, tennis, soccer, hiking, swimming, running, climbing — it’s all there. Camp provides new, and fun, ways to be active.
2. Gain confidence
Camp helps children and youth build self-confidence by removing the competitive social environment that shapes their lives at school. Camp provides diverse opportunities to succeed, which allows kids to feel more accomplished — and feel like the best version of themselves.
3. Grow more independent
Camp gives kids the freedom to grow and expand their horizons. It’s a safe place for them to practice making their own decisions and develop who they are.
Taking some time away from technology is often just what kids need to rediscover their creativity and imagination. This allows them to really engage with the world around them, and exposes them to real people and emotions.
5. Gain resiliency
The safe and nurturing environment at camp makes it easier for kids to try new things. It reinforces the idea that improvement happens when you don’t give up. Almost everything, from the inability to swim to a fear of heights, can be conquered at camp.
6. Develop lifelong skills
Camps provide the right instruction, equipment and facilities for kids to enhance their sports abilities, their artistic talents and their adventure skills. The sheer variety of activities offered at camp makes it easy for kids to discover and develop what they like to do. Camp expands every child’s abilities.
7. Learn how to relax
Freedom from their often hectic schedules allows kids to take the time to relax. Life at camp gives children much needed play time, where they don’t have to worry about anything else but having fun.
8. Develop social skills
Camp often involves activities that highlight the importance of working as a team. Joining a close-knit community shows kids the importance of working together, which benefits them long after summer’s gone.
9. Improve academic outcomes
It’s been proven that the skills developed at camp often lead to better academic outcomes when the school year starts. For kids who sometimes face academic challenges, this can make a big difference in their lives.
10. Make friends
Kids who have difficulty making friends will often find that camp eases the stress of meeting new people. Free from the expectations pressuring them at school, camp creates lasting friendships.
The list goes on and on. One thing is clear: the many lasting effects of going to camp would make a tremendously positive impact on the children and youth served by the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa. A donation from you could make all the difference.
As many of you are getting ready to send your kids to camp this summer, think of those who have never been given the opportunity to do so. Consider the difference you could be making in their lives. Donate to the Camp for Kids Program today.