At The Salvation Army’s day camp in Oshawa, there is nothing like a good soak on a hot summer’s day. “Water day is my favourite day at camp,” says Isabella, 5. “We scream, splash and get wet. It’s a lot of fun.”
“This week the theme is Kids Stress Too!” says Meridith, assistant program coordinator. “Kids worry about a variety of things such as school grades, family issues and relationships with peers. We explore strategies to help them cope and feel calm at home, school and with friends.”
There are many benefits to the week-long camp. It’s cost effective, inclusive and kids who are shy or too young don’t have the anxiety that comes from attending sleep-away camps.
“At camp kids have the opportunity to be part of community, regardless of ability, race or income,” says Meridith. “Camp is for everyone.”
Riley, who the kids call “chilli” due to his red hair, volunteered last year, developed his leadership skills, and is a camp counsellor this year. “There are always new activities and crafts so kids don’t get bored,” says Riley. “I like movie day because the kids are quiet,” he chuckles.
“We keep the kids busy from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” says Sarah, a former volunteer who came back to be a counsellor. “There is a lot of noise, but that means they’re having fun.”
From scavenger hunts to sports to day trips to information sessions & crafts, there are many activities for which to engage and help kids develop new skills. “Camp helped me feel good about myself,” says one camper. “Camp helped me make new friends,” says another.
“Our camp programs are full every year,” says Meridith. “Every child should experience the benefits of summer camp.”