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One-week summer camp experience

When illness or disability affects a family member, often it’s the other children in the household who end up
being affected too. And illness or disability can make the entire family financially vulnerable.
That’s why a $1,400 grant from the Niagara Community Foundation’s summer camp fund is so important to
the Young Carers Initiative Powerhouse Project, an organization that provides support and encouragement to
kids whose family members are sick or disabled.
The grant enabled the Powerhouse Project to offer a free, one-week summer camp experience to campers in
three different cities last summer: St. Catharines, Welland, and Niagara Falls. The week-long camps were
organized on an Amazing Race theme, with fun and challenging activities that featured detours and roadblocks,
and which required teamwork and communication skills to survive. Over 50 campers were able to participate.
In addition to relieving stress and teaching valuable skills, the camps also showed the participants that they
are not alone in their challenging family situations.
The camps were good for the campers and good for their families.
“We have so much going on in our home,” wrote one mother. With a disabled child and another one facing
severe medical issues, sending her two other children to camp meant “we can breathe a little easier knowing
the boys have a fun and safe place to go.”
Wrote another parent: “My son has made many new friends this week. It’s important for him to realize he’s
not alone.”
The camp gave her daughter things to look forward to, wrote another mother, “and a well-deserved break
from the stress.”

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