Summer camp is a rite of passage for many children in Niagara. For those who are caregivers to members of their family, that time away from home to be a kid and take a break from their day-to-day demands is even more precious.
Summer camp offerings looked a little different last year for the Young Caregivers Association, which typically offers free, week-long day camp experiences to caregiver children throughout the region. There were no trips to the splash pad or pool, no playing at the park. Instead, the camp experience, like much else in 2020, had to go online.
A summer camp grant from the Niagara Community Foundation worth $1,200 made that possible and ensured 72 local children could safely participate in camp activities for a few hours each day, including some with their family members.
The theme for the 2020 edition of Young Caregivers’ summer camp was All Around the World, providing participants with physical activity, social connecting, and learning opportunities. There were cooking classes, talent shows, virtual movie nights and science activities spread over three weeklong camps and 15 additional mini programs for participants in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, and Hamilton.
The funding from the community foundation enabled association staff to deliver materials to participants, including camp t-shirts and ingredients for those cooking classes. One delivery even featured water balloon supplies to replicate the splash pad experience at home with family.
“We have very creative staff who get it and get what kids want to achieve, and make it enjoyable for kids,” said Michelle Lewis, Young Caregivers executive director. “It was really staff, with the help of the Niagara Community Foundation grant, who made it happen.”