3 Things we learned at Easter Seals camp
*Picture of team from CENTURY 21 In Town Realty and CENTURY 21 Canada
How can you truly experience the direct impact of your donations to a cause? We got a chance to walk in Easter Seals kids’ shoes, as we laced up our sneakers and headed to their summer camp in Squamish, BC.
Easter Seals children and their families live with physical and cognitive disabilities. Our guide at this fully-accessible camp was Paul, a 20-year camp veteran turned volunteer. He shared stories and gave us a tour of the incredible activities the camp offers, most of which are completely inaccessible to these kids in their daily lives.
Here, anything is possible.
Here are three impacts of camp we discovered:
1. Camp lasts a lifetime
How meaningful is a location to someone when they choose it as their final resting place? Camp Squamish has its own memorial garden for past campers. When Paul’s best friend (one of his co-pranksters at camp) passed away last year, he chose his ashes to be buried here. The place and people here had meant that much to him.
Paul likes to sit here and reminisce about the good times they had together, jumping out of cupboards to scare camp counselors. Paul said he was grateful to camp for bringing him together with others who truly understood his challenges, as few outside of camp do.
These camp friendships and the social support they provide go beyond the one-week session.
2. Camp says “Yes” to kids who are used to hearing “No”
Donations provide a lot of firsts for kids who are used to hearing “No, you’re not able to do that,” in their daily lives. Camp Squamish has BCs first full-accessible treehouse and a pool with special wheelchairs that can go into the water. Trampolines are flat to the ground and children who cannot physically stand can sit instead, while councilors bounce around them so they can experience the bounce too.
Paul told us about one camper who wanted to tent camp with everyone else in the forest, but he required a breathing device that needed electrical power. The councilors made a chain with all of the extension cords they could find and made it happen. Now, they’ve installed an electrical outlet right beside the tenting area, so all kids can experience an outdoor slumber party.
Outside of camp, these children get used to feeling like they can’t partake in many activities. At Easter Seals camp, they learn that anything is possible.
3. Camp is so much more than fun (but it’s really fun, too!)
We attended camp with the team from CENTURY 21 In Town Realty in Vancouver. While meeting the campers and walking the grounds, we reminisced over the silly camp songs like the ones written on the walls, watching the kids slip and slide (the Squamish fire department actually showed up to hose down the runway with their truck!), and learning to do new things, like crafts and rock climbing.
Camp was still a part of all of us. It helped us build confidence to go out and try new things, to learn we could do more than we imagined, and that fun and friendship stay with you forever.
This is the true power of donations to Easter Seals and the CENTURY 21 Kids to Camp program. Squamish hosts one of 16 camps across Canada. All donations to Easter Seals stay within each province and support local families and their communities.