For more than five decades, Easter Seals BC/Yukon has been running summer camps for children and young adults with disabilities at Camp Winfield in Lake Country. It’s a nature-based, outdoor summer camp where campers are inspired to try new activities like wheelchair basketball, water polo, climbing walls and performing arts.
“These kids often have to face life with others only seeing their disabilities, but camp helps them realize they aren’t defined by their disability, and they instead focus on empowerment and the challenges they can overcome with the support of counselors and fellow campers,” says James Gagnon, Director of Camp and Facilities at Easter Seals.
Attending these camps have made big differences and lasting impressions on these kids; improving their confidence, skills, and overall quality of life – such as the lives of kids like Logan, as well as their families.
“Our son has a degenerative life limiting disorder. I believe, and have witnessed in my son, that camp has played a significant role in his quality of life, his continued independence, his health, and most of all, it has contributed to his living in hope above his illness,” says Debra Miller, Logan’s mother.
She adds, “A week at camp each year is not only respite from our challenges, it plays a pivotal role in providing a safe, supportive environment that is inclusive, positive and fun, provides connection with peers, and fosters independence in growth of each camper.”
Camp Winfield, now in its 51st year, will host 200 children, youth and young adults this July with a wide range of disabilities from all over BC and Yukon.
“One of the main take-aways we hear from our campers all the time is about the friendships they make with the other campers they meet,” says Gagnon. “Most of the time, our campers are the only one in the room with a disability. Here, at camp, they are surrounded by kids just like them and it brings such a positive impact to their lives.”
To support kids like Logan, Easter Seals BC/Yukon is holding a Community Family Festival Sunday, June 15th from 11am – 4pm at Camp Winfield, 1790 Davidson Road in Lake Country.
Entry is by donation and activities include a 64-foot inflatable obstacle course, a 2 lane bungee race, face painting, balloon animals, dunk tank, duck races and more. Plus, players from the Okanagan Sun Football Club will be doing a meet and greet and the Lake Country Firehall will have their firetruck on site for tours.
Food includes cotton candy, popcorn and the Shut Up and Eat food truck.
“It costs $3600 to send a child to camp for a week, so dollars raised from this fundraiser will help offset these costs to send kids with diverse abilities to Easter Seals Camp Winfield giving them a week-long life-changing experience this summer,” says Gagnon.
For more event details visit www.eastersealsbcy.ca.