Get to Know Bennett

Bennett’s story of triumph and growth is made possible by our incredible donors.  

When Bennett’s family moved to Kelowna from Calgary, they began to look at options for programs that would support the needs of their son with Autism. Having only ever attended a day camp before, they were concerned about whether an overnight program would support Bennett’s unique needs. However, after looking into Easter Seals BC/Yukon’s summer camp programming, they felt confident that Bennett would be taken care of. With trained staff and a staff-to-client/camper ratio of 3:1, the family was confident that Bennett would receive the individualized attention he required. They were also happy to learn that the camp was close home. Once his mom confirmed that Bennett would be in good hands and with great company, they signed him up for his first summer in 2017 at the age of 9. Now 16 years old, Bennett has gone to camp for 7 summers, and it has become a highlight of his year.  

“The ability to have that longer respite break while he was away and knowing that he was going to be properly engaged with and supported while he was gone was huge,” Bennett’s mother, Lisa, reflected. She was confident that Bennett would be surrounded by people who embraced and understood his differences – a safe and inclusive environment for her son.

While many children with Autism find comfort in routine and familiarity, at Easter Seals camps, Bennett was encouraged to try new things and step outside his comfort zone. For Bennett, camps were more than a summer getaway. Camp has allowed him to thrive and grow in ways his family never imagined possible. From sleeping in a tent to trying smores, Bennett is always ready for his next adventure 

“We see a difference in Bennett, particularly when we travel. He’s more open to trying new things when in new places,” Lisa shares. Bennett demonstrated his newfound confidence as he fearlessly went snorkeling on a family vacation in the Caribbean last winter. New environments have become an opportunity for growth and adventure.  

The bonds Bennett formed at camp were equally transformative. The connection with his camp counselor during his first summer at Easter Seals was pleasant. He gained the comfort and support needed to thrive in the camp environment. Now, overnight camp has become a summer tradition for Bennett.    

“We are always recommending Easter Seals,” Lisa said. “It’s such a well-oiled machine.” Lisa considered what it meant to raise a child with disabilities and the importance of Easter Seals programming for families like hers. “Programs like this can be cost-prohibitive for most families,” she explains. “Donations help to subsidize these programs and give families experiences that may otherwise be out of reach.” By supporting Easter Seals, donors help provide families with the opportunity for respite, to create lasting memories, and foster independence in their children.  

Bennett has flourished under the care and guidance of dedicated staff at Camp Winfield. He embodies the spirit of Easter Seals – empowering individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential.  

If you’d like to help kids like Bennett, make a donation today.

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