This week, our C21 Canada Home Office team got to visit BC Easter Seals Camp Squamish one of 16 camps across the country. This 33-acre site provides safe, fun activities in an environment where the focus is on abilities, not disabilities. Campers are encouraged to participate in activities including climbing, tie-dying, water polo, canoeing, wheelchair basketball, and water balloon wars.
To say the least, it was an eye-opening visit. Our team got to experience what the campers say is “the best week of their year”. We were greeted by the two enthusiastic campers who were our guides for the day. They took us to the costume room where our staff got to dress up in the funkiest costumes. Outfitted as bunnies, tigers, giraffes, magicians (you name it) we began our tour. It felt like we were in Neverland where everyone could be who they wanted to be, where there is no judgement and only acceptance. We visited the arts and crafts room, basketball court, indoor pool, secret garden, tree house, trampoline area, campfire and even an outdoor theatre. At first it sounds like a typical camp site but, in reality, it is a place where dreams come true. At this camp, a fully paralyzed girl swam in the pool for the first time, a little boy could play in wheelchair-accessible treehouse and hundreds of other kids could discover their acting and singing talents.
What struck our team the most is the amount of empathy, patience and understanding that these kids have towards each other and camp visitors. Together, they gain confidence, independence, and responsibility and celebrate who they are. Easter Seals Camp truly helps them to become active members of a community that embraces the beauty and diversity of self, others and the environment. It helps the campers cultivate meaningful relationships and experiences they can further develop outside of camp. And most importantly, these kids have opportunities to challenge themselves, take risks and try new things in a safe, warm and supportive environment.
At first it sounds like a typical camp site but, in reality, it is a place where dreams come true. At this camp, a fully paralyzed girl swam in the pool for the first time, a little boy could play in wheelchair-accessible treehouse and hundreds of other kids could discover their acting and singing talents.
We all left inspired by the spirit of these kids, and the importance of donations and volunteers so that Easter Seals can keep making dreams come true.
If you would like to get involved and possibly change someone’s life, follow the link below: