By Emily Love

In the past, supporting churches have given The Compass some weeks for sending children to summer camp, and The Compass has also partnered with the Lakeshore Community Corridor Team (LCCT) to help send children to camp in keeping with the late Jim Tovey’s wishes. This year, we received an extremely generous donation in May to help our clients who have children. With summer camp happening first, we decided to see what impact this donation could have on our existing summer camp program. A few church camps were relocating, so we decided to look into City of Mississauga camps, which are easily accessible by public transportation, as well as relying heavily on SAGA Camp again this year. Near the end of May, I started enrollment in both SAGA and City of Mississauga Camps, and in June, there was a steady influx of parents wanting to sign their kids up for camp.

I sat down with each parent and matched a camp to their most convenient location and to their child’s hobbies/interests. They were ecstatic that their children could spend the summer doing fun activities, such as going on exciting field trips and cooling off in the pools! The majority of our clients face chronic food insecurity, and they find it difficult to afford and access recreational programs, leaving their children with little to do in the summer when they don’t have to attend school. We sent many children to camp with subsidized funds from the Jerry Love Children’s Fund, and The Compass covered the rest. Summer camp is a great opportunity for children for many reasons; there are friends to be found in other campers, mentors to be found in the counsellors, new skills and hobbies to learn, and lots of fun to be had. Summer camp should be something everyone has an opportunity to experience, with the potential to make great memories and friends during the time they spend at camp.

Giving parents who need our support the opportunity to send their children to camp for free is a giant weight off their shoulders in terms of worrying about how they’re going to keep their children occupied in the summer. Summer camp is a way to help our clients relax a little bit; both the parents and the children! Thanks to the amazing donations, we were able to send almost 50 children in need to camp with all of them receiving at least two weeks of camp each! 106 weeks of camp were given in total and the different camps that children were enrolled in are: 10 weeks of SPARC camp at Lorne Park Baptist Church, over 40 weeks of City Camps and over weeks 50 to SAGA Camp hosted by Clarkson Community Church. Another two weeks was donated by Visual Arts Mississauga for children who are artistically inclined. This summer, these children will be able to learn, grow and play; the children are already having a blast at camp and are asking about going back next year!

Emily Love has worked at The Compass for the last two summers as a summer student. For inquiries, contact emily@thecompass.ca.

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