Ever Since Maribel was 11, she looked forward to going to camp: reconnecting with her friends, enjoying the haunting call of the loon, the freedom of paddling a canoe, campfire songs and roughing it on a canoe trip.
In the last few years her sense of self had grown as a result of camp. She had learned new skills and she had learned to love the outdoors. This was in contrast to her crowded downtown apartment where she lived with her single mom and 3 siblings. This year Mirabel is now 14 and things are different.
It is the year of COVID 19:
Maribel had again been chosen by Camp Amici to receive financial assistance so she could go to camp.
(Her mother’s total income was $32000, 80% of those assisted had incomes below $32000).
Since the middle of March, the possibility
of camps being open was a question mark.
Their fate was sealed on May 19thwhen the government announced camps would not be allowed to open.
It has been revealed most of the people getting the virus, not just locally but in the U.S., and other countries too, have been from low-income families. Families like Mirabel’s. This inequality needs to be changed.
It is well accepted one of
the best ways to get out of poverty
and create equality is through
education. Summer camp sits at the top of the heap as being an outstanding
provider of educational experiences.
In addition to the things outlined above that Maribel has gained from camp, campers learn to mix with others, develop values, and learn to reach out to others. Camp also unlocks ones’ potential. Furthermore, it is a healthy and fun place to be.
Camp Amici has been in existence since 1966. Their purpose is to provide camping experiences for children who cannot afford camp.
Their main fund raiser is through CANOE HEADS, an event we are proud to say was started by our son Stuart and friend Willie MacRae. (Stuart is still a key organizer).
In past years, to raise money,former campers and friends get sponsors to support their carrying a canoe 15 km along Toronto’s waterfront and paddle 15 km back to the start.
Since inception they have raised over $1.2 million. And sent 100s of children to camp
As a result of COVID-19 the Canoe Heads organizers have been forced to be creative. Instead of forgetting the event and not sending kids to camp, the participants have been asked to have a canoeing/camping experience separately(virtually) – ideally on May 30th – and get people to sponsor them.
Activities will range from
having a mock paddle in their bathtub to a family canoe outing. Some are short,
but some are challenging.
Our daughter Heather and her partner John have chosen to carry a canoe 15 km (9 miles) over the famous and historic canoe route from Georgian Bay to Lake Simcoe. They will be assisted by John’s daughter Vanessa and a friend and Heather’s son Ethan.
This 9 mile portage was an important trading route for Indigenous people for over 500 years, as well as voyageurs, Indigenous warriors, soldiers during the war of 1812, and Sir John Franklin, who used it to go overland to the Arctic.
Amici is the not the only camp affected. While camps will not open this summer, many not-for-profit camps – like Camp Big Canoe need support so they will not be forced to close forever. With this summer no longer a viable option in person, their annual source of income has been decimated.
Amici will use the money raised to assist campers and their families locally and on-line and return to sending them to camp next year.
This is the first blog I have asked for money. However, if you feel so inclined and are like most people who want to do something meaningful, particularly now, please click the link. If you would like to support Heather Snyder and party and /or Stuart Snyder and party, please press donate on the attached link with their names. You will be sent a charitable receipt.
Providing camp and related activities for these young people, like Mirabel, who were not born rich but deserve an equal opportunity will be Good News and a GOOD HAPPENING, not only for the young people, but also for the participants and for you.