From day one, We Care’s vision has been to help kids with disabilities realize their full potential by raising funds to send them to fully accessible Easter Seals summer camps. These camps provide opportunities to learn new skills, try different sports and activities, and make life-long friendships. Kids return home with confidence and a greater drive to take on the world’s challenges.
Easter Seals kids face many barriers in their day-to-day lives because much of the world is not built to accommodate their accessibility needs. Some kids face isolation due to their disability or lack access to community-based programs. They may get little interaction with the world outside their home and miss important social milestones.
The camps have been designed around their needs. Recreational equipment is specially adapted to ensure all campers can participate regardless of their abilities. Camp staff and counselors receive extensive training to provide a safe and fun environment. Whether a camper want to go whitewater rafting, climb a rock wall, or learn to cook – nothing is out of reach. Easter Seals also offers leadership training programs allowing older campers to plan and run some of the camp activities.
Taking care of a child with a disability can add up to $40,000 a year in extra expenses for families. One day at an Easter Seals camp costs $250. With most overnight camp sessions running for at least a week, the cost adds up to thousands of dollars and can be difficult for many families to afford. We Care’s funding helps provide parents and siblings with some much-needed respite and the peace of mind of knowing their child is well cared for.
Various Easter Seals provincial branches also offer additional programs, such as Family Camps which allow an entire family with a child with a disability to attend a five-day overnight camp session. For most, it’s their only opportunity in the year to vacation as a family because of the needs of their child. Other programs include day, weekend, sports, and adventure camps, offered at different times of the year.
In 2020, some provinces introduced virtual camps after being forced to cancel in-person camps due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual camp is a mixture of live and pre-recorded material featuring virtual campfires and at-home activities for all campers. It’s a great way to keep the kids connected safely from home.
The kids happily welcomed the full return to in-person overnight camps in 2022, excited to see their friends once again and get back to all the fun activities they love.
We Care and our supporters are proud to help provide opportunities for kids to focus on their disABILITIES – and have fun summer camp experiences just like any other kid.