Special attention for every child

Camps made special by special people: the counsellors


Mara, a camp staffer at Camp Arowhon echoes a sentiment of many camp counsellors when she says she loves being "in a beautiful place working with kids." An important part of the beauty of camp, though, is the way counsellors know how to make the experience special for all kids.

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Paula Caruana is a mother of two kids who spent last summer at Daniel, 5, first year and Will, 9, second year. She shares with us how, thanks to the special attention of counselors at Glenbrook day Camp in Toronto, camp offered an "opportunity for every child."

Both of my kids are high-functioning autistic. And they loved all of the activities. The camp was on a farm and they were having "hay loft" as an activity and "wagon ride" and "creek" — it was just taking off your shoes and exploring through the creek and catching crayfish. A lot of the programs also helped with their gross motor skills—rock climbing and cycling, for Will. It was a long time before he was able to bike with the group, but it was a goal and it was a challenge and he did it.

The one thing that really stands out for me was something that the camp director did for Will on his last day. Will has a tough time with finality, so on his last day he was a wreck, and we knew he was going to be a wreck. And she brought a little book and gave it to all of the counsellors who knew Will. Each counsellor wrote a page of "I remember when you did this." It was a personalized note from each of the counsellors. And he really enjoyed that; it made him feel special.

Ella, from Khartoum in the Sudan, loves the way Camp Arowhon makes her feel right at home. She says camp gives her magical experiences to remember forever.

I like the skits they put on all the time, even though I don’t always understand them. They’re funny. Everybody laughs and that makes me laugh, too. And I played Cinderella in the play last night.

This is my second time here. I like it very much even though I have to come a long way to get here. My parents work for the UN. My grandfather used to come here.

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