campfire confidence

Natalie

“Moorelands changed Natalie. Be Natalie’s hero. Make a donation before the end of the year to help Natalie spread some Moorelands “campfire confidence” to other Toronto kids.”

Natalie's Story

I’d like you to meet Natalie. She’s just one of the 133,000 children who are living in poverty in our city, right now.

Natalie was going through a tough time when I first met her.

Our BLAST leaders told me that she had been a victim of bullying at school and her self-esteem was at rock bottom. I watched her interacting with the other children at BLAST and I could see that, although she was struggling, the positive environment based on respect and caring was helping her, slowly but surely, come out of her shell.  It became clear to me that this was a child in need of the year-round support that Moorelands can offer. I determined, right then and there, to get Natalie to camp.

Fast-forward to this summer at Moorelands Camp where I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie again. This time around, it was like meeting a different person.  I saw her beaming with confidence as she sang camp songs with a group of friends around the campfire. As the campfire came to a close, her cabin group passed by. There she was, right in the middle, laughing and filled with joy as she recounted her time at camp and all she’d achieved. When I asked her what she had learned over her time at Moorelands she said;

“Moorelands has taught me how to be strong and think positively. From what I’ve learned here, I can teach others to be more confident like me.”  – Natalie, Age 10.

At Moorelands Camp, kids like Natalie get the opportunity to develop self-esteem and resiliency and to form positive, enduring friendships – the tools they need to overcome bullying and many other life challenges.

Moorelands changed Natalie. Be Natalie’s hero. Donate before December 31st 2017 to help Natalie spread some Moorelands “campfire confidence” to other Toronto kids.

Thank you!

Lynda

Lee at Moorelands Camp

Moorelands’ Camper, Lee, Gives Back

Growing up, sometimes the only gifts we got came from the people supporting Moorelands.”

Lee's Story

Meet Lee, a hardworking and determined young woman working in the city of Toronto at the popular Broadview restaurant, Eastbound Brewing Co.

Lee first came to Moorelands at the age of 9, when a friend from her St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood invited Lee to come to camp in the summer of 2000. “Right away, Moorelands became the definition of summer for me. I knew I was happy there – it was a freeing place to be.”

Moorelands Camp was such a gift

“My family and I lived in downtown Toronto. Mom always worked but it was hard for our family. Mom was dealing with health issues which dominated our world. Coming to camp, having a plan for the day, eating on schedule, not having to parent my younger brother – this was such a gift. It gave me time to focus on me.

Lee got back to camp during this summer’s Alumni celebration, Camp’s 100th Birthday. “It hadn’t changed at all. Moorelands was always a place where you could learn about yourself. I was never any good at public speaking. Moorelands taught me to enjoy challenges and to push through obstacles, be it on the ropes course or on a bog walk. So when LT asked me to make a speech in my final year as a counsellor, it was just one more fear I learned to let go of at Moorelands.

Lee and Jumpah
Lee (left) and Jumpah on Alumni day
Lee taking part in songs in the dining hall
Lee (right) at Alumni Day
Lee, right, as an ACE camper
Lee, right, as an ACE camper
Lee as a counsellor in 2010
Lee as a counsellor in 2010

From Camper to Counsellor

At Moorelands, campers learn to dig deep. You learn you can achieve that impossible goal you set for yourself. When times get hard again, no one can take that away from you.

I asked Lee what she learned from her time at Moorelands, both as a camper and as a returning counsellor, mentoring other young people from this city, between 2009 and 2012. “My time at Moorelands convinced me I want to work in a leadership education role.  I want to work with youth, and give them those skills I learned at camp.” Moorelands is so structured – we come in with a plan about how we want to empower the kids.  We value them for who they are and we see who they could be if given the chance.”

Skills that Last a Lifetime

Lee wants to give back to youth – to help them find the joy she found at Moorelands. This year, Lee applied to the Outdoor and Adventure Education program at Fleming College. Graduates of this diploma course will be able to lead, facilitate and instruct children, youth and adults in a wide variety of activities as they develop self- confidence and achieve personal and group goals while ensuring the personal safety of participants.

I found you make the best connections when you’re tripping. At Moorelands you put a lot of trust into the people with you on the trip. I have a lot more empathy. Moorelands taught me how important it is to understand others, to focus on them before you.  Knowing that about yourself makes you stronger. I’m more open and can advocate for myself. I learned to make better decisions.  All that character stuff actually stuck!”

Lee with fellow camp staff in 2009
Lee (2nd left) with fellow camp staff in 2009
Lee, as a counsellor, with campers
Lee, as a counsellor, with campers
Lee and her brother meet santa!
Lee and her brother meet santa!
Lee and her younger brother open presents from their Christmas Sharing sponsor.
Lee and her younger brother open presents from their Christmas Sharing sponsor.

Christmas Sharing – a chance to give back

I asked Lee why she decided to adopt a Moorelands family this Christmas.

“All my childhood, my family were adopted by others.  I knew firsthand the difference it makes. Some years the only gifts we got were from Moorelands donors. I’m making my own way now and I want to give back to families in this city too.  Moorelands is doing a great job; they’re growing with the times. But I wish I could get more people involved – word of mouth is great but a lot of people still don’t know about Moorelands or what a difference it can make to a child.  I would ask anyone reading this to spread the word. Let’s get others involved in Moorelands.”

Lee is doing a great job too. Toronto heroes don’t need to wear a cape or have a super strength. Like you Lee, they just need to decide to take an action to make life better for a child in this city.

To all our Moorelands’ heroes this Christmas, Merry Christmas, thank you!

#GivingTuesday is November 28th! Take 2 minutes to change a child's life...

This #GivingTuesday your support can give even more kids the opportunity to build some “campfire confidence” at Moorelands.

Giving Tuesday 2017

One of our amazing donors has offered a MATCHING GIFT! If we raise $3,600 on November 28th, this generous anonymous donor will match your gifts and double your impact!

Visit: http://givingtuesday.ca/partners/moorelands-community-services to learn more about how you can give back and spread the word about Moorelands on November 28th!

THANK YOU!

Countdown to #GivingTuesday…

GivingTuesday Countdown
After-school program back in "fall" swing

After-School Programs in “Fall” Swing!

Teamwork, Trustworthiness and Problem-solving

Over the past few weeks, our Youth LED kids have been learning about important leadership habits and qualities that they can use to achieve success. The nine-week program covers many important aspects through a fun variety of activities. This past week the students at Valley Park Middle School were developing teamwork and problem-solving skills and learning about the importance of trustworthiness. Check out the pics!

Getting Active After-School

Recent studies highlight the importance of getting kids active and into the outdoors to reap many physical and mental health benefits and improve attainment at school.  BLAST Gateway has been making the most of the beautiful fall weather by playing soccer and developing their physical literacy skills outdoors. Check out the pics of the fun!

 

Cooking Activities help kids develop important life-skills

All those active games help our kids work up quite the appetite! Last week, kids at BLAST had quite the treat when they learned how to bake delicious cupcakes! Take a look at the pics of kids practising teamwork and sharing as they worked together to bake a delicious batch of tasty goodness!

Celebrating Canada150 with some Bannock

Over at BLAST Gateway, kids also took part in a cooking activity but this time they were learning about the traditional Canadian bread – Bannock! At Moorelands Camp, kids learn to make bannock on cookouts and campouts so we brought a little camp to Moorelands BLAST and the kids got to recreate a Canadian campout after-school!
Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

BLAST is back!

Moorelands BLAST is Back!

At Moorelands, we believe that ‘Together is Better’!

BLAST is Back!

BLAST IS BACK! Moorelands BLAST after-school programs returned last week and it was so great to meet old and new faces alike! Our programs at Thorncliffe Park PS, Gateway PS and Grenoble PS all kicked off with getting-to-know-you activities and an introduction to the Moorelands Community Code. At BLAST Thorncliffe, participants got stuck into some fun gym games and got some much-need physical activity. Did you know that being active after school has a greater impact on a child’s academic success than homework??

Together is Better

One of our Moorelands Leadership Habits is that “Together is Better.” As we welcomed back our participants, we’re so thankful to everyone in our community who makes our programs possible… a special shout out here to our awesome program staff team! These guys work so hard to put on a wide variety of activities each week – all of them including a second level of “intentional” learning. At BLAST Grenoble, program leaders organized a fantastic healthy eating game. Participants got to construct their own yummy fruit kebobs… and then took it in turns to reveal something about themselves to their new program friends with each yummy fruit chunk. So our kids got to learn about healthy eating AND each other!

Learning Life Skills

Meanwhile, kids at BLAST Gateway were developing important life-skills as the learned to make Pita Pizzas…and then sampling their delicious handy work! At BLAST, participants take part in cooking workshops weekly. Twice a month they focus on creating a specifically healthy meal, but there is always a focus on the elements of basic nutrition, what making healthy choices looks like and why balance is important.

There are still spots left at all three locations and all spaces are subsidized; the highest amount parents pay is $125 for 5 days a week for the whole school year! Register your child for BLAST here.

We’re excited to welcome back our Youth LED and VITAL programs, this week. If you would like to register your child for any of these programs, visit here: www.moorelands.ca/register.

Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

St. Timothy's Work Weekend

St. Timothy’s Work Weekend 2017

“When I see pictures of kids at camp – on benches we have made, enjoying the archery area, the PFD’s hanging to dry, the faces of the campers, and the stories of a campers growth… I’m proud to know we have had a small role to play in this place.”

St. Timothy’s Anglican Church Volunteers

THANK YOU!

At Moorelands, we teach our kids about the importance of service leadership – the idea that a leader exists to serve and help others be the best they can be.  One great example of this is the St. Timothy’s work weekend.

Members of St. Timothy’s congregation have been coming up to Moorelands Camp to volunteer for over 20 years.  Over this year’s weekend, these fantastic volunteers donated more than 200 hours of labour. Not only did they build, repair, paint and clean up but they got to spend some good church-family bonding time.

We’re so in awe of the age range of volunteers – from toddlers to seniors – everyone pitched in to help!

Jane Hutchinson, who organizes the weekend along with Christie Stevenson, has been coming up to help since 1997. She explains that the idea to volunteer at Moorelands first came about as part of the church’s outreach and fellowship and it continues to be a multi-generational project with around 40 volunteers each summer.

She fondly remembers coming up to camp with her daughter, Rachel, 20 years ago and sleeping in a wilderness cabin with no electricity… a cabin which they ended up sharing with a family of chipmunks!

Jane and Rachel have witnessed many changes at camp over the years but also appreciate how the camp changed them too:

 

“Our first project was to build a cabin with wood siding – we had no idea that we could do it! But we all encouraged each other and learned. It was amazing. Skilled volunteers showed us how to use the tools and we developed confidence in ourselves. It’s one of the things that’s brought us back to volunteer year after year.”
Today, she and Rachel continue their support and are now joined by Rachel’s nieces and son!

Jane is grateful for the opportunity to “help a worthy cause and spend time enjoying the scenic setting and fresh air. I appreciate the community spirit and the knowledge that we are doing something that is of benefit to Moorelands…

“I know that everyone is so thankful that we can help provide a camp experience to children who can’t afford it. I personally feel blessed that my own children didn’t have to strive for that. I’m happy that I can help other children have opportunities that my children were able to have.”

Christie adds, The goals and values of Moorelands just seem to make such good sense: Providing opportunities for kids to grow and develop as responsible citizens. Through volunteer opportunites, I’ve met kids who were campers/leaders, and are now educated and working and giving back. Proof that Moorelands works! I feel this is an organization I want to support – and it is brilliant to be able to contribute in tangible ways.”

Over the years, the congregation of St. Timothy’s have supported Moorelands’ children in many other ways – from financial donations to participating in Christmas Sharing. We’re so thankful to our friends at St. Timothy’s for all that they do. And a big special thank you to Christie and Jane for providing leadership and planning a great event for all.

Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

#GivingTuesday is November 28th!

This #GivingTuesday, your support can give even more kids the opportunity to build some “campfire confidence” at Moorelands.

Giving Tuesday 2017

One of our amazing donors has offered a MATCHING GIFT! If we raise $3,600 on November 28th, this generous anonymous donor will match your gifts and double your impact!

Visit: http://givingtuesday.ca/partners/moorelands-community-services to learn more about how you can give back and spread the word about Moorelands on November 28th!

THANK YOU!

Countdown to #GivingTuesday…

GivingTuesday Countdown
Kayak the Humber

Kayak the Humber

We had such an amazing time at our Kayak the Humber event last week! Thank you so much to everyone who came out. It was so great to catch up with some Moorelands peeps right here in Toronto…and what a beautiful evening it was for a paddle! Check out the pics.

help kids by supporting Moorelands after school programs

How You Can Help Kids By Supporting Moorelands After-school Programs

After-school Program = Setting Kids Up For Success

Read on to learn what can be achieved this fall at Moorelands After-school programs with your help!

after-school programs - blast boy reading

Improved Academic Results

Kids from low-income neighbourhoods are falling behind their middle-class peers – reports confirm economic disparities result in academic disparities. At BLAST after-school program, super fun activities teach kids, grades 1-6, vital skills needed to succeed in school… PLUS we offer homework help every day. Amira, a BLAST parent told us: “The wide-ranging activities kids do help them learn and understand different things. That includes science, arts and crafts and reading.”

after-school program - youth LED kids

Benefits to Mental Health

Kids affected by poverty are 3X more likely to experience isolation and depression. 78% of Youth LED after-school program kids, grades 7 and 8, told us that Youth LED helped them feel safer, more confident and make new friends.  Maia, told us: “Moorelands has taught me about being safe and being confident and trying my best.”

 

VITAL at BLAST-A-THON

Reduced Behaviour Issues

Kids growing up in poverty are more likely to engage in/are at-risk of delinquent behaviours. You can affect these behaviours by supporting any Moorelands after-school program. All Moorelands kids and youth develop leadership skills Daveed, age 15 and enrolled in VITAL, told us: “Something I learned that will help me outside of Moorelands is being respectful. Even if someone is mean to someone else, I now have ways to diffuse the situation and get them to stop.”

after-school program and heatlthy kids

Healthier, More Active Kids

There’s a direct correlation between neighbourhood income and kids being at risk of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. 94% of parents reported that they felt the BLAST program encouraged their child to be more active. Rupal, a BLAST parent told us: “Now my kids are more self-confident and more active… It’s safe, affordable and fun!”

 

after-school program - smiling girl at BLAST

A Safe Space to Learn & Grow

Toronto is ‘Canada’s child poverty capital.’ Many working parents cannot afford childcare after school. All spots at Moorelands After-school programs are subsidized and geared to income. Leisha, a BLAST parent, told us: “The program helps me to make my crazy schedule easier. Being a full-time working mom I do appreciate all your help. Knowing Moorelands is there for my kids to ensure their safety and encourage them to be better kids – it means we will all have a stronger future, together.”

You can help kids achieve these positive outcomes by supporting our after-school programs today.

Donate online here: Donate

Look how much good your gifts to Moorelands can do

Look How Much Good Your Gifts To Moorelands Can Do

THANK YOU for your gifts to Moorelands this year!

So far this year, your gifts to Moorelands have already made an amazing impact in the lives of Toronto kids in need.  Check out some of the ways your support in the Send a Kid to Camp campaign made a BIG difference this summer.

Your gifts to Moorelands - Camp girls hanging out

A Safe Space

YOU gave 518 campers a safe place to just be kids and explore nature away from the pressures of the city. Grace, age 10, told us she loved her time at camp because “I learned that one of my strengths is trying new things… and now I am (sort of) not afraid of spiders…!”

your gifts to Moorelands - proud boy with staff with character badge

Positive Role Models

YOU provided campers with 50 well-trained staff. 93% of campers reported that they had strong connections to positive staff role models. Ryan, age 8, told us: “I learned a lot from my cabin leaders and I can surely use respect and teamwork in my daily life to keep a good reputation. Thank you!”

your gifts to Moorelands - girl learning to swim

Water Safety

YOU gave 179 non-swimmers the chance to learn how to swim. Sara, age 12, told us: “The only chance I get to swim is at camp, and I love it so much! The water is amazing!”

your gifts to Moorelands - older boy helping younger girl on high ropes

Leadership Skills

YOU provided the opportunity for campers to improve their leadership skills: 91% said they are more responsible because of camp. Brayden, age 13, told us: “Because of camp I feel like now I care for others more. I can use this to be more respectful and responsible at home.”

Your gifts to Moorelands - boy by the frogpond

From Camp to Community

YOUR efforts through the Send a Kid to Camp Campaign paid the fees for 219 Moorelands campers. Mark, age 13, told us his time at camp will help him at home: What I learned at camp can help me outside of Moorelands because I can help spread positivity in my community.”

A special thank you from a camper parent:

“Just wanted to say this year at Moorelands was absolutely fantastic and a huge success. I know you always do your best for the kids but this year was special. The counsellors were absolutely phenomenal. Both my boys were thrilled… Keep up the very good job. Way to go! BRAVO! And a huge thank you to those who helped us get to camp,  from the bottom of my heart! :)”

THANK YOU for your gifts to Moorelands!

Scotiabank Training Weekends 2017

Scotiabank Staff Training Weekends 2017

If you really want to be a successful leader, you must develop other leaders around you. You must develop a team of leaders!”  John C. Maxwell

Staff Training - Developing Moorelands Leaders

Scotiabank staff training 2017

Moorelands staff members are an integral part of our after-school programs. We are so fortunate to receive generous funding for our staff training from Scotiabank to prepare staff for the important job ahead of them. Our staff training is focused on how team members can support Toronto kids in their leadership development. Team building and leadership focused activities are used to help staff build trust, connections and their own personal leadership skills.

Know, Grow, Show

Over several training sessions in September, staff learn about our inclusive culture, values and commitment to Positive Youth Development; Moorelands leadership habits and qualities; creating fun and engaging activities for our participants that help them know, grow and show; and how to ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone at Moorelands.

At Moorelands We Are Intentional

Our staff training is vigorous because at Moorelands we are intentional: We intend that children will gain skills, experience personal growth, gain confidence and make friends because they have been to Moorelands. Therefore, it’s important that our staff leaders are intentional too. At staff training they learn how to plan activities with a purpose, create teachable moments and maximize the opportunities they have to positively influence the children and youth we serve.

Our after-school program staff are awesome and we can’t wait for them to demonstrate their skills in our BLAST, YOUTH LED and VITAL leadership programs in Thorncliffe Park and Flemington Park. All spots in our programs are subsidized. If you’d like to learn more about our programs or complete an application form for your child online, click here.

We’re so excited for after-school programs to start again next week. Thank you, Scotiabank, for giving our staff the opportunity to develop the tools both they, and our kids, need to succeed.

Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

Mayree Poverty Report

Maytree Report: What does the data tell us about rising poverty in Canada?

Some key findings from the Maytree Report

  • “Over [a] nine-year period, incomes increased across the distribution. But the gap between the highest earners and lowest earners also increased, with incomes at the top rising by 11.6 per cent, compared to a rise of 7.5 per cent at the bottom.”
  • “[In 2015] Poverty rose for most family types, with the exception for children in lone-parent families. Their poverty rate fell to 36.4 per cent from 41.9 per cent, but it remained much higher than the rate for children living with two parents at 10.3 per cent. Unattached working-age adults without children also had a high poverty rate at 35.9 per cent.”
  • “In 2015, 12.1 per cent of Canadians (4.2 million people) were in poverty according to the MBM (Market Based Measure), up from 11.3 per cent (3.9 million people) in 2014.”
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