Alex’s Moorelands Kids Story
Alex had been dreaming of going to summer camp for a long time.
Growing up in community housing in the north of the city with his mom, he didn’t have much chance to enjoy the school summer break. A bright and enthusiastic child, he’d read about summer camp and all the adventures a kid could have there but he knew his mom couldn’t afford to send him. Money was always tight and so he spent a lot of his time bored and unmotivated, just sitting around his apartment.
His mom, Nadia, was worried about him. She knew her son was smart and filled with potential. She hated the fact that instead of growing and improving over the summer, he spent a lot of the time isolated and alone. She wanted to give him the best opportunities that growing up in a vibrant city like Toronto could offer… but she couldn’t afford most of the summer programs available in the city, let alone opportunities where kids could escape for a break in nature. Or so she thought.
When Nadia heard about Moorelands Camp through her social worker in the spring of 2018, both she and Alex were thrilled to discover that his dreams of camp could become a reality!
And what an adventure it was! The reality of going to camp for the first time in summer 2018 ended up being far better than Alex had ever imagined! At first, of course, he struggled with being away from home; especially since for so much of the time, he was used to it being just him and his mom. His cabin leaders said that initially, he had poor social skills – he invaded people’s space and it took a while for him to adapt to his new community. But adapt he did.
Over that single week, he grew a lot. Not only did he have fun learning outdoor living skills and kayaking, he learned important interpersonal and leadership skills like being respectful, thinking win-win to solve problems and working together as a team. He demonstrated real leadership in the way that he was a positive influence on his cabin mates. He helped them when they were feeling homesick and really took the Moorelands Kids’ leadership habits and qualities to heart.
Nadia, noticed the change in Alex immediately when he returned home. He seemed more mature, responsible and independent. Instead of a summer wasted not learning or growing, he’d had the chance to build skills that would set him up to succeed back in school.
We asked Alex if there was anything he would change about his camp experience and the only thing he could think of was that he wished it would have lasted longer. When we asked him what the opportunity to go to camp for two weeks would mean to him, he told us:
“Two weeks at camp would make me so happy! At camp I learned about respect and responsibility but it felt like I was just adapting to camp when I had to go home. If I got to go for two weeks, I would learn so much more!”