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