Moorelands gave me the tools and confidence that I have been using in all aspects of my life, even after I stopped attending camp.
Growing up, my family moved a lot. In grade 7, I went to 3 different schools. But no matter where I lived, I always knew I would return to Moorelands Camp in the summer. Camp was my home.
I started attending Moorelands when I was 7, turning 8. At camp, I was encouraged to utilize my strengths and challenge myself. Those weeks each summer gave me the confidence and stability that I lacked in the city. When I was 17, my family experienced a crisis. That year, I took the Moorelands’ leadership training and then that summer, I became camp staff. Being at camp made me feel like myself again.
At 18, I applied to Ryerson University. There are 9 kids in my family, so my parents couldn’t provide financial support. At camp I was told about the Emily Durst Award, a bursary for low-income students who would commit to working at a Moorelands’ program during the summer. The ED Award made it possible for me to pay my tuition and get my degree. I continued to work at Moorelands until I was in my 20’s. The friends I made there are some of my closest friends today.
After University I was fortunate to get a job I love. You can tell which staff at my agency went to camp. We are the ones giving high-fives and sometimes breaking out into a camp song.
Recently, my fiancé and I decided to adopt. During the adoption process, I was asked questions like, “How were you able to find confidence and stability given your childhood?” and “Where did you learn positive coping mechanisms?” Many of my responses were “Camp”. Moorelands gave me the tools and confidence that I have been using in all aspects of my life, even after I stopped attending camp.
I am happy to say, my fiancé and I will soon be parents to a lovely little boy who I will send to Moorelands Camp once he’s old enough. His story about camp will be different than mine, but I know it will be a great one. Thank you Moorelands for helping me become who I am today and for giving me so many opportunities to succeed.
– Catlin Knowles