“Moorelands’ camp is so much more than canoeing & kayaking. It’s learning how to express yourself…to persevere until you get to where you want to be!”
When Sarah Le Bar’s mother first suggested that she go to Moorelands’ camp, Sarah, aged 9, was seriously unimpressed.
“I’d been to another camp the year before and it was a terrible experience. I was very reluctant to try camp again.”
But Sarah’s mom, a single-parent raising a child in a low-income, inner-city neighbourhood, knew that the opportunity to get her daughter to Moorelands was too good to miss. And boy, was she right!
“After two or three days at Moorelands, I had been transformed. I loved it so much; I became a camper for life!”
An Adventure Away from the City
What was it that made Moorelands’ camp such a different experience for Sarah?
“It was ALL fun. The counsellors and staff were amazing. They gave us boundaries but they let us be individuals, let us be ourselves…
“Going to camp expanded my experiences and helped me learn so much. I did things I’d never have gotten the chance to do back home. I learned to swim! And not just to swim, but swim in a lake!”
Lessons in Self-Expression
At camp, Sarah’s favourite activity was arts and crafts. She would often spend the treasured “free time” sessions in the arts and crafts cabin learning to express herself.
In fact, learning how to communicate properly and express her feelings is one of the enduring skills that Sarah attributes to camp.
“Camp built up my confidence. A lot of people don’t realise that in some households, kids just don’t learn certain skills – like how to communicate effectively – it’s hard to express yourself when no-one teaches you how.
“That’s why camp has so many benefits for inner-city kids. It builds their confidence and teaches them leadership. They learn that they have a voice. They learn that they are important.”
Sarah’s favourite camp memory is of one evening before dinner when the campers were gathered around the flagpole for camp songs.
“I got up and read one of my poems. It’s a moment that’s stayed with me. It felt great to be a part of a community, a team. I would never have had the confidence to do that before…
These days Sarah is busy working at H&R Block and studying taxation part time. Has camp left any lasting impressions on her?
“So many! Moorelands is a beautiful place – you can’t get any better. It taught me a respect for the wilderness that’s stuck with me. I still reminisce about my great times at camp and I’m still in contact with friends I made there.
“I guess the enduring impact is that Moorelands taught me that life is not just about me. It taught me to think about how I can help others, how I can make a difference in my community.”
Thank you, Sarah, for being a part of our community and sharing your story. We’re looking forward to seeing you at camp’s 100th birthday celebrations in the New Year! Merry Christmas!
Help other kids like Sarah experience a wilderness adventure at Moorelands.
Take a look at the equipment needed to make out-tripping adventures happen. Your donation of any size can make all the difference to Toronto kids-in-need.
DONATEWe are gathering Alumni stories in advance of Moorelands Wilderness Camp’s 100th Birthday in 2017. Share your story online with our easy form or contact Helen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-466-9987 ext.312 to share yours!