When children attend summer camp we have a lot of hopes for them. We hope that they are safe. We hope that they have fun. We hope that they make memories. We hope that they learn something.
But we hope for more than JUST those basics. We hope for life change.
Moorelands Kids works hard to make camp accessible to kids from some of Toronto’s most under-served neighbourhoods. Every summer, we serve over 600 young people who otherwise would not be able to access the life-enriching experience that is summer camp.
Moorelands Kids has invested over 100 years into providing experiences for Toronto’s kids to leave the city, and the pressures that it holds, and experience life in nature. Over the years, we’ve crystalized our focus, understanding that providing leadership experiences helps young people to transform their lives.
Our programs, rooted in positive youth development, provide opportunities for kids to develop leadership skills and qualities and a safe place to practice them. Through our unique Habits & Qualities, kids develop and practice critical thinking and decision making; emotional intelligence; communication; conflict resolution; problem-solving; strategic thinking; influencing skills and teamwork.
But when it comes to camp, why are we so passionate about it? How does summer camp actually change lives? Here are just a few of the incredible things that happen when kids attend summer camp.
Kids Build Confidence
After attending Moorelands Kids’ programs, 84% of kids reported they felt more confident.
Confidence comes from learning RESILIENCY- the ability to recover from difficulties and change and to move forward. We see this every week whenever campers try climbing the High Ropes Course, and lose their footing. The victory comes when they try again and succeed. We see it when a child arrives who is afraid of the water in the lake, and by the time they’re done a week of swimming lessons, they’re jumping into the water with smiles on their face!
Kids also build their confidence when they are ENCOURAGED. The staff at Moorelands Camp are EXPERTS in encouragement. They see the effort and celebrate the struggle and determination. Because staff are modeling and encouraging this in every area of camp, encouragement becomes contagious. All of a sudden, you hear kids cheering each other on, picking each other up after a failure, and pushing each other to try their best.
Competence Is Increased
Summer camp changes lives by building COMPETENCE. Kids have the opportunity to try new activities, to excel at activities, and to develop their physical skills. At Moorelands Camp, every camper gets the opportunity to take swimming lessons, and to choose sports, arts, and leadership activities they are interested in. Their physical competence grows through one week at summer camp.
Learning to canoe is amazing. Learning to swim is a life skill. Having the experience of catching frogs, or learning to build a shelter, is uniquely exciting. But more than all those awesome experiences, Moorelands Camp knows that learning goes deeper than physical skills. Everything we teach, and all the activities we lead, help kids to learn new emotional skills and new leadership skills. Canoeing teaches people to communicate and work together. Swimming teaches confidence and courage. Outdoor skills build an appreciation for nature and teaches good citizenship. Physical activities teach physical skills, but they are also a vehicle for kids to go deeper, and to learn to lead.
Kids Develop Character
At Moorelands Camp, we empower kids to transform their lives. Everything that happens, is to demonstrate and provide opportunities to learn what it means to be a LEADER. When Moorelands’ cabin leaders are forming their cabin groups together, they are helping campers to learn to choose their response, believing that YOU are responsible for YOU. This teaches kids RESPECT. When kids are creating goals, and working towards them, they are learning RESPONSIBILITY. At mealtimes, kids are learning to listen, to ask, and to share. In activities, they are learning to problem-solve together. In all camp games, they are choosing group success, over individual success. This teaches TRUSTWORTHINESS. During the daily quiet time at camp, called Siesta, campers are learning to care for themselves. Cabin life helps build positive friendships. This teaches CITIZENSHIP.
Connections are created
Summer Camp changes lives by developing friendships. Cabin mates laugh together every night as they remember hilarious things that happened that day. Cabin Leaders encourage and challenge campers to try new things. Summer Camp is a place where lives are deepened. When children are taught how to make new friends, how to form relationships, and how to speak to strangers, they are creating networks for the future, the ability to try new things, building confidence in themselves. The reality is that kids are going to depend on the ability to create connections. This is how they make friends, build trusting relationships, ask for help, and lead themselves and others. 91% of kids who attended Moorelands Kids’ programs reported they were able to make better choices after participating in the program. 90% of kids reported they were more responsible.
Summer Camp is a place set apart. It’s like a haven for learning, growing, and stepping into your personal leadership. It’s a safe place to try new things. It’s a safe place to fail. It’s a safe place to grow.
Michael Brandwein, Professional Camp Consultant, says, “What makes camp a special community is its focus on celebrating effort. In this less pressured atmosphere, children learn more readily what positive things to say and do when they make mistakes and face challenges…The traditions and customs of each different camp are like a secret code that allows those who know it to feel embraced by something unique and special.“
Summer Camp changes lives. Moorelands Camp empowers kids to transform their lives.
Summer Camp Changes Lives… But We Can’t Do It Without YOU!
Moorelands Kids is a charity, primarily funded by donations from generous individuals. It costs $1,175 to send a kid to camp, any amount you can give will make a difference!