Win 4 Kids Finalist: Camp Awakening

$5,000 Winner

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Camp Awakening offers two summer camp programs that give youth with physical disabilities the opportunity to increase independence, make lasting friendships and build confidence. Camp Awakening campers participate in a variety of recreational activities – including at least four to six hours of instructional physical activity daily. Activities include swimming, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, basketball, sledge hockey, soccer, tennis, challenge courses and so much more! 

The main focus is on instruction, skill development and of course, fun. As campers build skills many work to attain specific levels in their favourite activities. Children with disabilities often feel socially isolated, stigmatized and marginalized from society. By participating in organized sports and recreational activities that are offered at the camp, they have the opportunity to develop their skills and achieve the lasting benefits of mental and physical health.

30 per cent of the campers are from the greater Toronto area (GTA), another 20 per cent are from medium-sized city centers like Peterborough, Kitchener, Waterloo, etc. The remaining 50 per cent are from small towns and are often the only child in their whole school or community with a physical disability. The campers range from 9-18 years of age.

Funds from Win 4 Kids would be dedicated to two specific areas of the Camp Awakening program: sponsorship and adapted equipment. Sponsorship provides financial assistance for more than 60 per cent of the campers who require subsidies. Adapted equipment will be designated towards the purchase of adapted and accessible sports equipment to ensure all campers can participate and have fun.

 

"Camp Awakening has brought out the best in Adam and has made him realize his dreams all the way. The camp experience improved his confidence, independence and social skills.  The counsellors and camp staff have been wonderful mentors for him with their positive attitudes and encouraging outlooks.  Adam is who he is now because Camp Awakening took him on an adventure that nobody else could. This has allowed him to see his life so differently, so enjoyably and feeling capable of doing everything.”
Sarah, Parent

 

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#FEELGOODFRIDAY "You can do it!" yells 10-year-old Arabella as she cheers on her peers who are tackling riding bikes for the first time. Arabella has cerebral palsy, which causes her to lose her balance easily, but give this girl a set of wheels and she can keep up with any kid her age. Several years ago, Arabella had the chance to try out a balance bike with larger wheels. With advice from an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist, her family ordered her a customized bicycle, and she hasn’t stopped since. Thanks to a GoodLife Kids Grant, families in Winnipeg can continue to try out specially adapted kids' bicycles at the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation. “Many children with physical disabilities end up sitting on the sidelines while their family and friends are being active. We find a bike that works for them and help them get active and join in on the fun,” said Christine Schollenberg, executive director. There are bicycles with all kinds of adaptations to suit various needs - like head support, trunk support and low riders for kids who need more stability. Once families find the right bike for their child, they can order one of their own with funding through the program. Arabella’s father Trevor says the adapted bicycle was the starting point for Arabella discover her love of cycling. She's since grown out of her balance bike and plans to donate it back to the centre so another little girl can enjoy it. “Now we ride together as a family and Arabella has a regular bike," says Trevor. "We learned that she doesn’t have to restrict what she does. Arabella can do almost anything a kid without disabilities can. That’s been a huge boost to her confidence and physical abilities and it’s brought our family together.”

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