Vibrant Communities In Focus
Image Credit: Christine P. Newman
[North Hastings Community Integration Association] Where else but summer camp can a child make a macaroni necklace in the morning and play air guitar at lunch? Children who attend the Experience Summer program in Bancroft can stay for two weeks and it’s free, thanks in part to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Run by the North Hastings Community Integration Association and the local daycare, it’s open to kids from five to thirteen years of age, including children with disabilities. Co-ordinator David Buttineau says that’s part of the magic. “This camp gets all sorts of kids together, and they laugh and play and experience so much. We have day trips to places like the Ontario Science Centre and Santa’s Village. In camp, there’s swimming, soccer, arts and crafts, skateboarding, tennis lessons. Some of the kids come from financially strapped families and this is the only way they’d make it to camp. I look at these photos and see the amazement in their eyes, the joy of being part of something pretty cool. I think we all learn what we experience and we try to put as many things into the program as we can. People in the community love spotting the kids walking through the parks. It makes them feel good, to see kids out exploring, learning, laughing on a hot summer day with new friends and great leaders. The camp director came right up through the ranks and I’d say eighty percent of the kids come back, year after year. They just love it!”