Image Credit: Kaz Ehara
Most camps cannot accommodate the special needs of children with intellectual disabilities. Community Living Hamilton has a wonderful alternative: the Dragonfly Lodge, which sits on the edge of Camp Brebeuf, in Rockwood, Ontario. Campers at Dragonfly are encouraged to join programs at Camp Brebeuf or simply hang out at the lodge if they prefer.
Tanya Sweers helps make it all run smoothly. "Our campers are fifteen years old and older and I'm the 'matchmaker.' I try to put people together who will get along and maybe return as friends. When we looked at these photos, I started to cry. It's so clear these guys had a ball! We get people coming back every year. Some have never been in a canoe before. They've never sat by a bonfire. We offer them a lot of 'firsts.' Some of our campers are in their fifties and sixties. Our oldest camper is seventy-one!"
Tanya says the parents see Dragonfly as a godsend.
"This camp offers the 'kids' a chance to make new alliances, have fun and to grow up in a new way. We have women and men. We have young and old. Sometimes it's the first time they've stayed away for a week. It's a bit of magic for everyone."