This morning, I added an extra 10 minutes to my commute to work to show my support to Tim Horton’s and more specifically – to Tim Horton’s Camp Day.
Tim Horton’s is dedicated to making Canada a better place through their support of community events like the community clean ups, hockey and soccer programs and their willingness to support so many fundraising efforts by service groups in the communities where I have lived, but most of all I love to support Camp Day.
Growing up I was fortunate to belong to the local Girl Guide Group , so I experienced weekend camps through Girl Guides. When I was in Grade 6 my parents sent me to a week-long camp run by a local Forestry Association. It was scary, and fun, and I was lonely, and not lonely. I remember rainy days, and days that we so hot we could smell the wood of the trees heating up around us. I remember ghost stories in the cabin, trying to guess the counselors real names, and yes, I remember being homesick. I don’t remember being a changed person at the end of the week but looking back, I’m pretty sure I was a changed kid. I was able to live a week away from home, alone.
It wasn’t until I went to work for the Girl Scouts at their camps that I really began to appreciate the positive effect that camp has on kids. As a staff member I had the unique opportunity to see the wide eyes at check in, to watch the kids as they form new bonds with cabin mates, reconnect with friends they made the year before, get over homesickness, learn new skills, and leave filled with stories and information to share with their parents. Stories like the one my daughter told me about this activity (that’s her swinging about 10 ft in the air!)
As camp staff we learn to watch for the kids that need just a bit more help. Some kids are afraid when they come to camp. They are afraid of the dark, of bugs, of being without their family, and staff recognize this and take the time to help the camper through these fears. I’m not saying that a kid who is afraid of spiders will come away from camp no longer afraid, but what they will come away from camp with is the understanding of the spider’s role in the world (spiders eat all those other nasty bugs you know).
At the end of the camp experience I would get to watch those same wide eyed campers proudly show their parents around camp; pointing out significant areas from their week – places like the magic path, the tree trunk where they watched a squirrel eat, the field where they stargazed or slept under the stars, or the dock where they watched a fish swim.
These are the moments that I remember best from working at camp and define to me why kids need camp. These simple moments and accomplishments that the campers share with their friends and families. These are the moments and the reasons why I’ll buy many cups of coffee during camp day. Every kid deserves a chance to see a fish swim by with their very own eyes.