- photo courtesy Lisa Gausman, senior editor Ostomy Canada Magazine
Ostomy Youth Camp, 2022
- by Sandra Morris, Youth Camp Coordinator
After being cancelled for the past two summers, due to COVID, the Ostomy Youth Camp was back up and running again this past summer! The kids who attended camp this year were thrilled, given the 3-year hiatus, a long time in the life of a teen or pre-teen. Social media filled this gap to some extent, but the kids say it’s just not the same as seeing each other in person.
COVID Protocols: COVID did require the introduction of some new protocols. The Ostomy Youth Camp is operated by Easter Seals, and Ostomy Canada contracts with this organization for what is usually a 6-day camp experience. This year, camp was reduced to 5 days, so the staff at Easter Seals had an extra day between the different contractors to undertake deep cleaning. In addition, all campers, volunteers, and staff were required to be double-vaccinated, or provide proof of a medical exemption. And, finally, all parents were required to sign a waiver indicating that if their child developed COVID, they would be quarantined until the last day of camp, at which time the parents would be required to pick them up in person. These protocols had the effect of reducing the number of campers who attended this past summer compared with previous years. We had a few former campers whose parents had decided against vaccination. And some parents weren’t able to commit to picking up their child at camp, due to work or other obligations.
Eight Campers Sponsored: In the end, the Vancouver Chapter sponsored 8 campers to attend, fewer than in previous years. We started with 9 children but, unfortunately, one of our new campers became ill the day prior to the start of camp and had to cancel. However, she was reassured that she would be able to go next summer.
Where is the Ostomy Youth Camp?
The Ostomy Youth Camp is located at Camp Horizon in Bragg Creek, Alberta, a short distance southwest of Calgary. It’s the only camp in Canada specifically for kids with ostomies, so the campers come from across the country.
Sponsorship by the Vancouver Chapter: The Vancouver Chapter fully sponsors all kids from BC. We are able to do this because of the generous donations we receive from our membership, their friends and families, community groups, and other donors. Thank you! Without your support, we would not be able to provide many children with this life-enhancing experience. Sponsorship includes the Camp Registration Fees ($650) and travel costs. Most kids fly to Calgary from either Vancouver or elsewhere in BC. However, for those families who choose to drive their kids to and from camp, we reimburse their gas costs up to the amount it would have cost for the camper to fly. Our total sponsorship costs for the past summer were just over $8,360, including $5,250 for 8 Registration Fees (including a $50 administration fee for one cancellation), and just over $3,110 for transportation costs. The cost per camper was $1,045, lower than in previous years due to significantly lower flight costs (go figure!)
Please Donate to Camp! Going to camp is a life-changing experience for the kids – building confidence by demonstrating that they’re able to do many things they thought were impossible. And, most importantly, enabling them to meet other kids with similar health issues, learning from each other about how they cope, and just having fun in an environment where they feel safe, both physically and emotionally.
WHERE: Camp Horizon, Bragg Creek, Alberta (southwest of Calgary)
WHO: Children between the ages 9 - 18 who have had or who will have bowel or bladder diversionary surgery or who have related special needs ( i.e. self catheterization, bowel and bladder incontinence), due to birth defects, trauma or disease (i.e. Crohn's disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Cancer, Spina Bifida.)
COST: Registration fee is $900.00/child plus airfare
(transportation to and from camp, room and board are
included) Average cost per child is $1400.00
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 1 2023
Want to help sponsor a child to attend camp in 2023? Now two ways to donate -- by cheque or online (see below)
A donation cheque can be made out to: UOA Vancouver Chapter
PLEASE NOTE ON THE MEMO LINE THAT YOUR DONATION IS FOR THE WENDY IRVINE YOUTH FUND
AND INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS TO RECEIVE A TAX RECEIPT FOR DONATIONS OF $20 OR MORE
Mail to: UOAC Vancouver Chapter
Box 74570 Postal Station G
Vancouver, BC V6K 4P4
APPLICATION FORMS: Available upon request from Lisa Gausman, Camp Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION: Contact Sandra Morris, Youth Camp Coordinator, Vancouver Chapter, at email@example.com