Youth Camp 2017
Another Great Week at Ostomy Youth Camp! by Sandra Morris, Ostomy Youth Camp Coordinator, Vancouver Chapter
The week at Camp Horizon is always a special time for the children who come from across Canada to the Ostomy Youth Camp in Alberta. While they all are living with some form of ostomy, first and foremost, they are regular kids who enjoy having the opportunity to get together and experience regular camp activities. The facility has a pool, an archery range, an art studio, a rock climbing wall, a high rope adventure course, and the ‘giant swing’. They also go white water rafting, hiking, and biking. Highlights of the week include a dance and an overnight campout.
This summer the Vancouver Chapter sponsored 8 children to attend camp. There were no last minute cancellations this year. For several summers, one or two campers have had to cancel just prior to camp, which is not surprising given their ongoing health issues. We were glad they were all healthy and strong enough for camp.
Ostomy Canada contracts with Easter Seals, which operates and manages the camp. This was the third year that Ostomy Canada shared the camp facilities with Crohn’s & Colitis Canada. Three years ago the camp expanded to accommodate 90 campers, up from 65 prior to the renovation. The larger cabins provided the opportunity for the organizations to share the space for their respective campers. This is a good fit, as several of our campers are dealing with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and some of their campers have ostomies.
Also for the third year, the campers were divided into groups by gender. In previous years, groups were designated by age, and included both girls and boys. Some of the campers, especially the older ones, have suggested that mixed groups would provide more diversity and opportunity to socialize.
Many of the kids say the most important part of camp is being in a place where they feel they can be themselves. All the kids are dealing with similar issues, and for many it’s the first time they don’t feel alone. The younger kids get to see how the older ones cope and manage as they become teenagers and young adults. A highlight of the week is the Magic Circle, where the kids can open up about their own experiences and share some of their struggles, in a safe, supportive environment. The support they receive from the counsellors, ET Nurses, Adult Volunteers and, most importantly, the other campers fuels their self-confidence and builds self-esteem.
Although camp is only for 6 days, the kids stay in touch throughout the year, often texting or on Facebook, so their mutual support lasts long after camp ends. And when the next summer rolls around, they’re anxious to meet up with their old friends and meet the new campers.
It costs about $1,100 to sponsor a child to attend camp. Camp registration fees are $620 and return airfare to Calgary was just under $500. All funds are provided by the Vancouver Chapter, through our Wendy Irvine Youth Fund. This fund is made up of donations from our members, their families, and others who recognize the enormous benefits the kids receive from attending camp. All donations, large and small, make a difference. If you would like to help to sponsor a child to attend camp in 2018, we welcome your donation! (See sidebar)
There are several donors who have helped us out for many years.
We continue to receive a very generous donation from Jennifer Irvine, in memory of her sister Wendy Irvine who was one of our previous campers.
Major donations were received from our long-time supporters in the Fraser Valley, including the Dungate family, and Doug Crowe and his wife Daphne. The Chilliwack & Area Ostomy Association continues to be a huge supporter, as they have for many years. And for the second year in a row, a substantial donation, organized by one of our Chapter members, Cec Rempel, was gratefully received from the Kiwanis Club of Sardis.
The campers and their parents are extremely appreciative of the opportunity to attend camp and thank the donors for their generosity. More than anything I could write, the notes they send us demonstrate how important camp is to them. (Check out the Letters & News section for a sampling of their feedback).
Many of the kids say that camp has changed their lives. Because of this, we believe the Ostomy Youth Camp is one of the most important programs provided by Ostomy Canada, and supported by the Vancouver Chapter and other Chapters across the country.
Want to help sponsor a child to attend camp in 2018?
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
- photos courtesy Ostomy Youth Camp
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 $620.00/child plus airfare
(transportation to and from camp, room and board are
CONTACT: UOAC office at email@example.com
or phone 403-680-9551
APPLICATION FORMS: Available upon request from UOAC office at firstname.lastname@example.org
DEADLINE FOR 2018 REGISTRATION: TBA