Camp Winfield in Lake Country has been redefining disability for the past 51 summers for its campers. The summer camp, run by Easter Seals BC/Yukon, encourages its campers to try a variety of new activities from water polo and the performing arts to wheelchair basketball and rock climbing. But it’s not cheap.
The director of camp and facilities James Gagnon said it costs $3,600 to send one child to camp for one week. In order to offset this cost for families, Easter Seals Camp Winfield is hosting a fundraising festival event on Saturday, June 15, at the Lake Country camp.
“Dollars raised from this fundraiser will help offset these costs to send kids with diverse abilities to Easter Seals Camp Winfield giving them a week-long life-challenging experience this summer,” Gagnon said.
The festivities will include a two-lane bungee race, 64-foot inflatable obstacle course, dunk tanks, food trucks and other family-friendly activities, and entry is by donation.
“These kids often have to face life with others only seeing their disabilities, but camp helps them realize they aren’t defined by their disability, and they instead focus on empowerment and the challenges they can overcome with the support of counsellors and fellow campers,” Gagnon said.
Camp has made a long-lasting impression on its summer residents, including Logan. It improves confidence, skills and the overall quality of life, his mother said.
“Our son has a degenerative life-limiting disorder,” Logan’s mother Debra Miller said. “I believe, and have witnessed in my son, that camp has played a significant role in his quality of life, his continued independence, his health, and most of all, it has contributed to his living in hope above his illness.”
She said the one week her son is away at camp not only “respite from our challenges,” but it provides a safe, inclusive and enriching environment for Logan and his peers.
“One of the main takeaways we hear from our campers all the time is about the friendships they make with the other campers they meet,” Gagnon said. “Most of the time, our campers are the only one in the room with a disability. Here, at camp, they are surrounded by kids just like them and it brings such a positive impact to their lives.”