Every kid deserves to go to camp

The Winnipeg Foundation

SPLASH Forest and Nature School
SPLASH Child Care's Forest and Nature School

The Winnipeg Foundation’s Camperships program empowers youth through education and opportunity by supporting access to sleep-away and day camps, and to special summer programming. The Camperships Fund grants approximately $400,000 each year – a total of more than $3,083,000 since its inception in 2009.

Urban Forest

What benefits can a forest school offer? Ask Corine Anderson, SPLASH Forest School Practitioner, and she’ll tell you a story from last summer.

“One child went home and asked his mother to dig out his late father’s fishing gear from the basement. He carried his father’s tackle box around for the rest of Forest School,” she says. “He was very proud to be doing an activity that he knew his father had done and it was heart-warming for us to be able to share that connection with him.”

Forest schools incorporate nature-based learning, connecting children to the environment and providing an experience that is both fun and interactive. Kids are encouraged to improve their physical well-being through activities such as tree climbing, rock crawling and hiking, all while backpacking through the wilderness.

Last summer, 20 children between the ages of three and 10 took part in the SPLASH Forest and Nature School. The two-week pilot project brought youth from their Point Douglas community to Bunn’s Creek, a hidden oasis in the north east corner of our city.

The campers learn important safety and survival techniques, such as identifying poison ivy and learning what types of forage are safe to eat, as well as proper personal safety management when interacting with nature, along with the proper use of tools for actions such as starting a campfire.

A Camp for Everyone

“Self-confidence.”

When asked about their biggest takeaway from Camp Aurora, that’s what one of the youngest campers wrote down on their take home rock, which is a little piece of camp attendees can keep with them.

Camp Aurora is Manitoba’s only LGBT2SQ+ youth summer camp. It offers a positive and inclusive experience for individuals in the community.

When asked what they liked most about Camp Aurora, another youth replied, “This is my first time at this camp. It’s also my first time considering a place my new home.”

For 10 years, Camp Aurora has been fostering the development of youth aged 14 to 19. Last year, 48 campers and 10 cabin leaders attended. The four-day subsidized summer camp is a safe space for young people to be themselves without judgement, supported and accepted by their peers.

Want to send a kid to camp? Make a gift to The Winnipeg Foundation's Campership Fund.


This story is featured in the Summer 2018 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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