Camperships empower youth through recreation

Health, Wellness & Recreation

S’more fun when everyone takes part

The Winnipeg Foundation’s Camp and Summer Program Grants empower youth through recreation by supporting access to sleep-away and day camps, and to special summer programming. The Camp and Summer Program Grants distribute approximately $400,000 each year – a total of more than $4.7 million since its inception in 2009.

Winnipeg Foundation Grants Officer, Aliya Mrochuk, is taking the helm of the grants program for the first time this year. With many offerings unavailable due to the pandemic, she is excited for the numerous opportunities’ youth will have this summer.

“These grants support organizations offering children and youth who face physical, health, or socio-economic barriers opportunities to participate in fun summer programming,” says Mrochuk. “The opportunities are incredibly varied: free tickets to concerts, theatre productions, museums, and galleries; music, art, science, theatre, and sports camps; canoe expeditions; medicine picking and land-based learning; horseback riding; trips to the beach or lake. The list is endless.”

The importance of camperships during the pandemic

During the pandemic, many organizations became more creative in how they deliver programming, incorporating “camp in a box” activity bundles and virtual classes/speakers/tours.

The Winnipeg Foundation’s Camp and Summer Program Grants create opportunities for youth to be youth. Some have experienced violence or trauma, focusing on survival and not play, while others with physical or developmental disabilities can be excluded from more rigid programming. Camps and summer programs provide an inclusive environment, allowing all to join in the fun.

“I think we undervalue the impact of fun,” says Mrochuk. “Recreational activities for youth are critical, especially during the pandemic, when rates of anxiety in children have doubled. All youth impacted by this program face some kind of barrier.”

Economic barriers can mean that many young people simply do not have the means or transportation necessary to leave their neighbourhoods. Camp and Summer Program Grants offer youth the opportunity to experience recreational activities.

For some, it may be their first time swimming in a lake, hiking in the woods, or in a museum or gallery – all while building healthy relationships with their peers and programmers.

Want to send a kid to camp? Make a gift to The Winnipeg Foundation’s Camp and Summer Program Fund at

This story is featured in the Spring 2022 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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